During this period, the fetus continues to gain weight. The future baby becomes more and more rounded and looks like a chubby baby. The amount of fluff that covers its body decreases significantly.
At this time, the amount of lubricant covering the body of the unborn child reaches its maximum value. The fetus has constant respiratory movements, which means that the lungs and respiratory muscles (intercostal muscles and diaphragm) are preparing for the first breath that the newborn will take when labor is completed. During the same period, the future baby is also experiencing the completion of the formation of the gastrointestinal tract. The pregnant woman continues her visits to the specialist in the women’s consultation, constantly feels the heartbeats of the fetus. If a woman has a multiple pregnancy, labor may begin several weeks earlier than the due date.
Delivery during this period is already close, but experts will start to consider the future child as a full-term baby only in two weeks. In the meantime, the fetus is in the final period of lung and brain maturation.
In the thirty-seventh week of pregnancy, the formation of a distinct mucus plug ends. The mucus plug is a small amount of thickened mucus, whose role is to block the cervical canal leading to the uterus, where the fetus is located and developing. The exit of the plug may occur all at once, or in the form of an increase in vaginal discharge over several days.
There is a feeling that the fetus is falling. This can happen when the baby in the abdomen drops lower into the pelvis. This is accompanied by an increased heaviness in the pelvis, and a decrease in pressure below the chest.
Some time before the onset of labor, so-called false contractions may occur. During this period, the pregnant woman may experience cramps similar to menstrual cramps. More frequent and intense false contractions anticipate an earlier onset of labor.
False contractions are unpredictable. They start at irregular intervals and vary in length and intensity. Although real contractions may be irregular at first, over time they begin to come at regular and shorter intervals, become more intense and last longer.
False contractions may stop suddenly when the pregnant woman changes activity or body position, while true labor is accompanied by contractions whose intensity and strength do not depend on body position.