The 9th and final month of pregnancy (35 weeks till childbirth) is the last phase of the arduous journey for both, the mom and the baby. The due date is in sight, but it should be noted that it can be just an estimate, as more babies are known to arrive either ahead of the schedule or lag behind.
A mom-to-be goes through a mixed bag of emotions during the last few weeks of pregnancy with anticipation of labor pain, childbirth, and holding the baby in arms. This is the time to watch out for labor signs and be ready for it.
Changes in the baby
The baby’s organs have formed for a long time now and are functioning normally by the ninth month. Now is the time for finishing touches in preparation of birth. The baby gains weight until 37 weeks, after which the growth slows down.
- The lungs are fully formed and produce a substance called surfactant which prevents them from collapsing. Now they are ready to breathe the air after birth.
- Baby settles down lower into the pelvis, taking up a fetal head down position.
- The skin acquires a pink shade.
- Iron gets stored in the liver enabling baby to survive outside the uterus.
- The movements of the baby become slow and less due to lack of free space, but the mother can feel the kicks.
- The baby reaches the average birth weight and height by the end of the ninth month, which is about 3-4 kg in weight and 18-22 inches in length.
Changes in the mom to be
Though overweight, tired and overcome with emotions, the mother is excited in the last few weeks prior to delivery, as her mind and body gets ready for one of the most memorable, great and fantastic event in her life, namely the birth of her baby.
- The mom-to-be becomes emotional and sensitive to comments.
- The fear of labor and childbirth creeps in at times.
- It feels tired and drowsy.
- Uterus lowers since the baby settles towards the birth canal.
- Pressure is felt in the lower pelvis as the baby settles to birth position.
- A need to urinate frequently arises again.
Tips for the 9th month
As the baby gets ready for birth, it is time for the mother to check out whether the home and family are ready for the baby. This is the time to also check out the list of necessary baby clothes, baby equipment, nappies, soap, towels and other things that would be essential in the first few weeks of the newborn baby.
- Do not skip on prenatal checkups as the baby could be due anytime.
- Avoid heavy meals; instead go for smaller snacks more often.
- Keep fit with mild exercise, and breathing practice for childbirth.
- Be prepared for breaking of water.
- Keep phone numbers handy in case of labor.
- Listen to the body and do not overdo anything.
- Drink plenty of water and fluids.
- Pack the bag and keep it handy because once the labor sets in there will be no time for anything.
Soon it will be time for the mother to bear the fruits of her labor and hold the precious bundle of joy in her arms.