Your guide to being 37 weeks pregnant
Almost there… how are you feeling?
By now your baby may have moved well down inside your pelvic cavity. As well as ensuring he’s in the right position for birth, it gives him some space for his legs to continue to grow. He may have hair on his head (although he’s likely to lose most of it after the birth).
Any lanugo, the fine downy hair that covered his body and kept him warm earlier on, has all but gone, although you may see traces of it on his shoulders and the back of his neck when he’s born. Some of the vernix, the white, waxy substance that coats his skin in the womb will still be present, but this also lessens with time. Babies who are born after their due date often have very little still on them.
Not only will your baby’s lungs be able to function without any assistance were he to be born today, but he’s likely to have enough fat stores to be able to keep his body temperature stable outside the womb.
What’s happening to you
Hurrah! You’ve reached what’s officially classed as full term. But it may be at least three or four weeks before your baby actually makes an appearance. Your bump may have changed shape as your baby ‘drops’ into your pelvis. And you may suddenly get the urge to clean out the kitchen cupboards, dust the skirting boards and scrub the inside of the oven. This is your nesting instinct kicking in. It’s often strongest at the onset of labour, but it can occur as early as the fifth month of pregnancy.
Thanks to your increased blood volume and the fact that extra progesterone relaxes the walls of your veins, varicose veins can be a common yet unwanted problem. It doesn’t help, too if your job requires long periods of sitting or standing. If you notice a vein appearing, try wearing support tights and applying witch hazel, a natural astringent, throughout the day. You could also try putting your leg under the cold tap at regular intervals while having a warm bath, or bending your knees then straightening and tiptoeing in the shower, as both these actions will help to stimulate blood flow.
When to check it out
While no one wants varicose veins and they can hurt if you bump them, they aren’t anything to worry about unduly. But if you get swelling in one leg, a continual pain or if you notice any redness, warmth or tenderness, tell your GP as soon as possible as this may be a deep vein thrombosis (blood clot) that will need immediate treatment.
‘To do’ this week.
Cook up a storm. Make batches of some of your favourite, most wholesome and nourishing meals (think Bolognese, chile con carne, fish pie) that you can freeze into individual portions to eat once you’re back from hospital. You won’t have time (or energy) to cook then but will be mightily glad of good grub.
Wow! Did you know…
As well as everything else you are carrying around, your placenta weighs a whopping 1.5lb.