Support and information from NCT
NCT offers reliable support and information about the various stages of pregnancy, week by week.
Your developing baby
You are now in week 38 of your pregnancy, and the wait to meet your baby is nearing the end. They are putting on weight in order to be able to control their body temperature outside the womb and to protect their organs.
They’re also building up waste made out of amniotic fluid, blood and skin in their intestines which they will excrete after they’re born. This, is called meconium.
Early signs of labour
No one knows exactly what triggers labour. But hormonal activity and your baby’s position and stage of maturity are thought to play a part. There are also signs that may indicate labour is beginning. You may be more physically or emotionally tired or feel pressure on your bladder. You may also notice increased clear vaginal discharge and experience some low tummy (period-like) pain, as your cervix softens and opens in preparation for birth.
Always call your midwife if you think your baby's movements have slowed down, you think your waters have broken and/or you have any bleeding.
There are a few things you can do in the final weeks to ensure you are ready for your due date. Firstly, ensure you have your bag ready for hospital or your home maternity pack at hand. You could also go through your birth plan with your birthing partner, making changes if you wish.
Most importantly, try and relax as much as you can in the last few weeks of pregnancy - once your baby arrives things will certainly get busier.
Dads, don’t forget to keep your employer warned of imminent paternity leave and make arrangements for cover when the time comes. Paternity leave is up to two weeks’ paid leave from work following the birth of your baby.
However, you may choose to take shared parental leave with your partner. This allows parents to be off work at the same time, or take it in turns to each have time off work to care for their baby.
Have you got your bag ready for hospital or your home birth pack sorted?
NCT offers reliable support and information about the various stages of pregnancy, week by week. Our support line offers practical and emotional support with feeding your baby and general enquiries for parents, members and volunteers: 0300 330 0700.
We also offer antenatal courses which are a great way to find out more about birth, labour and life with a new baby.
Make friends with other parents-to-be and new parents in your local area for support and friendship by seeing what NCT activities are happening nearby.