Your baby is now about 19.7 inches (50 cm) long in total and weighs about 7 pounds (3.2 kg) at the start of the week—and about 7.4 pounds (3.37 kg) at the end of the week.
Your baby is now surrounded by about 2 pints (1 liter) of amniotic fluid. This amniotic fluid is constantly replenished. Baby’s living quarters are a bit cramped now but the mother-to-be should still feel movement in her belly every day. If not, it’s extremely important that you contact your health care provider. Trust your instincts. Your baby may sleep inside of you for up to few hours, but you should feel your baby move at least a few times every few hours.
Your body is getting ready to give birth again. You may be feeling heavy and tired. It’s common to experience strong Braxton Hicks contractions when you’ve given birth several times before. These can be so strong that it’s difficult to determine if labor has started for real or if it’s a false alarm. You could be having mood swings. You really need this baby to come out! You might not be gaining weight—some women even lose weight the last few weeks before giving birth. If you’re worried about anything, it’s important that you speak about it with your midwife.
If your previous deliveries were quick, it’s likely this one will be too. But your body and the baby will take as much time as needed. If you are living in a relationship, your partner should be informed of your thoughts and wishes ahead of this birth so as to provide the best possible support. Disturbed sleep is common, so make sure you continue to rest as often as you can.
You’ll probably be at home during the start of labor, the latent phase. Dim the lights and create a cozy atmosphere. This will help your body to connect with your parasympathetic nervous system, our peace-and-calm system. It’s in this state your body can best deliver your baby. Your body will release higher levels of the hormone oxytocin the calmer and safer you feel. This hormone triggers strong, efficient contractions.
To improve your chances of a favorable breastfeeding start, we recommend holding your baby skin-to-skin the first two hours after birth and then as often as you can the first few days. This helps to release high levels of oxytocin, the hormone your body needs to release your milk. Holding your baby skin-to-skin has many benefits. It aids in bonding, body temperature, benefits baby’s weight gain and is a lovely way to get to know your baby.
If you have problems breastfeeding, don’t hesitate to get help. Both your pediatrician and lactation consultants are available to help you with breastfeeding questions and difficulty.