If you're a mother-to-be, then congratulations on approaching the end of a long and laborious journey! By this point, your baby is fully developed and could arrive at any moment. But how do you know if what you're feeling is normal? Here's everything you need to know about 37 weeks and what to expect when it comes to labor.
It Could Happen Any Time
At 37 weeks, your baby is considered full-term, which means he or she can be born at any time without risk of significant health complications. In fact, many women choose to schedule their deliveries around this time once they hit the thirty-sixth week mark!
Of course, even though your little one is ready for the world doesn't mean they will arrive exactly on time. As every pregnancy and delivery are unique, it's impossible to predict precisely when labor will begin - so buckle up ladies; we're in for a bumpy ride!
Physical Changes To Look Out For
Before diving into some common signs that indicate labor might-be-about-to-begin-in-a-few-days-or-so-anyway-but-you-never-know-for-sure-as-this-whole-pregnancy-business-is-insanely-unpredictable-(a breath)-let's talk about some physical changes that occur as your body prepares itself.
- Cervical Dilation
- Mucus Plug Loss Hold up..what? Let’s unpack these technical terms..
Contractions are strong but periodic tightening sensations in the abdomen that prepare the uterus for childbirth; there are two types:
- Braxton Hicks contractions
- Actual labour contractions
Braxton-Hicks contractions also known as false labour start occurring only during flexing exercises such as walking or climbing stairs rather than happening spontaneously like actual labour contractions would.
Actual Labour contractions
Labour contractions start spontaneously and progressively become unpredictable over several days before increasing in intensity, frequency or both until giving birth. If you're experiencing what feels like intense menstrual cramps that come and go every few minutes, then congratulations: your body is beginning to prepare itself, and it's a matter of time before the big day arrives!
Cervical dilation is another sign that shows this baby business is getting real. It refers to when your cervix gradually softens up so it can open wide enough for the baby's head to pass through during childbirth. In other words, if it's game on down there - brace yourself!
Mucus Plug Loss
Finally (and please don't stop reading at this point – we promise things get less gross), losing the mucus plug often signifies a clean-out indication as labor might-be-about-to-begin-any-day-now-ish-(who knows!). Think of it as your body’s way of making some room for baby by passing a sticky substance coming out covered with blood stains resembling vile globules from between your legs into either underwear/pads or toilet paper roll upon wiping-it- away-after-you-use-the-bathroom... delightful right?
When To Call Your Doctor Or Midwife
If you suspect that you're going into labour or experience any symptoms such as vaginal bleeding/dizziness/water breaking/one-sided abdominal pain 6 times hourly occurring-space evenly within 1 hour—then reach out immediately because ladies..it could take hours!! You will need support during this important day; hence most midwives are just an email/Direct Message away.
So Is Everything Normal?
The truth about labor is that nobody really knows what normal looks like since every pregnancy has its own unique path-just-believe-in-yourself-and-your-strength-as-a-momma! However, paying attention to these signs will give you a rough idea of what to expect, and you'll be better prepared to handle whatever comes your way.
In conclusion; it's important to remember that no matter how much planning has gone into the birth, there's just no telling exactly when labor might occur. So, take some deep breaths (in through the nose...!), try not-to freak-out-because-it-will-alleaviated-your-pain-or-fear-during-labour-but-there-is-no-guarantee-than-you-might-not) out.
Finally – please make sure to have a go-bag packed at least one month in advance filled with all necessary clothing items/toiletries from lip balm/tissues/hair ties!! At this point remind yourself that You've got this!