Diary of a Pregnancy: Weeks 37 and 38

by | Mar 14, 2022

Hello little Baby!

So I am really getting so excited. We are officially at term and you can arrive any day now.

My gynae is very happy with your growth, and my health, so we are on track. My friend, who is pregnant with twins, is officially also at term and her doctor expects her to have her babies any day now.

I am very lucky that you are head down already, and by now most babies should be. If not, the baby is termed a Breech and most doctors (in private practice) will suggest having a Caesar in the next week or so.

Physically, I am very uncomfortable. It is hard to sleep at night. Turning in bed is a mission and wakes me up, then I have to wee, and then it just becomes a cycle of wake and pee. A very weird thing has been happening….I have been having very vivid dreams! Two nights ago I dreamt I gave birth to a rabbit and was so upset that no one was happy for me…..ha ha…. Apparently, this is normal and is just the way my brain is preparing to give birth soon. (The vivid dreams, not the Rabbit). Heh heh.

My back aches if I stand too long and my tummy feels huge. Hard to think I may get bigger in the next two weeks or so. Wow…

My skin over my belly gets itchy and now that you have dropped into my pelvis, there is a lot of pressure around my belly button. This is because there is a lot of stretching happening between the muscles of my tummy and that is the area that ‘ Sticks out” the most at that point. It feels almost bruised.

I have some stretch marks now …but I view those as my Mommy badges and it’s all part of the process of birthing a baby. I just regularly cream my tummy now for the itchiness as well as moisturising my stretch marks. There are some good products on the market, especially for stretch marks, but any good tissue oil should also help.

If I have been doing a lot of shopping etc, I see I get a run of Braxton Hicks contractions, because my tummy is so heavy and movement irritates my womb. In the next week or so, I can get Braxton Hicks when at rest as well. These are practice contractions and will be preparing my cervix to efface ( pull up and flatten against your head). It also helps the bottom segment of the womb to soften, and that allows you to drop down deeper into my pelvis and that is called engagement. This can start happening now, but for some moms (especially second and third-time moms) will happen only at the start of labour. So it is no indicator of whether or not you are ready for labour. But it definitely is a positive sign that things are happening…

 

Hello My Mommy….

So I am very cramped in here. Really don’t have much space to stretch anymore. I am enjoying using my hands to grip and squeeze (even my umbilical cord) I am practising my sucking and breathing exercises. My hair is now a few cms long and the creamy substance on my body (called vernix caseosa) is protecting my skin.

 

Some pregnancy tips:

  • Try to rest with your legs up every hour or so. This will help your swollen legs and ankles.
  • Drink lots of water, and try to position yourself with pillows to help your nighttime discomforts.
  • Most of the discomforts of pregnancy are normal and although it is very hard, it is not dangerous.

 

Here are some pointers to remember when to call your doctor:

Diarrhoea and vomiting. Some labours start with some diarrhoea but it is not excessive and you should not feel sick as in a tummy bug. You will lose fluid and electrolytes, so contact your doctor for advice.

Bladder infections: weeing more than usual, urine smells or looks different. Pain or stinging on weeing.

Headaches, dizziness, nausea, double vision. Pain over the Right shoulder blade. All these together can indicate a very dangerous condition called Pregnancy Induced Hypertension. Your doctor will have been checking for this all along, but it can happen very suddenly and is potentially life-threatening for you and baby.

Bleeding …any vaginal discharge that is pink or frank bleeding is potentially an emergency. Go to the hospital.

Waters break and they are coloured. The darker the colour, the more likely the baby is now in distress and is passing meconium as an SOS signal. Go to the hospital.

Vaginal infection: It is normal at this point in pregnancy to have an increase in vaginal discharge (literally making the birth canal slippery) but anything that is coloured, offensive or itchy must be reported to your gynae.

 

 

Our Diary of a Pregnancy series is written by Sr Des Meyer, a Perinatal Educator, in private practice, who is based in Durban North. Sr Des has been a Childbirth Educator and Well Baby Clinic sister since 1991. Her passion lies in educating new parents to enable them to achieve their goals as confident parents. “Knowledge is power and a good foundation for the exciting years ahead.”

 

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