Congratulations! You are now in the last month of pregnancy. You will be able to hold your baby in your own arms any time now. It is only a matter of days before the much-anticipated day comes: the day when your baby is born. All the hardships of the last nine months will fall away as you prepare for something miraculous to happen. Your baby should be in the head down position by now, and ready to face the world.
Your baby is now a lot stronger than before. You will likely feel much activity happening inside your womb. Your baby will be able to kick more strongly although this will happen less frequently because she or he will have less room. It's getting cramped in there!
The skin of your baby is changing. It's slowly shedding the waxy white substance called the vernix that is coating his or her skin. Vernix is thought to protect the baby's skin from the amniotic fluid surrounding it. Without the vernix, the baby's skin would become wrinkly, much like regular human skin that has been in the water for too long. Just before the birth, the amount of vernix on the skin decreases slightly.
The lungs will now have enough of the surfactant to get it ready for air at birth. Your baby's kidneys will make more urine, which translated into up to two pints of amniotic fluid daily.
Your baby will now have thicker hair. Their fingernails will also grow longer during the ninth month of pregnancy. Some will actually have fingernails that are longer than their fingers when born.
The bones in the skull are still not yet fully fused together. Sometimes this causes babies to be born with the bones of their skulls to overlap and at others the baby may have an elongated head. Don't worry! Both are perfectly normal.
You may feel like you are becoming more restless. Some women find they have extra energy. Others find an almost irrational desire to prepare the home for the birth, with cleaning, cooking, tidying and others. Don't worry - this behaviors perfectly normal and is called nesting.
While some report extra energy, others say they are easily tired. This is normal because your baby is still growing. During the final month, your baby will grow 2 more inches in height.
You will experience more frequent urination as your growing uterus continues to press down on your bladder. The baby will also change position, moving into a head first position, to get ready for the birth. This will create more pressure in the pelvis area which further increases the frequency of urination.
Due to the growing weight of the baby in the uterus, your body may experience more aches and pains carrying the extra body mass. This may cause the body to ache and get tired easily.
And just when you thought you couldn't get any bigger, you continue to gain weight. On average, your baby puts on half a pound a week up until about week 37 at which point weight gain slows drastically. The average birth weight is still about seven and a half pounds. Your uterus can measure approximately 15 inches or more from your pelvic bone. Your baby will measure between 18-22 inches at birth. Your breasts will also be bigger, tender and will likely leak milk as they as prepare for breast-feeding. You may feel huge, bloated and unattractive, but don't worry, this is perfectly normal. It will all change completely once you have given birth and brought new life into the world.
Now is probably the time to make sure that everything is prepared for the mother of your child and your baby. You should make sure everything is prepared for the birth. Make sure that you know your route to the hospital. Have an overnight bag ready with a change of her clothes, some baby clothes and diapers for the newborn, some music or reading material, and a camera. Talk to your wife or partner about her ideal time in hospital and what it would look like. Try and be as supportive as possible. Your wife or partner may be going through huge mood swings, but don't worry, it's only temporary!
For first-time mothers, you should start practicing on how you should breathe during labor. It's important to make time to practice as well as just reading books about it; this will help you know what to do in the moment.
Water breaking? Braxton Hicks contractions or real ones? Make sure you know all the signs that could indicate that you are in labor.
You have to prepare yourself mentally and physically for what is about to happen in the coming days. Prepare your body by keeping it healthy. Take all your vitamins and supplements and try to only eat light but healthy foods. Alcohol and smoking are strictly forbidden as they will likely harm your child. Remember, the health of your baby is in your hands.
You should be proud of yourself for all that you have endured over the past nine months. There have been many months of challenges, aches, pains and discomfort, but soon it will all be over. Now that the long-awaited moment is actually within reach, it's important to be as prepared as possible. Giving birth may be the hardest thing that you ever do in your life. Preparation is key, and will make a huge difference to how you experience labor and manage the pain. Make sure that you take the time and create the mental space to visualize what is about to happen.
Remember that after all that has happened, a great gift will be given to you: the miracle of bringing new life into the world. In just a few weeks, you will have a new baby who will change your life in ways that you can't yet even imagine.