Your baby is now fully developed and has all the senses they’ll use from the start of their time outside the womb. If they were born now, they would be considered a “late preterm” baby and there wouldn’t normally be any complications. If they were born at the end of next week (i.e. week 37), they would be considered a “full-term” newborn.
It’s probably a good idea to carry your maternity records and your birth plan around with you - you never know when you might need them. If you haven’t prepared a birth plan yet, you can click here for our handy template.
On maternity leave?
If you have begun your maternity leave, you might be feeling a little lonely. Local mother-to-be groups can be a great way to meet new people in your local area and potentially make life-long friends – visit www.nct.org.uk for more information. Alternatively, the HiPP Facebook page is an excellent way to meet mums and mums-to-be from all over the country!
- If you feel excessive pressure on your lesser pelvis, moving your hips in a circular motion can help relax your pelvic floor and reduce the pressure.
- Wear natural, non-scented panty liners if you experience discharge or stress incontinence.
- Discuss all your upcoming appointments with your doctor or midwife and make sure you know what to do if you’re unsure about anything.
- Ask your family and friends if they can help you in any way during the first few days and weeks after the birth, particularly if you already have children. This will allow you to focus all your energies on your baby, bond with them and learn how to meet their needs. Of course, you’ll also need plenty of rest after giving birth.
What it’s like for the mum-to-be in week 36
If you feel it’s necessary, you will now be closely monitored by your doctor and midwife. You’ll have appointments every two weeks rather than every four weeks, and your baby’s heartbeat will be regularly checked. A CTG (if you want one) will record their heartbeat and show whether or not contractions are occurring, while their size, weight and all-round development can be observed via ultrasound or by feeling your belly.
The doctor and midwife will be especially interested in your blood pressure, fluid retention, weight and belly size. In week 36, a vaginal smear for group B streptococcus is also recommended, as this bacteria can give your baby a serious infection when they pass through the birth canal. If you test positive, it needs to be treated properly before you give birth.
Feeling more pressure
If you’ve already had false labour, you’ll feel more pressure on your pelvis. Your bladder will be feeling the squeeze too, as these kinds of contractions move your baby down towards your lesser pelvis so that it’s in the right position to be born through the birth canal. Back pain may well increase too, and you might notice milky discharge. This comes from the mucus plug in your cervix, but it isn’t yet the sign that the plug has completely disappeared and birth is imminent (as many people think). If the pressure on your pelvis is too much for you to bear, there are exercises that can help relax your pelvic floor and prevent tension.
The benefit of false labour is that you’ll find it easier to breathe, as your lungs are no longer being squeezed by your uterus. This will make you feel freer, encourage you to move around a bit more and help you sleep.