A foot is shown here with the toes spread out. Not all of the movements that you feel will be due to kicks; some movements will be shrugs or punches and some will come from the bottom or head as it touches the sides of the uterus.
The size of your bump will increasingly be due to the baby alone as the amniotic fluid now reduces slightly each week.
The amount of amniotic fluid that surrounds and protects your baby is now at its maximum and the placenta has almost completed its growth.
Amniotic fluid is essential for your baby’s lung development, gut maturation, protein requirements, and temperature control. Adequate fluid also allows your baby to move easily since she is in an almost weightless state. There is about 1 litre (35fl oz) of fluid around your baby. The range, however, is quite wide and “normal” can be anywhere from 300ml to 2 litres (11–70fl oz). Sometimes there is too little fluid surrounding the baby, a condition called oligohydramnios, or too much fluid, called polyhydramnios. In this situation you would be closely monitored and premature delivery might be necessary.
It’s not surprising that the size of your uterus may not reflect the size of your baby as there can be so much variation in the quantity of fluid.
As the amount of amniotic fluid reduces in late pregnancy, your baby is not as well cushioned and her movements may become more obvious, although you should bear in mind that increasingly, as she grows, she has less space in which to move around.
Once your partner’s labour begins, your attention will need to be focused on helping her both practically and emotionally. So as well as helping your partner prepare her maternity bag in advance, it’s a good idea to prepare a bag of your own.
Understandably, dads are not always well supported in delivery units, and certainly don’t get fed. You’ll also find that you’re at the hospital for several hours.
Something to read or play
A reasonable amount of change to pay for car parking and to buy tea, coffee, and soft drinks if they’re in vending machines
A list of phone numbers, or enter them into your mobile phone now
Text messaging is an effective way to inform some family and friends about the birth. Make sure you’ve entered all the numbers into your phone before the big day.
One of the most common concerns for women in late pregnancy is that their waters will break in public.
The reality is that the amniotic fluid is unlikely to gush out. It is much more likely to trickle out because in a head-down position, the baby will press down on the cervix and prevent the liquid from escaping. If it does happen in public, don’t worry – you won’t be short of people to help you.
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