Your baby will soon be making their grand entrance into the world. Their respiratory system is getting ready to work on its own – it’s been borrowing yours up till now – though their lungs will continue to develop after birth. The brain will be the least developed organ at birth, but will mature continually from the day they are born until they are 18 to 20 years old! Fixtures and circuits will be constructed like they are with a computer - for what is the brain if not a natural computer?! – growing knowledge and emotions as they take in information. That’s what makes each individual totally unique, with their own understanding and coping skills, their own thinking gradually developing as they get older. And your little one is no exception.
At 38 weeks, your baby is around the size of a watermelon and they are ready for life outside of the womb, although most will stay and continue developing for another couple of weeks.
Perhaps you’re trying to imagine what’s going to happen when you get to the hospital. Well, depending on how imminent your baby’s birth is, once you get into a birthing room, you will be hooked up to a monitoring machine. The arrival of this new little person for whom both of you are going to be the two most important people in the world is pretty huge. Try and enjoy the experience. For their part, the father or partner may be feeling lots of emotions. They may also be afraid to feel useless. Remind them that the baby is only here because of the love you share. Maybe you can show them some breathing exercises!
The extra kilojoules you have been eating has not only provided your body with the energy it needs to help your baby grow, it also provided your body with some extra fat reserves you can call upon when breastfeeding. After your baby is born, producing breast milk requires a lot of kilojoules. In just five days of breastfeeding, you can burn about the same number of calories as it takes to run a marathon! Every woman is different, but if your pre-pregnancy weight was in the recommended range, you probably need between 2000 and 2100 additional kilojoules per day to produce breast milk. Some of these extra kilojoules will come from the fat you stored during pregnancy and the rest will come from food.
Caesarean sections are an option for various reasons and your doctor can advise you if an elective caesareans is recommended. During the operation, an epidural anaesthetises the pelvic area alone, so that you can still be awake and conscious to experience your baby’s birth. And most hospitals and clinics will let your partner be at your side.