FETAL DEVELOPMENT

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Weekly Fetal development: The 3rd and final trimester…

WEEK 28 to WEEK 40

Fetal development continues during the 3rd trimester. Your baby will open his/her eyes, gain more weight, and prepare for delivery. The end of your pregnancy is near! By now, you might be tired of being pregnant and eager to meet your baby face to face. Your uterus, however, is still a busy place.

Week 28:

Baby’s eyes open

Your baby’s eyelids are partially open and eyelashes have formed. Your baby is gaining weight, which is smoothing out many of the wrinkles in his or her skin. By now your baby might be nearly 250mm long from crown to rump (CRL) and weigh nearly 1,000 gm. Otherwise healthy babies born this week have a 90 percent chance of survival without physical or neurological impairment.

Week 29:

Baby’s bones are fully developed

Baby’s bones are fully developed, but they’re still soft and pliable.

Week 30:

Baby’s eyes are wide open

Baby’s eyes are wide open most of the time. Your baby may also begin to grow some hair by this week. Red blood cells are now forming in your baby’s bone marrow. By now your baby might be more than 270 mm long from crown to rump and weigh nearly 1,300 gm.

Week 31:

Nervous system development continues

Thirty-one weeks into your pregnancy, your baby’s central nervous system has matured to the stage where it can control body temperature.

Week 32:

Baby practices breathing
Here, baby’s toenails are visible. Although your baby’s lungs aren’t fully formed, he or she practices breathing. Your baby’s body begins absorbing vital minerals, such as iron and calcium from the intestinal tract. The layer of soft, downy hair (lanugo) that has covered your baby’s skin for the past few months starts to fall off this week. By now your baby might be 280 mm long from crown to rump and weigh 1,700 gm.

Week 33:

Baby detects light

 

Thirty-three weeks into your pregnancy, your baby’s pupils can constrict, dilate and detect light entering his or her eyes.

Week 34:

Baby’s fingernails grow

At this stage, your baby’s fingernails have reached his or her fingertips. By now your baby might be nearly 300 mm long from crown to rump. The pasty white coating that protects your baby’s skin (vernix caseosa) is about to get thicker.

Week 35:

Rapid weight gain begins

Thirty-five weeks into your pregnancy, your baby’s limbs are becoming chubby. Your baby is gaining weight rapidly.

Week 36:

Baby takes up most of the amniotic sac

The crowded conditions inside your uterus might make it harder for your baby to give you a punch. However, you’ll probably still feel lots of stretches, rolls and wiggles. You might want to check on your baby’s movements from time to time with a FETAL KICK CHART especially if you think you’ve noticed decreased activity. Ask your doctor how many movements you should detect in a certain number of hours.

Week 37:

Baby is early term

Thirty-seven weeks into your pregnancy, your baby will be considered early term. Your baby’s organs are ready to function on their own. To prepare for birth, your baby’s head might start descending into your pelvis. If your baby isn’t head down, your doctor will talk to you about ways to deal with this issue.

Week 38:

Baby develops a firm grasp

Thirty-eight weeks into your pregnancy, your baby is developing a firm grasp. Your baby’s toenails have reached the tips of his or her toes. His or her brain might weigh about 400 gm. After birth, your baby’s brain will continue to grow. Your baby has mostly shed all of his or her lanugo. By now your baby should weigh about 2,900 gm.

Week 39:

Placenta provides antibodies

 

His/her chest is becoming more prominent. For boys, the testes continue to descend into the scrotum. The placenta continues to supply your baby with antibodies that will help fight infection after birth. If you breast-feed your baby, your milk will provide additional antibodies.

Week 40:

Your due date arrives

Forty weeks into your pregnancy, your baby might be about 450 to 500 mm long and weigh about 2,900 grams or more. Remember, however, that healthy babies come in different sizes. Don’t be alarmed if your due date comes and goes without incident. It’s just as normal to deliver a baby a week or two late or early as it is to deliver on your due date.

Week 40:

Your due date arrives

Forty weeks into your pregnancy, your baby might be about 450 to 500 mm long and weigh about 2,900 grams or more. Remember, however, that healthy babies come in different sizes. Don’t be alarmed if your due date comes and goes without incident. It’s just as normal to deliver a baby a week or two late or early as it is to deliver on your due date.

Prepare for breast feeding-

If you’re planning to breastfeed your baby, learn as much as you can about it now. Talk to nursing mothers, read articles to familiarize yourself, and consider calling your doctor/midwife or taking a breastfeeding class. You can also get very useful tips from your mum and/or mother in law.

Assemble your baby gear-

This is the perfect job for your partner or a family/friend who wants to help. Cribs, strollers and walkers can be tricky to put together, especially when you’re sleep-deprived.

Talk to your baby-

Your baby can now hear your voice and talking to him/her is a great way to start the bonding process. If having an actual conversation with your bump seems odd, try narrating your daily activities; reading a book/magazine/newspaper aloud or sharing your secret wishes for your child/children. This is great practice after your baby is born too. It has been proven that talking to babies is one of the best ways to help them develop language skills.

