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ultrasound of human fetus 31 weeks and 5 days

Your baby today

This image shows a furrowed brow and an open-eyed expression. Just as the muscle tone in the limbs is strengthening, so the muscles of the face are being used and tested. This can produce some unusual expressions that do not necessarily reflect your baby's emotions.

How your baby is positioned can affect your delivery, but there is plenty of time at this stage for things to change.

Each time you are examined your doctor will assess your baby's lie and presentation. Many babies are in the breech position earlier in the pregnancy, but most turn into the head down position by the end of the pregnancy. Still, breech births occur in about one in 25 full-term births. Between 32 and 37 weeks is the best time for your doctor to try to turn a breech baby. This is because there is plenty of room for the baby to turn around. After the 35th or 36th week, the baby is unlikely to change position since there is less room for large maneuvers. If your baby is breech, your doctor may try to turn the baby, a process called version and she may recommend an extra ultrasound scan at 37-38 weeks of pregnancy to check the baby's position. It may be difficult to be completely sure, on examination alone, whether the doctor is feeling the baby's bottom or head. If your baby is breech, your doctor may suggest a cesarean delivery.

Focus On... Dads

Getting the balance right

Much of later pregnancy involves your partner doing less than normal. This may range from doing less exercise to not doing household chores. It may be challenging for your partner to realize that she's not able to do things as easily as before and, to a certain extent, is less independent.

You can be a great help to her in the final weeks of pregnancy, but be aware that there's a fine line between being supportive and being overly protective. Deep down you may want to turn into "superman" and do everything, but it might frustrate your partner if you become overly protective. Try to take the lead from her and give her help as and when she needs it, as well as space to do her own thing.

husband painting pregnant wife's toenails

excerpted from:

Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
Buy this book now!

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