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Around week 34 of your pregnancy you may experience contractions. Some people experience a lot of discomfort, others hardly notice them at all. But what exactly are these contractions and what do they do? And you may wonder what your baby will look like. Whether he will inherit your blonde locks or brown eyes. And will he already have a full head of hair or will he be born almost bald? We also give you the advantages and disadvantages of receiving visitors or giving a party. 

Contraction

Are you experiencing any stitches in the lower abdomen or vagina towards the end of your pregnancy? Then you are probably dealing with subsidence contractions. These sometimes occur as early as week 34 of the pregnancy (Midwifery practice Midden Groningen). The head of your little one is sinking deeper and deeper into the pelvis and will probably be positioned well for the delivery. Some women hardly feel it at all, others experience it as a kind of menstrual pain. This pain sometimes radiates to the vagina or groin, but rest assured: the contraction contractions are much shorter than the 'normal' dilation and pressure contractions. Often, labour contractions last only about 30 seconds. If you experience a lot of pain, try a warm bath or a hot water bottle (Kortekaas Midwife). Relaxation is the best cure!

When the head has dropped into the pelvis, you may have to go to the toilet (even more) often for a small errand. Also, walking can be difficult and the low position of your little one can feel quite uncomfortable. But... every disadvantage have Its advantage: often suffer from heartburn or shortness of breath? This is probably something you can get rid of now. Because your baby is laying a lot lower, your lungs have more room and your baby is no longer pressing on your stomach. Besides, your little one is already well prepared for the delivery and the way out is a lot shorter. So less pushing for you (Pregnancy Portal)! 

It sometimes happens that the head does not descend until during the birth. No problem, it will probably just take a little longer. It is also possible that your baby is not lying with his head down, but with his bottom down. He then lies in a breech position. This does not have to be a problem, but you will be closely monitored. The risk of complications and a caesarean section is slightly higher. If the baby is breech, you can do two things: wait until the baby turns to the head position of its own accord or the midwife or obstetrician can try to turn the baby using a so-called 'external version' (The Midwife). 

I see, I see what you don't see

When your baby is born, his vision is still pretty blurry. After about six months, a baby's vision is almost as good as that of an adult. In this blog you can read more about that. However, the colour of the eyes continues to develop for a longer period of time. Your baby's eye colour can change up to the age of six. The most common colour is brown, followed by blue and green (Eye Fund). Most white babies are born with blue eyes, while babies of African and Asian descent almost never have blue eyes. 

Eye colour is determined by the amount of melanin in the iris, the more melanin, the darker the eyes. If little melanin is present, the eyes turn blue. This is the case with our youngest inhabitants of the world. Babies are born with relatively little melanin in their eyes, but one thing is certain: the older they get, the more melanin they produce (Quest). By the way, that depends on the genes you give your little one; eye colour is hereditary. The gene for brown eyes for example is dominant compared to the gene for blue eyes. You can make all sorts of probability calculations, but let's face it: being surprised is just as much fun, right?

No hair on my head...

One baby is born with a full head of hair, the other has to wait a little longer. Whatever hairstyle your little one is born with, real hair growth only starts after about nine months (Pregnancy Portal). Hair colour is determined by two types of melanin: eumelanin and pheomelanin. The proportion in which these two occur determines the colour of hair. The more eumelanin, the darker the hair. In the special case of a redheaded child, the concentration of pheomelanin predominates. This occurs in 1-2% of babies. Hair colour is also genetically determined, but depends on many different factors (InfoNow Science). 

Maternity visits: yay or nay?

Some people really enjoy it, others dread it: maternity visits. There are probably a lot of people who want to visit you and your baby during the week of the birth. And we understand that you don't necessarily feel like that. But that's okay, it's all about you and your baby. You could also choose to give a maternity party. Then you can invite everyone all at once or in batches so you don't have to tell the same story over and over again. You choose the moment, when you feel better and fitter. Moreover, you can also invite the people that you don't necessarily want at your bedside when you are at your lowest. That one colleague or that vague acquaintance can be invited to such a party. The downside of a maternity party is that it might be a bit crowded at home and you might not be able to talk to everyone. You can of course combine the two. Have your closest family and friends come over for a more intimate moment and invite the rest over for drinks. 

Another tip from us: let your partner or someone else organize the party. You have already delivered a top performance and organising a maternity party can be quite tiring.

Sources:

Hair color and heredity. (2017, January 5). Accessed from https://wetenschap.infonu.nl/diversen/170886-haarkleur-en-erfelijkheid.html#:%7E:text=Pigmentatie%20van%20het%20haar,-Haren%20worden%20aangemaakt&text=Dit%20zijn%20kleurstofcellen%20die%20het%20haar%20kleur%20geven.&text=Zij%20hebben%20rood%20haar.,mensen%20met%20een%20donkere%20haarkleur

KNOV. (s.d.). Breech presentation. Consulted from https://deverloskundige.nl/zwangerschap/subtekstpagina/173/stuitligging/

Koenen, M. (2019, May 21). Why do newborn babies so often have blue eyes? Consulted from https://www.quest.nl/mens/gezondheid/a25549223/babys-blauwe-ogen/

Kortekaas/Heetkamp Midwifery Practice. (2020, September 9). Falling in of the head | Kortekaas Verloskundige. Consulted from https://www.kortekaas-verloskundige.nl/abc/indalen-van-het-hoofdje/

Eye Fund. (s.d.). Eye color. Consulted from https://oogfonds.nl/alles-over-ogen/oogkleur#:%7E:text=De%20hoeveelheid%20pigment%20(melanine)%20in,door%20blauw%20en%20daarna%20groen

Midwifery Practice Middle Groningen. (s.d.). Delivery. Consulted from https://verloskundigenpraktijkmiddengroningen.nl/?page_id=2424

Pregnancy Portal. (2019, December 10). Baby hair growth: what to expect? Consulted from https://www.zwangerenportaal.nl/baby/verzorging/haargroei-van-babys

Pregnancy Portal. (2020, January 1). Contraction. Consulted from https://www.zwangerenportaal.nl/bevalling/alles-over-ween/indalingsween