The last week of your pregnancy indicates that you are 39 weeks pregnant or in the 40th week. The day you have been waiting is almost there and it will not take long before you hold your baby in your arms. According to estimates, only around 4% of infants are born on the expected date that they are due. Most of the infants are born either before the due date or after the due date.
At this stage your baby is around 20 inches in length and his weight is more than 7.2 pounds, almost the same as a small watermelon. By this time all the organs of your baby are developed fully. His skin now becomes paler and thicker and the outer layer of skin is being replaced by new skin. More surfactant, which helps in keeping the tiny sacs of air open, is being produced by his lungs and he is prepared to breathe out of your uterus.
During the last week of pregnancy you should have knowledge about how to know when labor is beginning and what occurs in each of 3 stages of labor. Main signs, which indicate that you are beginning labor, are regular and strong contractions. Contractions that are 5 minutes (or less) apart, each lasting one minute, for more than an hour, is a sure sign.
While you are pregnant, a mucus plug is present in your cervix. A show occurs when that mucus plug comes away. It indicates that the cervix has started dilating. Some other signs, which indicate that you are beginning labor, are:
Pack the bag to take to the hospital: Some females have to stay in hospital for a minimum of 24 hours after delivery and some may require remaining there much longer. Pack your bag for the hospital with an assumption that you have to stay there for some days. Ensure that you pack a toothpaste, toothbrush, a change of clothes in which you can come home, chap sticks, baby stuff, etc. Last week of pregnancy, while you are waiting,is a great time to pack your hospital bag so you don’t have to do it when the time actually comes to go to the hospital.
Clean your house: Keep in mind that you may not have enough energy to clean your house after your baby arrives; it’s better that you clean your house, which is also a form of exercise. Moreover, you will surely want your baby to come to a clean home and environment.
Give the finishing touches to the nursery: Wash crib sheets, dust the nursery, hang the decorations and ensure proper control of temperature inside the baby’s room.
Wash your baby’s clothes: Many chemicals, dust and germs may come into contact with new clothes of your baby. Your little one’s skin will be very sensitive; hence, it is good to wash their clothes beforehand.
Write a birth plan: Make sure to write a birth plan and take it with you to the hospital. Ensure that you express your concerns, hopes and desires in this plan. The nurses will do their best to make the plan followed according to the hospital’s capabilities.
Work out the transport: Plan out how you will go to the hospital as you may require going there any time of the night or day. If your plan is to go by car, ensure it’s in good condition and there’s enough petrol in tank at all times. If a friend or neighbor has agreed to take you, you should always make a backup arrangement, in case they are not able to take you. If you don’t have a car, you can call a taxi. You can also call your hospital and ask them to arrange an ambulance to take you.
Important phone numbers: When you are due, keep a list of some important phone numbers near the telephone or in your handbag. These may include:
Can I discuss or review my birth plan with my doctor?
While it is not necessary to have a birth plan, many females prepare one to become familiar with the process of labor and delivery and to ensure that everyone who is involved becomes aware of their preferences. Discussing your birth plan during the last week of pregnancy (prior to delivery) with your physician gives an opportunity for discussion of expectations (particularly in cases of high risk pregnancy) and reviewing concerns your physician and you may have.
What should be my expectation during the process of labor and delivery?
A nurse or physician will perform examination of the cervix at regular intervals to determine effacement and cervical dilation. They may also advise interventions including electronic fetal monitoring and IV. Discussing before also gives you an opportunity to review options for pain management such as epidural, so you are well aware of and may plan and choose among the available pain management options to use through different labor stages.
Who will deliver my baby?
This depends on the practice of your physician. Some clinics have numerous OB-GYNs on call and your delivery will be done by whoever is available at the time you go into labor. However, in some other clinics, your delivery is always be done by your own physician. Hence, be sure to ask beforehand how it will happen during your delivery, so you are not in for a surprise.
What are the chances that I will require a C-section?
Currently 1 in 3 females delivers by a C-section; hence, it is important to ask your physician, particular if you want a normal delivery. You should review your personal risks factors with your physician before labor as it helps in guiding your expectations. The factors that increase the risk of a C-section are: