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Pregnancy

Your Pregnancy - Week 39

One week to go. You’re so close now but it’s normal to feel a bit frustrated and fed up.

You’ve probably finished work, cleaned out every cupboard, packed your hospital bag and folded and refolded every single item of teeny baby clothing. 

Week 39 can drag because your baby is now considered full-term and is roughly the weight they’ll be when they’re born. And lugging around an extra few kilos of baby, uterus and waters can make you really uncomfortable. You might find your pelvis is particularly achy and you start to get a lot of pressure in your pelvis as your baby drops down ready for their grand entrance. And if you’re feeling tightness and pains it could be Braxton Hicks. Not everyone gets these practice contractions but it’s a sign your body is getting ready to give birth, even if it’s days or weeks away. 

Wondering if you are in labour or your body is just playing mischief? Read What are the signs I’m in labour?

Read: Your pregnancy: Week 38

What does my baby look like?

Your baby is now fully cooked (otherwise known as full-term) and the average baby weighs just over 3kg (or 7 and a half pounds) and around 50cms. But there’s a big variation either side in weight and height. Your midwife and health visitor will carry on checking your baby’s weight and height for the first couple of years of their life. 

We all know babies cry, a lot! But tears don’t come out of their eyes until they’re around a month old as their tears ducts don’t fully open for a few weeks. 

Hospital or home birth? 

You have a legal right to choose where you give birth. You can decide to have your baby in hospital, at home or in a unit run by midwives (usually called a birth centre). 

Sometimes your doctors will advise you to give birth in hospital because there are risks to you or your baby. If you and your baby are healthy and you’ve had a straightforward pregnancy, you should be able to choose where you give birth. 

You need to weigh up what’s local to you. Maybe you love the idea of a birth centre but the closest one is 60 miles away which could make things tricky if you have a fast labour. And if you decide to have your baby at home you need to consider how far the nearest hospital is so you can transfer if needed. 

Home birth - pros and cons 

  • You’ll feel more relaxed in a space you know. 
  • You can have as many people with you as you want. 
  • You don’t have to travel when you’re in labour.
  • You don’t have to worry about childcare if you have other kids. 
  • You’re more likely to get a midwife that you know. 
  • You’re less likely to need interventions like forceps or suction. 

But...

  • If this is your first birth having your baby at home increases the risk of problems for your baby from 5 in 1,000 for a hospital birth to 9 in 1,000. 
  • You might need to go to hospital if things get complicated. 
  • You can’t have an epidural or very strong painkillers. 

Read Faith’s Home Birth Story. 

Midwife unit - pros and cons 

  • They feel less like a hospital but have more medical support. 
  • You’re more likely to get a midwife that you know. 
  • You’re less likely to need interventions like forceps or suction. 

But...

  • You might need to go to hospital if things get complicated. 
  • You can’t have an epidural or very strong painkillers unless the unit is attached to a hospital. 
  • Not all areas have midwife units so you may have to travel. 

Read Leanne’s Birth Story. 

Hospital - pros and cons 

  • Most people have their babies in hospital. 
  • You have a midwife backed up by doctors. 
  • You can have an epidural or other strong pain killers. 
  • If your baby has problems there are specialist doctors for them too. 
  • You don’t need to transfer if there are complications. 

But…

  • It’s not always as relaxed as home or a midwife unit (although you may still have access to things like birthing pools to make it calmer). 
  • You won’t always know who will look after you. 
  • You might have to stay on a ward for a while after you have your baby. 
  • You’re more likely to need interventions like forceps or suction. 

Read Chloe’s Birth Story. 

You usually get to tour your hospital or midwife unit so make sure you ask lots of questions to get the birth you want. It’s a good idea to chat to your midwife about your plans for labour and birth so they can give you some information and advice. 

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Read: Your pregnancy - week 40

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