By 37 weeks of pregnancy, most pregnancies are considered "full term." In most cases, nothing will be done to stop your labor once it starts. If you are having your first baby your baby may have "dropped" lower into your pelvis.
Usually, in a woman who has already given birth, this happens at the start of labor. True engagement is the fixing of the fetal presenting part -- usually the head -- at the level of the mid pelvis, or at the level of the ischial spines.
Your cervix may start to dilate in preparation for labor. This means that the mucus plug that seals off your uterus from infection and bacteria will discharge from your body. The plug can discharge from your body weeks, days, or hours before you go into labor.
The mucus plug is thick, yellowish, and may be tinged with blood. Always alert your care provider about any discharge.
Make sure you are wearing supportive bras, as your breasts are preparing for breastfeeding by growing larger and fuller. You may want to start using breast cream to prepare your nipples and avoid cracking or dryness.
If you are going to breastfeed, get the supplies you need ready now. The breastfeeding checklist is invaluable for preparation.
It's a good idea to start preparing for delivery and the birth of your new baby. If you haven't already done so, pack your hospital bag. Use the what to take to the hospital checklist to make sure you have everything you and your baby will need.
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Your baby weighs close to 6.5 pounds and may be about 20 inches long from head to toe. Your baby's head is now cradled in your pelvic cavity -- surrounded and protected by your pelvic bones. This position clears some much-needed space for her growing legs and buttocks.
Many babies now have a full head of hair, with locks maybe around one inch / 2.5 centimeters long. But don't be surprised if her hair isn't the same color as yours. Dark-haired couples are sometimes taken aback when their children are born with bright red or blond hair, and fair-haired couples likewise can produce babies with dark hair. And then, of course, some babies don't have any hair at all.
Your baby will continue to develop about a half an ounce of fat a day, and is getting rounder and pinker. She is still practicing breathing, in preparation for life outside the womb.