Saturday, August 7, 2010

Week by Week Development during Pregnancy, Weekly progress in Pregnancy,

Week by Week Development during Pregnancy, Weekly progress in Pregnancy

Week 1

This is normally counted from the first day of your last period. The time, from which you calculate your due date, which is nine months and seven days from this day. Well, there is nothing much to say, as your baby is about two weeks away from conception. The follicles that carry the egg will slowly begin to grow from the third day of your cycle on either or both of your ovaries.

Week 2

The womb is getting itself ready to welcome the embryo and as the lining thickens, the mucus in the cervix becomes thinner to enable the sperm to swim through it easily. It is very possible that you may have ovulated approximately on the last day of this week or the beginning of the next.

Ovulation occurs when the follicle ruptures and releases an egg or ovum, which is approximately 0.13 mm in size. This egg travels up the fallopian tube and survives for about 24 hours. This is your highly fertile period. If the egg is not fertilized within this time, it passes out the next time you menstruate. Which fortunately did not happen in your case.

Week 3

Conception or fertilization takes place when a sperm from the male fuses with the ovum to form a single cell that ultimately becomes your baby. This cell multiplies into over a hundred cells and travels along your fallopian tube until it reaches the uterus by approximately the fourth day after fertilization.

About thirty hours after fertilization, the fertilized cell divides into two, and ten hours after this it further divides into four identical cells, each getting smaller by each division. Within three days it has become sixteen in number as it continues its travel up the fallopian tube. On the fourth day the fertilized egg has multiplied into over a hundred cells and is still growing fast. The egg now has a fluid-filled centre but looks like a solid round mass as it enters the uterus. It is still invisible to the naked eye.

The blastocyst, as the egg is now called, is made up of two layers that eventually become the placenta and the embryo. It floats about in the womb getting its nourishment from the secretion of glands situated in the lining of the uterus. By the end of this week, it will attach itself to the thickening lining of the womb by a process known as implantation that signals the completion of conception.

Week 4

The embryo is now firmly implanted in the walls of the uterus as it continues to multiply and grow. The cells now begin to group together to form different structures and the outer layer of the embryo sends out little projections, like fingers trying to clutch the uterus lining in order to attach itself to its mother's blood vessels and form the beginning of the placenta. The outer layer also forms the umbilical cord as well as the membranes that protect the baby.

The inner layer is also simultaneously self-dividing into first two and then three layers that grow to form different parts of your baby's body.

By the last day of this week, the embryo is completely embedded in the lining of the uterus and can be identified by an experienced gynaecologist through an ultra sound scan.

Congratulations, you must have just missed your period and are probably in the process of confirming your pregnancy.

Week 5

This week, the cluster of cells that had begun to look like a round, solid mass, have started to grow lengthwise and the embryo now develops a head as well as a tail end. This is the stage where the central nervous system begins to develop by forming a niche in the top layer that extends to the tail end of the embryo. The cells fold up to create a hollow neural tube that form your baby's brain and spinal cord. Simultaneously, the beginnings of what will be the spine, ribs and abdominal muscles are being created out of developing tissue.

Even though the baby's nervous system, spine and brain are being formed, and as you know they are the major component parts, your little one is really still very little. He or she is just about one tenth of an inch. That is 2mm to be precise. But relax, you are on the right track, as I am sure your urine test will have told you by now.

Week 6

Hey, what is that sticking its neck out? Looks like the baby has a neck. That is not all, it has a brain, a small bump that looks like the beginning of a head with small little indentations that will soon take the shape of the eyes and ears. You can just about make out the shape of the mouth and jaw to match the makings of the very early stages of the digestive system. This is followed by the formation of the abdominal as well as the chest cavities where the heart is beginning to develop. At this point it looks like a small bulge and consists of just two chambers out of the expected four.

This week also marks the development of the umbilical cord along with the accompanying blood vessels that help connect this precious little one to you. Your baby now has a full-fledged bloodstream that has just about begun to circulate blood. You can now see a hint of the four limbs that have begun to appear in the shape of little buds in their appropriate places.

