Congratulations! Your Child is now fully grown, ready to send you into labor at any moment!
Your Child’s development
Even though Your Child is now ready to be born, the little one continues to grow hair and nails, develop the lungs, and add more fat.
The shape of the head changes: Even though the size of the head is already smaller in relation to the rest of the body when compared with earlier weeks, it is still the largest thing that needs to go through your birth canal. To make this possible, the bones in Your Child’s head aren’t yet fused and will squeeze as the little one passes through the birth canal during labor. So after birth, Your Child’s head may have the shape of a cone, but it will get back to normal after a while.
Your familiar voice: No sound will appeal to Your Child like your voice, and interestingly, the little one has been learning your voice all this while. So, be sure to always talk to Your Child after birth; it will calm the little one down.
Fat keeps coming: The amount of white fat is now approximately 16% of the body weight, and Your Child adds approximately 14 grams of fat per day during these final weeks.
Your Child weighs about 3-3.5 kg and measures about 50cm — the size of a jackfruit.
Your cervix keeps dilating and thinning out, and you will continue to have contractions until you deliver. Keep monitoring your progress though. Your back may continue to hurt, so make sure you get adequate rest. Very soon, it will be over.
But if, by the end of this week, labor hasn’t started, your doctor may discuss with you about the possibility of inducing labor.
However, doctors don’t usually suggest induction unless you or Your Child are at risk of infection from prolonged gestation or the little one gets too large.
What to do now
It’s good to discuss with your doctor about what will be done immediately after delivery.
Undisturbed first hour: Many hospitals in the UK, US, and Germany have started placing the baby on the mother’s breast immediately after delivery for bonding and breastfeeding — a method that is called the undisturbed first hour.
It’s only after about 1-2 hours will the baby be taken away for bathing and routine checkup. Although this practice is not yet common in most Asian countries, you can discuss with your doctor if it is possible to have this special time with Your Child before being taken for cleaning and checkups.
Dr. Wanwadee Sapmee Panyakat, MD. (20 October 2021)