What Is Happening To Your Body
Braxton Hicks contractions may become more pronounced during this time. These contractions are often painful but do not become regular, which differentiates it from labor contractions.
You may lose the mucous plug at any time now. Losing your mucous plug, also called bloody show, can happen a few weeks, days or even hours before labor starts. The plug, which is thick, yellowish and may be tinged with blood, has sealed off your uterus to outside germs and objects, protecting your baby from infection. As the cervix dilates in preparation for the labor, the plug is discharged from the body.
A sign of labor is when your amniotic sac ruptures. This is referred to as your “water breaking.” This can be a large gush of water or a steady trickle. For many women, their water doesn’t break until they are well into labor; others need to have their water broken by their healthcare provider to start or speed up labor. Call your doctor if you think your water has broken. He or she will tell you if you should head to the hospital now.
What Is Happening To Your Baby
Your baby now measures approximately 20 inches long (50.8 cm) long from head to heel and weighs about 7.25 pounds (3.3 kg).
Most of the vernix and the lanugo that has covered your baby has disappeared.
Your baby also has a steady supply of antibodies from the placenta that you provided that will help it fight off infections for the first few months after birth. Your colostrum is also rich in antibodies and breastfeeding will continue to boost your baby’s immunity as well as provide it with essential nutrients.
Pregnancy hormones produced by your body may cause your baby’s genitalia to appear enlarged after birth. This will return to normal shortly after birth when your baby is not longer attached to your blood supply. These same hormones may even cause your baby — whether it is a girl or boy — to excrete milk through its nipples. This is also completely normal and will go away within a few days of birth.
Ultrasound images courtesy of GE Healthcare
The clinical images and information presented in this application represent normal fetal growth during a typical pregnancy. The images and information are to be used for educational purposes only and not for diagnostic purposes. Please consult a licensed physician regarding any specific questions pertaining to your pregnancy.