The baby can distinguish light from dark and will see sunlight on the stomach as a red glow. There’s also plenty of brain action occurring. By now it is likely to be positioned head-down, known as vertex or cephalic presentation, in preparation for birth. It probably weighs about two kilos and prods and kick will be more pronounced.
Your bladder may also be squashed and you will probably need to urinate often. If its head is pressed on your bladder, you may find yourself leaking urine when you laugh or sneeze. If you haven’t already, practise pelvic floor muscle control to help this problem. Some women continue to experience incontinence for years following childbirth. As well, your stomach may be restricted and it may be necessary to eat smaller meals more regularly.
Fluid passes through the baby’s kidneys and contributes to the amniotic fluid though it is not like adult urine, as the placenta deals with most of the baby’s waste products. Your baby can now suck, grab, stretch, pull faces, kick, think and turn its head.
Its skull has formed in several separate plates that remain soft and pliable so that the head can compress during labour to pass through the birth canal. At birth, there will be two soft spots called fontanelles, one at the front of the head and one at the back. The one at the back hardens within six to eight weeks after birth. The other will not harden until your baby is about 18 months old. The Aborigines apply the Australian Bush Flower Essence Fringed Violet to the fontanelle immediately after the birth to encourage healing and psychic protection.
The baby’s skin is becoming more pink than red in colour and the toes and fingernails are now fully-grown. It’s likely the nails will need trimming shortly after birth. Your baby could well weigh 2.5kg or 5lbs. Its eyes are well developed and are able to blink in response to strong light. If you stand with light directly on your stomach, it is likely that your baby will turn to face it.
You are probably breathless, dizzy, swollen, tired and may even have pelvic aches or pains. Try to rest with your feet raised. You should be able to feel movement from your baby every day.
Your baby will be gaining about 14gms of fat a day to help cope with the lower temperature outside your body after birth. Most of the down or lanugo on its body will have disappeared. Your baby is almost fully mature and at any time the presenting part may drop down into your pelvis, and become “engaged” resting on the cervix, ready for birth.
You may feel sharp shocks or a buzzing as its head presses into your cervix. As your baby moves downward, your breathing will become easier as your lungs are less restricted.