There’s still a little fat developing under your baby’s skin, preparing her to face the world after being all lovely and cosy inside her nest for so long. Almost at birth weight, she has next to no room at move around and can feel the difference. Everything is pretty much in perfect working order by this, the second to last week, and if your baby were to be born now, she would be just fine.
First-time mothers are particularly unsure about recognizing when labour has started. Let us reassure you – you will know! And very few babies are born so quickly that their mothers can’t get to the hospital in time. On the contrary, many parents-to-be are sent back home by the doctor at the hospital because they have come in too soon. You might feel a bit nauseous just before the birth or have a headache, and feel an almost leaden tiredness. Often some blood or mucus appears. This is a sign that the cervix has opened. If the contractions have started, then labour has begun! The difference between Braxton-Hicks contractions and real, first-stage contractions? With Braxton-Hicks, the belly tightens for a short time then relaxes, and they are irregular. In addition, they’ll stop if the mother-to-be lies down or takes a hot bath. “Genuine” contractions, on the other hand, get stronger if you bathe or rest. They come at regular intervals that get shorter and shorter. If they are less than ten minutes apart, then it is time to go to the hospital!
Obviously, all babies are different so no one number works for all of them, but around 52 cm and between 3.3 and 3.4 kilos are the average height and weight for a healthy newborn baby born at term. There can be large fluctuations in those numbers, though if you were having a large or especially tall baby, your doctor would have already seen that in your last ultrasound and would have told you.