Last Few Weeks of Pregnancy
Changes to your body and your baby as you get closer to your due date
During the last few weeks of your pregnancy, you and your partner may feel excited but anxious about your labour and birth. This is an important time for your baby's final stages of development and for your body to prepare for the work of labour and birth.
Some of the common changes you may experience during the last weeks of pregnancy can include:
- Increased production of colostrum (mother’s first milk) because of increased production of the hormone prolactin.
- Increased frequency of Braxton‐Hicks contractions (irregular pre‐labour practice contractions).
- Increased relaxation of the pelvic joints in preparation for labour and birth as a result of an increased production of the hormone relaxin.
- Increased cervical mucous (vaginal discharge) and possibly the loss of your mucus plug.
- Engagement of baby deeper into the pelvis, also known as “lightening”. This makes it easier for you to breathe.
- A heaviness in the pelvic region and/or lower back pain, and the need to urinate more often resulting from the baby moving deeper in the pelvis.
- A sense of renewed energy, also referred to as “nesting behaviour”,1 likely related to the increased production of the hormone prolactin at the end of pregnancy.3
As you can see, your hormones play an important role in preparing your body for labour. Watch for these early signs of labour in the last few weeks of your pregnancy. These signs do not mean you are in labour. They are signs that labour may begin within the next couple of days or weeks. When you experience these signs, pay attention to your body as it prepares for labour.
Some of the changes to your baby include:
- They put on extra fat stores which helps to regulate their temperature.
- Their immune system matures as your antibodies are transferred through the placenta.
Watch: Why Should I Wait for Labor to Start on My Own? (Ask A Nurse) →
Date of creation: February 20, 2015
Last modified on: June 11, 2019