The bottom half of its body is still undeveloped and tends to look like a tail whereas the formation of the back is much faster than that of the front causing the embryo to look bent like the curve of a half moon. Your baby is now one quarter of an inch or 6mm in size and nobody has guessed that you are pregnant as yet. You have a way to go before you show.

Week 7

The embryo is now a full-fledged fetus, which means 'young one'. Its brain and spinal cord is almost close to completion. A sonography will clearly reveal the arms and legs with clefts at the ends that ultimately form the toes and fingers. The baby is beginning to achieve its eventual human shape even though its head is still lumpy and bent forward on the chest. The face is beginning to form but the eyes are on the side of the head and are as yet unopened but you can see the black pigmentation under the skin covering the eye- lids.

The ears are also developing and you can see two holes, which will take the final shape of the nose. The mouth and jaws have taken better shape now and you can actually make out the shape of the lips, tongue and initial teeth buds.

The heart has developed two more chambers and has begun to circulate blood all throughout the little one's body that has already formed a complex network of blood cells. Your baby's nervous system is fast developing and the fetus has begun to form a liver, kidneys, lungs, an intestine and internal sex organs. The bone cells are also beginning to develop.

Week 8

This is an important week as most of the internal organs like the heart, brain, liver, lungs, kidneys and guts have developed in their basic forms even though they have not taken their final shape as yet. The next eight days are crucial for the development of the eyes and the inner ear, which is responsible for balance and hearing. You can just about see the outer ears taking shape although they are not fully grown as yet.

The eyes are covered by a temporary skin, which will ultimately open up to create the eyelids. The tip of the nose is visible now as the nostrils have formed. The tongue has appeared and the two sides of the jaw are coming together to shape the mouth. Once the upper and lower jaws begin to fuse, the fetus will be able to open his mouth and suck or chew. But hold on right there. Your baby is not ready for toffees as yet.

The baby's leg and arm bones are becoming harder and growing longer and the shoulder, hip, knee and elbow joints are forming this week. Even the fingers and toes are more obviously apparent right through the webs of skin.

The heartbeat has regularized and the pumping capacity has increased. You can see a network of blood vessels running through this little body through the transparent paper-thin skin. The face is fairly visible though the head seems disproportionately large in comparison to the body, which looks like a fish. Your baby is just one inch or 2.5cm long. And even though this tiny creature moves around a lot, you will not be able to feel him as yet.

Week 9

Your baby is actually beginning to look like a baby now as it takes on a more mature appearance. But the head is still at an angle as it is bent forward on to the chest. The eyes are completely developed and would look real if it were not for the membrane eyelids that still form a protective cover over them. The nose has also taken shape by this stage and the hands, feet and limbs are growing quite fast. The fingers and toes too are in the process of taking their final shape.

The next seven days will see the growth of a muscle that will serve to separate the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. This is the baby's diaphragm, or the muscle that enables your little one to breathe.

Hey, it looks like the spine is making its first movements. Isn't this exciting? And your baby seems to be trying to test the waters of the amniotic sac as he moves around a bit and kicks a few times, as if trying out his brand new muscles. Relax, we know that you can not feel a thing as yet. Well, you are not supposed to so do not worry. Your baby is still too tiny and is floating around in the amniotic fluid.

Week 10

This week sees the completion of the inner part of the baby's ear as the external parts are beginning to make their appearance felt. There is a lot of action taking place in the chest and abdominal cavities as the lungs are under production in the chest and the stomach and intestines are being formed in the abdomen. The kidneys too are moving into place to take up their final positions.

Hey, it looks like the umbilical cord is fully developed, as your blood seems to be circulating along it bonding you with your baby with strong ties of blood.

The brain of the fetus has grown at a tremendous rate over the last four weeks so its head still looks disproportionate to the rest of his little body. But as we said earlier, this is completely normal.

Week 11

During the course of this week, all the baby's internal organs will have completely developed and most of them will begin to function. From this week on they will only grow in size so by the end of week eleven your little one is safe from developing any sort of congenital abnormality or being affected or harmed by most infections and a few drugs.

