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Understanding Last-Minute Details About Childbirth, at 39 weeks

It is possible that you have been trying all sorts of home remedies to bring on labor but nothing has worked out yet. You probably detest pineapples by now because you have been stuffing yourself with them since this remedy had worked for a distant aunt. From raspberry leaf tea to having sex and stuffing yourself with papayas; you seem to have tried every possible thing and it is slightly annoying that your baby is not ready to come out yet. More than being annoyed, you are tired and exhausted because your back and your pelvis simply can’t take it anymore. All you want is to deliver your baby and take up parenting for a change. Psychologists advise expecting women to spend more time with their partners towards the end of pregnancy because that is what they basically need. This is a significant time for parents-to-be to bond because once the baby is here, there will be a number of reasons to fall apart since parenting is nothing short of a challenge.

Your Baby

Your baby is at peace inside your womb and is continuing to add layers of fat to her body. Unlike you, she is not worrying herself day in and day out when the waters would break and she will be able to wriggle out of your body. The layers of fat that she is adding to her frame will help her stay warm and comfortable after she is born.

Your baby already measures around 20 inches in length and weighs a little more than 7 pounds. She is a full-grown baby and will do perfectly well if she were to be born now. She is almost the size of a small watermelon now and also feels like one in your pelvis. You are waddling more than ever before. Your baby’s outer layers of skin are being shed only to be replaced by a new layer of skin underneath.

Your baby will probably not grow much after this week but her brain is continuing to develop even more. The first three years of a baby’s life witnesses rapid development of a baby’s brain. You will be cringing one moment and smiling the very next because of how a tiny being can have never-ending questions and a tote bag full of skills to show off.

No Tears Yet

You might be amazed to know that even though your baby will cry quite a lot in the initial days, she will not have tears when she cries. This is because the tear ducts of babies are not developed enough to produce tears. It will take at least a month or so for babies to produce tears. Till then you will need to console your little ones while they cry out in sleep or otherwise without tears to justify their cry.

How Is Your Baby’s Skin?

Your baby’s skin inside the womb has turned a stark white by now. It used to be pink in color earlier but that has changed because of the deposition of a thick layer of fat over the blood vessels under his skin. Even if your baby will eventually have dark-colored skin, she will still have a whitish skin color for the time being till her actual color emerges in a couple of months.

Your Body This Week

“Will I ever be in labor?” is what most women feel like asking by this week and if your baby is still tucked inside your womb, it is likely that even you might ask so. Your pelvis is aching more than ever before and you are sure to feel extremely uncomfortable because of the fact that your baby is bearing down all its weight along with the uterus on you.

If your contractions have intensified and are more frequent, that is a sign of your body preparing for delivery. Your doctor is likely to do an abdominal check to locate the position and growth of your baby. Apart from an external check, your doctor will also want to perform an internal examination to see if you are dilating and whether your cervix is ripe enough for delivery. These figures might still be mere assumptions and there is no way to find out when you will really go into labor.

You may or may not go beyond 40 weeks of pregnancy. A lot of babies are born at 41 or 42 weeks. However, your doctor will carry out a thorough examination to find out if it is safe to keep the baby intact for more than 40 weeks. A fetal examination in the form of an ultrasound helps to find out if it is safe to wait it out.

If your doctor finds out that it is riskier to keep the baby intact, he would suggest induction of labor. If your contractions are not strong enough for real labor to set in, this is the commonest way out.

Paying Close Attention             

It is very important to pay close attention to your baby’s movements this week. If you seem to notice that her moves have slowed down, you will need to report that to your doctor or midwife immediately. It could either mean that your baby is napping or could be indicative of trouble. Your baby should ideally be active till you deliver.

Your waters may break by this week. It could start off as a small trickle and could also be a gush of water down your legs. Whenever you feel that the leakage is more than just a discharge or you see that you have lost your mucus plug let your doctor know about it so that he can make the proper diagnosis. If your amniotic sac ruptures but you don’t get contractions, you will be induced for labor.

Are You Prepared For A C-section?

You could be a woman who has always imagined pushing out your baby vaginally. It is a dream that most of us cherish but not all of us get to live it. An emergency C-section is likely to disappoint you in a big way if you have always planned for a natural birth. A C-section is likely to need more recovery time than a vaginal delivery needs. Along with that, it also needs more care because stitches are involved. There is a sense of incompleteness associated with a C-section. However, you should be aware of the fact that in the United States, around 32 percent of women deliver via C-section.

What Are The Reasons For A Scheduled C-section?

You might need to be scheduled for a C-section because of a number of reasons. Most of the reasons behind a C-section are generally predetermined. Emergency C-sections are performed when the risks outweigh the benefits. Listed below are some of the reasons for a planned C-section:

  • The baby’s health

Your baby’s health is of utmost importance to you as well as to your doctor. He would always prioritize it over and above your want for a normal delivery. If there is a medical condition in which passing through the birth canal could affect your baby’s chances of survival, you will be scheduled for a C-section.

  • Your own health

If you suffer from any medical condition like diabetes, preeclampsia, high blood pressure, heart problems etc that could strain you even further in a vaginal delivery, a C-section would definitely make more sense.

  • Maternal infections

If you are HIV positive or have a genital infection that could pass onto your baby during a vaginal birth, a C-section is the only way out.

  • A bigger baby

You could have a bigger baby who would be put at risk while passing through the birth canal. It can not only place immense amount of pressure on your baby’s brain but could also affect her body parts if too much strain is involved in the process.

  • Obesity

If you are obese to begin with and stay on the other side of safer limits, your doctor will probably schedule a C-section beforehand. This is because obese women tend to have longer labor hours and could also end up with unnecessary complications, putting both mother and baby at risk.

  • Baby’s position

The ideal position in which a baby should be placed in the womb is the cephalic presentation. If you baby is heads up and legs down in the womb, he is in the breech position that will require a C-section. If your baby can be turned before delivery, he might as well be delivered vaginally.

  • Placenta Previa

If you have had a low-lying placenta that covers your cervix partially or fully, the doctor will schedule a C-section. Most placentas make their way upwards after the first trimester but if yours doesn’t, you will need a C-section.

  • A history of C-section

If you have had a C-section earlier, there is every possibility that you will have another C-section. This is because VBAC’s are not always successful and could involve a number of complications.

Emergency C-Sections

There are a number of circumstances under which your C-section will be performed as an emergency. Listed below are a few of them:

  1. Baby is in distress

If the baby is in distress or has passed meconium already, your doctor will opt for an emergency C-section.

  1. Labor does not start

Even after your membranes rupturing or induction of labor, if contractions don’t start, your doctor will decide on a C-section.

  1. Labor stops midway

This often happens when the mother is too tired or exhausted to push. This could also happen baby’s head does not fit into the birth canal. Under both the circumstances, you will need a C-section.

  1. Umbilical cord issues

If your umbilical cord comes into the birth canal before your baby can pass through it, you will need a C-section to avoid the cord from cutting off your baby’s oxygen supply.

  1. Uterine tears

If your uterus ruptures, your doctor will immediately opt for a C-section to prevent any complication arising from it.

The Procedure

A typical C-section will begin with a routine IV and an epidural or spinal block to keep the lower half of your body numb while you are operated upon. Your pubic hair will be shaved or trimmed at least 4-5 hours before the surgery is slated to take place. The next step is to clean your abdominal area with an antiseptic solution.

A catheter will then will inserted into your urethra and sterile drapes will be placed on your abdomen by the attending nurses or hospital staff. A screen will be put up between you and the site of the procedure so that you don’t need to witness being cut open. You can request your doctor to hold up the baby once she is born so that you get the first glimpse of your little one.

If you or your baby are in any kind of distress and you need an emergency C-section, your doctor will not have the time to give you an anesthesia. He would rather use general anesthesia for your surgery. However, general anesthesia has its own disadvantages. When you wake up you will feel slightly disoriented, your throat will feel sore from the insertion of the tube and you could also feel nauseous. All these symptoms will fade away in a couple of days.

The Incision And Delivery Of Baby

Once the doctor is sure that you are either fully asleep or totally numb waist down, he will make the first incision on your skin just above the pubic hairline. The second incision will be done on the lower half of the uterus. There are two types of incisions that doctor generally do. They are:

  • The commonest incision these days, a low-transverse incision is usually preferred because the lower part of the uterus has thinner muscles and will not be prone to impact during the next deliveries.
  • The vertical cut is rarely opted for and is done in circumstances where the baby is positioned in an unusual manner.

The next step is to suction the amniotic fluid out of the sac. Before you hear your baby cry out, he will need some suctioning so that the extra fluid in his lungs can be squeezed out. In vaginal deliveries, the baby passes through the birth canal which naturally helps in suctioning out the fluid from his lungs.

After pulling out your baby gently, the doctor will severe the umbilical cord and carry out a basic checkup of his vital organs. The next step is to deliver your placenta which hardly takes much time. After all this is done, your doctor will stitch you up with dissolvable sutures.

Stitching up at the end takes more time than cutting up the abdomen because several layers of the abdomen need to be closed. After you are wheeled to the recovery room, you will receive antibiotics to prevent any kind of infection and oxytocin to help speed up the shrinking of the uterus and control bleeding. Your bleeding will be checked periodically to ensure that you are healing well.

If you have always wanted to breastfeed your baby, do let your doctor know about it so that he is aware of your choice. You can breastfeed immediately after your baby is born or at least practice skin-to-skin so that your baby gets to feel you before you are shifted to the recovery room.

Could There Be Complications?

Complications are rare in C-sections these days. At times, the mother might react adversely to some medication or the anesthesia used during the procedure. She could also have excessive blood loss or infections at the site of the operation. Following the doctor’s advice thoroughly is of utmost importance.

There is another issue that could happen in some women. Blood clots in legs or lungs could happen and the only way out is to walk around as soon as possible after your numbness is gone. If you experience breathing difficulties, fever, unusual discharge etc, let your doctor know about it immediately.

Some babies born via C-sections tend to have complications after birth. One of the commonest problems is rapid breathing from leftover fluid in his lungs. While this definitely sounds scary, it generally gets resolved on its own. However, if your baby is born before 39 weeks, he will be under close observation because complications are likely to arise.

Recovering From A C-section

Even though a C-section is considered quite safe, you need to remember that your body has been cut open and it is a major surgery that you have gone through. You need to give your body that amount of time to heal and recover. It will take you around three to four days in the hospital and six to eight weeks at home to completely recover from a C-section.

You will need to lower your expectations as far as activities are concerned. Ignoring rest initially will only lengthen the recovery time. Always be careful about your scar while moving about or nursing your baby. Using a maternity pillow helps a good deal.

Distribute your work as much as you can. You will need added energy to breastfeed your baby so do not spend it elsewhere. Let the housework pile up or let your partner take over the duties for the time being. Spend every free minute to get enough rest for the wakeful nights that will arrive very soon.

Your scar is supposed to itch and pull a little because it is drying up but if you have a fever and chills, you could be harboring an infection. Always keep the area clean and wear loose clothes that do not brush against the wound.

You will need to take all the medicines very seriously. Your doctor will know the best which is why taking the pain medication and antibiotics on time will help you recover faster.

Always avoid constipation as far as possible. Straining your stitches is a bad idea and you can keep that away by taking laxatives as prescribed by the doctor. You will also need to have a diet rich in leafy greens and fibrous food to help regulate your bowel movement.

Eat well and eat healthy. You will need to refuel yourself after this major surgery and the best way to do that is to keep healthy food at hand that will keep up your energy levels. Try and consume whole food as much as possible.

Keep yourself active in some way by moving around a bit. Your doctor will give you the green signal to start working out at around the 6th week. Till then you can keep building your stamina by walking around in the house, to begin with.

A C-section does not necessarily mean that you cannot have vaginal deliveries in the future. If having a VBAC does not affect you negatively, your doctor will be the first person to advise you so.

Helping Your Pregnant Spouse

Your wife is going through an emotional upheaval this week because she is probably tired of waiting for the D-day. You could help her out with reading to her, giving her light massages, making meals for her or taking her out.

Although she might not particularly enjoy going out now, nobody can deny a decent takeaway meal for dinner. Help her shed the load and share as many responsibilities as possible. If the doctor is of the opinion that your wife must undergo a C-section and if she is absolutely unconvinced, you can try to show her the risks that none of you need to take.

If your spouse happens to have a C-section this week, pay close attention to what the doctor advises. You will need to know about the details so that you can take over the entire responsibility. If your wife plans to breastfeed, you will be expected to take over everything and let the two of you spend quality time together.

This week could be yet another disappointment as far as the arrival of the baby is concerned but you never really know about the 40th week that lies ahead.

Waiting It Out At 38 Weeks Of Pregnancy

There is no denying the fact that you are more than ready to deliver by this week. You could very well be ticking the days off your calendar by now and wonder if today is the day when you will finally have your baby. Instead of spending time wondering when you will finally be able to meet your little, spend as much time as you can to take rest and get some sleep. Once the baby is here, you might not be able to spare much time resting or sleeping because your hands will be full. While it might be annoying to let every relative know that the baby is not here yet, you can look at these phone calls and messages as an indicator that everybody is as excited to meet the baby as you are. You could also receive quirky ideas from relatives about starting labor the natural way like having pineapples to having sex. While nothing could really induce labor, there are a few natural ways that many women swear by. This article will discuss at length how your 38th week might look like.

Your Baby This Week

If you go by 40 weeks being termed as full term, your baby might be here in two more weeks. Statistics show that only a handful of babies are generally born on their exact due date. Most are born either earlier or later. Weighing around seven pounds, your baby is quite the plump little thing now. She might also put on more weight as she spends more time in the womb. She also measures around 20 inches in length.

Your baby is preparing for birth in a number of ways. Although there is no significant change that might happen this week as far as your baby is concerned, she might very well be adding more fat cells to her body and sharpening her brain and nervous system. The longer the baby spends in the womb, the more fine-tuned her response to external stimuli becomes. Your baby continues to shed lanugo and vernix as more time passes.

Along with other substances, your baby is swallowing amniotic fluid that will turn into your baby’s first bowel called meconium. It will be passed out by the baby right after birth and will look like sticky, black tar. Your baby’s lungs continue to mature although it is mature enough already to breathe in effectively after she is born. What her lungs are doing at present are to produce more surfactant that will prevent the air sacs in the lungs from sticking to each other while breathing.

Your baby might have a different eye color from that of yours or your partner’s. Just like hair color, your baby’s permanent eye color might be difficult to make out. The baby’s iris begins to develop more pigmentation after three months of birth. They will eventually attain the color that they will be for her entire lifetime in 3-4 more months.

In other news, your baby already has a firm grasp that you will be able to test when she is born. She will be able to hold on to your finger if you happen to bring it close to her hands.

She is almost the size of a leek and with all her organs matured and developed and ready for birth.

Your Body This Week

There is no dramatic change this week or in the weeks coming up because your body is more or less ready for delivery. You can utilize these weeks in finishing off last minute tasks because once the baby is here, it can get quite busy for both you and your partner.

