Your baby is now considered full term and is likely to be born between 37 and 42 weeks. Your baby should be consistently moving 10 times a day.
Ultrasound image of Doppler blood flow to the placenta at 37 weeks.
Now weighing approximately 2.9kg and measuring around 47.5cm from crown to heel, the final growth spurt is continuing and will do so until delivery. It is likely that the fetal position will not change from now on and, most commonly, the fetus will now be head-down with the head resting in your pelvic cavity and surrounded by your pelvic bones.
Fetal movements are becoming more limited due to restricted space in the uterus. It is now less likely that the fetus will kick, however there will still wriggles, and squirms. Amniotic fluid continues to be inhaled and exhaled to prepare the lungs to take their first breath.
Although all babies will now have eyebrows and eyelashes, the amount of hair on the head varies from baby to baby. Some babies are born with no hair at all, while others have a full head of hair with a length of up to 3.5cm. The lanugo – the downy body hair – and vernix – the greasy protective coating – that previously covered the entire body, will now have almost completely been shed.
Some babies are born with a little of the vernix remaining on their body, but this is no cause for concern. Both the lanugo and the vernix will be shed into the amniotic fluid and will be swallowed by the baby. They will be digested, stored in the bowel and will form part of the meconium – the first bowel movement – after birth.
Getting plenty of rest and trying to relax as much as possible are important during the final weeks of pregnancy. Resting can help to alleviate common symptoms such as varicose veins and swelling in the legs, ankles and feet and relaxing can help to combat stress headaches, which many women suffer throughout their pregnancy.
During your routine antenatal appointments, your midwife may examine you to check for signs that your cervix is beginning to dilate (open) and if effacement –thinning of the cervix - is occurring. These are both signs that your body is preparing for labour, but they do not necessarily mean that labour is imminent. In some women, these processes occur very gradually and take place over a number of days or even weeks, while in other women, labour can follow within hours of the beginning of the dilation of the cervix.
A key sign that labour is imminent that some women experience is a ‘show’. The blood vessels of the cervix may begin to rupture as it dilates, causing a pinkish or brownish mucous to be discharged from the vagina. Having a ‘show’ is a strong indication of the onset of labour.
Labour could start at any time from now on so many women like to make sure that they are well prepared. Having a bag packed with all the things that you and your baby will need, making sure that you can contact your birthing partner if you have one, and ensuring that you have a plan of how to get to the hospital, if you are having a hospital birth, are all ways in which you can prepare.
Movement of the baby remains very important. There should be ten movements a day which are changing from kicking to rolling. Headache, swelling, disturbances of vision and swelling of the ankles and face remain as possible signs of pre-eclampsia. Itching of the hands and feet suggests obstetric cholestasis. Contractions of the tummy may become more frequent and painful. This may be associated with change in vaginal discharge. There may be pressure in the pelvis when upright and walking. If your waters break you should tell the midwife especially if it is not a normal straw coloured fluid.
Any of the above symptoms should prompt a review by the midwife or doctor. Serious concern might prompt admission to hospital for observation.
An additional scan, midwife or consultant opinion can be accessed in a private clinic. There is no need for a referral letter. This can help you with decisions about delivery. You can have more time to discuss. In a private clinic you can have a swab to screen for Group B Streptococcus.
In preparation for the first few days with your newborn baby, you can have a consultation with a breastfeeding consultant. When choosing a breastfeeding consultant, look for one that is accredited by the International Board of Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) as a measure of experience.
Women who are having a private Caesarean section may book this at this time.
' Professional and reassuring 'Helen Campbell
The sonographer was ready as soon as I arrived, and she was extremely calming, personable and professional. The scan and blood test where efficient without feeling rushed and all very easy. These appointments can feel uneasy and make you feel anxious but I felt reassured and in professional hands the whole time
I saw Kate throughout my first pregnancy and am now doing so again with my second. She is absolutely amazing, she explains everything really clearly, and has answered all sorts of bizarre questions and worries I have had. On top of being clinically excellent she is also just the loveliest person and always a pleasure to see.Sarah Elliott
We had the harmony test with the Birth Company and had a reassurance scan with sonographer Kirsty McGarry who was absolutely lovely and really put our minds at rest. We had been scared by our NHS dating scan and left feeling like there was something wrong. We explained the situation and was treated very professionally and with good care. Also speedy appointments also as I had phone in the morning and got an appointment by afternoon. So thankful.Ashley and Tom
Really friendly, efficient service. Great experience overall. Had the Panorama. My appointment was with Kate who was absolutely fantastic. The results came really quickly. Have a comparison with private healthcare elsewhere and must say that The Birth Company was just how I would like to be treated when I pay for medical services - attentively, calmly, friendly, in a pleasant environment that doesn't look like hospital. Top marks!Anna
' Efficient, friendly and always on hand to provide last minute appointments 'Hannah Murphy
The Birth Company has been excellent, providing timely scans and blood tests during my IVF treatment abroad. Staff are always friendly and extremely efficient. I would highly recommend coming here.
' Professional and friendly 'Lyndsey Dilla
When I first contacted the Birth Company I spoke to Danielle. She was fantastic. She went above & beyond to put me at easy & make the journey from Kent as stress free as possible. Every staff member that myself and my husband have come into contact with have been approachable, professional and friendly. Kate scanned me the first time and put me completely at easy. Lisa on reception is professional and very approachable. Highly recommended
' Highly recommended 'Emelie
Donald was so lovely! I was so nervous as I have a bad history and he was super quick and confirmed my baby's heartbeat as quickly as he could. He spent time showing me the baby and the anatomy and it was the best money I have ever spent! The reception girls were lovely too - considering they deal with babies day in day out they were super excited for me! Thank you so much one and all! If only I lived in London and could have all my scans with you!
Great Portland Street