Over the next seven days he will look more and more like a real human baby, as we know it. His face is taking shape as it grows more rounded and the back of the head has grown so the eyes can take up their natural frontal position. The ears are flatter but still have a long way to go for their final shape. But his limbs are still quite thin and short and his head quite large for the rest of the body. And you can actually see his elbows, knees ankles and wrists. The fingers and toes seem to be completely ready as they have separated out and are clearly defined.

The heart continues to pump blood to all the internal organs including the umbilical cord that supplies the blood to the placenta, which is growing simultaneously.

Week 12

Guess what? This week your baby will pass urine for the very first time. But you will have to wait quite a while before you can toilet train him or her. But still it is quite exciting and you may want to commemorate this particular week for the yet unborn. He has also learnt to suck and can swallow the fluid that surrounds him (therefore the need to urinate) as well as use the muscles of his mouth to frown, pout and open and close his jaws.

In fact, quite a few of his muscles are developing and so the baby tends to move around quite a lot. Not all the muscles are working just yet but he can use the muscles that will aid him in breathing after birth. There is good coordination between his brain and a few muscles that help him to curl his little toes or make a fist, rotate his wrists and feet or happily play football in the amniotic sac. Well, at least he seems to have started on the warm up exercises.

Toenails, fingernails and the earlobes have also made their anticipated appearance as the umbilical cord starts to circulate blood between the membranes on the uterus wall and the fetus to provide nourishment to the baby. The placenta is now in action.

Week 13

This week sees the neck fully formed and well able to support the head movements. The face has also taken complete shape as the mouth, nose and external ears are fully developed. Your baby will be fully formed in its entirety over the next seven days but will not be able to survive outside the womb.

This is because even though all the internal organs have been formed they are not yet functionally matured to perform as they are supposed to outside the womb. In fact, the next twenty-seven weeks will see the fetus grow in size while its vital organs mature to full capacity to aid its survival outside the womb.

Right now he is quite happy floating in the amniotic sac where he still has plenty of room as he is just three inches or 7.5cm long and weighs about one ounce or 28g.

Week 14

This week marks the beginning of the second trimester, which is by far the most exciting phase. The growth of the baby speeds up considerably as the internal organs mature and he increases in size. In fact, his weight has already doubled from the previous week. Your placenta is functioning to full capacity as it nourishes the fetus as well as produces hormones.

The baby's major muscles are moving in tandem with the brain as he bends and twists his arms, wrists, elbows, fingers, legs, knees and toes. His nervous system has also begun to function.

You can hear a strong heartbeat with the help of an electronic device. It is almost twice the rate of a normal adult's. What's more, your baby has begun to sprout hair. He seems to have eyebrows as well as a little hair on his head. Aren't you just dying to see him?

By the end of this week, your baby will measure around four inches or 10cm. He now weighs two and quarter ounces or 65g.which is more than double that of the previous week.

Week 15

Let the music play and be careful what you say as your baby could be listening.

Well he might not really understand what you say but his hearing capacity is in the process of developing. The three tiny bones in his middle ear have begun to harden but the auditory centres in his brain have not developed as yet so he might not be able to make any sense of the sounds. Also the amniotic fluid that he is in acts as a sound conductor, and so he will begin to hear the sound of your voice and your heartbeat. Do not stay hungry and be careful what you eat, as he will be able to hear your stomach rumbling too. It would be a good idea to hear soft, soothing music from this stage on as he may be able to pick on certain sounds from outside the womb. You could even sing to him. There have been cases of babies who, soon after birth can recognize a certain song, which was sung to them while still in the womb. It always helps to have a familiar voice or song that generally soothes your child whenever he is cranky or upset.

Your baby requires all the help that he can get in terms of nutrition and rest as all his energy is directed at growing bigger and stronger. This week he will have developed eyelashes as well as eyebrows and the hair on his head will have grown thicker. By now he should measure about five and a quarter inches or 13.5cm. and he probably weighs about three and a half ounces or 100g. Isn't he growing quickly?