What you could do this week is to childproof your house, set up your baby’s nursery, and find fitted bedspreads that you had been postponing for a while or even stocking more groceries. Whatever you plan to do, you will need to remember that you are in the last leg of pregnancy and there is no real need to hurry up or unnecessarily strain yourself.

It is advisable to take as many naps as possible but also stay active through some part of the day to avoid nagging aches and pains. You can read books or spend time with your partner; these are two things that you are likely to miss a good deal when the baby is here. Try and make the most of this time.

If your baby has not dropped yet, this is the week you can expect it to happen. Your baby will drop into the pelvis for the final preparation before birth. This means good as well as bad news because while you might be relieved from acid reflux and breathlessness, your new visitors in the form of pelvic discomfort and swelling of feet etc are likely to annoy you.

If your baby has dropped into the pelvis already, you might be waiting for the dilation and effacement to happen which could also occur this week itself. From this week onwards, it is a game of waiting and watching. If you have planned an elective C-section, you might be spared of the game of suspense but if you plan to go the natural way, you will need to wait it out.

Your Breasts

Your breasts have gone through the most dramatic changes ever and it is not over for them yet. In fact, their real role is yet to begin. Your breasts have undergone major changes to be able to nourish your baby after she is born. Breast milk directly from the breast is the most suitable nourishment that you could provide your baby.

The last few days before delivery are like a dress rehearsal for which you may or may not be prepared. One of the significant things that might happen to you is the leakage of colostrum from your breasts. Colostrum is a thin yellowish liquid that forms your baby’s first meal after birth. While some women leak colostrum from the third trimester itself, some others do not leak at all till after delivery. Neither of the situations is an indicator of your ability to breastfeed.

Colostrum is loaded with antibodies that are designed to protect your newborn from a number of infections. You would be amazed to know how colostrum has lower amount of fat and sugar that is perfectly balanced to suit a newborn’s digestive system. The more mature milk that comes in later is suited for slightly more matured digestive systems.

If the leakage of colostrum makes you uncomfortable, you could try using nursing pads to keep the flow discreet. Nursing pads come in handy while breastfeeding because even when you are nursing your baby, you will tend to leak quite a lot.

You may or may not leak colostrum in pregnancy but your body is already preparing colostrum for your baby to have after birth.

Preeclampsia

If you thought that the risks of having preeclampsia are over, you are highly mistaken. Even after you are full term pregnant but your baby is not ready to be delivered yet, you could have signs of preeclampsia that need to be reported immediately.

Some amount of swelling in feet and ankles is normal around this time of pregnancy. This is known as pregnancy induced edema. However, if you happen to notice excessive swelling of feet, ankles, hands, fingers, puffing up of face or an accelerated weight gain, they could indicate preeclampsia.

Some other symptoms that need to be reported immediately are headaches that refuse to go, changes in vision like sudden sensitivity to light, blurred vision, seeing spots etc, pain in abdomen and nausea. These could also be precursors of preeclampsia.

Did You Know About The Signs Of Labor?

Your may or may not be able to distinguish labor from your usual Braxton Hicks contractions, especially if you are a first timer. You cannot really predict when and how your labor can begin. However, there are a few signs of labor that both you and your partner should be aware of. They are listed below:

  • Lightning is a phenomenon which is easy to identify. From the 36th week of pregnancy, you could expect your baby to drop into your pelvis, in preparation for birth. This is characterized by a relative ease in breathing, slight relief from acid reflux and also from your rib cage being pushed and cornered. Along with the comforts, comes the discomfort of a painful back and a heavy feeling in your lower abdomen. This is also associated with difficulty in walking properly.
  • What used to be mild and infrequent contractions will now intensify and become way more frequent. Braxton Hicks contractions are expected to become stronger as time passes and they could also signify pre-labor pains. Along with these dull pains, menstrual-like cramps could also be associated with the first stage of labor.
  • Your cervix is closed or blocked by a mucus plug. This is lost when your cervix is ripening for labor and the thickened mucus plug is lost as an effect. You might lose the mucus plug at once or in a continued process along with vaginal discharge. This often happens in the form of a “bloody show”. Bloody show is characterized by vaginal discharge streaked with blood and is an evident sign of imminent labor.
  • Your amniotic sac ruptures and as a result of which you start leaking amniotic fluid from your vagina. Real labor contractions follow on close heels after your waters break and you might need to be induced if contractions don’t begin immediately after.

Breastfeeding: To Be Or Not To Be

Why is there a hue and cry about exclusively breastfeeding your baby for the first six months of her life? This is because breast milk is the best form of nutrition you could provide to your newborn. Breastfeeding your baby naturally reduces her chances of contracting several forms of illnesses that generally plague newborns, infants and toddlers. Breast milk has just the right amount of proteins, minerals, vitamins, fats and carbohydrates that a baby needs. The benefits of full term nursing can never be emphasized enough but here is a look at what you could expect:

  • Nursing a baby exclusively for the first six months prevents her from respiratory tract and ear infections.
  • Your baby is also in safer hands because the introduction of formula will need water that might lead to food contamination.
  • Your baby has lesser chances of having childhood allergies, asthma and sudden infant death syndrome.
  • Along with your baby, you are also doing well for yourself by reducing your stress levels, reducing your chances of getting breast or ovarian cancer.
  • Your baby is not exposed to nipples or teats that could lead to tooth decay since formula milk tends to pool in the mouth at bedtime.

Will It Hurt?

A lot of women are apprehensive about breastfeeding because they have heard from their friends or relatives that breastfeeding is quite painful. This is untrue unless there is a serious medical issue involved. Breastfeeding is the most natural and normal form of nourishing a child and if it is done the right way, there is no reason for pain.

However, as natural as breastfeeding is, it does not always come with an instruction manual. Not every woman is equipped with enough information regarding full term breastfeeding and they end up apprehending the entire act.

Trust your body’s ability to nourish your baby. When you start breastfeeding your baby, it could be painful to you because of a number of reasons. The good news is, these reasons can be sorted out and you can breastfeed successfully. Most of the times, painful breastfeeding is associated with shallow or improper latch of the baby.

Lactation consultants suggest that women should speak up about their pain. They also recommend that a baby’s mouth should fully cover the areola so that the latch is deep and there is no pain involved. The nipple should be placed well inside the baby’s mouth for deeper and more effective feeds.

It is also suggested that you break your baby’s latch by inserting a finger in between from the side so that you can set up a new and more efficient latch. Hospitals often offer lactation consultants who can help teach you the ways in which you could offer the breast to your baby.

A baby might also have tongue-tie or lip-tie and that could be a reason for her not being able to latch well. If that is the case, a pediatrician is the best person to talk. If your baby needs to be operated upon, you will need to get the surgery done as soon as possible.

You could have flat or inverted nipples which are also the reasons behind painful breastfeeding. This is relatively easier to deal with since you will need a suction everyday in order to keep the process simple and hassle-free.

Have you thought of breastfeeding in public? It takes nothing to breastfeed wherever and whenever you want to. You are simply providing nutrition to your baby. However, a lot of women are not comfortable nursing in public. If you are one of them, try using a scarf or a shawl to cover yourself up. There are nursing covers available in the market that you could try using for your comfort.

Preparing Yourself

You cannot really prepare yourself to breastfeed successfully. What you could rather do is read up a lot on it and get ideas to make it easier for you. Read success stories and the ones that help you stay on track. There are a number of reliable breastfeeding books available that you could count upon for a fair idea of how to breastfeed and what to expect from a breastfed baby.

A breastfed baby and a formula-fed baby will have definite differences in digestion and behavior. The reason is simple; breast milk is easily digested by the baby while formula milk takes longer to digest. This is why the former will wake up more frequently to nurse in the night while the latter will sleep for longer hours. This does not indicate in any way that a breastfed baby is not receiving enough milk from her mother.

Breast milk follows the demand and supply theory. This means that your breasts are naturally capable of producing as much milk as your baby demands. For that to happen, your baby needs to suckle at the breast as much as possible. Sucking will create more demand and that will be supplied by the body by producing more milk. This is the most significant thing one needs to know about breastfeeding. Even if you seem to be making lesser milk initially, your body will pace up to the demand and start producing as per your baby’s needs.

A breastfed baby requires only colostrum in the first few days after birth so don’t fret if you only seem to be producing that. As and when your baby grows, your body will start producing more mature milk and nourish your baby efficiently.

There are a few key factors to remember about breastfeeding apart from the above. They are:

  • Immediate skin-to-skin is of vital significance right after birth. This helps in starting the breastfeeding journey at the earliest. The first hour after birth is called the golden period because that is when colostrum comes in and it is loaded with antibodies for the baby. If you have a C-section, ask for your baby to be placed on your breast immediately after the surgery while the doctors are stitching you up.
  • While breastfeeding may be the most natural way of nourishing your baby, it is not always easy for everyone. A lot of women face difficulties in nursing in the initial days. If you feel you need help, do not hesitate to ask for it. Most often, the hospital where you deliver will have a lactation consultant to help you with your problems. He or she will make sure that your baby and you are both comfortable with the idea of breastfeeding as far as possible.
  • Your newborn should be nursing at least eight to ten times in a span of 24 hours. This is the standard number but the feeds might be more frequent too. Until and unless breastfeeding is established, the baby should ideally not be receiving anything else.

Will My Milk Be Enough?

As mentioned earlier, a woman is capable of nourishing her baby with breast milk alone for the first six months of her life. However, with a lot of people resorting to formula milk for convenience, mothers who breastfeed exclusively are made to doubt their supply. The only thing that you need to remember is how breast milk is best suited for your baby and the more your baby suckles, the more milk will be produced. There is no need to doubt your supply as long as she has 8-10 wet nappies in the initial days.

Helping Your Pregnant Spouse

Now that everything is done and sorted, all that you and your spouse can do is to wait for the arrival of the little one. With your little one not so little anymore, your wife could be having a tough time dealing with the last leg of pregnancy. It is important that you keep motivating her and encouraging her to wait it out.

A lot of women start feeling annoyed and irritated with the idea of hanging on to something as unpredictable as labor. Keep her distracted if you can and keep annoying family members and relatives away who could ask even more irritating questions.

You can also educate yourself about breastfeeding so that it is easier for you to understand what is expected of you in this journey. It is a misconception that breastfeeding is solely a mother’s responsibility. While you may not be able to breastfeed your baby, you can do skin-to-skin while your spouse takes a break or catches a quick nap.

You are as integral to this journey as your wife is and understanding your role play in it will only make parenting more convenient for both you and your spouse.

Almost A Full Term Mommy at 37 Weeks: What You Could Be Expecting

You are still two weeks away from doctors would call a full term pregnancy. However, if your baby is born this week, she will survive without any complication or the need to be in a neonatal ward. Some babies do develop some complications like breathing difficulties etc after birth but that could be with babies born after 39 weeks as well. Research shows that spending two more weeks in the womb could help your baby’s lungs and brain to develop fully. This is why your doctor would wait for 14 more days before performing that elective C-section, if you happen to have one.

Your Baby This Week

Your baby will technically still be called “early term” if she is born this week. She will be gaining half an ounce everyday till birth. Your baby’s lungs are mature and she will probably have developed all the survival skills she needs by now. The average fetus weighs around six and a half pounds. However, studies show that boys weigh more than girls at birth which explains why women expecting boys tend to feel hungrier. Your baby hardly has much space in that crowded uterus but she will continue to roll around, wriggle and stretch quite a bit which you will be able to feel all through the last few days of pregnancy.

Almost the size of a Swiss chard1, your baby weighs around 6 pounds this week and measures over 19 inches in length. She may or may not have hair on her head at birth. She could also have hair color different from that of you or your partner’s but that is not a reason for concern. A lot of babies are born with different hair color from that of their parents that later goes back to what it should be.

Your baby has a rather large head and is still growing. At birth, the circumference of her head would be the same as that of her chest. Another interesting fact is how fat is gradually depositing on your baby’s shoulder that is making her chubbier by the day. You are likely to fall in love at the very first sight of those dimpled elbows and shoulders as soon as she is born.

To make her life after birth as convenient as possible, your baby is pacing up her survival skills. She is constantly practicing breathing by inhaling and exhaling tiny portions of amniotic fluid, sucking on her thumb, blinking and moving from side to side. These will all come in handy when she is born and needs to carry out the survival skills independently.

Your Body This Week

You are probably tired of hearing questions regarding your due date and the fact that you look like a ticking time bomb that is about to explode does not help either. Everyone around you seems to be doing some sort of a guesswork related to your pregnancy but the one person who knows exactly what to do is your doctor. He will look for dilation and effacement this week.

Effacement And Dilation

There are two terms that you should be familiar with by this week; effacement2 and dilation. Your cervix needs to dilate 10 centimeters for your baby to pass through easily. Your doctor will check how far the cervix has dilated at your prenatal appointment this week. Effacement is the process of your cervix softening in labor so that the baby can push itself out without any trouble. The cervix needs to be 100% effaced in order to be ripe for pushing the baby out. This is what the doctor will check. He will want to see if the cervix is ripe enough for labor to come upon you anytime soon.

Effacement and dilation are the two ways in which your doctor will be able to make out to some extent how far you are on the way towards labor. Although it is still an assumption that doctors make because you might take a number of days to fully dilate, it is still a guess close enough as far as labor is concerned.

What else does the doctor check for this week? He will check whether the position of your cervix has moved from the back to the front in preparation for labor. Yet another factor to be considered is the position of your baby in relation to your pelvis. The lower your baby, the closer you are to delivering her.

Doctors keep harping on the fact that none of these figures or findings can be absolutely accurate as far as labor and childbirth is concerned. This is because there have been cases in which a woman has been much dilated but has not delivered for more than a week. Some other cases have been reported in which the morning assessment has shown zero effacement while the same woman has been ready for delivery by evening. While all these studies sound quite scientific, they might take days, weeks and even a month to pile up and happen. You might not even be aware of more than half of what is going on.

Braxton Hicks

Your Braxton Hicks contractions might have just started getting stronger and more intense. They are more frequent as well and you are likely to feel more uncomfortable as time passes. You could also experience an increase in vaginal discharge this week onwards and do not panic if you come across a “bloody show3 in your underwear or while peeing.

What is this much talked about bloody show all about? The bloody show is the loss of the mucus plug that keeps the mouth of your cervix closed. As your due date approaches, you might lose the mucus plug in the form of mucus tinged with blood on your underwear or in the toiled bowl. This is a common occurrence and may or may not happen to everyone. While this is a signal that your labor is on the way, you might still be days away from delivering. You can simply let your doctor know about it and she might even ask you to wait it out for a couple of days before any other symptoms occur. However, if you are spotting or bleeding heavily, you must let your doctor know about it immediately.

Group B Strep Culture

Have you taken a Group B strep culture yet? If yes, you might want to know the results and prepare yourself accordingly. This will help you to give your hospital staff and attending nurses a heads-up in case you need antibiotics while you are in labor.