Learn about coping with labor pain-

There’s no one right way to deliver a baby: Every woman’s experience with pain is different and every labor is different. Decide if you want pain medication during childbirth or a natural birth. It’s good to learn about your options now.

Wash your babies clothing and beddings-

You know all those adorable outfits and blanket you bought or received as gifts? It’s time to throw them in the laundry. You should wash anything that will go near your baby’s skin to remove any irritants in the fabrics. The gentlest detergents are those designed for babies and those that are labeled hypoallergenic or good for sensitive skin.

Read up on care of the newborn-

If you haven’t already, the third trimester is the perfect time to switch reading gears from pregnancy to baby. You won’t have as much time to read after your baby is born; so learn all you can about the first few weeks now.

Pack your bag for the hospital

Key things to bring include your appointment card, toiletries (for you and the baby), comfy clothing, going-home outfit for your baby, a camera and snacks for after labor.

Install your baby’s car seat-

You can’t drive your baby home without a car seat, and they can be more complicated to install than you’d think. So don’t wait until the last minute. Get a good one and have it installed appropriately.

Do not ignore late pregnancy complications-

Unfortunately, pregnancy complications can pop up in the 3rd trimester too. They include gestational DM, preeclampsia, preterm labor, placenta problems, IUGR, PPROM and malpresentation. Prenatal care is especially important because these complications are more easily managed if detected early. You will likely start seeing your doctor every other week from 28 to 36 weeks, then once every week until the little one arrives.

Get creative about 3rd trimester sex-

If you’re having a healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy, you can probably continue to have sex right up until your water breaks or you go into labor. You may have to get creative about positions as your belly expands, however!

Continue to drink water-

During pregnancy you need six to eight glasses of fluid per day plus an additional 2 glasses for each hour of light activity.

Know the stages of labor-

For first time mums, labor takes an average of about 15-20hrs but for women who have previously had a spontaneous vaginal delivery, it averages about 8 hours. The process is divided into 3 main stages.

Consider top baby costs and how to save-

Raising a baby isn’t cheap but there are plenty of ways you can think about saving money now. Talk to your spouse/relative on how and what you may need.

You can visit www.everymums.com to shop for all the products you will probably need during this period.

Have your house cleaned-

Most mums said they wished they had had their house cleaned before their baby’s arrival. Consider hiring a housecleaner or asking a friend or family member to tackle this task, maybe while you’re at the hospital. It feels great to come back to a tidy home, and you won’t have time or energy to clean while your baby is a newborn.

 

Stock up on household supplies-

To avoid having to make trips to the store with your newborn, stock up now on pantry staples, frozen food, toiletries, medicine, toilet paper, shampoo – even extra pairs of underwear! And of course, make sure you have newborn necessities like diapers, wipes, baby clothing, and bottles and formula if you plan to use them.

Make a plan for when labor starts-

Long before the first contractions hit, you’ll want a firm plan in place. Your doctor should give you a clear set of guidelines for when to call and when to head to the hospital. You must decide who will take you there, and have a few back-up folks lined up to help if you need it.

Commemorate your belly-

Celebrate your amazing pregnant belly by decorating it with beautiful   designs (you can use regular face paint), or making a belly cast. You may also want to draw professional pictures of your pregnant self.

Cope with late-pregnancy jitters-

By late pregnancy, there are a lot of unknowns that may be making you nervous – like when your labor will start, how it will go, whether your baby will be okay, and how you’ll adjust to being a mum. These fears are normal – but nerve-wrecking. Here are a few ways to quiet them:

* Use the relaxation techniques you learned in childbirth classes. They may help calm your nerves plus it’s good practice for the big day.

* Visualize your baby and imagine yourself snuggling with him or her.

* Don’t be shy about contacting your doctor if you have any new or lingering concerns.

Slow down-

Toward the end of your pregnancy, slow down and save up your energy for labor day (and beyond). If you’ve been sitting or lying down for a long time, don’t jump up too quickly. Blood can pool in your feet and legs, causing a temporary drop in your blood pressure when you get up that can make you feel dizzy.

Learn what your body will be like after birth-

Many first-time mums don’t realize that after giving birth, it’s normal to still look pregnant for a while. This may be hard to accept, but try to remember that it took nine months to get here, so you won’t bounce back overnight. Learn what to expect from your body.

Do a soothing late-pregnancy stretch-

When your baby’s due any day, serious workouts are out of the question, but lying around too much can make you stiff and achy. Here’s a good way to stretch your body and relax your mind:

* Find a quiet space and lie on your side with your back straight. You can support your head and neck with a pillow.

* Bend your legs slightly; keeping your hips stacked one above the other. To avoid rolling over, you can place your top arm on the floor in front of you.

* In this position, close your eyes and breathe in and out slowly and naturally. Allow any thoughts to come in and float out of your mind.

* With every exhale; relax one body part at a time – face, shoulders, ribs, belly, legs, fingers. Enjoy a few moments of peace and quiet.

Don’t panic if you go past your due date-

After months of anticipation, your due date rolls around, and … you’re still pregnant. It’s a frustrating, but common, situation. If you go one or two weeks past your due date, your doctor may use medication or other techniques to start your labor.