Week 16

This week it looks like the baby's body is finally trying to catch up with the head, though the head still looks much larger. His chin looks very tiny in comparison to his wide mouth and his eyes have grown much bigger but they are still closed. On the whole his face looks even more human and he has also learnt to suck his thumb.

His eyelashes and brows have grown even longer and he seems to be developing fine downy hair all over his face and body. This is known as 'lanugo' and is supposed to protect him by regulating his body temperature. So your airconditioner or heater will not affect him. Do not worry, you will not be giving birth to a bear. Most of this hair will disappear before birth and if at all any of it is left, it will fall off gradually.

Though the skin is developing, it is still very thin and transparent so the network of blood vessels running underneath it can easily be identified. This makes your baby look quite red even though he hasn't yet learnt to blush.

But your baby has learnt to breathe. This is apparent from the regular movements of his chest. And his heartbeat is twice that of yours or any other normal adults.

All of a sudden his sex organs have matured enough for a very trained eye to determine the sex. The external genital organs can just about be made out on an ultrasound scan. But, as you know, it is illegal to reveal the sex of the baby.

If you are lucky or really very alert, you might be able to identify movements from this week on as he has begun to move around quite vigorously and is growing quite fast. But as the sac is still able to cushion his punches you are just able to sense a flutter.

Your baby measures six inches or 16cm. by this stage and weighs four and a three-quarter ounces or 135g.

Week 17

Well, you should be able to identify movements this week, if you haven't already as all his joints are completely ready and he is certainly in action. He can now hear all sounds outside your body and some could even startle him and make him jump. The chest muscles are also moving to the rhythm of his respiration. In fact, all his limbs and muscles are fully formed. His skin is developing quite well and tiny little toenails and fingernails are making their appearance.

Your baby now measures a little over seven inches or 18cm. and already weighs more than the placenta.

Week 18

If you have not been lucky until now this should definitely be the week that you feel your baby's first movements as he or she is just raring to go. In first pregnancies, new mothers generally find it difficult to identify movements until this stage as they often feel that they may be imagining things.

But this week you can be sure it is not just your hyperactive imagination when your baby kicks or throws a few punches as he begins to test his reflexes. It should be quite hard-hitting as his arms and legs are quite well formed and he has begun his most active phase. You can expect him to twist and turn and wriggle about all day as he is trying to prepare you for his friskiness once he is born. He most definitely is sucking his thumb too, a habit you will have to deal with much later. Sorry, but you can not correct him as yet.

Over the next seven days, tiny air sacs called 'alveoli' will begin to form in his fast developing lungs. Your baby now measures about eight inches or 20cm. this week.

Week 19

It looks like the baby is thirsty this week as he drinks up large amounts of amniotic fluid. Fortunately his gut has begun to secrete gastric juices that help in the absorption of the fluid and then send it to his little kidneys where it is filtered and excreted back into the amniotic sac. And then the cycle starts once again as he continues to drink the amniotic fluid. Yeeeesh.

The milk teeth buds have already developed and over the next few days the buds for the permanent teeth will begin to form behind the milk teeth ones.

This week your baby probably measures nine inches or 22.5cm.

Week 20

Your baby might seem a little hyperactive as his muscles become stronger and more developed and he floats about trying to flex them. To you these movements may appear as bouncing bubbles in your stomach or light and kind of ticklish flutters.

This week will see the beginning of the formation of a greasy white substance that protects your baby's tender skin in the womb. This protective covering is known as 'vernix'. There are also a few other protective substances that guard your baby against diseases in the first few weeks after birth. These are now being transferred to the baby through your bloodstream.

This week, you are exactly half way through your pregnancy and your baby is exactly half the size that you can expect at birth. He has grown quite fast and measures about ten inches or 25.5cm. and weighs around twelve ounces. That is 340g. From now on it is quite likely that the growth rate will slow down over the next couple of weeks.

