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Newsletter - Week 37

Welcome To Week 37

37 Week Old Fetus

Your Baby: Growing Everyday

Just a few weeks before your due date, your baby averages around 6 1/2 pounds and measures about 20 - 21 inches long. During these last days inside the uterus, your baby continues to grow and mature. The fine touches are taking place now in preparation for the journey out into the new world!

As anxious as you may be to meet your baby face-to-face, you still have a little time left to feel him flutter about inside you. Each time he kicks or jabs you with an elbow, stop for a second and put your hand on your stomach to memorize the movement and record it in your head. It's a precious time, and who knows if and when it will happen again?

Your Body: Gearing Up For Delivery

As you near the end of your pregnancy, you may start noticing signs and feeling symptoms of false labor. They can set in one month or one day before you actually give birth -- only time will tell. The question is, how will you know when it's real -- and when it's not?

Generally, your health care provider will be able to tell if you are in labor by looking at your cervix to determine if you are effaced and dilated. Often, it can be difficult to tell whether you are in true labor or having false labor. The following are some tips that may help you to distinguish true labor from false labor:

The Real Thing (True Labor)

  • After timing the contractions, you determine that they are coming consistently and getting closer together.
  • Each contraction is lasting anywhere from 30 - 70 seconds and getting longer.
  • The contractions do not go away even if you change your level of activity.
  • Usually with true labor, the contractions have a radiating feeling in your lower back and upper abdomen.
  • The intensity of the contractions becomes greater as time progresses, often stopping you from continuing a conversation.

False Start (False Labor)

  • The contractions continue to be irregular or have a sporadic pattern.
  • There is no consistent length or intensity of contractions and no pattern develops.
  • No clear change or increase in the intensity of the contractions.
  • May feel the contraction lower in abdomen without the radiation feeling.
  • Changing activities affects the contractions.

Remember the list above includes the most common findings between true and false labor, but every woman is different. You may still be unclear whether you are in true labor, and it is always better to call your health care provider or go to the hospital for guidance.

On Note: On A Scale Of 1 To 10

If your friends continually regale you with the details of their deliveries and you have yet to experience it firsthand, this cervical changes during labor simulator is a must-see. Dynamic and detailed, the two images show a cross-section of female reproductive system and a frontal view of a woman's cervix. As you move the bar at the bottom of the scale, you will see how a cervix dilates from 1 to 10 centimeters.

Weekly Tip

Having a baby is one of the most intimate and private experiences for a couple. That said, there are probably plenty of people in the waiting room or across the world who are anxiously waiting to hear the good news. While your mind is clear and your hands are free, prepare a list of friends and family you want to call from the hospital so that you and your spouse don't have to go hunting for numbers.

Updated: 12/9/2012

Irina Burd, MD, PhD, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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