Baby’s Movements

Your baby might not be moving or jabbing at you continuously but she will still make a good amount of moves through the day. She might be cramped up in your abdomen but she will continue to wriggle and make moves so that you will find it easier to keep a track of the movements. If you sense a change in the movements, let your doctor know about it immediately.

Since the dropping of your baby into the pelvis, you might be looking forward to better sleep. However, that could be slightly difficult to arrange for because along with your belly, your back, your feet and your contractions are all gearing up to help deliver this baby. There will be a number of reasons for you to stay awake all through but it is advisable to unwind before bedtime and get a few hours of good sleep before you have an official reason in the form of an adorable bundle of joy to lose sleep for a couple of months.

All About Labor

Just in case you were not aware, labor could take anywhere between 15-20 hours and you might as well feel like murdering all those who surround you, if you happen to have lower levels of pain tolerance. If this is your second pregnancy and you have had a vaginal birth earlier, you are likely to need 8-10 hours for delivery. There are three main stages in which labor is divided. Let us take a look at what you could be expecting:

The First Stage

The first stage is characterized by intense contractions that help dilate and efface your cervix simultaneously. When your cervix is fully dilated, that is when the first stage of labor actually ends. To add to it, the first stage can be divided into early and active; the two subdivisions of the first stage.

First-timers might find it tough to distinguish between early labor and Braxton Hicks. The latter become more intensified towards the end of pregnancy which is why you might as well miss that you are already in labor.

Your doctor is likely to advise you to stay back at home when early labor strikes. This is because it will need quite some time for you to reach cervical effacement and dilation for easy delivery. Unless you have had a complicated pregnancy or are experiencing any other unusual symptom, it is best to carry on with your normal activities at home during labor.

Early labor comes to an end when your cervix is dilated to around 4 cms. It is then that your labor speeds up and you enter the second phase of the first stage of labor. In the active phase of labor, your contractions will be more intense, will last longer and also be more frequent.

In the active phase of labor, your cervix dilates from 8-10 cms. This phase is also known as the transition phase because it leads to the second stage of labor. The contractions will become more frequent, coming in every two to three minutes and they are likely to last for a minute or so.

The Second Stage

The second stage of labor marks the final descent and delivery of your baby. This is otherwise known as the “pushing” stage in which you will need to keep pushing till you deliver your baby. While pushing, it is vital to remember what was taught during the childbirth classes. Pushing aggressively will not help if you are not breathing in the right manner. Proper breathing techniques and intelligent pushing will help deliver your baby without needing episiotomies or ending up with second or third degree tears.

The pushing stage can range from a few minutes to a couple of hours, depending on how effective your pushing techniques are. If you have had a vaginal delivery before, this stage is likely to be quicker and less painful.

With each push, your baby’s head will come nearer to “crowning”. Crowning is a term associated with the exit of the widest part of your baby’s head. After your baby’s head emerges from the vagina, her nose and mouth will be suctioned and the doctor will rule out the possibility of the umbilical cord being around her neck. The next step is when you will be asked to push again for delivering the rest of the baby, beginning with her shoulders during which she will tilt sideways. In less than a minute, your baby will finally be delivered.

This is when a range of emotions will take over your mind and heart. While you might be gloating in pleasure about being able to successfully deliver your baby, you could also feel an amount of disbelief at the thought of it. Some women experience postpartum depression in the birthing room itself if they have been under its impact through pregnancy.

However, most women will feel euphoric at the idea of finally meeting their baby. If sleep and exhaustion have been troubling you through the stages of labor, you are likely to feel a fresh burst of energy that will drive the drowsiness away.

The Third Stage

In the third stage of labor, you will feel mild contractions that will help deliver your placenta. Once the placenta is delivered, your doctor will check for vaginal tears and will stitch up if there is a need to do so.

The Benefits Of A Perineal Massage

Massaging your perineum has benefits that far outweigh professional prenatal massages at the salon. When your baby’s head crowns, you are likely to feel an intense stinging in your vagina. This feeling can be minimized by gently massaging the skin between your vagina and rectum. This massage helps stretch that skin gently so that it is pliable enough when the crowning occurs. Evidence suggests that perineal massage could also help reduce the changes of tears and episiotomies.

How to go about it? You will need to begin with clean hands and trimmed nails. If your partner is doing the job for you, you will need to ensure that he has followed the instructions well. Begin by lubricating your thumb and inserting it gently into your vagina. The thumb will then need to be pressed down towards the rectum and towards the sides of your perineum. Gently massaging that area will help stretch it out in the same manner as when your baby’s head is crowning.

This massage can be done everyday till you are ready to deliver. Some doctors carry out this massage while you are in labor to prepare the area if it has not been stretched before.

Is This Real Labor?

For most first-timers, it is quite difficult to make out the difference between a normal Braxton Hicks contraction and real labor. How would you know the difference? Listed below are a few pointers that might help you note the difference:

  • False labor4 will have unpredictable contractions. They will come and go at irregular intervals and are likely to be less frequent. Real labor contractions are stronger, more intense and regular. Although they might be irregular initially but they usually come in at shorter intervals.
  • False labor pain generally occurs around your lower abdomen and they will feel more like contractions than real pain. Real labor contractions originate around your lower back and they seem like dull cramps that only intensify with time.
  • If you start or stop doing something, you can expect false labor contractions to die down but real labor contractions continue to happen regardless of your activities.

A Few Tips Before Delivery

Pregnancy induced dementia is one of the major reasons that expecting women tend to forget a number of important things right before delivery. Always remember that some babies tend to arrive a few days before their expected due date. Don’t assume that you have a couple of weeks to go before you need to get that car seat installed. Keep everything planned and done in advance.

If you have not really gained much since the third trimester, there is nothing much to worry about. A lot of women don’t gain weight in the last couple of months. As long as your baby is developing at a normal pace and her movements are fine, you need not worry.

If you feel you are bloated these days, try drinking more water and eat smaller meals. It is a misconception that drinking too much water will make you even more bloated. It will in fact help with the feeling and relieve you of the discomfort.

Getting Car Seat Installed

In the United States, you will not be able to bring home your baby unless you have a proper car seat installed in place. As simple as they might have looked at the time of purchase, car seats can be quite tricky to install. This is why waiting till the last minute could prove to be a big mistake.

The place where you bought your car seat will often provide you with toll-free numbers where you could call up and speak to professionals. They will help you to install the car seat with ease. If you still find it difficult to install the seat, you can look up video tutorials that teach you exactly how to do the installation.

Helping Your Pregnant Spouse This Week

It is normal for the expecting dad to feel more puzzled than the expecting mommy. This is because you are not experiencing any of the symptoms and might feel left out of the entire procedure. However, it is important that you have a checklist in place so that you don’t end up goofing things. There are some items that you definitely need on your checklist. They are:

  • If your wife’s contractions are 5 minutes apart and have been like this for more than an hour, you need to call the doctor right away.
  • Keep the names and numbers of all those people you might need; babysitters, doctors, midwives, relatives who can come in.
  • Keep the map of the route to the hospital folded and ready.
  • What to do once you reach the hospital.
  • Whom to contact if there is an emergency.
  • Cell phones and their chargers.
  • What to do about older children at home.
  • Your spouse’s hospital bag.
  • Your own hospital bag.
  • Your baby’s bag.

You can also help your spouse with a perineal massage every day so that she has better chances of avoiding perineal tears5 or episiotomies. Always keep your nails trimmed and make this a habit since your newborn will be held in your arms as much as she will be held in her mother’s arms. While massaging, keep asking her if she is comfortable. If you are unsure of the right way, watch tutorials or ask the doctor so that you know exactly what to do.

Learn about the three stages of labor and the signs and symptoms that you need to watch out for. They will come in handy if your partner happens to be in labor at home. If you have attended the prenatal classes along with her, you will be able to help her deal with the pain by reminding her of breathing techniques and exercises. This is a very significant phase for both you and your partner. It is important that you continue to hold her hand through labor and childbirth. It is not unusual to feel apprehensive for both you and your partner when the D-day arrives but the joy around it is absolutely priceless.

As The Baby Drops Into The Pelvis, You Enter The 36th week Of Pregnancy

If you have been waiting to get your first maternity shoot done, this is the time. 36 weeks is the time when your belly bump is as perfect as it could be, you are almost near the finishing line and you definitely need a good deal of distraction from people wanting to know when you would finally deliver. You will be meeting your doctor every week or more to check your baby’s position and whether the head is engaged or not. Your baby is likely to have moved further down into your pelvis and this will make breathing and eating food way easier for you. The intolerable acid reflux that used to plague you day in and day out will also reduce considerably. Your nesting instinct is likely to kick in this week and de-cluttering will continue to be on your mind all the time.

Your Baby This Week

Your baby continues to put on an ounce a day all through this week. Weighing in at almost 6 pounds and measuring around 18 inches in length, your baby is surely causing your back to ache even more. However, it is only a couple of weeks before your back will be relieved of the aches and pains and your baby will be nestled in your loving arms. Your arms and shoulders will probably have a tough time then, but that is another story for another time!

In the coming weeks, your baby’s growth will slow down so that she can fit into the birth canal conveniently and pass through it. She will also need to store up all the added energy to use after delivery.

Your baby was covered with a wax-like substance, called the vernix caseosa1, all through pregnancy. This was present to protect her gentle skin from the surrounding amniotic fluid. This week onwards your baby will be shedding most of it along with the downy hair that was present on her skin for a long time inside the womb. However, there will be traces of wax and hair present on your baby’s skin after she is born and they will eventually shed off with time.

You will be amazed to know that your baby swallows these substances that are shed from her body along with other secretions and small portions of amniotic fluid, in preparation for her first bowel movement, the meconium. It is a sticky, blackish mixture that is excreted right after birth and is almost always cleaned up by the attending nurses. If you happen to have a home birth, your might be able to witness it and clean it up yourself, if you have the energy.

Knowing The Term

If your baby is born this week, she will be called an “early term” baby. Babies born between 39-40 weeks are termed as full term babies. If your baby is born before between 36-37 weeks, she will be known as “preterm”. It is likely that your baby is laying heads-down in the cephalic position. It may take some more time for her head to be engaged.

Your doctor might suggest you to consider an external cephalic version that involves external manipulation by a certified professional to turn the position of your baby. While many women opt for this because they are tired of waiting and answering people, some others prefer to wait it out for things to take a natural course.

Baby’s Bones

Not only are your baby’s skull bones waiting to be fused together, but also are most of the other bones in her body along with the cartilage. These remain softer than that of grown up children so that their journey through the birth canal is easier. These bones and cartilage will continue to grow and harden with time after the delivery and as your baby grows up.

Baby’s Digestive System

There is no denying the fact that by now most of your baby’s organs are well matured and are functioning optimally. Your baby’s blood circulation is up and running and so is her immune system. Her immunity is developed enough to guard her from the basic infections that are likely to happen to newborns. However, among other things that need further development, her digestive system is the one that needs some more time to mature fully.

Your baby’s prime source of nutrition has been the umbilical cord inside your womb. Although the digestive system has been in place for a while, it has not been fully functional because it has not been used yet. It will take a couple of years from birth for the digestive system to mature fully.

Your Body This Week

You will probably be walking like a penguin this week because your belly is bigger than it has ever been and you just can’t seem to straighten out your back. You might be feeling embarrassed because of this new gait but you will need to understand that your pregnancy hormones are quite on the rise. They are causing your connective tissues to loosen and soften. This is an important step towards your delivery because your baby needs to fit in through your pelvic bones and surrounding tissues so as to make a vaginal delivery possible. While this is the body’s natural course of pushing out a baby, you might be feeling quite worked up with all the stretching, pulling and tugging of joints and muscles.

New Episodes Of Pain

With the loosening of pelvic and surrounding tissues and joints, there are new aches and pains that are plaguing you like never before. Pelvic pain is a factor that every pregnant woman dreads and it could actually get quite severe. The final trimester is almost like a nightmare for many women; especially the final weeks before delivery when the baby drops further into the pelvis.

Two to four weeks before your due date, your baby drops into the pelvis in preparation for birth. This is called “lightening2”. While some women experience it beforehand, most women feel this occurring in the first stage of labor.

However, pelvic pain can occur at any point in time and could be quite severe. The impact ranges from mild twinges to intense cramps that run down your back. The idea is to know the difference between pelvic pain and pelvic pressure. How would you identify if you are experiencing labor? The factors listed below might come in handy when one of those cramps is upon you:

  • Pelvic pain feels more like wrenching; as if your pelvis is about to come apart and this is because your baby is burrowing its head in the birth canal and engaging it for birth.
  • Pelvic pressure, on the other hand, feels more like menstrual cramps around the rectum and groin area and could signify the initial stages of labor and dilation.

Apart from loosening of ligaments, there can be another reason for pelvic pain. This is known as Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction3. This kind of pain does not shoot down through your legs like sciatica pain does. It is more localized and restricted to the pubic area.

How Can You Help Yourself?

While pelvic pain can be mild to moderate for some, it can be quite intense and annoying for many. The best way out is to understand how to deal with this pain and find ways to reduce the discomfort. Listed below are some of the ways you could adopt:

  • Pelvic floor exercises are known to be highly beneficial to reduce pelvic pain. You can try Kegels or pelvic tilts from your initial days of pregnancy to avoid pain in the future.
  • A warm and relaxing bath with your favorite perfumed oils infused in water can help ease the effect of gravity on your body.
  • There are maternity belts and slings available that can take a considerable amount of weight and pressure off your body.
  • Appoint a certified therapist who is aware of the techniques of prenatal massages.
  • Alternative therapies also work wonders and can ease off the pain.
  • A lot of pregnant women swear by the benefits of acupuncture.

Lightening And Lesser Heartburn

While your back might be killing you and everything hurts in your body at the moment, you have one thing to look forward to. You will experience a significant reduction in acid reflux and heartburn as your baby drops into the pelvis.

You might even start relishing your normal-size meals because there is more room in your stomach cavity for your digestive system to work effectively. However, it is advisable that you continue to have smaller and frequent meals because you will never want a bloated tummy because you went overboard with your cravings.

You will also find breathing way easier than it used to be before. This is because your baby no longer pushes against your diaphragm and your lungs can function effectively. Your lungs will finally be back to expanding fully and that helps in inhaling and exhaling more conveniently. All that huffing and puffing will be mostly gone.

However, with all these things that have eased up, you will have a couple of added discomforts from this week onwards. Now that your baby has dropped into your pelvis, you will find walking around quite uncomfortable. With more pressure on your bladder due to the dropping of the baby, you will also need to pee frequently, which is yet another reason to feel uncomfortable.

Added to this, if you have a low-lying placenta4 or a low-lying baby, your discomfort goes up a notch higher since you will keep experiencing vaginal pressure and an even more frequent urge to pee. It might feel like carrying your baby in between your legs even before you have delivered.