Week 21

If your baby is a girl, her internal reproductive organs, the womb and the vagina will have formed by now. Whatever the child's sex, the legs will have finally grown in proportion to the body and will be moving in graceful coordination. The tongue is also fully formed and the skin is not transparent anymore.

The white blood cells are under production right now, to help fight infections and by increasing the powers of resistance and the skin has now turned opaque.

This week your baby measures about eleven inches or 27.5cm. and weighs around one pound or 450g.

Week 22

Looks like your baby's movements are not coordinated with your own. When you are awake, he or she seems to be sleeping and vice-versa. Your child is completely disrupting your sleep pattern as he tries to form his own. Get used to it, as this is what you can expect for the first couple of months after birth.

If the vernix has not formed yet, it definitely should by now. As explained earlier, vernix is a cheesy substance that forms a protective covering over your child's skin. It is made up of skin cells mixed with the sebum from the sebaceous glands and adheres to the lanugo that is all over the skin.

As your baby is growing in the amniotic sac, which now also has a concentration of urine in the fluid, it needs some sort of protection for it's delicate skin. The vernix not only provides a protective covering but also serves to lubricate the passage along the birth canal to ease the delivery of the baby. Normally, most of the grease disappears before the baby appears, but still the baby is quite slippery at birth.

This week your baby measures eleven and a half inches or 29cm. and weighs one pound two ounces or 500g.

Week 23

This is an exciting week for the father as he could attempt hearing his baby's heartbeat by putting his ear to your abdomen. But make sure that you two are all by yourselves in a quiet room. You could even try using a stethoscope for better results. Some experienced doctor, nurse or midwife may help you by positioning the baby in a way that his heartbeat can be heard.

In any case, you must begin communicating with the little one if you haven't already as he has begun to respond to touch and sounds. It is quite possible that he can also recognize his father's voice. I know of a case where the mother can actually feel the baby's excitement as it is expressed through quick movements when his father enters the room.

You might also have noticed the baby jump or kick in response to a loud or frightening noise. And did you know that your baby has also begun to hiccup? Do not worry, as he has plenty of amniotic fluid to drink. But you might feel him jerk off and on.

Week 24

By this week your baby is fairly well developed in terms of most of his vital organs. All except his lungs. Were he to be delivered this week he would actually be able to survive outside the uterus for a couple of hours. But as his lungs have not matured completely he would not be able to breathe beyond a point.

Even though he has grown quite well lengthwise, he is quite thin because no fat has been laid down until now. In fact his skin looks very wrinkled. Over the next seven days the sweat glands will be forming in the skin.

The arm and leg muscles are developing well and little creases have appeared on his palms. The muscular coordination of his hands has improved as he sucks his thumb. What was that jerk you just felt? Well it could have been a hiccup or maybe even a cough. Do go slow on the ice cream.

This week your baby measures thirteen inches or 33cm. and weighs around one and a quarter pounds or 570g.

Week 25

This week your baby will take on a slow and steady pace. This does not mean that he will kick any less vigorously. It just means that he will grow fatter and heavier rather than taller.

His little body is trying to catch up with the size of his head, which does not look so huge in comparison any more. He has also put on a little weight and his face has fleshed out so his eyes do not look like deep hollows in his head. His bone centres have also begun to harden and he has gained quite a lot of weight. So the baby now measures about one foot and two inches or just 35cm. but weighs approximately one pound and fourteen ounces or 850g.

Week 26

The baby is growing fatter by the week as fat stores are beginning to develop. His head seems in much better proportion to his body, which will continue to grow fast.

This is the week when the 'bronchi' develops. These are the branches of your baby's lungs, and they are growing fast in preparation for your baby's birth, in order to help him to breathe. But the lungs will not fully develop until after he or she is born.

Week 27

Bring out the champagne. This is an extremely special week as your baby opens his eyes for the very first time.

Over the next seven days, the membranes that form the baby's eyelids will begin to part, allowing him to get a good look inside the womb. He will not be able to see you yet, because like you he does not have x-ray vision. Nor is he likely to develop it.

