With only 5 weeks to go your baby now weighs approximately 2.4kg or 5.3lb which is about the same as a honeydew melon. He is measuring around 46.2cm or 18.2in from head (or crown) to heel. Your baby hasn’t stopped growing yet and will continue getting taller and increasing in weight by about 30g a day over the next few weeks.
Can you see your baby moving in your womb? This is common for many mums who can see movements in their bump. You may even be able to see your baby’s hiccups but this depends on the baby’s position in the womb. It can be quite a surreal sensation to see those little limbs pushing out, or watch your belly jumping around when he gets the hiccups! Now that he’s getting big, your baby’s movements may feel a bit uncomfortable especially when they’re kicking around whilst you’re trying to sleep.
The amount of amniotic fluid surrounding your baby is slowly decreasing as your baby takes up more room in your womb. Something that is continuing to grow at a huge rate is your baby’s brain! Thankfully the skull remains soft which will help your baby squeeze through your birth canal much more easily.
You may be feeling as though your tummy just can’t grow any more and that you’re running out of room for your baby, and as your womb (or uterus) has grown so much it may now be pressing under your ribs – this can make you slightly more breathless than usual, and even leave you feeling faint. To avoid fainting, try and take it easy and get as much rest as possible. Drinks lots of water too.
If your baby’s movements are causing you pain, try changing position whilst sitting or standing. Lying on your side or getting down onto all fours may encourage your baby to move and help to relieve the discomfort. While it’s normal for your baby’s movements to feel different in the last few weeks of pregnancy, your little one should still be moving just as much as before. If you ever feel that your baby isn’t moving as much as normal, or have any questions about your baby’s movements, contact your midwife straight away.
In the later stages of pregnancy you’re likely to be needing to pee a lot more than usual.
This is due to the position of your baby’s head which is now pressing against your bladder as your baby is head-down in preparation for delivery. You may also be experiencing the need to go for a pee now or when you laugh, sneeze or cough – this can be very normal. It’s important to continue keeping your fluids up and to empty your bladder as often as you need. You should aim to empty your bladder as much as possible – leaning forward whilst you pee helps with this. It’s key to practice your Kegel exercises, which will strengthen the pelvic muscles and prevent or correct most cases of pregnancy-induced incontinence.
As your breasts continue to grow you may start finding your bras uncomfortable. Now is a good time to attend a bra fitting and seek advice from the fitter about which bras to use for nursing (if you choose to) or to support your breasts once your baby is born. It’s worth noting however that your breasts will change size (potentially reduce) after your milk has come in which is around 3 to 5 days following the borth.
It is normal to think about how your baby’s birth will go and wondering when your labour will begin. There is no way of knowing when your labour will start or what it will be like and previous labours aren’t much of an indication either. What you can do to prepare however is aim to create a calm environment for birth which includes it being warm, safe, private, quiet and dimly lit. Putting this in place will help you feel relaxed and secure during your labour and birth. In addition to this it’s important to remember that your body knows what to do to help – there will be a release of the hormone oxytocin which you need for labour to progress. The hormones that will help you through labour, endorphins, which will kick in too. If you feel safe and undisturbed, you will be able to focus on giving birth to your baby reducing your stress levels. You can achieve a calm environment wherever you decide to birth whether it’s at home, in a birth centre or hospital. Share your thoughts about how you can create calm surroundings with your birth partner so they can play a role with keeping to the plan.
To prepare further you can also take the time to better understand the pain relief options available to you. Many mum’s use a TENS machine in the earlier stages of labour to help with pain relief. A TENS machine is a small handheld machine which is attached to your back. It sends out tiny electrical impulses to block pain signals sent from your body to your brain. You can hire or buy a TENS machine so you have it ready at the start of labour. It is advised that you try it out before you go into labour (after you reach 37 weeks) so you can learn how it works ahead of the big day.
In the earlier stages of labour you may also find warm baths, gentle back massages, paracetamol and moving around can help manage the pain. As things progress however the pain may intensify and if you’re in the hospital you may want to opt into having another type of pain relief. More information can be found on the Tommy’s site here.
If you’re a prospective dad, one of the ways to help is to better understand the labour timeline. This will help you support your partner on the big day. The BabyCentre has a useful article that provides all the information which can be found here.