Meconium is the sticky, black tarry substance which will form his first bowel motion. Some babies will pass meconium while they are still in the uterus and this can be a sign that they are distressed. If this happens, the amniotic fluid can become stained and changes from being clear and watery to having a greenish tinge. If your waters break and you notice this, it is important you are checked by your midwife or doctor quickly.
Your baby’s skull is a complex structure and the bones within it will not fuse until it is older. During birth, it is important that a baby’s skull mould and adapt to the shape of the mother’s birth canal. If this is your first pregnancy, your baby’s head may start engaging or dropping into your pelvis this week. There isn’t enough room now for him to do tumble turns and his movements are restricted. If your baby is in a position other than head down, you will need to discuss delivery options with your midwife or doctor.
Your physical changes this week
Lying on your back is not advisable, so sleeping on your side seems like the only option. The problem is, you've only got two sides to alternate from so you may end up feeling a bit achy around your hips and thighs. Get used to having to go to the toilet a few times a night. Your uterus is becoming so big that your bladder doesn't need to fill with much urine to make you feel you simply must go.
Avoid changing too quickly from a lying position to being upright and let your blood pressure adjust. Your doctor will probably be encouraging you to attend ante-natal appointments weekly from now until you have the baby. The usual range of checks will be made including your urine, blood pressure, weight, and uterine size. Your fundal height will be measured to see if it matches with your dates. If there is any discrepancy, you may be sent for an ultrasound to check the size of the baby, the amount of amniotic fluid and the placental size. If you gently poke with your fingers in response to those movements, you'll find your baby prods back.Your pelvic bones will be separating and loosening in these last few weeks which can mean you feel sore and aching.
Warm showers or baths, massage, rest and just being kind to yourself are all good ways to get through these final weeks. If your baby's head engages in your pelvis this week, you'll find you're able to breathe more easily. Your lungs and diaphragm can expand a little more and move into their normal positions. Well, almost.
Hints of the week
It's important that you brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss and have regular checks with your dentist. The bacteria which cause tooth decay are highly contagious and mothers can easily transfer their own oral bacteria via their saliva and breath to their baby's sterile mouth.
An hour-long afternoon nap is a good idea. Too much sleep in the afternoons can impact on night-time insomnia so be careful about how much time you spend resting your weary head after lunch.
Think and research on how to prepare your baby's cot. Prepare yourself to do what you can to minimise the risks of SUDI (Sudden Unexplained Death in Infancy). It’s always good to be informed, isn’t it?