His eyes have still not taken on their permanent colour as the eye colouring is not fully developed until a few months after the baby is born. In some cases the eyes take on the final colour within just a few hours of birth. But this is rare.

This week your baby weighs about two pounds or 900g. and measures about one foot and two inches or 36cm.

Week 28

This is the first week of your final trimester and the fetus is finally 'viable'. This just means that were he or she to be born this week, survival outside the womb would be possible. The lungs, though quite mature, are not fully developed as yet and so the baby might face initial breathing difficulties. You see the lungs have to develop a substance known as 'surfactant' to stop them from collapsing between each breath. But with the facilities that are available to us today, your child will have plenty of outside help in holding on to his life, were he to be born.

By now the thinking part of his brain has already been formed and your baby can experience sensations such as pain, warmth and cold just like a newly born one. Even his sense of taste is acute, even more so than after birth as he has plenty of taste buds at this stage.

You can not only feel the baby move if you place your hand on your stomach you can actually identify body parts such as the head, foot or bottom. In fact this is the way for the doctor to assess his position without the use of the ultrasound scan. A simple abdominal examination is sufficient at this stage.

By this week your baby measures one foot and two and a half inches or 37cm. and weighs approximately two pounds and three ounces or about 1kg.

Week 29

Your baby seems to have taken up most of the space in your uterus and you can sense his restlessness as he moves from one side to the other. You can now identify his knee from his feet or his bottom from his head, which incidentally is finally in proportion with the rest of his body.

It is quite possible that your baby is still lying with his head upturned. Just give him a couple of weeks to turn upside down and get more comfortable. He will automatically assume the correct position for delivery.

Your baby grows at a rate of about 1cm. this week and measures one foot and three inches or 38cm. over the next seven days. But he is fast gaining weight and should weigh around two pounds and four ounces or 1.02kg.

Week 30

This could be the week when your baby adopts the head down position that enables easy delivery. That is if he has not already. But he will definitely change position within the next two weeks or otherwise the doctor will have to turn him around later to avoid a 'breech' delivery. Breech babies are those that are delivered in the bottom down position.

Right now, your baby is probably curled up with his knees bent, arms and legs crossed as his chin gently touches his chest. As he is gaining weight at a rate of seven ounces or 200g. per week, he has grown quite large and has less space to move around. He should settle down quite a bit within the next two weeks.

Week 31

Over the next seven days the lungs will develop fast in preparation for delivery which is not too far away.

A layer of cells are forming a lining in the air sacs to produce a liquid called 'surfactant' that serves to prevent these air sacs from collapsing between each breath when the baby begins to breathe after birth.

This week the vernix and lanugo will gradually begin to fade and your baby's skin will grow softer and smoother. He will have grown quite plump by now as his skin begins to fill out.

Your baby now measures about one foot and three and a half inches or 39cm. and weighs approximately three pounds and two ounces or 1.4kg.

Week 32

Finally the baby's head is in correct proportion to his body and he looks very much like he would at birth, except for the fact that he is still quite thin. Were he to be born this week he would have an extremely good chance of survival as his lungs are almost completely formed. As not enough insulating fat reserves have been deposited underneath the skin, your doctor would place him in an incubator to greatly improve his chances. Other than that your baby is completely viable and well able to survive outside the womb.

In fact, by this week he will be able to differentiate between light and dark. As he has grown much larger and has less space to move freely, you will be able to feel the slightest movements with force, like when he swallows some amniotic fluid and hiccups. Or if his feet get caught under your ribs. This would certainly make you quite uncomfortable and the only solution would be for you to maintain a straight posture. As they say, why stand when you can sit and why sit if you can lie down? It would be wise for you to follow this advice as your baby is certainly growing fast.

This week your baby measures over one foot and four inches or 40.5cm. and weighs about three pounds and ten ounces or 1.6kg.

Week 33

Have you ever watched the movements of a newborn? The way he or she kicks and turns? Well, if you have observed them closely you will realize that they match what is going on inside your womb right now.

