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  Month 7 : (28 – 31 weeks)
 
Carrying a large and very busy baby!

Your baby fills your uterus now and weighs about 1,3kg. If born now your baby has a good chance of survival, but the immature lungs will struggle to function and the sucking reflex may not be present. The baby’s movements can easily be felt by another person with their hand on your stomach. The baby is gaining weight and brain development is very pronounced. The size of the baby may make you very tired, although for some women this is a relatively easy period. The baby size may also be causing heartburn, insomnia and pressure on the bladder. The heartburn may be eased by eating small more frequent meals, wearing clothes that are loose over the stomach and sleeping propped up. For the insomnia you need to develop a quiet bedtime routine, find a position which is comfortable ( try lying on your side with the top leg bent up onto a pillow) and try a soothing snack or drink at bedtime. If you really cant sleep try to be positive about the situation and use the time to relax and feel the baby. Swollen hands and feet are also a normal feature of this time – by the end of your pregnancy your blood volume will have increased by 50%! In fact more than three quarters of pregnant women experience swollen hands and feet during the third trimester. Sudden swelling and swelling of the face should be reported to your doctor as some women are prone to a sudden rise in blood pressure during this final stage (called preeclampsia) which is dangerous to both mother and baby.

Practising for labour

Braxton Hicks are small contractions which help tone the uterus for labour and are felt from the middle of the pregnancy. They can be quite strong and uncomfortable but remember that they are a useful part of the process. They will continue right through your pregnancy and can get so strong in the last weeks that they can be mistaken for labour (known as false labour) At this stage they play an important part in the softening of the cervix so that it can open during labour.

Decisions about the birth

Your choice of hospital may be constrained to those at which your doctor works. Even so you should sign up for the tour which most hospitals offer so that in the excitement and drama of the actual event you are already familiar with your surroundings. Although the majority of births still occur in hospitals, there is a movement back towards home births. If your doctor is supportive of this decision, he/she will probably give you a list of criteria to fulfil in order for home birth to be possible. If you feel strongly about this you may have to change doctors, but since trusting your chosen doctor is a vital component of a successful birth, this is a decision you should not take lightly. (see birth options).

When to call the doctor?

 
   
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- fetus 40.5cm long
 
- fetus about 1.35kg
in weight
 
- Lanugo disappears
(temp fuzz on baby)
 
- back & shoulders
can be seen
  - hair on head starts
to grow
 
- eyebrows & eyelashes
are visible
  - nails reach top of
fingers & toes
  - skin, pink & smooth
  - brain growth will be
dramatic
  - lungs are functioning
  - babies born at this
stage have a very good
chance of survival
   
 
   
 
- uterus 28cm from
top of pubic bone
  - uterus has grown
2.5cm in height from
last month
 
- uterus can be felt
11.5cm above belly
button
   
 
 
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