There’s still a little fat developing under your baby’s skin, preparing their to face the world after being all lovely and cosy inside your nest for so long. Almost at birth weight, she has next to no room at move around and can feel the difference. Everything is pretty much in perfect working order by this, the second to last week, and if your baby were to be born now, she would be just fine.
First-time mothers are particularly unsure about recognizing when labour has started. Let us reassure you – you will know! And very few babies are born so quickly that their mothers can’t get to the hospital in time. On the contrary, many parents-to-be are sent back home by the doctor at the hospital because they have come in too soon. You might feel a bit nauseous just before the birth or have a headache, and feel a heavy tiredness. Often some blood or mucus appears. This is a sign that the cervix has opened. If the contractions have started, then labour has begun! The difference between Braxton-Hicks contractions and real, first-stage contractions? With Braxton-Hicks, the belly tightens for a short time then relaxes, and they are irregular. “Genuine” contractions, on the other hand, get stronger and come at regular intervals that get shorter and shorter. If they are less than ten minutes apart, then it is time to contact the hospital – might be ready to go in!
There’s not much left to say really, you are well and truly ready to meet your little bundle of joy, and what you’ve done until now has made a difference. You have been eating so well for the past nine months, to promote good health for you and your baby. These are great habits to have started, and definitely worth keeping. After the birth of your baby, these healthy eating habits will support you in your breastfeeding journey!
Immediately after the birth, most midwives will lay the baby on your front, where he or she will feel comfortable despite the new surroundings because they can feel your warmth, smell your skin and recognise your voice and heartbeat! This is a great time to put your baby onto your naked skin and to your breast so they can feel you and suckle for the first time. Then you can finally hold your longed-for darling in your arms after all that hard work. What a fabulous pay-off!
Congratulations and best wishes in your new life!