This week your baby will mostly have settled in the head downward position getting ready to make his or her appearance in the world. Just in case the baby is in the or 'breech' position, your doctor would either try turning the baby around gently with the help of his hands or would prepare for a breech delivery. There is absolutely nothing to worry about as statistics claim that 4% of all deliveries are breech deliveries and they are perfectly safe.

This week your baby measures about one foot and four and a half inches or 42cm. and weighs around four and a half pounds or 2kg.

Week 34

Have you been out in the sun a lot lately? If you have, it's time to put sunglasses on your stomach as your baby is probably blinking in the bright light and is also getting a healthy tan. Just joking.

On a more serious note, your baby has learnt to blink and as he can differentiate between light and dark, he can also see more clearly when there is a bright light on your stomach. He has probably made friends with all your internal organs by now and can identify your ribs from your intestine. His skin has also taken on a pinkish tinge and he is certainly getting ready to be adored.

Week 35

Your baby is growing plumper by the week as more fat is being deposited all over his body. He is gaining the most around his shoulders and looks much healthier as he loses his wrinkled appearance.

Get ready for the scratches, as your baby's toenails and fingernails have grown long, as has the hair on his head. Well, it won't be much longer now before he is in your arms. You must be craving to hold him.

Week 36

Is this your first baby? If so, 'lightening' may have occurred or will do so in the next few weeks. This means that the baby will drop into the pelvis in the head downward position. But if this is a subsequent pregnancy, then lightening will take place just before the onset of labour.

By now most of the baby's organs have matured and he has a 90% chance of survival were he to be born this week. All that is left to mature are the lungs. If your baby is a boy, the testicles should have also descended by now.

The baby's skin has grown soft and smooth and he has become a good deal plumper. In fact he will grow at a rate of one ounce or 28g per day for the next four weeks or until he is born. This week he measures about eighteen inches or 46cm. and weighs five and a half pounds or 2.5kg.

Week 37

Your due date is still a few weeks away, but not all babies follow a strict time schedule. Keep your bags packed as he or she could appear anytime between now and week 42. Especially if you are expecting twins or if this is a subsequent pregnancy.

Keep your baby's room warm and clean to welcome him on his arrival. And make sure your husband is reachable at all hours. Best of luck. Your baby is as ready as can be.

Week 38

You might notice your baby has more hiccups this week. This is because he may be trying to use his lungs as he practices breathing. But because there is no air around him, the amniotic fluid gets into his windpipe and causes hiccups.

Most of the 'lanugo' or the fine downy hair that was covering his body will have gradually disappeared. There should only be some left on his shoulders, arms and legs and other bodily creases.

Even though your baby is increasing at the rate of 28g. per day, you won't put on much more weight at this stage.

Week 39

The excitement increases as you prepare for delivery. Your nesting instincts might be getting stronger by the day as you rush around preparing for the baby's arrival. Try to get as much rest as you can as once the baby is born, you can kiss your sleep goodbye.

By this week, your baby's intestine is filled with 'meconium', which is made up of the excretions from the alimentary glands mixed with cells from the bowel walls, lanugo and bile pigment. It is a dark, sticky, greenish-black substance, which will be passed out as his first motion and might even be excreted during labour. Get used to it, as you will have to clean him up over the next couple of months.

Week 40

This could well be the last and final few days or week of pregnancy. Enjoy it while it lasts. If this is a subsequent pregnancy, it is quite possible that 'lightening' will take place anytime now.

Your baby's skin will be extremely soft and smooth, as most of the lanugo will have disappeared. But the greasy cheesy looking substance called 'vernix' will still cover his skin. By the time your child is born he will probably measure twenty inches or 51cm. and weigh about seven and a half pounds or 3.4kg. But this is not a hard and fast rule. Just in case your baby is not born within these seven days, relax. He could make his appearance anytime within the next two weeks.

Do not expect your baby to be ready to pose for a television commercial as soon as he is born. He will look quite a sight, as he is wet and slippery, covered in vernix and traces of your blood. Let the nurse give him a wash as soon as he bonds with you and then you can enjoy your brand new baby.

Congratulations, once again.

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