This is the stage in your pregnancy when your baby may start to 'engage', you could be treated to a show of little hands and feet moving in your belly and it's time to sit down and write that birth plan.

Your body

You should have gained between 9.9-12.6kg. You're probably putting on weight faster than at any other time during the pregnancy; this is because your baby is having a growth spurt and may be putting on as much as 230g every week. Your placenta is also growing, and the amount of amniotic fluid around the baby is increasing.

When your baby moves, you'll be able to see her bottom, feet, hands, elbows and knees protruding under your skin – although you may not be able to distinguish which is which!

Breast stroke

Your growing breasts need extra-special support, as they become heavier. If you didn't wear a bra before pregnancy, invest in some maternity bras now – it won't guarantee your boobs stay as pert as they used to be, but you will feel a lot more comfortable.

If you're well endowed, wearing a maternity bra day and night might be the only way to keep your cleavage under control – and reduce the risk of your breasts heading south for good. Front-opening feeding bras are also essential if you're planning to breastfeed, but wait until as late as possible before buying these, as your breasts will continue to grow right up until three or four days after the birth, when your milk comes in!

The best-laid plans…

It's never too early to write a birth plan (a record of how you would like the birth to progress). It's a good idea to discuss it with your birth partner, so they know your wishes, and the midwife who attends your baby's birth, so she'll also know how you feel. Consider the following:

  • Do you mind if there are medical students present?

  • Do you want to be mobile during labour, or use a birthing pool?

  • What sort of pain relief would you like? The options include gas and air (entonox); pethidine and epidural.

  • How do you feel about having an episiotomy?

  • Do you want your baby to be given straight to you, or cleaned up first?

*Who's going to hold your hand?

Your baby

Your baby weighs about 2kg. Her crown to rump length is about 30cm and if she could stretch out (there probably isn't enough space now), she would measure 43cm long from head to toe. She's getting more practised at 'breathing' amniotic fluid in and out of her lungs.

Free-floating

Until your baby's head has engaged, it is said to be 'floating' or 'ballotable', which means your midwife or doctor can feel that it is not fixed in the birth canal. If this isn't your first baby, her head may not engage until you're actually in labour.

In about 3 percent of pregnancies, the baby's head doesn't engage and the bottom or legs enter the pelvis first, known as breech.

Are you having a boy?
If your baby is a boy, his testicles have probably moved into the scrotum (sometimes this doesn't happen until after birth).