Week 38



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Your breasts could be leaking colostrum. You might be experiencing more Braxton Hicks contractions. Although they can at times feel uncomfortable, they’re actually helping to prepare your uterus and cervix for labour and birth.

The placenta is about 17-18 cm across, and can weigh up to 1 kg. It processes about 12 l of blood an hour. If you have a vaginal birth, the placenta will be delivered 5-30 minutes after your baby. It’s recommended that you have an oxytocin injection after the baby’s birth to prevent too much bleeding.

Your urge to ‘nest’ could get stronger. You might feel like cleaning, washing, ironing, stocking the cupboard and the freezer … or you might not. Try not to overdo it, and balance nesting with rest and relaxation where possible. You can read more in our article on nesting for dads-to-be.

Car seats and restraints

If you haven’t had a car restraint fitted yet, do this now.

It’s illegal for any baby or child under the age of seven years to travel in a car without an approved car restraint. This includes driving home from the hospital or birth centre! Your newborn will need to be seated in a properly fastened, adjusted and approved rear-facing child restraint.

If you are thinking of buying or borrowing a second-hand one, don’t accept or use a restraint that has:

  • been in a crash, even if there’s no obvious damage
  • splits, cracks or large stress marks in the restraint shell
  • straps that are frayed, worn or damaged
  • a buckle that doesn’t work smoothly.

If you’re not keen on buying one, you might be able to hire one from your local council or ambulance service or a private company.

It needs to be fitted correctly – this can be done at a local motoring association fitting station or an accredited private one.

Your baby

A baby that arrives this week is regarded as full term:

  • Baby is about 35 cm from head to bottom, and on average, weighs about 3.2 kg.
  • Most of the lanugo – fine covering of hair on your baby's body – has fallen out. But baby still has a fair bit of vernix – a white, creamy substance that protects baby’s skin from the amniotic fluid.
  • The baby’s bowel is full of meconium, which will come out in the first few poos. Baby’s poos will range from black to green to yellow as baby starts to drink milk.

In the first hours and days of life, your midwife or doctor will check your baby to make sure everything is all right.

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