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36 WEEKS, 2 DAYS

26 days to go...

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ultrasound of human fetus 36 weeks and 2 days

Your baby today

Although almost invisible in the image, a very thin layer of vernix covers your baby. At first this helped to reduce the amount of water leaving your baby's skin, but now it helps to prevent direct contact with the skin and amniotic fluid.

Have you started nesting? The need to provide a safe, comfortable space for your new baby is a primitive desire.

The nesting instinct usually begins in the final weeks of pregnancy, accompanied by a surge of energy and an uncontrollable urge to get your home in ship shape.

Give in to your inner domestic goddess: cook, clean, organize, and de-clutter, but take it easy. If you spend hours on your hands and knees scrubbing, you may find yourself in labor sooner than you'd expected. Some men develop a nesting instinct, but unfortunately this tends to be associated with cars and garden sheds. If this happens to your partner, at least you can look forward to a sparkling-clean car, spruced-up patio, and manicured lawn.

Nesting not happening for you? Pay the professionals to do a spring cleaning. Or forget it: your baby won't care whether the cupboards are clean.

Pregnant woman cleaning kitchen cabinets

Every nook and cranny of your home will get your attention once the cleaning bug hits you!

The Lowdown

Plaster casts!

Preserve your belly for posterity by making a plaster belly cast. You can either buy a kit or (far cheaper) purchase the plaster separately; it's all available online.

You will need:

  • Plaster of Paris bandages, cut into several strips
  • Large tub of petroleum jelly
  • Bucket of warm water
  • An assistant or two (not essential, but can be useful for speeding up the process and bringing refreshments).

Here's how to do it:

  1. Strip down except for some old underwear (the smaller, the better)
  2. Apply petroleum jelly liberally to your belly and breasts
  3. Assume a comfortable pose
  4. One by one, dip the plaster of Paris strips into the water, then apply, overlapping the layers until you have a thick coating
  5. Sit and wait for it to dry – it's a good excuse to take a rest
  6. Slip it off, when it's rock hard and paint it if you'd like.

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