With just two short weeks until your official due date, the Big Day could happen at any time now, and if you're booked in for a caesarean birth you may only have one week left before you welcome your new baby. Although labor generally isn't as rushed and urgent as the movies will have you believe, there's no harm in keeping your hospital bag well stocked and by the front door!
You could be experiencing all sorts of symptoms now as your body prepares for labor, although not all of them mean you should be racing to the hospital. Unless you're having strong contractions less than 5 minutes apart or your waters have broken, you may be better off relaxing at home.
Baby: What's Happening?
Shockingly, there's not really much going on in there now as Baby is having a well earned rest after a constant 9 months of growing, developing, maturing and learning. He or she is still getting bigger by the day though and at 6.5 to 7 lbs already, another whole pound will likely be added by D-Day.
With such little room left in the uterus for movement and expansion, Baby is probably feeling a bit squashed, much like your poor bladder. Gone are the days of carefree kicking and punching, with Baby now curled up tightly into what is known as the "fetal position". It'll take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months for your baby to discover they can stretch out again after the birth, and they may have the form of a little curved shrimp for a while!
By now, all your baby's major organs that will need to kick into action once they're separated from the umbilical cord are functioning properly and should have no trouble picking up the pace upon delivery. Keep in mind that the birth is a massive shock for Baby who's known nothing but the comfort of your uterus all it's life, so if Baby doesn't gasp for air straight away, or cry immediately, that's no reason to panic, they may just need a second to come to.
You: What's Happening?
Leaky boobs, leaky vagina, itchy stomach, swollen legs.... pregnancy is a magical time, right? The hormones in your body that are helping to prepare it for birth will ensure you experience every symptoms under the sun during these remaining two weeks.
Some women don't have the energy to get out of bed, others are racing round like there's no tomorrow. All Moms-to-be differ in how their bodies treat them during the third trimester, so try not to spend too long comparing yourself to your pregnant friends or to how your Mom was when she was about to have you. If you've got little ones at home already, perhaps ask a friend or family member to help out for an hour or so a day, just to give you a few moments to chill.
Most symptoms are completely normal, although pinked-tinged discharge should be checked out, it could be your waters breaking! Contrary to popular belief, only a handful of women experience a huge gush down below, with many women having something more like a trickle. If you feel like you're leaking down there, tense your muscles as if you were stopping your wee mid-flow. If you can't stop the trickle, chances are it's your waters!
Usually, the breaking of waters is associated with the onset of contractions, although in some cases one can start without the other. It's important to make your way to the hospital in these cases, as you may need to have your labor induced or have your waters broken manually (both of which are common and certainly nothing to worry about).
A rather unpleasant symptom at this point is diarrhea, and while it's not fun, it is a sign that things are about to happen! Your body is very clever, and in the lead up to labor it attempts to flush the system which reduces the risk of those embarrassing "poop on the delivery table" stories you've probably heard so many of.
If you are suffering, try making some small changes to your diet which could help ease the symptoms as well as any associated pain or discomfort in the tummy. You may wish to skip fiber-filled foods such as unrefined carbs like wholewheat breads and brown pastas, all types of beans and legumes and fruits like dates and apricots. Instead, stick to bland and dry foods such as white toast and plain broths.