Late and Term Pregnancy
As you get closer to your baby’s birth, here are some things you may notice:
What You May Be Feeling
- You may also experience Braxton-Hicks Contractions. These are a tightening of the muscles of the uterus that last around 30 seconds, are irregular and not painful. They are not labour contractions, and not a sign that labour has begun.
- Your skin and ligaments continue to stretch to make room your growing baby.
- You get tired more easily, and sleeping becomes more difficult.
- You experience heartburn and/or breathlessness, as the baby grows larger and puts more pressure on your organs, such as your lungs.
- There is also more pressure on your bladder (meaning more trips to the toilet).
- During this last stage of pregnancy, you may be worried or anxious about labour and birth, or about how you will manage as a parent.
- Discomfort and poor sleep can also trigger irritability and a poor mood.
- After 37 weeks gestation it is normal to experience increased vaginal discharge and sometimes pink or bloody mucous or bloody show.
- Around 37 to 38 weeks you may notice the baby moving further down in your pelvis and away from your ribs.
When to Page A Member of Your Midwifery Team
- If you less than 37 weeks gestation and are having any combination of the following painful contractions, feeling of pressure like something is coming, increased of vaginal discharge or bloody show, vaginal bleeding, or you think your water has broke.
- After 37 week page your midwifery team when you have regular painful contractions that are taking your focus and follow the 5-1-1 Rule. There will be five minutes or less from the start of one contraction to the start of the next, each contraction lasts about one minute and there has been one hour of this.
- At any point in pregnancy if you think your water has broke
- at any point in pregnancy if you are bleeding from your vagina (not bloody show after 37 weeks)
- at any point in pregnancy if you are worried, concerned, or feel that something that is happening to either you or your baby is not normal
Routine Laboratory Investigations and Ultrasounds
At this point in pregnancy, there are no routine ultrasounds per se. Ultrasound technology is used to answer specific questions your midwifery team may have. For example, if any information from a previous ultrasound needs repeating, to monitor growth or fetal position concerns, to monitor if there are any pregnancy complications, or if your pregnancy goes post-dates (a week or more past your due date). If there are circumstances where your midwifery team suggests an ultrasound, they will discuss this with you at a routine appointment.
Routine Laboratory Investigation
Group B Streptococcus Swab (GBS)
Routinely clients are offered GBS screening between 35 and 37 weeks gestation. A member of your midwifery team will discuss this screening with you prior to this time.
Getting Ready for Labour and Baby
Regardless of where you plan to have your baby, it is a good idea to have items prepared to go to the hospital (hospital bag). Ensure that you have purchased a car seat. Ahead of the delivery, read the instruction manual that comes with the seat. If the car seat comes with a base have it installed in your car before labour. If you are planning a home birth in addition to getting ready the hospital items, have items for home birth ready in a clean basket or box.