The baby is nice and cosy inside the belly, surrounded by amniotic fluid that will continue to be produced until the baby is born. Your baby’s skin is completely pink, but not as wrinkled as before. The subcutaneous fat that has formed in recent weeks has rounded and filled out. Your baby is soft and malleable, to be able to swish right through the birth canal when it’s time. The fontanelle (the soft area on top of the head) plays an important role, making the head – the largest body part – more malleable and thus easier to birth. And it also has to be malleable for the head and brain to be able to grow.
We know: sitting around and waiting is a hassle. But it isn’t pointless! There are actually some benefits to being pregnant a little longer. The cervix has time to ripen and the hormone relaxin will soften your pelvic joints even more, so that delivery can be a bit smoother. Many people wonder if it’s possible to jumpstart childbirth themselves; you’ve surely heard about various home remedies – but there’s actually no basis for any of these things working. So instead, try to focus on resting and giving your body some peace and quiet. If your doctor or midwife sees that the cervix is ready, they might do a membrane sweep to help start contractions. A membrane sweep is done during a vaginal exam and involves a midwife or doctor stimulating the cervix to release a hormone that can help start labour. At this point, checks will be increasingly frequent to ensure the baby is still doing well; you will also start planning for the possibility of inducing. Different places have different routines for inducing labour, so talk to your medical provider to find out what applies for you.
Surpassing your due date can actually be pretty frustrating, especially for the person carrying the baby. Even though everyone knows chances are low that the baby will arrive on the due date, that was the one concrete piece of info you had. That isn’t odd; it’s natural to want a timeframe to stick to – but babies have little interest in time as a concept. The physical burden for your partner is no joke, and having to answer questions from the people around you about whether the baby has come yet can be incredibly frustrating. Especially when there’s nothing you can do yourself to make the baby want to come out. However, sometimes a membrane sweep is an option to help the body begin contractions. A membrane sweep is done during a vaginal exam, and involves the doctor or midwife stimulating the cervix.