Your little one is around 21 cm from crown to rump and already weighs about 870 g, a third of her birth weight. Her feet measure around 5½ cm – yes, they are tiny! Read more about this week.
Your baby is getting more and more ready to breathe outside air. Her skin begins to appear less wrinkled because fat is starting to deposit underneath it. For now, she still takes in amniotic fluid that completely fills her lungs and alveoli, which will subside quickly at birth. The ability to self-regulate internal body temperature is now in place. It will allow your baby to adjust to the temperature ‘outside ‘ when she finally emerges from her lovely warm nest inside you.
Do you sometimes feel a tightening in your back or a hardening of the belly? That may be Braxton Hicks contractions. Not to worry, it just means your uterus is practising a little for the birth. Increased Braxton Hicks contractions can mean that you’re doing too much! Make sure you don’t carry anything heavy and take frequent breaks during the day. If the contractions don’t stop or continue to get stronger then by all means, consult your doctor (if only to reassure yourself).
You prepare your baby to taste earthly food with every meal you eat. Aromatic molecules in your food are carried to the baby via the amniotic fluid, along with your pleasure hormones (yes, pleasure hormone are on the interior menu!). After her birth, she will remember these tastes – and if you keep eating a diverse diet after her birth and breastfeed, they will flavour your milk. Your baby is truly a guest, and these shared moments will help you both prepare for the relationship you have when she makes an entrance into the world.
Many women worry that their babies will be born earlier than expected, though most babies make it right through to term. A good piece of news: if your baby wanted to make an appearance now, he would probably be able to breathe independently. And his lungs will just keep on evolving more and more, as blood vessels develop and his bronchial tubes begin to branch out. The most important thing for you is not to stress about it. Or anything!