Congratulations! After 9 months of nausea, fatigue, aching joints, swollen extremities, stretch marks, hairy toes, heartburn, reflux and a bladder that just won't quit, you've finally made it! Your due date is here and at any time now your life will change forever with the arrival of your long awaited little one.
You can expect labor to happen at any moment now, but try not to get too hung up on your due date as only 5% of babies actually arrive bang on time. First times Moms might find Baby is a little late, while some second, third, fourth babies may pop out a bit early. Your baby is classed as being carried to term now, so whenever he or she decides is the right time, they should have no trouble functioning on their own without the assistance of the placenta.
Baby: What's Happening?
With operational lungs, a healthy digestive system and at roughly 7 to 8 lbs in weight, your baby is ready to make an appearance. He or she may have settled into a head down position ready for the birth, and might have even started to descend into your pelvis. Once Baby is fully engaged with the head completely resting within the pelvic region, he or she is literally "right there"! A midwife would have no trouble feeling the baby's head using just her fingers.
While some of your baby's bones will be hard and ready for a bit of rough and tumble, the skull remains soft which allows the two sides to overlap somewhat during the journey through the birth canal. This action prevents damage to both you and Baby and can give your newborn a rather odd shaped head! Don't worry, that cone shape won't last forever. In fact, it will be significantly less noticeable as early as the following day as the skull begins to settle into a more natural position.
Although Baby is done developing, he or she is still putting on weight and growing hair and fingernails. Some babies are born with a full head of hair making them look like they've been to the inutero wig store, and others are born with fabulous long nails that look freshly manicured. If your baby is born with sharp talons it's probably best to pick up a baby nail kit or scratch mitts, as those bad boys can be painful!
You: What's happening?
Keeping an eye out for every little sign and symptom that labor's about the start? Of course you are! Unfortunately, the breaking of waters and the beginning of frequent contractions are the only sure way to know that it won't be long until it's your turn, although there are a few little telltale signs that could indicate you'll soon be on your way to the hospital.
Thick, snot-like discharge is one. This could be the your mucous plug falling out. This has protected the cervix from the outside world for the past 9 months and disappears close to the birth so that the cervix can successfully dilate. Frequent and loose bowel movements are another sign. Quite often, the body tends to have a good clear out in preparation for the big day. Noticing a bit of back ache? That's another sign!
Many Moms-to-be are well and truly fed up at this point, and are desperate to meet their babies, but keep in mind that anywhere from 38 to 42 weeks is considered to be a standard length pregnancy, so there could be another two weeks to wait yet.
Of course, there are some old wives tales that claim to encourage Baby to make an appearance, but whether these methods actually work or not is up for debate. If you're keen to be a Mom right now though, there's no harm in giving some of these a try.
Allegedly, spicy foods like a good Mexican meal or an Indian curry can help Junior get a move on, as can eating pineapple, drinking raspberry leaf tea and going for a walk. And if you and your partner are both feeling a little frisky, sex is another activity that some Moms believe help speed up the process.
Whatever you decide to try, keep it natural! Don't take any artificial or manufactured products that claim to be able to bring on labor. These products could be dangerous for both you and Baby.