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37 WEEKS, 4 DAYS

17 days to go...

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ultrasound of human fetus 37 weeks and 4 days

Your baby today

What exactly triggers the start of labor is still a mystery. Does the signal come from your own body or does the baby play a part in the decision? Every labor is different, and the timing of your first labor can be quite different from your second.

Gradually, each of your baby's bones is becoming strengthened thanks to adequate amounts of calcium.

Your baby's bones are strengthened by the process of ossification in which hard bone is formed from calcium. To meet this increase in demand, you absorb calcium much more readily from your diet.

By this stage of pregnancy, the baby's humerus in the upper arm, femur in the upper leg, and tibia in the lower leg have undergone this process. As ossification occurs at specific weeks in your pregnancy, ultrasound can use these as markers to estimate the date of the pregnancy, if necessary.

The time at which this ossification occurs may be seen a few days earlier in girls than boys and, interestingly, the patella (knee bone), does not ossify until after birth.

Bach Flower Remedies

Flower essence blends are designed to calm and center your energy, which some think can help you relax and encourage you to focus. Rescue Remedy and Emergency Essence, types of Bach Flower Remedy, are thought by some to be effective when used in labor, and in the weeks prior to and after the birth. The remedies are taken for a variety of symptoms including anxiety, shock, worry, stress, or simply for a boost during a long or painful labor.

A few drops may be taken on your tongue as required or mixed in water, as shown above. Both of these blends also come in cream form, to apply topically, or as a spray, to spritz yourself, and your environment.

Ask your doctor before you try these or other natural remedies, since they haven't been thoroughly studied.

Woman adding extract to water

One way to take Bach Flower Remedies is to put four drops into a glass of water and sip it at intervals. Alternatively, you can put the drops directly on to your tongue using the pipette. Always talk to your doctor before using any remedy.

As A Matter Of Fact

Just because your partner weighed above average at birth, it doesn't mean your baby will too.

The birth weight depends on the mix of genes your baby inherits. So, if your partner is tall and big boned and you're petite and were a tiny baby, keep your fingers crossed that you have the more dominant genes!

Ask A... Doctor

I've had a small amount of bleeding. Should I be concerned?

Bleeding in late pregnancy may be serious since it can be due to the placenta partially, or totally, detaching from the wall of the uterus, known as placental abruption, or to a low-lying placenta, known as placenta previa . If you have a mucus discharge tinged with blood in late pregnancy, this may be a "bloody show" (see ... Doctor and The "bloody show").

Always seek medical advice for bleeding at any stage of pregnancy to rule out any problems.

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