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38 WEEKS, 3 DAYS

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ultrasound of human fetus 38 weeks and 3 days

Your baby today

This image demonstrates how your baby has laid down fat reserves, nicely rounding out the cheeks. The exact weight of your baby will depend now on which day you deliver since your baby will continue to grow in the uterus, although at a slower rate than previously.

If you're having a home birth, you can make the midwife's task as easy as possible by being well organized.

If you're having your baby at home, spend this week ensuring that everything is in order and that the room in which you plan to give birth is clean, comfortable, and adequately heated.

Your midwife may bring around a pack about now, which contains all the items she will need. To make her task easier, make sure the bed on which you're going to deliver (if you plan to use a bed) is easily accessible from all sides. You might also want to ensure you have plenty of extra pillows on hand as well as several changes of bed sheets.

Even if you plan to labor in dim lighting, there needs to be a good source of light for the midwife, especially after the birth when you may need stitches.

The Lowdown

On pushing

Is pushing the baby out natural and instinctive? All women will feel an urge to push during labor, but because it's painful they might resist doing so. Medications, such as an epidural (see Epidurals), will interfere with the sensation of needing to push. Your midwife will help you throughout and guide you as to when it's safe and most effective to push.

Ask A... Doctor

I'm so tired already. How will I ever get through labor?

First of all, take every opportunity you can to rest-even if this means napping several times during the day. Every bit of sleep you get will make a difference to your energy levels, especially if you're having broken sleep at night.

When you are feeling active, try to do some gentle exercise since this can encourage healthy, restful sleep. Swimming can be a great way to expend energy, and take your mind off things and it puts little or no pressure on your belly or your aching muscles and joints.

Try eating food containing tryptophan (see ... Nutritionist) before you go to bed, which can encourage sleep, and make sure that you get plenty of high-energy carbohydrates (see Get carb loading) during the day, to keep your blood-sugar levels stable and prevent energy slumps.

Pregnant woman napping on couch

Learn to catnap for 10-20 minutes. This will help you rest and revive you, and it's a good technique to use once the baby is born.

excerpted from:

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

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