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35 WEEKS, 2 DAYS

33 days to go...

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MRI scan of human fetus at 35 weeks and 1 day

Your baby today

This MRI scan shows detail of the baby's brain. MRI is particularly good at showing structures within the central nervous system. Taking and interpreting these images remains difficult and time consuming, however, so they are not part of routine testing.

Although the color is developing in your baby's eyes, the final color will not be known for some time.

What color will your baby's eyes be? The iris controls the amount of light that enters the eye and gives the eyes their color. Eye color is determined by the amount of melanin within the iris; this is the substance in the skin that gives different skin tones.

It certainly doesn't follow that your baby will have an identical eye color to that of you or your partner. Most fair-skinned babies will be born with only a small amount of melanin in the eye and the iris will appear gray or blue. If dark-skinned then there is a great deal of melanin and the color is usually dark gray or brown. The color continues to change after birth as melanin is produced in response to light. Your baby will be a year old before the final color of her eyes is fully developed.

Practicing visualization

Visualization is an effective and positive way to help prepare for labor. Try practicing it in these final weeks, beginning with a basic relaxation exercise. So start at the top of your head and gently flex and relax every muscle down to your toes, concentrating on each muscle, and your breathing, as you do so. Now imagine the birth, with every step given a positive connotation. For example, your baby is floating in water, and is gently rocked as the contractions begin; the tightening you feel is the strong walls of your uterus, guiding your baby into the world; the contractions are waves on which you and your baby are riding, as your baby is washed out-you are both swimming together with the tide.

Pregnant woman with partner

You may have started to wonder whether your baby will have the same eye color as you or your partner. Her eye color may resemble either of yours, or it may be different than both of you.

Focus On... Your body

Cesarean birth

If you know you're going to have your baby by cesarean, it's good to being aware of what to expect following the birth. Although you should remain mobile after cesarean surgery, it's also important to get plenty of rest. Keep in mind that a cesarean section is major surgery so you will need to avoid lifting and carrying heavy loads for the first few weeks. Since this may be difficult if you have other small children or you are at home alone, you should try to recruit as much help as possible after the surgery. You should avoid doing any shopping since this usually involves carrying heavy bags. Order online if you can.

The advice is not to drive for six weeks. If you feel up to it before this time, check with your doctor that it is okay and make sure you're comfortable wearing a seatbelt and doing maneuvers, including emergency stops.

It is generally thought to take up to six weeks to fully recover from a cesarean delivery.

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Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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