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Pregnancy at 37 Weeks

Congratulations, it’s time to celebrate! Your baby is now considered full-term. If you deliver now, he will, in most cases, do very well and should come home with you when you leave the hospital. Hooray! Now’s a great time to finish up your thank you notes from your baby shower. This task will also offer you the opportunity to make sure you have all your addresses in order for your birth announcements.

Your Body at 37 Weeks Pregnant
Some health care providers will start doing internal exams to see if your baby has dropped and if your cervix has dilated. So, is it time to head to the hospital or birth center? A common rule is to go when your contractions are at regular intervals, or when they occur every five minutes or less, and last for about a minute for at least an hour. To better understand what to expect when you go to the hospital, see labor and delivery. If you’re planning to do an external cephalic version, make sure that it’s scheduled.

Your Baby at 37 Weeks Pregnant
Your baby is now about 19 1/4 inches (49 cm) in size and weighs about six and a half pounds (2.9 kg). Your baby is now as long as a leek, and considered full-term and delivering this week should result in a very healthy baby. He continues to gain weight, and his lungs are functional at this time. The amniotic fluid around your baby is decreasing, which makes it more difficult for your baby to turn. At this point, if your baby is breech, he will probably remain so until birth.


Checklist at 37 Weeks Pregnant
Perineal massage: If you’re choosing to do perineal massage, it’s time to begin.

Hospital Registration: It’s also time to register at the hospital or birth center where you will be delivering. Take a tour; you’ll feel more comfortable when you arrive on the big day.

Birth Plan: Finalize your birth plan and go over it with your health care provider. Remember that no birth goes exactly according to plan. The most important plan you can have is to be kind to yourself however your birth experience turns out. Because this birth is a joint venture between you and your baby, it will happen in a way that works for both of you. It isn’t a contest between you and anyone else. Being flexible now about the experience may help your recovery later, and every woman has her own story. Remember that you have grown a baby over the past nine or so months, and you are one amazing woman.

Pack Your Hospital Bag: Here are ideas from other moms. Don’t forget the champagne, bubbly cider or sparkling water!

Choose a Pediatrician: Your baby should have a pediatrician prior to delivery, so ask for recommendations and make sure that the pediatrician you choose is accepting new patients. Your pediatrician should not only be someone with great credentials, but someone you’ll feel comfortable talking to about your child in the years to come. For five things moms say to look for in a pediatrician, read our article, here.

More Shopping: Finish buying things for the baby (and for you): Check out our list of mom-recommended new baby essentials and what you may need in your nursery’s first-aid kit.

Install your infant car seat: Contact your local police station, fire station, or hospital to see if any of these locations can provide someone to check the installation of your infant car seat. The installation is harder than it seems and it’s worth a double check. Remember, the hospital won’t let you leave without an infant car seat for your baby.  

WIC: Sign up for the U.S. Government Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program if you’re planning to use it.  

Maternity Leave: If you’re working, it’s time to think about your maternity leave, if you haven’t already. Make sure to check in with your human resources department. Your health care provider will need to fill out some of the forms, so be sure to give her office plenty of time. Here’s advice from other moms about how to prepare for maternity leave gracefully as well as what to expect and plan for when you decide to go back to work.

Umbilical Cord Blood Storage: Now would be a good time to talk with your partner and your doctor about the option of umbilical cord blood storage.

Circumcision: If you’re having a boy, decide if you are going to have him circumcised and let your health care provider know. 

Tubal Ligation and Birth Control: If you’re planning to have a tubal ligation, let your health care provider know and sign the necessary forms. Otherwise, think about which type of birth control might be right for you after delivering. Here’s a list of safe birth control for nursing moms.

The preceding information was adapted from The Pregnancy Companion.
Source: iStockPhoto

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