Baby Development: Weeks 37 - 38
Any day now! By the end of this week, your baby is "full-term" and can be born two weeks before or after the expected due date. Meconium, a dark greenish substance, gathers in her digestive tract and will be passed shortly after birth as her first bowel movement. If the meconium begins leaking from your vagina, it could indicate fetal distress. Your baby's skull is not solid and has a "soft spot" on the top and open fissures between the different parts of the skull that allow her head to mold and fit through your pelvis at birth. As a result, her head may be a pointed shape at birth, but will become more rounded a few days afterwards.
An average baby at birth is approximately 20-22 inches long and 7.5 pounds. As her lungs are among the last organs to mature, after birth it may take her a few hours to establish normal breathing patterns. Her true eye color will not reveal itself until she is 6-12 months old. At birth, dark-skinned babies may have dark gray or brown eyes, which will become darker, and Caucasian babies usually have dark blue eyes or slate gray eyes, which will change to brown, hazel, green or blue.
Weeks 39 - 40
At birth, the placenta weighs about 1.5 pounds, and the umbilical cord is at least 2 feet long, often longer. A healthy weight for a newborn can range anywhere from 5 pounds, 11.5 ounces to 8 pounds, 5.75 ounces. A pregnancy is considered post-term after 42 weeks and often requires medical intervention. It is common, however, that if a baby is "late" the expected due date was miscalculated.