When will this all end?
You may be asked to keep a record of your baby's movements and activities this week and start a kick chart. If there is a significant change or decrease in baby’s movements, you will need to contact your provider or go to the hospital where you plan to birth.
You could feel pressure on your cervix this week, a sensation which is difficult to describe. Like the pain felt when having a pap smear, it may come and go depending on how much pressure the baby's head is applying. Your cervix will be ripening now, which means it is thinning out and getting ready to start dilating. During active labor, your cervix will need to dilate to 10 centimeters to allow the baby's head and body to exit your uterus.
You may experience an increase in your vaginal discharge as the cells of your cervix produce a white, watery substance. Some women may have a mucous-y show this week too, and though this is not a true sign of labor it is an indication that something is happening.
Your emotional changes this week
You are entitled to feel more than just a little frustrated, excited, anxious, restless, apprehensive, scared, uncomfortable and tired this week. Try to rest if you feel like it and do simple jobs which don’t require too much energy expenditure.
Try to get absorbed into a book or TV series which captures your imagination. Look for activities which will help pass the time and get your mind off the waiting game. Visit friends or ask them to visit you. Do something in the mornings and then allow for an afternoon rest. Try to break up the day so it doesn’t seem to stretch on forever.
Try visualizing yourself in labor. Imagine yourself being strong and giving over to whatever your body needs to do to give birth to your baby. Have faith in your labor care providers. Recognize the importance of your own health, as well as your baby's health and safety over any preferences you may have for your labor and baby's birth. This needs to be everyone's priority.
You may find yourself having vivid, strange dreams about the baby this week. You could dream you have already had it and haven’t realized, or it may not be the gender you would have preferred. You may wake feeling more tired than when you went to bed; your imagination can really work overtime when you are overdue.
Your baby's changes this week
It may feel as if your baby is about to literally pop out of you especially if you've had previous children. If only it were that simple. Your baby is mature but not quite ready to initiate its birth.
Your baby will be well developed by now and is very ready to breathe, feed, digest, eliminate, cry and make its needs known, if it chooses to arrive this week.
Hints for the week
Eat a strong, hot curry or spicy Thai meal. This strategy tends to work in making the bowels contract and move.
Having sex is thought to help because prostaglandins are contained within male semen. These have a similar action to the artificial hormones contained in the gel used to artificially induce labor.
Go for a long, lengthy walk if you have the energy. This will help to apply pressure to your cervix from the baby's head and may help it to efface (thin) and dilate.
Try some nipple stimulation if you can tolerate it. Some women find this very useful in starting uterine contractions.
Aim for a simple life this week and don’t take on big jobs. Painting the house, building a rock wall or starting a new renovation can all wait.
For more information see Labor or Week by Week.
The information of this article has been reviewed by nursing experts of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). The content should not substitute medical advice from your personal healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations/diagnosis or treatment. For more advice from AWHONN nurses, visit Healthy Mom&Baby at health4mom.org.