Ready! At this point, the baby is so ready for life that if it were born now, it probably wouldn’t need neonatal care. But most parents still have to wait a few more weeks before it’s time. Your baby still has some things left on its to-do list inside the belly: There are 200-250 grams to gain per week in order to have a bit more weight to drop when it comes into the world. Those lungs are hard at work with practice pulling in and pressing out amniotic fluid. The baby also has to stock up on essential nutrients to handle the exertion of birth. And it’s got to test out its coordination – gripping things with its fingers is a fairly new ability. If it hasn’t happened yet, it also has to place its head down into the pelvic inlet. If the baby opts to go bottom first, an attempt will be made to turn it.
Is your hospital bag packed? Changing table prepped? It may be time to start getting those things ready. We’ve got a little checklist in the app. You probably still have a check-up to go before it’s time. If anything is on your mind before giving birth, take the chance to talk about it now. Even if you’ve written a birth plan, it’s common to also note what you want, or whether you are worried, in your record. This way, when you give birth, the staff can access this information. You might be experiencing stronger Braxton-Hicks contractions. They are harmless; see them as a reminder that you’re getting close to meeting your little one for the first time. About now, it’s common for most people to stop working and start their parental leave, where that is offered. It may be nice to have some time to rest up before the life-altering event awaiting around the corner. And it will give you some time to prepare. If your household has more than one parent, split up responsibility for preparing before the baby comes. This way you can rest, and your partner can keep track of the situation. Do you plan to breastfeed? Prepare for the fact that it might be a struggle. The baby has a strong sucking reflex and before all the milk starts to flow and you’ve got the technique down, it may hurt more than you would expect. But just breathe! The pain will go away once milk production is underway, your nipples are used to it, and your baby has figured out what to do. Find comfort in that (and there may be a few feedings you’ll have to grit your teeth through) because once all systems are go, breastfeeding will be cosy for both of you. Also, don’t hesitate to seek help. There are nipple shields, soothing creams and cooling compresses available out there. You can also ask the staff at your clinic to help you as you start breastfeeding – for example, they can show you how to get some milk out yourself, so that it starts flowing when the baby latches on.
A push present is a gift you give to your partner in honour of the incredible effort it takes to carry one (or more) babies for nine months and then give birth. Showing appreciation for new mums in the form of a gift is a phenomenon in numerous cultures. You will know best whether or not your partner would appreciate a push present. But if you want to give her something after childbirth, just remember that it will be a memento and it should be specifically for her – not for the baby or for your whole family together. Common choices include engraved jewellery or a watch, or an album of pictures from the pregnancy. But it doesn’t have to be something material. Maybe she’ll love it even more if it’s a hand-written letter in which you show your love and appreciation. If you aren’t sure if this is something she will like, there’s sure to be a whole group of friends you can ask!