It’s pregnancy week 37, and here’s what’s going on…
This week you’ll alternate between fatigue and frenetic energy, as nesting instincts and sheer exhaustion continue to duke it out. It’s hard to find a position that’s comfortable enough to fall asleep, but do try to rest up and save some energy. You’re going to need it during labor, which is OMG SO SOON!
You’re no doubt paying close attention to every twinge and tickle in your body, on the alert for the start of labor. There are plenty of old wives’ tales about how to make labor start (pressure points? pineapple? SEX?!?). There’s little to no evidence that any of them work, but trust us, pretty soon you’ll be desperate enough to try anything. Yes, even sex.
Watch for the baby dropping lower in your pelvis, an increase in Braxton Hicks contractions, passing the mucous plug, or your water breaking (often just a trickle down the leg, not the exploding fire hydrant you see in movies), all of which are signs that the baby will arrive any day!
30% of women in the U.S. give birth via C-section, either scheduled in advance or as a result of last-minute complications like a lack of progress in labor or signs of distress in the baby. There are plenty of perfectly good reasons to prefer a planned C-section (from mom’s health, to multiples, to personal preference), and if that’s the vision you have for your birth then DO IT!
However, if you’ve had a previous C-section and want to deliver vaginally this time, talk to your doctor about VBAC, or vaginal birth after cesarean. Just be aware that certain hospitals have a strict no-VBAC policy regardless of whether or not you’re a good candidate for it, so you might need to find a provider who will advocate for you, or even use a different hospital. Finally, if you planned a vaginal delivery and end up with an emergency C-section, remember what they say: “What matters most isn’t how you deliver your baby, but that they arrive healthy” — because it’s true. No matter how your baby arrives, you are a warrior woman and a kick-ass baby-making mama!
Your baby is now getting antibodies via the umbilical cord to help protect them from all the germs out in the real world; ironic, since a few months from now they’ll probably find a dead bug on your living room floor and eat it. Your baby also knows your voice; get ready for one of the sweetest moments of motherhood, when your little one turns toward you when you talk! This is apparently a skill they lose completely in the teenage years, so enjoy it while it lasts.
The truth is, your baby is considered “full term” any time between now and 42 weeks — that whole 40th week goal is just the midpoint of that time period. So yes, even though you feel like you’re big enough to burst through walls like the Kool-Aid Man, you still could have four weeks to go! (Don’t hate the messenger, man.)
Look mama, it’s time to kick up your feet and play the waiting game. The nesting phase is over. All future nesting needs to be about YOU. Get a mani-pedi. Binge-watch your favorite shows. Treat yourself to a milkshake. As long as you’ve got the key items (stroller, car seat, rock-and-play or swing, crib, clothes, warm stuff, diapers, wipes, changing station, and bottles/formula if you’re bottle feeding), don’t panic. Online shopping will still exist after the baby is born. If you need anything crucial at the last-minute, tap into your support network for help.