You’re on the home stretch! Your baby could arrive any day and if you haven’t already, now’s the time to pack your bag for the hospital and make sure everything’s in place for the newest member of your family.
How you May Feel
Now that your baby is taking up so much room, smaller, more frequent meals are ideal. You may have less heartburn and an easier time breathing when your baby starts to “drop” down into your pelvis. You may also feel increased pressure in your lower abdomen, making walking uncomfortable, and may need to visit the bathroom even more frequently. If your baby is very low, you may feel vaginal pressure and discomfort as well. You might also notice that Braxton Hicks contractions are more frequent.
Your due date is fast approaching and the reality of the baby is almost here. Try not to feel overwhelmed and have faith in your body’s ability to deliver your baby safely. Have confidence too, in your health care professionals and stay positive.
What You Can Expect
Your 36 week visit At this appointment, I’ll perform a quick ultrasound scan, check your blood pressure, measure your abdomen, do a foetal heart check and discuss baby’s movements. I’ll also do a vaginal swab checking for Group B Streptococcus, an infection that can impact the baby as it travels the birth canal. If the test is positive, you’ll be given antibiotics during labour. Please read the RANZCOG brochure ‘patient brochure of Group B Strep infection’ for a good start point.
There’s a number of great resources available through RANZCOG. See the list below
37 to 40 weekly visits
We’ll be getting to know each other very well by now. Each week from now on, I’ll give you a quick ultrasound scan, check your blood pressure, abdomen measurement, baby’s heart rate and movements. I’ll also be checking to see if baby is engaging down the birth canal.
After 40 weeks
As much as we all wish we could control these things most babies don’t come on their actual due date. Some can stay in for many days long after they are due! This can be very frustrating, but as long as your pregnancy has been uncomplicated and there are no related risks to you or baby, a pregnancy can go until 10 days overdue.
Questions You May Have
What should I pack for the hospital?
See our handy Checklist section below for our suggestions.
What if I go into labour suddenly?
Have backup plans in place. Emergency care for other kids should be arranged. Call an ambulance if concerned. Usually the onset of labor takes time, especially if you’re a first time mum. If you’ve had a baby before or are Group B strep positive, you’ll need to get to hospital earlier!
What pain relief can I have in labour?
In your antenatal classes, you will have learnt some useful techniques e.g. breathing, relaxation, hypnobirthing massage. Additionally, classes may have covered use of nitrous oxide gas, epidurals, narcotic medication, ultrasound waves via a tens machine. I’ll also give you a brochure about pain relief at your first visit.
How can I sleep more comfortably?
Make sure you have a firm mattress and try sleeping on your left side and tucking pillows under your belly, between your knees and behind your back to help support your body.
What can my partner do?
Click here for great ways your partner can help. And download this great iOS app “Tips for New Dads” from the App store.
Will I see my Obstetrician after the birth?
After you have your baby, I’ll visit you in hospital to make sure you’re tracking well physically and emotionally. I’ll also arrange another appointment to see you six weeks after your baby’s born. I’ll give you written instructions on the things you can expect after the delivery. And please remember, if you have any physical or emotional concerns at all, call my office.
Things to Do and Checklists
Here are some simple steps to help you prepare during your final weeks of pregnancy.
Things to do:
- Make sure you have an approved baby capsule.
- Have your bag packed ready for the hospital – see Checklist below.
- Organise care for your other children if you go into labour suddenly.
- Plan how you will announce the birth to family and friends.
- Practice any breathing and relaxing techniques you’ve learnt at classes.
- Stock up the freezer with meals for the coming weeks, as you’ll have your hands full with other priorities!
- Work out who you would like to be at the birth / nearby when giving birth.
Things to bring
What to pack in your hospital bag:
- Antenatal card
- Supportive maternity bras and undies for several days
- Maternity pads
- Breast pads
- Comfy PJs
- Your favourite toiletries
- Nipple cream
- Your usual medications
- Going home clothes
- Nappies and change of clothes for baby
- Baby wraps
- Your favourite playlist
With so many public forums online, it’s easy to get opinion confused with verifiable fact. I think the best places to go for information (apart from calling me) are: