Changes in the Mother
You should begin to have a growing number of Braxton Hicks contractions at this point in the pregnancy, although you may not notice or experience them at all -- it's different for every woman and even every pregnancy. In either case, however, you may begin to have more thoughts about labor and higher anxiety about your experience. Many women have a variety of questions related to labor, including how to tell whether they're in labor or not, determining the right time to going to the hospital, how to time contractions, what to pack, and what kind of pain to expect during labor.
While it's best to discuss these questions with your partner and physician, the questions about the potential pain of labor is one that's answerable here, even if only in vague terms. Approximately 10% of women who have given birth describe labor as an extremely painful experience. Conversely, about 10% describe labor as a relatively painless and carefree experience. Statistically, you'll probably fall along with the 80% of women who described labor as somewhere in between the two extremes indicated above.
You should be experiencing more hormones and rushes of emotions, so be sure to communicate clearly with your partner about what you need, and when you need it. It would also be good to sit down together and think about what you need to do in the coming weeks to make sure you're ready to deliver.
Changes in the Baby
The movements of your baby will peak in the eighth week, before they change in both quality and quantity. At this point you should continue to do fetal kick counts, which are simple and surprisingly useful ways of assessing the health and well-being of your growing baby. During the most active part of the baby's day inside the womb, he or she should typically move ten times in a four hour span. Keep in mind that there are different ways to count kicks, and that you won't feel every movement the baby makes as you go through your day.
Inside the womb, your baby will continue to develop as your term comes to an end. For example, most of the wrinkles on their face will begin to disappear at this point, and they might have a lot of hair. Your baby will also gain weight -- typically in muscle and fatty tissue -- bringing its total weight to somewhere around three pounds and eleven ounces, or nearly four and a half pounds. Your baby will also be somewhere around 15.8 inches in length at this point.
However, just because your baby is bigger and stronger inside you doesn't mean it's yet ready to come out. Babies who are born prematurely around this time or slightly before will typically have trouble nursing or sucking. Babies who weigh under 3.3 lbs will also have difficulties, as a good sign of maturity in neuromuscular connections is the ability to suck efficiently.