Pregnancy
38 weeks and 7 days pregnant

This baby can easily be seen at this late stage in the pregnancy because there is ample amniotic fluid present. The amount of amniotic fluid at this point is still extremely variable, but it is usually in the region of 0.5 litre (18fl oz).

Use this time in the run-up to labour to get your partner fully up to speed on how he can help you on the big day.

It’s a good idea to prepare your partner in advance, and work out what may help the proceedings once labour does begin. For example, if you’re planning on using natural remedies, put together a natural medicine kit and explain to your partner when you think you’ll need different remedies.

Ask your partner to practise some massage strokes, using a soothing blend of oils. Some women can’t bear to be touched during labour, but others find it helpful to have their back, or even just their hands and feet, massaged. You won’t really know what works for you until you’re in labour but trying massage now won’t do any harm.

If your partner has been attending antenatal classes with you, he’ll be familiar with the breathing and relaxation techniques so practise these together and, if necessary, get advice from your midwife about techniques.

It may be helpful for your partner to speak to male friends or relatives who have recently become fathers. Hearing the experiences of others and learning some dos and don’ts of being a birth partner might be useful.

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You may find it relaxing to have your feet massaged in the early stages of labour, even if you don’t want your back or shoulders touched. A massage helps to relieve tension.

Whatever their weight, most babies at 40 weeks are approximately the same length.

Ninety-five per cent are between 45cm (17.7in) and 55cm (21.6in) long. The length of newborn babies is remarkably consistent and relates to skeletal growth, whereas birth weight may vary considerably.

It’s amazing that even after 40 weeks of pregnancy, when labour begins there is still a scramble to get everything organized as you head off to the hospital. So to avoid any last-minute panic:

  • Make sure your bag is packed . You may also want to pin up a list of any extras you need to include at the last minute.

  • It’s advisable to keep a small bag of change in your hospital bag to pay for parking and drinks from vending machines.

  • Decide who will do what: for example, perhaps your partner could prepare snacks.

  • Do a trial run of the trip to the hospital – anticipating areas where there is likely to be traffic, seeking out shortcuts, and working out where you are most likely to find a parking space. It can also help to time the run at various points in the day, so that you can avoid school-run hotspots or commuter traffic. Also find out how to get into the maternity unit at night.

  • Above all, don’t panic . The majority of parents-to-be do get to the hospital in plenty of time.

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