Your body

You should have gained between 9.45-12.15kg and you're probably putting on about half a kilo a week now.

Getting ready

It's common to experience practice contractions, called Braxton Hicks, throughout the second and third trimesters. Although they're completely harmless and usually only last about 30 seconds, it can be a shock to feel your uterus tightening and relaxing. Don't worry: it's simply your body's way of preparing for birth. If they occur more than four times an hour, let your midwife, GP or maternity unit know what's happening.

Did you know?

Braxton Hicks contractions improve your baby's blood supply, boosting her growth.

Better, by gum

Your oestrogen levels (which are responsible for swollen, bleeding gums) drop after the seventh month of pregnancy, so if you've been suffering from bleeding gums, your toothbrush should start looking a little less pink now.

Looking forward to labour day?

In the last trimester, it's only natural to feel a little apprehensive about your baby's birth day. Although at this stage you may be planning to get through the pain with the help of massage, music and aromatherapy oils, on the day, you may be glad you found out about the following procedures:

  • Episiotomy a cut is made to the perineum, the area between the vagina and the anus, which allows more room for the baby to be born.

  • Ventouse a suction cap is fitted to the baby's head, to help the doctor pull her out.

  • Forceps an implement that looks like salad servers is used to ease the baby out.

  • Epidural complete pain relief in the form of a local anaesthetic that numbs the lower half of your body.

  • Caesarean having your baby delivered surgically, through your abdomen, under a local or general anaesthetic.

Remember that when it comes to having a baby, you're just like any other animal, and chances are, your body will take over and do it for you. And if things don't go smoothly, at least you'll have the expertise of your midwife, obstetrician and if necessary anaesthetist at hand.

Your baby

Your baby weighs about 1.6kg. Her crown to rump length is 28cm and her total length is 40cm.

It's natural to feel apprehensive about labour.

What's happening

From now until she is born, your baby will gain weight faster than she increases in length: she's laying down fat, which makes her skin look plumper and healthier. Her digestive system is getting ready to process milk; the rest of her organs are continuing to mature. She's putting her developing lungs to the test by inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid more and more frequently in preparation for the day when she will breathe air.

Sweet tooth

Your baby already knows what she likes to eat: studies show that if a sweet liquid is injected into the amniotic fluid, she will swallow more of it!