This week is the due date, even though only 4% of babies are actually born on the due date. This due date is always special and you are extra alert that day to any pain you feel. On this day and the days that follow, you can simply continue what you were doing. You certainly don’t need to stay home. If you stay nearby, you will still have plenty of time to get home the moment the contractions begin.
Don’t be disappointed if nothing happens: some women are naturally pregnant for 42 weeks. This probably has to do with the size of the placenta. A large placenta produces more progesterone, the hormone that curbs contraction activity.
Your baby is lying with its head down in the fetal position with its legs pulled up and is waiting to be born. It is now about the size of a watermelon.
The baby’s lungs are covered in surfactants, which are a bit like little foam bubbles. These bubbles ensure that the lungs stay partially convex and don’t collapse when breathing in and out.
During the delivery all systems have to function. This is why your baby is practicing its breathing, sucking and swallowing and is secreting enzymes and hormones. He or she has a whole series of coordinated reflexes that enable him or her to hold on tight to something, lift and turn its head, look for milk, make walking movements, blink with the eyes, and he or she reacts to sounds, smells, light and touch.