Braxton Hicks

Your Braxton Hicks contractions will become more intense this week. If your doctor has already informed you about the signs of labor, you would know the difference. If he has not, you might want to get an update from him about the same so that you don’t end up unaware in the second stage of labor.

If your contractions continue to be intense but are not quite close, it might not be labor. If your pregnancy has been rather uncomplicated, your amniotic sac is intact and you show no signs of labor, your doctor will suggest you to wait it out.

The red flags that you should bear in mind are reduction in baby’s movement, vaginal spotting or bleeding, leakage of amniotic fluid, abdominal cramps or pain and blurred vision. In any of these cases, you should let your doctor know immediately about your condition so that he can take a decision accordingly.

When The Nesting Instinct Strikes

The nesting instinct is quite common in the animal world and if you had no clue about it, you might experience it yourself sometime around this week. Preparing your home or “nest” for the newest member of the family comes naturally to most expecting parents. This might take you by surprise if you have been essentially unorganized earlier.

While human nesting instinct differs from our animal counterparts, it is Nature’s way of gearing you up for nurturing a baby. Research shows that there is a surge in adrenaline levels in between Week 38 and Week 39 that causes this instinct to build up. Apart from this factor, emotions also play a significant role in causing us to feel the need for de-cluttering.

While it could be stressful if you already have an aching back, it could be your perfect excuse to do away with all that has been unnecessarily piling up in your home. You and your partner need to distribute the work among you two so that you don’t end up more exhausted than ever before.

The only couple of things that you need to remind yourself before taking over the house are not to strain yourself, not to climb up ladders, not to reach for something that needs you to stretch out and to unwind as soon as you feel the tiniest amount of exhaustion. Always take snack breaks in between and keep yourself hydrated through all your activities. What are the activities that you could safely do?

  • Stocking up your fridge

Once the baby is here, you would thank yourself for keeping your food essentials stocked up beforehand. Make the most of your nesting instincts and start clearing up your fridge space. Throw out outdated food items and get new ones like cheese, salad greens, fruits, milk, pre-roasted chicken, fish filets etc. Remember to stock your fridge with items that you can quickly warm up or stir-fry and consume. In the initial days after the baby comes home, you and your partner might be too exhausted to cook full course meals.

  • Pantry essentials

There is nothing like those hunger pangs that might strike you at odd hours, especially if you are breastfeeding. Remember to stock up your pantry with wholegrain cereal, pastas, dried fruits, nuts, brown rice, vegetables and instant soups. All of these might not be healthy options but these could very well save the day when your baby refuses to be put down for a nap.

  • Home cooked goodness

Who could possibly turn down a homemade meal, especially if you have been subjected to bland hospital food during labor and delivery? It is very convenient to flash cook frost-friendly food items like sausages, veggies, pancakes, muffins, pastas, meatloaves etc. All you have got to do is heat the food in your microwave and you are sorted for the day. You can keep separate batches of food for separate days by dividing them into portions.

  • Spring cleaning

While you might as well be delivering in the winters, your deep cleaning needs could almost resemble spring cleaning. You might want to clean the windowsills and blinds, vacuum the sofa cushions and dust the photo frames. Be careful about doing these if you are allergic to dust; it might as well aggravate your condition.

  • Keep outfits stocked

If you have still not been able to stock up clothing essentials for your post-baby body, this is the time. You will need nursing pads, nursing bras, gowns and nursing pillows if you plan to breastfeed. You will also need oversized underwear but remember not to invest too much in them because they might be stained with blood and discharge in the initial weeks and you might need to throw them away.

  • Baby items

Your baby will not just need clothes but a hundred other things. Stock diapers, baby soaps, rectal thermometer, nasal syringe, baby soap, baby shampoo, bottles, nipples etc are baby essentials that you need to stock well in advance.

Have You Made Birth Announcements Yet?

Have you decided how you intend to announce your baby’s arrival? Calling, texting, tweeting, e-mailing, messaging and updating status on social networking sites are the commonest ways that most people adopt. Knowing in advance what exactly you are looking for can help do away with last minute preparations.

If you are looking for a formal announcement, you could send out online or paper notes. You might also want your extended family members to know about your baby’s arrival. This can be taken care of by keeping numbers and e-mail addresses at hand and they can be informed as soon as the baby arrives.

Vaginal Discharge

Don’t be alarmed if you notice vaginal discharge streaked with blood. It is also likely that your discharge will get thicker and increase in volume from this week onwards. If you have sex this week or a vaginal examination, the likelihood of a blood streaked discharge is enhanced.

All these symptoms could mean that your cervix5 has started dilating although you could be days away from real labor. Keep a check on your contractions, the movements of your baby and your discharge. If the discharge looks watery or too runny, you could be leaking amniotic fluid and that needs to be reported to the doctor right away.

Increased Urination

One of the several things that might give you sleepless nights this week onwards is increased urination. Now that your baby has dropped into the pelvis, your bladder will bear the brunt of the uterus as well as your fully grown baby. A sip or two of water might send you to the washroom every half an hour but that does not mean you should cut back on fluids.

Now is the time when you will need to stay hydrated more than ever before. Your body needs fluids to keep up energy levels and prevent urinary tract infections. Try and cut down on processed juices, caffeine, carbonated beverages that stimulate urine production. Keep drinking to thirst and never control the urge to urinate. This leads to urine infections because the bacteria stay back in the urinary tract longer than it should. While urinating, try and lean forward so that you are emptying the entire bladder at a time.

Helping Your Spouse This Week

There will be a number of things to do this week and you and your partner will probably be busier than ever before. Share your responsibilities so that one of you doesn’t feel touched out by day end. Help your wife make or arrange for baby announcements. Go through the member lists carefully so that you don’t miss out anyone. Your wife might still be a victim of pregnancy induced dementia and you will need to remind her of the names she could have forgotten.

Batches of food in the refrigerator will save the day when you and your wife will take turns to manage a colicky baby. Help your wife with the meal preparations and if you can, cook a couple of meals yourself. Check on the pantry supplies and ensure that there is enough to last a couple of weeks after the baby is here.

Get your last-minute work schedule in place so that you can make the most of your paternity leave. You wouldn’t want to attend client calls and conference calls while waiting for your wife in the hospital. Keeping your work schedule updated and letting your employer know about the exact dates of your leave can help you plan your innings efficiently.

Your Baby is Reaching Home Grounds With the 35th Week Of Pregnancy

If your baby is born this week or later, chances are that he or she will have no complications and will not need to be in the neonatal wing. However, since every baby is different and so is their development, it completely depends upon their condition at birth that can decide whether they need additional care or not. You probably look like a ticking time bomb, about to explode but even when you thought you couldn’t get any bigger than this, you end up expanding a little more. The best way to deal with all the anxieties building up is to keep up your sense of humor. Humor helps to deal with the toughest of situations and keeps you from feeling depressed about trifling matters.

Your Baby At 35 Weeks

Almost the size of a honeydew melon, your baby is five and a quarter pounds in weight and 18 inches long. She will continue to gain more weight at a steady pace till she is born. She will put on several pounds that will help to fatten up her legs and arms even more than before. If you remember how lanky and lean she used to be in the second trimester, you would know the difference now. By the time your baby is born, she will be irresistibly soft and squeezable and these are the features that probably make a newborn’s night waking easy to deal with.

Baby Brain Power

Your baby’s brain power is enhancing with each passing day but the bones of his skull are not fused yet. This is because soft skull bones will help in easier passage through the birth canal while delivery. With the skull bones still in the process of development, your baby’s brain power continues to develop and very soon you will have an inquisitive little thing at your dinner table asking you a hundred questions every minute.

The last two decades of medical science and research shows how babies inside the womb have potentially meaningful dreams and feelings. After your baby is born, you will be able to communicate with her on a regular basis and it has been seen that constant interaction helps enhance a baby’s brain power in a much more constructive manner.

Not Much Space

Your baby hardly has much space inside your womb because he is almost fully grown by now. He will not be able to do those somersaults or kickback moves anymore but the number of movements he used to make is supposed to remain the same. If you ever notice any reduction in the number of times he moves, make sure that you let your doctor know about it.

Your baby’s kidneys are fully developed and functioning as per normal standards by now. His tiny liver is producing waste matter that will pass out as your baby’s first stool called meconium. Your baby’s basic physical development is mostly done by now and he will spend the remaining weeks adding fat stores to his body and putting on more weight.

Your Body At 35 Weeks

Your first trimester uterus that was inside your pelvis is now inches above your rib cage. However, your baby will make his descent downwards towards your pelvis yet again when his head engages and labor is upon you. Till then you will probably have to huff and puff your way around because the overcrowding in your stomach cavity makes it very difficult for you to breathe in and out properly.

If you remember, your lungs are doing a very hard work because with all that cramping of space, it needs to function and even if it cannot expand fully, it continues to provide you with as much oxygen as you need to keep your vitals normal. If you could take a quick peek inside your womb right now, you would notice that there is hardly much space for the amniotic fluid. It is your baby who occupies the major portion of your belly bump. Your organs have been pushed to the extremities by your growing uterus and this is the reason that you are having to deal with acid reflux, breathlessness etc. Not all women have to deal with these issues but those who do find it extremely annoying in this phase of pregnancy.

Prenatal Visits

Your doctor will probably want to see you every week from this week onwards. You will be checked for Group B Streptococcum between this week and 37 weeks. It is a harmless procedure that involves taking a sample from your vagina or rectum with a swab. This is otherwise called a vaginal or rectal culture but there is nothing to be anxious about this procedure because the swab used is not bigger than a regular cotton swab.

Group B bacteria are not harmful in adults but it could be significantly dangerous for your baby if you happen to pass it on to her during a vaginal birth. It could cause complicated issues like pneumonia, meningitis or other types of blood infections that could be worse in newborns and infants.

While not every woman has these bacteria in their body, almost thirty percent of pregnant women who have it are unaware. These kinds of bacteria do not stay in the body for long periods of time; they come and go and that is why early screening and diagnosis of it will not help the purpose. What is necessary is to diagnose it right before delivery and if you are found to be a carrier of GBS, you will be given IV antibiotics in labor and that will reduce the chances of the bacteria passing on to your baby.

Frequent Washroom Visits

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse than this, frequent urination hits you hard and this time you also have a huge belly to lug around. In the first trimester, your pregnancy hormones were to be blamed for the constant need to pee but this time your baby’s positioning in your body is what can be held responsible.

Not only is your baby pressing down on your bladder but is also settling into a position for birth which pressurizes your pelvis even further. You are not only restricted to frequent need for urination but are also trying hard not to pee in your pants. You always seem to have an urgency to pee and a slight delay is making you lose control over your bladder. Urinary incontinence is a major issue that most women experience not only in pregnancy but also after delivery.

In the hope that you will feel the urge to pee less often, do not ever try to cut down on your fluid intake. The last thing you would want is a urinary tract infection now. Even if it takes you a couple of minutes and an added bit of effort to haul your body from one room to the other, do so and lean forward while peeing so that you end up emptying your bladder each time.

If you feel a burning sensation while passing urine, try drinking more fluids and keep a track on whether feeling continues. If it does, let our doctor know because a UTI will need to be diagnosed and treated at the earliest.

To keep urinary incontinence at bay, try doing Kegels from the initial days of pregnancy. If you haven’t done them yet, this is the time to do them. Kegel is a miraculous set of exercise that strengthens your pelvic floor and helps in retaining bladder control. Since it does not require any equipment, added time or energy, you can do Kegels as many times as you want do. Proper form and posture is very important for all kinds of exercises and a proper form is what makes the regime effective.

If urine incontinence makes it embarrassing for you to visit places, you can wear a panty-liner to keep your leakage discreet. You can also use disposable sanitary pads that help with both vaginal discharges as well as with loss of bladder control.

Birth Plan

You will need to have a starting point to discuss and lay out a birth plan that you want your doctor or midwife to follow. This is a good time to create a birth plan because you know exactly what and how you things to happen. To begin with, you can state the kind of pain relief you want to opt for; whether you want pain medication or you want to feel the pain. You can the talk about where you would want your baby placed; would you want to co-sleep or would you want your baby to be in a different room.

If you have plans to breastfeed your baby, you can state that in your birth plan as well. These are simply preferences that you can discuss and decide with your medical team. However, labor and childbirth are two absolutely unpredictable experiences and anything can happen that could be different from your birth plan but the idea of having one in place is to at least have your own choices ready.

You can at least let your doctor know about your preferences beforehand and can help ease yourself of the anxiety that you have been feeling. It is your body after all and this pregnancy is something that you have pulled through on your own. Do not let medical authorities treat you as a patient who has a health condition. Let your doctor know that you would want an intervention free birth, if that is what is on your mind.

Have You Found A Doula Yet?

A doula or midwife is a birth companion, the concept of which has come a long way from what it used to mean before. Earlier, midwives were women who would assist a birth but would not be educated or knowledgeable enough to make crucial decisions.

Nowadays, doulas are certified professionals who can lawfully carry out a natural birth without needing to report to doctors or nurses. Today, a birth doula is not restricted to the time of delivery only; she is meant to hold your hand through the pregnancy. Pregnancy has many ups and downs and a doula’s role is to provide emotional, physical and mental support to you all through. She will check on your mental health and will ask you about your feelings to rule out the possibilities of depression setting in.

A birth doula will help you find the best position for birthing. She will help you learn relaxation and breathing techniques that will keep the pain bearable. A lot of women have reported that they find the presence of a doula so encouraging that they have not needed pain relief during labor.

The most significant role of a doula is to offer emotional support that a doctor fails to offer at certain points of time. Comforting words, encouraging statements, helping you breathe through a contraction, keeping you motivated through the dilation of a cervix and encouraging you to push intelligently rather than ending up with a tear; these are the ways a doula can help in your delivery.

Finding a good doula can be tough but knowing what you expect from one will take you one step ahead in finding one:

  • Set your priorities and write them down so that you can remember while discussing them with your potential doula.
  • Ask her if she is equipped to deal with natural births without medical intervention.
  • Ask for previous records in which she has assisted natural births successfully.
  • Tally your approximate due date with her availability and ensure that is booked for your beck and call.
  • Find out if you would be comfortable discussing your mental and physical state with her.
  • Ask her if she would be available before labor to give you emotional support so that your fears can be alleviated.
  • Consult nearby agencies that have records of doulas so that you can hire from a legal company.
  • Always ask for certificates and records before hiring a doula.
  • Discuss financial details before hiring her so that there is no disagreement in this matter later.

Are You Hospital Ready Yet?

Now that there are less than 3 weeks for you to reach full term, you could already start feeling the false alarms. Packing everything while contractions swear to kill you is a bad idea and the only way out of last minute clumsiness is to have yourself and your bags packed and ready to go. How will you prepare yourself for the hospital?

To begin with, you and your spouse should have mapped out the nearest route to the hospital. Find out if there is a parking area in the hospital or around it because one of you would need to park and then enter the premises. If you are on your own, the need for a parking space is even higher.

