At 37 weeks, your baby is very snug in the womb. They most likely won't be doing a lot of somersaults anymore, but the amount of kicking should remain about the same.

Week 37

Mum

Although your baby could benefit from staying in the womb longer, if he or she is born now, they will be considered full term. A few weeks before you go into labour, you may notice that the baby “drops”. In other words, he or she descends lower into your pelvis, putting more pressure on your cervix but less pressure just below your ribcage, making it easier to breathe.
Other signs to watch out for to help you know that the labour is only days away are stronger and more frequent practice contractions, lower back pain, discharge which is a mixture of mucus and blood (that’s the plug that blocks the cervical canal leading to your uterus). That discharge should have just a tiny amount of blood, though – if you experience spotting or bleeding, call your LMC straight away.

Dad

She may be experiencing symptoms of false labour, which you could both mistake for the prelude to the real thing. Sometimes it’s very hard to tell these apart, so before you rush to the hospital, here are some pointers:

  • False contractions are irregular. They come at variable intervals and fluctuate in length as well as in intensity. If the intervals do not become shorter and the contractions longer, it’s probably not time yet.
  • If your partner’s contractions start in the abdomen, it could mean false labour. True contractions usually start in the lower back and wrap around to the tummy.
  • False labour contractions may stop when you rest or change position, but true contractions will continue no matter what you do.

Baby

You are the size and weight of a watermelon. You probably have quite a bit of hair on your head, but the colour may not be the same as the hair you’ll grow up with. Your lungs are not quite finished yet, so stay put if you can.

Photos in the bumpandbaby.co.nz/week-by-week/ are by Lenart Nilsson. Lenart's series was bought to fame when his photo, considered the greatest photo of the 20th century, appeared on the cover of Life magazine in 1965. “Everyone interprets images differently, depending on their social, cultural and religious background. In the digital era, I believe it is more important than ever to go back and take a look inside ourselves. What better way of doing that than with these photos?” ~ Jane Stene, art gallery director and curator of Lenart's definitive black and white series, told the The Guardian in 2019. It is Lenart Nilsson's wish that his images are never used for political debate about pro-life.

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