You are considered full-term now and your baby's final touches are being made. The crown-to-rump length of your baby is now 14 inches and the total length is around 21 inches. Your baby weighs approximately 6.5 pounds. Your uterus may be measuring about the same as it has been and is probably about 6.5 inches from the top of your bellybutton.
This week your baby should engage into your pelvis. If this is not your first pregnancy, it may happen later. When your baby engages, his head drops down into your pelvis and you might feel a slight sensation called `lightening` as the pressure on your ribs eases. As your baby drops into the final position for delivery, you may experience a buzzing feeling and shooting pains in your groin and leg. Normally, you will be able to breathe and eat easier. However, your uterus pushes down harder on your bladder and you will have an increased urge to urinate more frequently. Even if your baby engages now, you still possibly feel his feet in your breastbone around week 40.
Your baby is now fully mature and ready to be born. However, your baby is still growing and developing every day. Fat is still being laid down at a rate of a half ounce a day. If this is your first pregnancy, you can expect to deliver closer to 40 weeks or shortly thereafter. If this is not your first baby, you might go earlier than 40 weeks! Make sure that your bags are packed for the hospital and remember to preregister for admission.
Your doctor may begin doing weekly pelvic exams to evaluate your cervical changes and progression. Your healthcare provider will make sure that you are not leaking amniotic fluid and will also examine your cervix to check for effacement and dilation. Before labor, your cervix is thick and 0% effaced. During labor your cervix thins out and right before delivery it will become very soft and 100% effaced.
Research shows your baby can be affected by stress hormones. Make time to relax, to have fun, and to rest.
Your baby has learned to coordinate sucking, swallowing and breathing so it can do all three when breastfeeding after birth. Babies practice shallow breathing before birth, using amniotic fluid.