If you are having a hospital birth, you and your partner would have had a tour of the obstetrics ward already. While taking the tour, ask them where you are supposed to reach in case you are in labor.

Now comes the turn of your hospital bag. If you haven’t packed it already, it is time you do. For yourself, carry your headphones, charger, disposable panties, sanitary pads, nursing bras and gowns, extra set of clothes that are lose and unrestrictive, a couple of light reads, your playlist on your mp3 player and a shawl or a light cardigan to keep you warm. You might need added warmth after birth because you tend to feel weaker after blood loss. Always ask the hospital staff to help you with additional blankets.

For your baby, carry two sets of newborn clothes, caps, socks and warm clothes if it is winter. You can also carry disposable or washable breast pads that you will need once your milk comes in. Remember to carry a couple of diapers. The hospital will provide you the rest. If you plan to breastfeed your baby, you don’t need to carry anything else but if you plan to formula feed, your doctor will tell you which formula to offer.

In The Hospital

Once you are in the hospital, do not be shy about asking for things that you need. You might need ice because the heat of the labor pains can get quite uncomfortable. If you needed additional blankets or food to eat, let our partner or attending nurse know about it.

If you have fetal monitoring going on, you will be able to see the contractions on screen. You can ask your midwife or nurse to help you understand the graphs. This will make it easier for you to deal with the contractions. You will know when to breathe in and breathe out so that the pain can be alleviated to some extent.

You will be tested for Group B, if that has not happened already. Your urine sample will be taken and you will need to change into hospital clothes. Your vital signs will be checked and your dilation will also be checked. If your water is broken, you have lost the mucus plug or you have vaginal spotting, you will be asked to wait it out. If you are already dilated enough to start pushing, you will be taken directly to the birthing room.

Your coping mechanism with pain will be taken into consideration. You will be asked if you want pain relief and if you have a birth plan, you can hand it over to your doctor so that she knows your preferences. If you don’t, you can simply let her know at the moment. Your baby’s heartbeat will be checked and so will her movements.

If the doctor finds out that you have not dilated much and everything else is intact, you will be sent home and this will be called a false alarm. A lot of women experience false alarms the first time around.

If you haven’t thought about it before, now is the time to get that car seat installed. Hospitals in the United States do not allow babies to be taken back home if there isn’t a car seat installed while leaving the hospital. If you are the type who does not believe in last minute hassles, keep it installed and ready for use.

Keep Your Supplies Stocked

Needless to say, you and your partner would be way too exhausted in the first few weeks of delivery to cook food. The solution is to start doubling your recipes and freezing half from now onwards. Once your baby is here, all you will need to do is warm up the food and have quick meals without any fuss.

The best way out is to flash cook veggies like carrots, peas, beans, and broccoli, snap peas, mushrooms and keep them ready for a quick stir-fry. You can also keep sauces and soups semi-cooked and ready for hot meals that you would bless yourself for later. Meats and fish can also be pre-cooked and frozen.

Keep your supplies stocked. Buy grocery beforehand and keep a stock of two to three weeks so that the initial days are easy to pass by. Instead of calling up takeaways and depending on outside food, have your meals ready in your own kitchen.

What Can You Do For Your Wife This Week?

You cannot really take away the discomfort that she might be experiencing at the moment but you can at least help her make the choices and take the decision. Play a significant role in keeping the house and car ready for the arrival of the baby. Keep the bags packed and if she does go into labor, remember the role you need to play. Even if she loses self-control and screams at you for causing everything, keep calm and encourage her to stay strong. While she picks out her doula, be a part of the discussion so that you are aware of her preferences. In the absence of anyone else, you should ideally be the first person her doctor asks questions to.

Time To Start Preserving Memories At 34 Weeks Of Pregnancy

This week might begin with a prenatal appointment where your doctor will check your vital functions to rule out any abnormality. He will also check your weight gain, the movement of your baby and her heartbeat (which can now be easily felt without using a Doppler) and also your general well being. If you have tested Rhesus negative1 earlier, you are likely to receive an anti-D this week. Your doctor will pay close attention to any kind of swelling on your hands and feet that could be symptoms of preeclampsia. Your puffy ankles might as well be normal signs of third trimester but if there is unexplained swelling elsewhere in your body, you might be asked to get a urine sample tested for the presence of protein in it.

If you are consulting a midwife, she might want to have a little chat regarding the breaking of waters. She will also speak to you regarding contractions and what to do if you have start having one. She will discuss with you about the pain relief options that you have been considering and also about your birth plan, if you have any.

Your Baby At 34 Weeks

At five and a quarter pounds of weight and 18 inches of length, your baby is almost the size of a cantaloupe this week. She will keep gaining weight throughout these last few weeks and her fat stores will make her look rounder and more newborn-like. Her body is also preparing to regulate the temperature, both inside and out, so that once she is born, she can keep herself warm. Her skin is also becoming smoother and is no longer the previous wrinkled version. Lungs and central nervous system continue to mature and develop at a fast pace. If you have had a complicated or high-risk pregnancy and you feel that you might have to face preterm labor, you could cut down on your worries because babies born after 34 weeks generally do fine after a short stint in the neonatal ward. They generally have a few short-lived health conditions that get better as they grow up.

Your baby has toenails as well as fingernails that have now reached the tips and will very soon need to be trimmed after she is born. Your baby’s nails will be thin and flaky but keep them trimmed at regular intervals because they can be quite sharp. One important thing to remember is to avoid making your baby wear mittens. Keeping their nails in shape is a safer alternative since mittens can hinder effective sensory development in babies.

If your baby is a boy, his testicles will make their descent from the abdomen to the scrotum this week. If your baby is born with his testicles still in his abdomen, there is nothing to worry since four percent of babies are born in a similar fashion and the trip downwards happens after birth without needing any medical intervention.

Your Body At 34  Weeks

As your baby bump continues to grow, your uterus is almost five inches above your navel this week. You continue to be clumsy, wobbly and are forever in search of proper balance. While this is pretty annoying, considering the fact that you have been quite active all your life, you will be relieved to know that this is a temporary phase and will be over very soon.

Your highly dreaded fatigue is likely to be back this week. From 34 week onwards, your body and your baby are preparing for birth more than ever before. With all the last minute developments and hormonal changes, your body is sure to be exhausted by now. To add to all that, you are probably not sleeping well too because of a number of reasons like acid reflux, frequent trips to the washroom, restless leg syndrome2 etc. while tossing and turning in bed, all you could ask for is a restful night that continues to elude you.

This exhaustion is normal and you should give into your body’s need for rest. Slowing down and saving your energy for the D-day is what you should ideally do from this week onwards. Apart from taking a break from your regular exhausting activities, you should also be careful about making sudden moves. Your body’s center of gravity has shifted and you are already carrying around quite a lot of weight.

You will need to give your body time to adjust. Always take time to get up after being seated for a long time. Take time to get up from bed in the morning. There is a tendency for blood to pool in your legs that bring down your blood pressure in pregnancy. This will make you feel dizzy and light-headed and the last thing you would want now is to have a fall.

Are You Seeing Things?

Pregnancy hormones are at work, yet again and this time they are affecting your vision. However, this is just a temporary change and your vision will go back to normalcy once you deliver your baby. There is a significant decrease in the production of tears that makes your eyes dry and blurry. If you need to wear contact lenses, always remember to use your lubricating solution, as recommended by your doctor.  If wearing lenses is not compulsory, it is recommended that you wear plain glasses.

It is slightly intimidating to know that the accumulation of fluid behind your eyes can alter their shape and make you more near-sighted or far-sighted than you were before. Until and unless there are major changes happening to your vision, there is no need to change your glasses or contact lenses.

When do you need to call a doctor as far as blurry vision is concerned? Blurry vision could be an early sign of preeclampsia. However, there are other signs and symptoms of preeclampsia as well that you should be aware of and if your blurred vision is accompanied by any one of these, ensure that you let your doctor know about it.

The Thing Called PUPP

PUPP is a harmless skin condition that is one of the common symptoms of third trimester and a majority of women is affected by it. It is characterized by red and itchy bumps on your belly and thighs and also your buttocks. However harmless it might be, it is quite uncomfortable to a pregnant woman who is already dealing with a number of things at her end.

A dermatologist will be the best person to consult regarding this issue. If the itching goes beyond control and if you are having sleepless nights because there is sever itchiness all over your body, let your doctor know about it right away. There is a condition in pregnancy where the gall does not pass out of your system as much as it should which leads to this kind of irritation on the skin. If that is diagnosed, your doctor will put you on medication till you deliver and suggest you to cut down your fat intake till delivery.

Ever Thought Of Preserving Memories?

Your pregnancy is practically an adventurous journey that you would love to share with your child in future. Each day is like a new discovery and there are endless moments that you can cherish at bedtimes and mealtimes with the rest of your family when you are an old granny with grandchildren of your own.

The best possible way of preserving memories of this pregnancy would be to maintain a diary and scribble away before bedtime every day. Including both positive and negative memories is important because that helps in keeping the entire journey realistic. In the age of information and technology, your child will probably cherish handwritten letters, more than anything else.

However, you could also send him or her emails that contain detailed descriptions of how this pregnancy had progressed. You can write about your reaction the first time you got the news of your pregnancy; your fears, your joy and your anxieties. Write about how pregnancy changed your body every week and new signs and symptoms arrived every month. Make it sound memorable so that he or she can relate to these experiences when they are about to be parents.

Talk about how your husband supported you in this journey by catering to all those crazy food cravings you had in pregnancy; whether it was gelato at two in the night or pickles in between work hours. Narrate all those incidents when the ultrasounds would make you emotional and all you would do is to look forward to meeting your baby.

Convey your feelings without any hindrances. Write about how you expect your future lives to be, how you would want to support your baby at every step in life and also allow him or her to learn self-dependence.

Vaginal Discharge

Medically termed as leucorrhoea, vaginal discharge is a common symptom of pregnancy and occurs to a lot of women without carrying any side effect. You might experience a thin and milky white discharge that is accompanied by a mild smell and could also be odorless.

Your pregnancy hormone estrogen is being produced in higher quantities that enhance blood flow to your pelvic area. This in turn stimulates the mucus membranes of your body that leads to this annoying pregnancy symptom.

This kind of vaginal discharge actually protects your birth canal from infections and maintains a healthy balance of vaginal flora3. While vaginal discharge is a common symptom, vaginal spotting or leakage of fluids that look like amniotic fluid could be a sign of preterm labor. If you also happen to lose your mucus plug or notice reddish or brownish streaked vaginal discharge, let your doctor know about it right away. Your vaginal discharge could also be indicative of an infection if it smells cheesy or looks thick and has a fishy smell. Vaginal infections need to be diagnosed at the earliest because it can be menacing later in pregnancy.

How will you deal with vaginal discharge?

Vaginal discharge can be dealt with without needing to be conscious about it all the time. Listed below are a few ways in which you can deal with vaginal discharge:

  • Wearing sanitary pads and using panty liners can help keep you feeling dry through this phase.
  • You can also keep yourself trimmed and clean down there to avoid feeling wet and uncomfortable all the time.
  • Feminine hygiene products can be tricky to use. While some maintain a good pH balance, others make the vaginal area too dry and that could lead to itchiness and infections.
  • The one thing that you need to avoid doing is douching with water. Douching upsets the balance of the vaginal flora and could lead to the growth of bad bacteria, causing infections.
  • Wear cotton undergarments and change them thrice a day to keep yourself dry and clean.

The Reality Of A Caesarean Section

The number of caesarean sections is going up with each passing day. It is possible that you might deliver vaginally without resorting to medical interventions but if you do end up with a C-section that does not make you any less of a mother. C-sections are mostly unplanned and are done to prevent certain medical conditions. However, nowadays, C-sections are also planned because of our modern day lives that are becoming increasingly busy. More people want to plan and schedule their lives so that there is no disruption.

What are the reasons that could lead to a C-section?

You could have an unplanned C-section for a number of reasons. They may range from your cervix not dilating beyond a certain point, your baby’s heart rate dropping to complications in your body. Listed below are the top reasons for a C-section:.

  1. If you have had a C-section before, it is likely that you will have it this time too. However, there have been many success stories of VBAC4 and if you have a supportive midwife or doula, you might be able to deliver vaginally after the first C-section.
  1. Most twins are delivered via C-section. Even multiples will naturally need a C-section to be delivered.
  2. If your baby is very large in size, your doctor might recommend a C-section because excessive pressure during labor and delivery could impact your baby’s brain.
  3. Your baby is not settled in the cephalic presentation yet. While a few doctors believe in changing the position of the baby just before birth, most pregnancies with breech presentations end up in C-sections.
  1. If you have had low-lying placenta all through your pregnancy, chances are high that you will have a C-section. In this case, the placenta lies low and almost covers the cervix that does not support a vaginal birth.
  1. If your baby has a disorder or illness that could put her at risk during a vaginal delivery, your doctor will recommend a C-section.
  1. If you have tested positive for HIV, your viral load will be high and it would put your baby at risk to be delivered vaginally.
  1. If you have had an invasive uterine surgery beforehand, you might have to opt for a C-section to be able to deliver your baby.
  1. If your baby has passed meconium and is in distress and your cervix is not ready for labor, you will need to get a C-section done right away.
  1. If the umbilical cord is around your baby’s neck and there is a sudden drop in the fetal heartbeat, your doctor might not want to take chances and might recommend a C-section.
  1. If you have had miscarriages in the past or have had a still baby at birth, you could be asked to opt for a C-section to avoid complications this time.
  1. Emergency C-sections are often carried out in situations where the mother has preeclampsia and there is severe swelling all over the body. Elevated blood pressure is also a reason to have an emergency C-section.

Understanding The Procedure 

With medical advancements at their peak, a C-section is no longer as intimidating as it used to be a few decades back. You will most probably be wide awake during the procedure but will not feel the pain at all. All you are likely to feel is pushing and pulling of abdominal muscles.

You can ask your partner to stay with you during the procedure. The procedure begins by starting an IV and inserting a catheter into your urethra to drain out the urine. The next step is to give you an epidural or a spinal block so that the entire lower half of your body is numb. You won’t feel any sensation but will be able to see everything.

In some hospitals, a screen is put up between you and your belly while in some others, the mother can witness everything. Your doctor will make the final incision on your uterus and ease your baby out. The first cry of the baby may or may not take time. Your baby will be handed over to the pediatrician to be examined and washed. Meanwhile, your placenta will be delivered and you will be stitched back up.

Stitching your uterus will take around thirty minutes and once you are done, your baby will be handed over to you for the golden hour of breastfeeding. After the entire procedure is over, you will be taken to your room to recover and breastfeed your baby for as long as you want to. The effects of the IV and the pain medication might make you feel drowsy and sedated. Hand over your baby to your partner or the attending nurse if you feel that there is any such symptom.

