Pregnancy information

Your baby at 37 weeks

At 37 weeks, your pregnancy is considered full-term. The average baby weighs around 3-4kg by now. Your baby is ready to be born, and you'll be meeting them some time in the next few weeks.

Your baby's gut (digestive system) now contains meconium – the sticky green substance that will form your baby's first poo after birth. It may include bits of the lanugo (fine hair) that covered your baby earlier in pregnancy.

You at 37 weeks

When you're around 37 weeks pregnant, if it's your first pregnancy, your baby moves down ready to be born. You may feel more comfortable when this happens, and you'll probably also feel increased pressure in your lower abdomen.

If it's not your first pregnancy, the baby may not move down until labour.

You may notice some leaking from your nipples, and this is normal.

Your baby at 38 weeks

If your baby does a poo during labour, which can sometimes happen, the amniotic fluid will contain meconium.

If this is the case, your midwife will want to monitor your baby closely as it could mean the baby is stressed.

You at 38 weeks

Labour usually starts between 38 and 42 weeks of pregnancy. Your midwife or doctor should give you information about what to expect if your baby is overdue.

Call your hospital or midwife at any time if you have any worries about your baby, including your baby's movements, or about labour and birth.

Read about pain relief in labour, and things you can do yourself to cope with the feeling of contractions.

Your baby at 39 weeks

In the last weeks, some time before birth, the baby's head should move down into your pelvis. When your baby's head moves down like this, it's said to be "engaged".

When this happens, you may notice your bump seems to move down a little. Sometimes the head does not engage until labour starts.

You at 39 weeks

Pre-eclampsia is a serious pregnancy-related condition. Not everyone with pre-eclampsia has symptoms, but the urine and blood pressure tests at your antenatal visits check for it.

Symptoms can include severe headaches, vision problems – such as blurring or seeing flashing lights – pain just below the ribs, and sudden increase in swelling of the hands, face or feet.

There are several signs that labour might be starting.

Find out about the signs of labour and when to call your midwife.

Your baby at 40 weeks

The fine hair (lanugo) that covered your baby's body is now almost all gone, although some babies may have small patches of it when they're born.

You at 40 weeks

Pregnancy normally lasts about 40 weeks – that's around 280 days from the first day of your last period. Labour usually starts a week either side of this date, but you might go overdue.

Your doctor may suggest inducing labour – it's your choice whether to have this or not.

You can find more information on pregnancy in the 'Your Pregnancy and Birth book'.


Last Updated: 21/07/2023 10:58:06
The information on this page has been adapted by NHS Wales from original content supplied by NHS UK NHS website