YOUR CHANGING LIFE
Your hard work starts to pay off
Welcome to week 37 of your pregnancy. You've almost done it – you've weathered the morning sickness, the swollen feet, the strange cravings – even the crazy, madcap dreams that are so vivid they almost seem as if they actually happened – you've nearly gotten through what will undoubtedly go down as your toughest experience to date. No, we're not just talking about your pregnancy here – we mean waiting to meet the little guy or gal who will change your life.
With only three weeks left in your third trimester, the urge to put your feet up and do nothing but veg is probably strong at the moment. And the fact of the matter is, no one around you is going to tell you to do otherwise. So go ahead and let yourself relax this week, because you've earned it. Next week will likely be more of the same, except you'll be struck by the deep knowledge that your countdown to labor and delivery is drawing to a very speedy close. While you still can, try to take time to indulge and pamper yourself.
One thing you'll have to keep watching out for are those pesky Braxton-Hicks contractions. They can trick you into thinking it's time to head to the emergency room when the real moment of truth is still weeks away.
At this point, you're probably experienced at picking up on the tell-tale signs of a Braxton-Hicks contraction, but if you're still having trouble, you should consult with your healthcare provider and let him or her know about the frequency of your phantom labor pangs.
YOUR BABY THIS WEEK
From canary melon to stalk of Swiss chard
Last week, your baby was about the size of a canary melon – holy cow! But now your little guy or gal is between 18.9 to 20.9 inches long and weighs about 6.2 to 9.2 pounds, making him or her closer to the size of a big, plump stalk of Swiss chard.
Even though your baby is about three weeks away from being born, most healthcare providers are going to have some exciting news to share with you – your baby is now officially full term! What this means is that, even if you suddenly go into labor ahead of schedule, your baby's lungs are fully formed enough to adjust to life outside the womb.
Your baby has plenty of impressive skills that he or she is working on right now, including inhaling, biting, sucking and blinking. By the time your little one comes out to greet the world, he or she will have plenty to show you. And right about now, your baby is also getting down to business, and meconium, a kind of sticky poop, is being released by your infant.
Apart from these memorable changes, your baby's not up to much during week 37. He or she is no longer developing at breakneck pace – in fact, physical development has pretty much finished up by this point. Instead, your baby's just biding time in there, and chances are, so are you.
The more time that your baby spends cozy inside your womb, the better opportunity he or she will have to work on the skills needed to successfully live on the outside. By the time you're cradling your little one in your arms, this whole existing in the big, wide world thing should be a piece of cake!
Get a restful night's sleep
Tossing and turning during the final weeks of your pregnancy? Between your baby bump and those thought-provoking dreams you've been having, getting some quality shut-eye is probably easier said than done for you.
While getting ready for baby probably leaves you feeling exhausted and gives you a deep-down-in-your-bones kind of fatigue, falling asleep easily may be tough for you. If it is, you should consider a few of these helpful tips – after all, once that baby arrives, enjoying a full night's rest will just get harder and harder.
The first thing that you should consider is cutting back on your caffeine intake. If you've been sneaking a few cups of coffee along the way, this could be the reason why you can't get quality zzzs.
While working out in moderation can be a good way to facilitate sleep, if you're exercising too close to bedtime, this could leave you overstimulated. Instead, move your workouts to the early morning and try to drink as much water as possible throughout the day – you'll be grateful you did later on in the night!