Complications With A C-section 

Although C-sections are generally less complicated these days, there could be a few complications that can be avoided if proper care is taken.

You could end up with an infection postpartum5. The number of PP infections used to be higher earlier because the stitch needed to be cut open and dressed again after a few days of delivery. Nowadays, most doctors use dissolvable sutures that do not need to opened or dressed.

The other complication with C-section is the occurrence of Urinary Tract infections. This is because of the insertion of catheter during the procedure. This is more of an unavoidable situation so the best way out is to be prepared for it beforehand.

To avoid any complication post a C-section, you should follow the instructions of your doctor to the T. You will be advised against lifting heavy weights or exerting yourself for 6-8 weeks, depending on your recovery. You may or may not be asked to take a shower after the procedure. Ensure that you do not take chances with this at all.

Your doctor will want to see you after 6 weeks to check your recovery. If you are doing fine, he will give you the green signal for light and moderate exercises or else he will ask you to wait it out for a while. 

What Can You Do For Your Wife This Week? 

You and your wife are almost there at the brink of becoming parents. That tiny dot on the ultrasound screen is now a full-grown newborn and will be in your arms before you know it. They say there is nothing that can prepare you for pregnancy and parenting but you will still need to be prepared enough for the entire procedure.

Recheck your financials, insurance covers and distribute responsibly if you haven’t done that already. Get that car seat installed because you might have a number of false alarms and the car seat needs to be in place if you want to bring your baby back in time.

Keep your wife busy with happy things to do so that it can drive away her anxiety and apprehension to some extent. All she needs is your complete support at the moment. Keep yourself prepared for all kinds of emergencies and you will never find yourself struggling through any phase.

New Developments and Signs To Look Out For In The 33rd Week Of Pregnancy

You and your baby are in the final stages of this pregnancy. However, there will be more exciting fetal developments at work that you can expect around this week and beyond. While you could be wondering why your belly is not as big and rounded as other pregnant bellies, you will need to understand that every pregnancy is different and so is every baby. Until and unless there is a marked difference between the weight and size of your baby on the scale of normalcy, there is no need to worry. Yet another important thing to remember is that your baby hardly has much space in the womb now. Hence, you feel lesser jabs and kicks but you will continue to feel some amount of fetal movement. You will need to keep a count of the moves so that you can make out if your baby is doing fine within.

Your Baby This Week

Yet another comparison might make you laugh out a little but it is true that this week your baby is almost the size of a pineapple. Almost sixteen inches in length and four and a quarter pounds in weight, your baby will continue to grow another inch this week and will also keep adding to her weight. What seems both interesting and apprehensive at the same time, is the fact that your baby has occupied all the space in your womb now and the amniotic fluid has reduced to a good extent. This also means that your baby’s slightest of kicks and nudges will seem stronger and sharper now.

Your baby’s skin is no longer wrinkled and transparent. It has stretched out, owing to the laying down of fat stores under the skin and looks opaque now. Her skeletal structure is also gaining more strength. Almost all the bones of her body have fused together except for the bones in her skull. This is because it eases the passage of the head through the vagina during delivery. During birth, there is a good amount of pressure on the head of a baby which often leads to it looking cone-like in appearance.

You would be amazed to know that the bones in your baby’s skull1 will not fuse together till almost the time she turns a young adult. This happens to ensure that her brain and surrounding tissues can expand normally.

Your baby’s eyesight is getting stronger and more efficient. Since you can’t really look into your womb and find out the finer details, you wouldn’t know how effortlessly, your baby closes her eyes while sleeping and opens them while awake. That differentiation is already in place. Your uterine walls are becoming thinner as they expand further. This allows more light to seep in through your belly. It will feel great to know that your baby can differentiate between day and night by the amount of light that penetrates through your womb. However, don’t get your hopes too high and expect her to remember this difference and sleep through the night. A baby’s sleep cycles change drastically after birth and you might as well find her sleeping all day and staying up all night.

Talking about immunity, your baby is rapidly catching up on all the antibodies. This is yet another milestone for your baby because she has her personal immune system up and running to protect her from potential infections after birth. This is the time when your own antibodies will be passed on to your baby’s body and her immune system will get more efficient in the next six to seven weeks.

How Is Your Body Changing?

Do you find yourself bumping into everything and getting clumsier by the day? You could almost call yourself the queen of clumsiness by the end of this week. With your belly bump the biggest it has ever been, it is but natural that you will find yourself uncomfortable in most of the postures that you try to settle down into. The real challenge is to find a way to sit through prenatal appointments and office meetings. Always ensure that you take occasional breaks so that you don’t end up with leg cramps etc.

All the joints of your body are feeling the pressure that is gradually building up in your womb and also the slight tugs and pulls that are being caused by Braxton Hicks. There may be some amount of aches and pains that develop all of a sudden in different parts of your body. Fluid retention is a common thing in pregnancy and enhances all the existing pains that are already giving you trouble. If you have had carpal tunnel syndrome in the past, you are more likely to have it again. If you haven’t had it before, you can develop the pain all of a sudden because of fluid accumulation around the tissues of your wrist.

Carpal tunnel2 is a rather bony canal that exists in your wrist. A number of nerves pass through it and even if one nerve gets pinched or compressed, you may either experience a sharp and shooting pain that extends to your elbows or a dull ache that is nothing less than annoying.

Your doctor might advise you to wear a splint so that your wrist joint is stabilized and does not go through excessive movement. Your work might require you to make repetitive movements at the keyboard etc. What you can do is to take frequent breaks in between your work to ensure that your wrist is not strained beyond repair.

Find Some Downtime

Needless to say, at 33 weeks, your body is screaming for rest round the clock. While it might be practically impossible for you to get enough rest during the day if you are a working woman, you can unwind before bedtime for a restful night. Going to sleep at once could be inconvenient with a belly that comes in the way of you and good sleep. This is why you will need to try your best to feel comfortable. A warm bath or shower before hitting the bed is an effective way to feel at ease. Avoid excessive activities before bedtime. Relaxing with a light read, a cup of warm milk and just enough lights to read comfortably can help you get a  good night’s sleep.

Light and gentle massages can ease a whole lot of discomfort during this time. You can ask your partner to give a light rub before you go to sleep. All the aches and pains that nag you through the day will almost disappear with a nicely done massage at the end of the day. You can play some soothing music to enhance the ambience and you might as well doze off while the music and the massage rock you to sleep.

You might have heard about third trimester insomnia from a number of people who have been pregnant before and it all sounds quite scary. However, it is not as bad as you think it is and might not even affect you. Along with the discomfort of your belly, there is also the anxiety and apprehension around the birth and aftercare of a newborn. All these factors are responsible for causing this sort of insomnia.

Third trimester insomnia is temporary and like the name suggests, it will disappear right after your baby is born. However, you could be secretly thankful to it if it continues because your baby might keep you up for the first few weeks. This insomnia could very well be a kind of training for your upcoming weeks.

Do You See Those Moves?

Your baby does not have enough space inside your womb to roll about or stretch easily but you will feel stronger and sharper kicks now, since the amniotic fluid has reduced and your uterine walls are thinner. You might also feel your baby’s foot caught in your ribs at times. You are most likely to entertain a lot of people with the sudden paw that sticks up from under your belly. Finding impressions of tiny hands and feet is common in pregnancy and you could easily call your baby an attention-seeker!

It is essential to be aware of normal fetal movement at every stage of pregnancy because this information matters. Changes in fetal activity are normal but ideally you should be able to feel at least eight to ten moves in an hour or so. There are a few instances when fetal movement generally slows down. Some of them are listed below:

  • Orgasms

Orgasms tend to lull your baby to sleep so the next time you have one and don’t feel your baby move for a while, stop worrying about it unless your pregnancy is high-risk. While some babies might sleep, some others might become even more active after sex. All these changes are normal and expected. A lot of couples end up avoiding sex in the third trimester because they feel that orgasms might harm the baby. This is not true. Unless your doctor has specifically asked you to avoid having sex, there is no reason why you should not.

  • Your baby is sleeping

Your baby has defined sleep cycles now and you can expect her to sleep for longer hours. If you don’t feel constant moves, it is likely that she is napping. If it crosses an hour, try sitting down for a while or grabbing a snack. She will most likely respond to it.

  • Not much space in the third trimester

With the arrival of the third trimester, there is not much space inside your womb and you will feel lesser kicks and jabs. However, the ones that you feel will be quite sharp.

Doctors generally recommend counting ten moves in two hours. By the third trimester, you are expected to track your baby’s moves by counting them twice a day. If in any of these circumstances, you don’t feel that many moves, you will need to speak to your doctor right away.

If your doctor feels that lesser movement could signify a problem, he might want to perform a nonstress test3 or biophysical profile to ensure that everything is alright with her.

Huffing And Puffing Your Way Through Work

Along with being the queen of clumsiness, you are now officially the one who huffs and puffs all day. Insignificant amounts of physical exertion could make you feel short of breath. Mild breathlessness is a common symptom of the third trimester. Before you start worrying about the well-being of your baby, get an idea of why it happens and what you could do about it.

Your stomach cavity is overcrowded, your lungs and diaphragm have been pushed to the extremities, pregnancy hormones are making your capillaries swell up, the muscles of your respiratory tract and bronchial tubes are all relaxed and you are always short of breath. Your lungs can’t even expand fully, thanks to your baby and your uterus. These are reasons enough to feel exhausted beyond you have ever been.

While your lungs are being compromised to a good extent and so is your own oxygen supply, you will be relieved to know that your baby is absolutely safe. She is getting her adequate stock of oxygen from the placenta and is completely unaware of your oxygen needs.

One good thing to look forward to is how this breathlessness will pass away once your baby drops down into the pelvis in preparation for birth.

A lot of cases have been reported in which one of the most significant reasons for breathlessness has been lack of iron. If you feel that you could be deficient in iron, let your doctor know about it. If you have been taking your iron supplements regularly, this is unlikely to happen.

Breathlessness, associated with a cough, shortness of breath, unexplained chest pain etc needs to be reported to the doctor immediately.

Get The Omega-3s And DHA

Research has shown that mothers who have had adequate amount of Omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy have given birth to children with an edge in terms of intellect. While there is more research to be conducted around this finding, it does not harm to get your DHA from reliable sources.

DHA has been found to be linked to fetal brain and vision development. A baby is likely to absorb the maximum amount of DHA in the third trimester. This is more reason to grab the salmon and add it to your platter of veggies. Along with being extremely beneficial to your baby, DHA can significantly reduce your chances of developing postpartum depression.

As per the FDA, a pregnant woman should be ideally having eight to ten ounces of well-cooked fish like tilapia, red snapper, salmon, shrimps etc. Fish that contains more toxins and higher levels of mercury are the ones that you should ideally avoid.

Eggs that are fortified can also be a good source of safe DHA in pregnancy.

Will You Breastfeed Or Not?

This is never too early to decide. While breastfeeding is the most natural way of nourishing your baby, not everyone seems to be prepared well for it. It is the safest and the best nutrition you could provide and your baby is sure to thank you for this in future.

To begin with, ask questions regarding breastfeeding at your next prenatal class. Your instructor will be able to explain and exemplify the multiple benefits of breastfeeding and how it could be made convenient for you. Having proper information regarding the same is very important. Watch more instructional videos and speak to mothers who have breastfed or are breastfeeding.

A brilliant way to know more about breastfeeding is to join reliable parenting groups that support breastfeeding. The reality about nursing is that it might not come easily to you but it is clearly the best that you could offer your baby. There will be a number of conflicts with people who would try and persuade you to offer formula milk because your milk is not adequate enough for your baby. Instead of feeling jeopardized by this information, always remember that breast milk works on the method of demand and supply. The more the demand by your baby, the more milk will be produced by your body.

Breastfeeding has its own challenges. You might have flat nipples that could be difficult to latch on. Speak to your doctor or midwife about it so that it can be rectified before your baby arrives. Once your baby is born, there could be problems like a tongue tie, shallow latch, lip tie, faster flow of milk, clogged ducts, engorgement4 etc. Always remember to trust your body to be able to nourish your baby. All these issues can be sorted out and you will be able to exclusively breastfeed your baby.

However, if you have situations and medical emergencies in which you are unable to breastfeed your baby, you will need to offer formula milk. If there is a wet mother around who is willing to offer her breast milk to your baby, then there is nothing like it.

Have You Washed Your Baby’s Clothes?

Your wardrobe might be ready with all those adorable newborn clothes and the blankets etc are all in place. However, did your remember to wash your baby’s clothes beforehand? Everything that you had received at your baby shower or the ones that you bought need to be washed with mild detergents meant for washing clothes of a newborn.

Even the slightest of harshness could cause your newborn to break out into rashes or allergies. Washing your baby’s clothes removes the irritants from the clothes and keeps it safe for usage from the very first day.

Questions To Be Asked At The Next Prenatal Meet

The next time you visit your doctor, you might want to blurt out all the questions you have had on your mind for a couple of weeks now. If your baby has no yet settled down into the cephalic presentation, you might want to know when that would happen.

If you have been on bed rest because of a high-risk pregnancy, you could ask your doctor if it is time to get off the bed and move around a little. You might also want to ask if having sex carries any risk at this stage of pregnancy.

Will You Need An Episiotomy?

A majority of women need episiotomy during childbirth to ensure that the baby is delivered safely. It is a small cut made to the perineum to make the vaginal opening wider. While it used to be quite frequent earlier, the number has reduced significantly because most doctors believe that a natural tear is safer than a cut.

If your baby’s heart rate drops or if her shoulders are too wide to fit into the birth canal; your doctor might need to perform an episiotomy. There are different degrees of an episiotomy and your doctor will decide which is the safest for you. Once your baby is safely delivered, your cut will be stitched up using dissolvable sutures and they will heal in some time.

How Can You Help Your Wife Now?

Help her with the laundry, to begin with. Better still; take over the laundry responsibilities entirely upon yourself now. A pregnant woman has nesting tendencies towards the end of the pregnancy. If you find your wife finicky and irritated with every little mess, consider it to be absolutely normal. Help her deal with it by keeping mess away as far as possible and helping her clean up the house before the baby is here.

Your wife needs adequate amount of rest now and you can ensure that by helping her feel relaxed at bedtime. Try and give her a light and gentle massage before bedtime. Arrange for a warm shower or bath so that she feels relaxed and drifts off the sleep easily.

You can also offer a perineal massage to your wife so that the area around is flexible and stretched out. This will help prevent episiotomies and third-degree tears and also lesser pelvic damage. Always ask her before committing to anything that she might not be comfortable with at this phase.

You’re Down To Discussing Birthing Positions! 32 weeks and Counting!

It is not just your belly that’s continuing to grow but also your baby who is now making rapid strides towards the due date. With 5 weeks to go for a full term pregnancy and 8 weeks for the 40th week mark, things are probably busier than you had expected. However, you can also expect time to move very slowly now because while you can’t wait for your due date to be here, it just doesn’t seem to arrive. Along with your baby, you are also putting on weight at a regulated pace. However, you should always keep an eye on your weight gain to keep issues like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia at bay. Your baby is practicing all her moves so that when she is outside the womb, she can survive with her well-developed skill sets.

