You can officially count down in days instead of weeks.
Just 14 of them to go until your due date. At 38 weeks you’re officially full term and could go into labour at any time.
If you need a refresher then read: What are the signs I’m in labour.
You might also be in slow labour. Which is as much of a pain in the bum (or vagina) as it sounds. This is also called the latent phase and it’s when your body is getting revved up to give birth but isn’t in established labour.
Your cervix is thinning and opening up and you’ll have contractions but they’ll be irregular and can start and stop. And you might notice some cervical mucus (yes the snotty looking stuff in your pants) with a tinge of blood - this is called a show.
If you’re struggling with this early phase then try and keep moving but sleep when you can. You can take paracetamol (follow what the packs says), use a TENS machine, have a warm bath or gently bounce on a birthing ball for pain relief. Drink regularly and have snacks. And use every relaxation trick you have up your sleeve - from mediation to massage and breathing exercises.
If you can’t cope with the pain, your contractions are regular (3 in every 10 mins), your waters break, you’re bleeding or your baby’s movements change then contact your midwife or maternity unit.
What does my baby look like?
Your baby is now 3kg (or more!) and 50cm. That’s the height of a small traffic cone, and there’s going to be a lot more coming and going in your life soon.
Your baby is gearing up for their first epic poop. This sticky black/green slime is called meconium and is a vom-making mix of amniotic fluid, hair, skin cells and bile. If your waters go and you notice any greenish or brown fluid call your midwife or maternity unit straight away.
How do I get labour going?
You’re fed up and you just want this baby out right now. But what works and what is a load of old nonsense when it comes to starting labour?
- Babies tend to come when they’re ready so there’s no foolproof method for starting labour.
- Curry, pineapple and raspberry leaf tea are all supposed great ways to bring on labour. There’s not a jot of evidence that they do.
- You can have sex if you can find a position that works (although if your waters have broken it’s best to avoid rumpy pumpy due to the risk of infection) but again there’s no evidence to show it works.
- However gentle breast and nipple stimulation could work so twiddle away.
- Walking, gently bouncing on a birthing ball and walking up stairs may help you go into labour as they create pressure in your pelvis and relax you too.
- Alternative or complementary therapies like aromatherapy, reflexology, acupuncture and pregnancy massage will relax you but might not bring on labour.
- You might have a membrane sweep after 40 weeks, which can increase your chance of going into labour.
- Castor oil. It doesn’t matter what your nana says, it’s dangerous, don’t drink it.
And a warning for any of these methods: don’t try them if you’ve had any pregnancy complications at all.
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