Your Baby

Your baby weighs almost around 4 pounds this week and is around 17 inches long. There are a number of skills that she is practicing all the while she is awake. These are survival skills that she will need when she is born. Swallowing, kicking, sucking and breathing are the skills that will keep your baby at her fittest when she is outside your womb. She will need to take in the first breath of air right after birth for the final step of her lung maturity. Your baby is receiving all her nutrition via the umbilical cord1 but right after birth, there will be a transition to mouth feeding. This is why your baby’s digestive system is rapidly developing to ensure that when your baby is ready to nurse, she is able to digest breast milk with absolute ease.

With more fat stores adding to your baby’s body, she is starting to look more familiar to a newborn than ever before. Her skin is no longer transparent. It is opaque and you will no longer be able to look into those veins if you could peep inside your womb now.

You will be gaining a pound per week from this week onwards and almost half of that weight will go to your baby. Your baby finally has a head full of hair which is still quite fuzzy but you could call it real hair, if you wanted to. Along with toenails, fingernails and a gradual plumping up of her body, your baby is all set to meet you and melt your heart at the first sight.

Defined Sleep Cycles

Your baby’s sleep cycles are more or less predictable by now because she sleeps for longer stretches without making much movement. When you are busy, you can expect her to unwind and sleep and just when you are about to lie down for a while, she might begin to move about.

You should make the most of your downtime since the arrival of a baby and the responsibilities thereafter can be quite baffling. While your baby has more or less defined sleep cycles now, you can expect her to be less sleepy once she is born. A number of factors like hunger, colic pains, need to be in touch with mother’s body and peeing cycles can come into play, after birth, jeopardizing both your own and your baby’s sleep hours.

Is Your Baby In The Birthing Position Yet?

Instead of the constant kicks and nudges that you have been feeling all these weeks, you will now feel more of squirming and tapping. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since you are aware that your baby has taken up way too much space in your uterus and there is hardly much space left to practice those somersaults.

She is probably being able to roll around occasionally. You must have heard about birthing positions by now. Your baby should ideally be in a heads-down, bottoms-up position (cephalic position) to ensure that birth is natural, smooth and intervention-free. This position is ideal because your baby’s head has the perfect shape to fit into the pear-shaped uterus and pass out without much trouble.

However, if your baby is yet to settle down into the cephalic presentation2, do not worry because most babies are not ready before the 36th or the 37th week. Only five percent of babies remain in the breech position till the last moment. This implies that it is likely for your baby to flip right before labor begins even within the restricted space of your uterus.

Your Body At 32 Weeks

As your baby continues to grow, her requirements keep escalating. To ensure that all her requirements are met, your blood volume increases by 40-50% from the time you had conceived. Along with this, your growing uterus places a good amount of pressure upward on your diaphragm because your stomach cavity is already crowded. All these symptoms lead to shortness of breath and the return of reflux.

To relieve yourself of the discomfort, you can use propped up pillows. Propping up pillows helps in keeping the stomach acids in the lower half of the esophagus. This will relieve you from acid reflux and help you sleep at night.

The other factor that helps to a good extent is eating small and frequent meals. Smaller meals are easier to digest. Frequent meals will keep your blood sugar stabilized. You will not feel bloated or too full if you are having smaller proportions each time you sit down to eat. Yet another way to keep yourself feeling comfortable is to avoid drinking water immediately after meals. This is important because intake of water right before or after meals enhances your chances of getting reflux.

Back Pain And What It Could Mean

While you could have lower back pain as a normal symptom of third trimester, a sudden pain could also mean preterm labor. You will need to watch out for signs and symptoms that indicate the difference between a normal backache and labor pain.

As your baby bump grows even more, it tends to place a good amount of pressure on your lower back. Your back arches out to support your belly so that the balance of your body is maintained. In this adjustment, your back bears the brunt all the way. It is normal for a pregnant woman to develop lower backaches towards the end of pregnancy.

However, if these backaches are associated with cramp-like pains, leakage of fluid from your vagina, loss of the mucus plug, nausea, loose motions etc, you will need to let your doctor know about it so that he can rule out the chances of a preterm labor.

If preterm labor is ruled out, you will be made to understand why these pains set in. your uterus is not only growing out but is also stretching and weakening your abdominal muscles. This changes your posture, strains your back and also tends to affect your gait.

Along with these changes, the changing hormones have already loosened and relaxed your joints and muscles. This can lead to further pains and strain in your pelvic area. You will eventually tend to feel less balanced while walking, sitting for longer periods and then getting up etc. The idea is to change positions slowly and steadily so that your body gets adequate amount of time to respond accordingly.

Is Your Skin Itchy And Scratchy All The Time?

An itch that you can’t get rid of is a terrible feeling. Pregnancy associated itches are worse because your eyes can’t reach exact positions to aid mind and body co-ordination. While skin irritation and sensitivity are common to most pregnant women, not all feel the same amount of itchiness.

As your pregnant belly grows, the skin on it expands beyond its limits. In most cases, this leads to deep epidermal tears that surface on the skin as stretch marks. While stretch marks can look deadly in pregnancy, they gradually fade a lot after delivery but they can never be got rid of.

To relieve yourself of the irritation, it is important to stop scratching right away. You will need to use a dab of cotton to rub over the areas in order to feel comfortable. Wearing loose, cotton and unrestricted clothing can immensely help with the itchiness.

Reasons for an itchy belly

The skin on your abdomen expands more than it ever has and that tends to deprive it of the much-needed moisture. Naturally, it gets drier and you feel itchy and uncomfortable over a period of time. The other areas of your body that might feel dry and itchy are your butt, thighs and arms, if you are putting on weight rapidly.

When an itch is more than just an itch

While itchy and dry skin can be attributed to the expansion of skin in pregnancy, there are times when it could also mean other underlying conditions. There are factors like PUPP3, excessive gall in your body that is not releasing as it should etc. You should visit or call your doctor if you feel that any of the symptoms listed below is happening to you:

  • If the itch is not restricted to the expanding parts of your body only.
  • If there is an unexplained rash on your body.
  • If your entire body seems to be itching.
  • If the rash or itch is on your belly.

A rash or itch on your belly could be a sign of PUPP. PUPP is a very annoying symptom that could crop up in the third trimester. While it is completely treatable, it could be quite irritating and needs to be diagnosed at the earliest so that you are not sleep-deprived because of it.

How can you relieve your itch?

Listed below are few simple ways of keeping that annoying itch away:

  • Stop scratching

It can be extremely tempting to scratch your belly but you will need to remember that the more you scratch, the worse it gets. Your skin will get itchier and you could also get injured if your nails are not trimmed.

  • Moisturizing helps

Regularly moisturizing your skin can keep the itch under control. Since your skin is being deprived of moisture, using a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer can help retain the hydration it needs. Creams containing shea butter helps to a good extent.

  • Creams to control the itch

You will find a number of anti-itch creams over the counter that can control the annoying itch. However, if you have a sensitive skin and could be allergic to new ingredients, it is recommended that you avoid OTC medication and stick to what your doctor recommends.

  • Oils containing Vitamin E

Vitamin E is considered as a magical solution to a number of things. It heals wounds, injuries and curbs itchiness very effectively. Using light oils containing Vitamin E gently on your itchy belly will ease you.

  • Oatmeal bath

Oats is not just good for your stomach but also for your skin. Oatmeal baths can work wonders for your itchy skin by curbing the itch and moisturizing it, leaving it smooth and velvety. Just ensure that the warm water you are using is of a comfortable temperature for you.

Intensified Braxton Hicks This Week

You might have been experiencing these mild pains that don’t last more than a few seconds for some weeks now. From this week onwards, you will feel more intense contractions. This is because your body is preparing itself for labor and for that to happen effectively, the muscles need to be flexed well. The brunching together and hardening of uterine muscles are actually practice contractions that are irregular in the beginning but become more regular and stronger as your due date approaches.

For first timers they might not be as intense but for second or third timers, Braxton Hicks contractions are way more intense and start earlier than their previous pregnancies. The feeling is like a tightening sensation that begins at the fundus and spreads downwards. Initially, they may last for a few seconds and later for more than two minutes.

Learning to differentiate between Braxton Hicks and real labor is the real challenge that many women fail at. The first thing to notice about these contractions is that they will stop as soon as you change positions. If you have been lying down or sitting for a while, try getting up and walking around. If they reduce in intensity, they are in all probability, Braxton Hicks. However, if the pain continues to intensify and the contractions become stronger, you are likely to be in labor.

If you feel that labor is upon you, contact your health practitioner at the earliest. Till then, you can ease yourself in a warm bath or try breathing techniques that your prenatal classes had taught you.

Are Ultrasounds Worth It?

Ultrasounds are the most effective ways of taking a peek into your womb. However, they have come a long way from being unclear, medical records that only a certified doctor will be able to make out. We have 3D and 4D ultrasounds these days that let you take a closer and more detailed look at your baby.

The question in contention is whether these ultrasounds are safe enough. To begin with, it is not just about the safety of this procedure. It is also about how they can cause misleading thoughts and ideas. A lot of times, these procedures lead to inaccurate findings and can unnecessarily traumatize parents. If there is anything that needs to be ruled out, your doctor would know what to do about it and will suggest ultrasounds as and when needed.

Secondly, it is believed that too many of these ultrasounds could have an impact on your baby. While this has not been proven scientifically; taking chances for the sake of fun is not a good idea.

Who Gets To Be With You During Labor?

While your entire family could be making extensive plans to be with you in the labor room, it is you who gets to decide whom you would want to include inside that room. There is no denying the fact that childbirth is your personal experience that you might not feel comfortable sharing with others. You might want your partner along or you might want the closest people around. Listed below are some factors that could help you in taking the decision:

  • Bring whoever makes you feel comfortable. That person might be your partner, your best friend, your colleague, your mother or your midwife. It has been seen that most women prefer bringing their partners along because that gives them an emotional support no one else can.
  • While you would most definitely want your partner to be with you in the birthing room, ensure that he is on the same page as you are. He might be slightly confused about his role in your birth plan. If he conveys that he might not be comfortable being with you in the labor room, cut him some slack. You could try conveying how much his presence is desired by you but if he is still unsure about his participation, bring along the next best person.
  • Your relatives might be extremely eager to welcome the newest member of the family. If the presence of your mother or your mother-in-law freaks you out, you could always involve the hospital staff in ensuring they are not allowed inside the labor room. All is fair in love, war and childbirth.
  • The presence of your doula or midwife can be a highly comforting experience for you. She will help you keeping calm and practicing the breathing techniques you have been learning all these days. It has been seen that the presence of a birthing partner reduces the number of birth complications and also increases the chances of a natural birth.

Are These My Breasts?

You will find yourself asking this question a number of times all through your pregnancy. This is because your breasts will go through a lot of changes in different phases of pregnancy. Towards the end of pregnancy, you will start noticing that your breasts leak at times. A thin, yellowish fluid, called colostrum; it is the first milk that your baby will receive and contains more protein and lesser fat and sugar than mature milk. Mature milk comes in later and till then colostrum, which is loaded with antibodies, helps nourish and protect your baby from a number of germs.

Breast milk comes in after quite some days of delivery and colostrum is more than enough to nourish your baby till then. If you are curious to know what exactly is colostrum you could pinch your breasts gently. The few drops of yellowish fluid that comes out is colostrum. You may or may not leak colostrum but that is not an indicator of whether your breasts will make milk or not.

You might feel slightly conscious of your leaky breasts because it might happen all of a sudden. Wearing washable or disposable nursing pads can help keep your clothes dry. However, it is important to know that pregnancy and childbirth come along with wet bras, nightgowns, engorged and leaky breasts and it is all natural to happen.

Count Your Helpers

It is not for nothing that people say how raising a child requires an entire village. Rearing a baby is tougher than bearing one. If your friends and family members are more than willing to take up roles and responsibilities, then there is nothing like it. Start distributing their responsibilities from the very beginning.

Set up a friend to take over meal plans. Appoint someone who is responsible enough to understand the kind of nourishment you would need while breastfeeding your baby and recovering from childbirth.

Your family members could take over an older child so that your hospital trips don’t disrupt their schedules.

If you have pets, this is a time when someone needs to be there to take care of them. Ensure that someone responsible is present to walk and feed them on time.

Helping Your Spouse This Week

Understanding your wife’s body and its needs is very important from now onwards. Her body is preparing itself for birth and you will need to keep reminding her of the strength and beauty it stands for. She will constantly seek your support in this and it is your responsibility to help her through this significant phase of life.

You Can Officially Start The Countdown To Delivery From This Week Onwards!

Has your older kid been marking off dates on the calendar every day because he can’t wait to hold that bundle of joy in his arms? As much as you would want to hold it yourself now, you would rather wait 6 more weeks for full term so that your baby has no complications whatsoever. If the arrival of a new baby is making your older child sulk, especially because everyone seems to be talking about the little one, take some time out with him and help him cope like he would want to. Sibling rivalry is common and given time and attention, all kids settle down into a rhythm sooner or later. Being gentle and responsive might take extra effort on your part now and after the baby is here but it is so worth it! Always seek help when you feel touched out because of being wanted everywhere.

Your Baby At 31 Weeks

You would be happy to know that your baby is almost the size of a coconut by now. Measuring over 16 inches in length and weighing around 3 1/3 pounds in weight, your baby’s stage of rapid development is spurring up. This is the week for a massive growth spurt and you can expect yourself to be hungry all the time. This is because your baby’s fat stores are being laid out this week at a rapid pace and he will draw maximum amount of nutrition required for the process, from your body.

While your baby is quickly nearing his birth weight and length, he still has around 5 pounds of weight to gain. His sleep cycles are falling into place and you will realize this when there are longer stretches of sleep and more distinct stretches of wakefulness. He will probably be kicking up a storm now and you will find it hard to get enough rest with all the kicking around happening inside your tummy.

Your baby can now turn his head from one side to another and with all the movement going on, you can continue to feel good about the fact that your baby is active and healthy.

Development Of Five Senses

The most significant milestone this week is your baby’s development of five senses. With his brain working at an unbelievably rapid pace and the individual nerve cells getting connected at a fast rate, your baby is now receiving signals from all his five senses. He can process this information and respond to it in an efficient manner.

The only factor that needs further brushing is his ability to smell in things. This is because he is still submerged in amniotic fluid and needs to breathe in after he is born. To sum it up, your baby is not only seeing things, but is also hearing, touching and tasting like any human being and will very soon be able to take in a whiff of your scents right after birth.

While talking about the sense of smell, an important point to remember is your baby’s way of identifying you as the mother. Since they cannot really distinguish between people caring for them; their sense of smell helps them to track their primary caregiver. The smell of milk is what draws them to their mother. The doctor and the attending nurses would recommend you to avoid strong perfumes, deodorants, body creams with strong smell or oils that could mask the natural smell of your body. By doing this you would confuse the poor baby about the source of his primary nourishment. Keeping your baby close to you and breastfeeding on demand1 can help your baby perceive the sense of belonging to you.

Your Baby’s Activities

Apart from kicking up a storm and keeping you up all night, what else could your baby be doing now? While you are busy getting everything ready for the little one’s arrival, your baby is busy sucking his thumb. You can also expect your baby to be hiccupping often, pedaling with feet, sucking on his thumb for long stretches of time, swallowing tiny portions of amniotic fluid and making different kinds of faces.

Your Body At 31 Weeks

Is there anything else that you should be looking forward to this week that promises to be slightly different from what you have been witnessing? Unfortunately, the last leg of pregnancy could be quite rough and all you would want is for the due date to be here as soon as possible. Listed below are the symptoms that could be driving you up the wall this week:

  1. Falling short of breath

Your uterus has now shifted to above your belly button and can be felt distinctly from outside. It is but natural that your lungs have been cornered along with your intestines. While it seems like your stomach cavity has been completely taken over by the uterus, thinking about 9 more weeks could make you yelp.

Since your lungs are so badly compressed, you may find it difficult to breathe in and breathe out as effortlessly as you used to do. The lungs are not expanding as fully as they are meant to. Until your baby drops down into the pelvis completely, the shortness of breath will continue to disrupt your normal working force.

You need not worry about your bay’s oxygen supply because while you are clearly huffing and puffing around, your baby is drawing adequate amount of oxygen from the placenta2 Till the time your baby does not position itself for birth in the pelvic area, you could relieve yourself of the discomfort by lying on your side. Always stand in an upright position because the right posture can help you deal with all kinds of aches and pain that catch up in the last leg of pregnancy.

  1. Braxton Hicks getting more intense

The muscles in your uterus have been tightening off and on for a couple of months now and these mild contractions will only intensify from now onwards. This is your body’s way of making you adjust to what feels like real labor. These random contractions, known as Braxton Hicks, should ideally be painless and occasional. They generally last for not more than 30 seconds and while you might feel short of breath for that amount of time, there is not much you will feel otherwise.

If the contractions are more frequent and are associated with pain or spotting, you could be in preterm labor. Other signs that are definitely to be considered as red flags are, vaginal bleeding, leakage of fluids from the vagina, pressure and cramping in the pelvic area, lower back pain, mucus-like discharge from the vagina, elevated body temperature etc.

  1. Leaky breasts

As if your sore and tender breasts were not enough, you are likely to have leaky breasts now. Your breasts are preparing themselves for the most important function of nourishing your baby with the best form of nutrition; breast milk. The colostrum is the first thickened version of breast milk that provides the baby with the best form of immunity for a lifetime. In the process of production, tiny amounts of colostrum might be released through your nipples.

If you are not comfortable with it, you could try wearing breast pads to help keep your dry. You can use both washable as well as disposable breast pads. Your breast size may also go up by another cup. Always invest in a supportive nursing bra by this time of the pregnancy. Remember to get one size bigger than the one that you are wearing at the moment because when your milk comes in after delivery, your breasts will feel fuller and you will need a bigger size.

Sex and Orgasm

While many couples find it difficult and inconvenient to have sex after the second trimester, many others continue to enjoy sex till the last few days before delivery. This varies from person to person and there can be no comparison.

If you are among those who enjoy sex but are apprehensive of how the baby will react to sexual activity and orgasms, you need to know that your baby feels neither. The amniotic sac keeps your baby well protected against any injury or impact and even if you are having an orgasm, it does not affect the baby in any way.

In fact, research shows that while you are having an orgasm, the rhythmic movement might as well lull your baby to sleep. If you have been postponing your date with the husband because you are not sure if having sex is a good idea now, go ahead and enjoy the night. After the baby is here, you two might crave for a quick session but a newborn is not easy to look after. With a number of hormonal changes happening after delivery, sex could very well take a backseat.

Urinary Tract Infection In The Third Trimester

A UTI could happen in any part of your urinary tract and pregnancy does seem to enhance your chances of contracting UTI. However, it is not restricted to just a tract infection but could also reach the kidneys. This is why it is important to get an early diagnosis done and treat it as soon as possible.

A typical UTI would seem like a frequent urge to urinate, pain and a burning sensation while urinating and the feeling of not being able to empty the bladder completely. It is caused by bacteria travelling from your vagina or rectum and passing into your urethra.

In pregnancy, your urine passes more slowly through the tract and this gives the bacteria more breeding ground to multiply and infect. Along with this, your urine also becomes less acidic and with glucose being present in it, it is the perfect condition for the infection to take root and make its way to the upper regions of the urinary tract.

What are the symptoms of UTI?

Apart from the pain and burning sensation associated with passing urine, you could also have a dull and annoying pain in your lower back. A lower abdominal pain is also a characteristic feature of UTI.

You might find it hard to differentiate between the normal urge to pee in pregnancy and UTI. However, the pain and burning sensation is not normal in pregnancy and needs to be checked out right away by the doctor.

What if this is a kidney infection?

As mentioned before, UTI does not always restrict itself to the urinary tract. If the infection gets severe, it can reach the kidneys and pose a threat to the pregnancy. You will need immediate medical attention if your kidneys have been impacted. The symptoms of a kidney infection include:

  1. High fever along with chills.
  2. Intense pain in the lower back.
  3. Nausea and vomiting.
  4. Blood or pus in urine.

If you have any of these symptoms, you will need to be rushed to the ER without any delay. A lot of urinary tract infections result in preterm babies.

How can you keep UTI at bay?

Following the steps listed below could reduce your chances of getting UTI:

  • Never control your urge to pee. You might feel uncomfortable visiting the loo so often but it is better to be safe than sorry.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and keep yourself hydrated.
  • Never wipe yourself from back to front. Make it a habit to wipe from front to back after a bowel movement.
  • Never use hygiene products that could alter your vaginal flora3. That would only lead to more bacteria accumulating there.
  • Drinking cranberry juice is also known to be an effective way of keeping UTI away.

Treating UTI that has spread to the kidneys could be complicated. You will need to be hospitalized and put on intravenous antibiotics. You and your baby will be monitored closely. If you respond well to the first dose of IVs and your doctor feels that you are not at risk for preterm labor, he will discharge you with a set of oral antibiotics.

Once your treatment is over, you will be given another set of antibiotics to keep the infection from recurring. Urinary tract infections have a menacing tendency to recur and without suppressive medication, it is difficult to keep further infections at bay.

Pain Relief During Labor: Yes or No?

Every woman has different pain tolerance levels and while some can go through labor without realizing that they have just had a baby, some others find it impossible to reach the minimum amount of dilation required for the birth. We cannot really judge a woman on the basis of how tolerant they are of labor pain.

If you have attended birthing classes, you would know that there are different ways of childbirth and while some include usage of pain relief, some others advocate an absolutely intervention-free natural birth. If painless labor is what you are looking at but are not sure of how your body will take it, you will need to consider the pros and cons of both the choices.

While attending a birthing class, always ensure that your partner is with you. The topic of labor pain will be discussed in such classes and the options of pain-free labor will also be talked about. There are a number of ways in which pain can be alleviated without resorting to medicines. Breathing and relaxation techniques taught by your instructors will help you to decide if these could help you when labor is upon you.

Pain relieving options include epidurals, general anesthesia, spinal blocks etc. While an epidural is comparatively safer, it could take away the feeling of real labor. An epidural keeps away the pain in the lower half of your body but keeps you conscious throughout labor. You will be able to feel the pressure but not the pain. If you have always thought of childbirth as an empowering feeling, you would not be comfortable with the idea of resorting to epidurals.

A number of other techniques like hypnobirthing, deep breathing, hydrotherapy, massaging etc can help in keeping the pain away. Women who have tried alternate ways of pain relief swear by the efficacy of them.

However, if at the end of it, you find yourself struggling with pain, it is time to accept the fact that pain relief could be an option for you. Childbirth should be an exhilarating experience and if you continue to feel detached from it because the pain is too tough to handle, it does not make any sense to go the natural way.

If you do end up asking for pain relief, do not feel upset or embarrassed about it. You will be as much of a mother as a woman who did not opt for pain medication.

What Are You Eating This Week?

In the midst of planning for labor, childbirth and packing for the hospital, you could skip your meals and then feel dizzy all day. Never compromise on food at this stage of pregnancy. Your baby is drawing out nourishment from your body in all the ways possible and you need to have enough nutrients so that you don’t fall sick.

Continue to have food rich in iron because if you are anemic during childbirth, you could have a risk of hemorrhaging. This is why you need to stock up on your leafy greens, meat and supplements.

Will I Be Able To Bond With My Baby?

A number of questions could cloud your mind and one of them is whether you will bond well with your baby. This comes naturally to an expecting mother who is unsure of how her roles and responsibilities will span out in future.

The best way to bond with your baby immediately after birth is to breastfeed him. The golden hour after birth should ideally be spent in helping your baby breast crawl and getting the right latch. Breastfeeding is not only about the milk. In the initial days, you might not even have enough milk but all you will be giving your baby is the colostrum, rich in antibodies and the best form of immunization for life.

Co-sleeping is also an effective way to bond with the newborn. However, there are a number of factors that you need to remember before co-sleeping. You should be sober and not drunk at bedtime. Your bed should have a firm mattress that does not sink on sleeping on it. There should not be a number of pillows that could be suffocation hazards for your baby.

In the initial days, what matters the most is how much time you can spend with your newborn. If that is taken care of and if you have enough help at hand, bonding happens naturally.

What If I Can’t Bond With My Baby?

Postpartum depression3 is for real and a lot of women ignore the initial signs, only to start hating themselves later. If you feel severely detached from your baby or feel like causing harm to him or her, you should let your partner and your doctor know about it.

You could be given medication and counseled accordingly. PPD is not something that you should be ashamed of. Mental health is of utmost importance while taking care of a newborn and this is why depression should be addressed right away.

What Can You Do For Your Pregnant Spouse This Week?

With every week, you might be getting more and more impatient to meet your little one. While you seem to have everything planned out, something or the other keeps popping up. When the basics are taken care of, you can sit back and experience the last few weeks of pregnancy with your spouse and cherish each day as it comes.

At every prenatal visit, keep an eye on what the doctor suggests and guide your spouse as and when she needs you. This is the time when she will need you the most because she feels vulnerable and indecisive about several things in life. Holding her hand through this will strengthen this bond for a lifetime and beyond.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breastfeeding
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placenta
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postpartum_depression

Would You Believe That Are 10 Weeks Away From Delivering Your Baby?

With ten more weeks to go for you to reach full term, there is no doubt that your baby bump is getting into the way of everything that you are doing. While your baby continues to put on weight for the final few weeks, you should keep a check on yours to ensure that you don’t end up with gestational diabetes or preeclampsia a few weeks before delivering. You are likely to have a number of concerns this week and while it is normal to feel disoriented and puzzled about most of the things around you; look out for signs of depression. A lot of pregnant women feel blue a few weeks ahead of delivering their baby and while pregnancy blues are common, depression should be addressed as soon as possible.

Your Baby At 29 Weeks

Why is your baby bump growing bigger? The simplest of answer is because your baby is growing and getting stronger with each passing day. If he were to be born now, he would have high chances of survival in the neonatal care of the hospital you will be birthing in. However, we would all want the little one to stay intact for as long as possible.

At 16 inches of length and almost 3 pounds of weight, your baby is gearing up for birth dramatically. A number of significant changes are happening and a handful others are queuing up for the next few weeks. Your baby is almost the size of a cabbage now. It all seems unimaginable, isn’t it? The baby that was the size of a kidney bean once upon a time is now this big and is ready to come into the world and survive.

In the next seven weeks, your baby will continue to gain half a pound each week till you reach the 37th week, which is medically considered as full term. However, in the final three weeks, a lot of significant things happen, the importance of which cannot be undermined. If there is no risk involved and if both mother and baby are doing fine, it is best to let the body take its natural course.

Your Baby’s Brain Is Developing Rapidly

A well developed brain has crevices and indentations on its surface as markers of the complex characteristics it has. Your baby’s brain had a smooth surface till now. This week, it will start developing more rapidly than ever before and will slowly start sporting the wrinkles that signify an increase in the amount of brain tissue. This takes your baby’s development one step further by laying down the foundation on which his brain functioning will take place in future.

Did you know that your amniotic fluid is gradually diminishing in its volume? Before you press the panic button, it is for you to know that as your baby grows bigger in size, it needs more space to be accommodated and only a pint of amniotic fluid surrounds her in the 29th week of pregnancy. This is absolutely normal and will continue to happen till you deliver.

Your baby’s eyesight is also on a roll. Although there is a lot of room for development, she is responding to external light already. After birth, she will spend a good amount of time with eyes closed and for a couple of months; her vision will be restricted to objects close to her. She will also mostly respond to changes in light and not to objects or people moving in front of her. You will understand the difference when you get to know that a normal adult’s vision is 20/20 while your newborn’s vision will be 20/400.1

Where Is All That Fine Hair Going?

Your baby was covered with fine hair called lanugo till the beginning of this week. From this week onwards, the lanugo will begin to shed. This is because lanugo used to serve a purpose in your baby’s body. When the fat cells were absent and the brain was not as developed as it is now, there was a need to keep your baby’s body temperature regulated. Now that new fat stores are being laid out and your baby’s brain is getting more complex by the day, the function of regulating body temperature is being taken over by them.

Even after most of the lanugo is gone, you will find strands of fine downy hair here and there on your newborn’s body after birth. This will shed off in a couple of weeks.

Production Of RBCs

Earlier when your baby was lesser developed than she is now, the tissue groups and the spleen used to produce red blood cells. The 30th week marks a significant development in your baby’s body with the bone marrow taking over the production of red blood cells completely. This is yet another step towards ensuring that your baby survives effortlessly outside the womb.

How Is Your Body Changing?

Are you temperamental all the time? Apart from blaming your pregnancy hormones, think about all the trouble that your body is taking for your baby to have a safe haven inside your womb. As your baby grows by leaps and bounds, your digestion gets slower and becomes more sluggish. Your pregnancy hormones are also helping the muscles in your body to relax, which also include your gastrointestinal tract. This causes food and stomach acids to easily pass into the esophagus and up into the throat. The intestines being pushed to the extremes only worsen the situation by adding fuel to the fire.

Apart from reflux, you are also quite bloated these days and continue to pass more gas. With an expanding uterus, you can only expect more pressure on your rectum. This pressure might loosen your rectum and let gas pass more frequently than ever before. Please don’t feel embarrassed about it because pregnant women fart and that is a well-known fact.

Keep reminding yourself to include your leafy greens and probiotics2 because you don’t want to be dealing with constipation in the 30th week of your pregnancy.

At this stage of pregnancy, stay away from spicy food as much as possible. Fried food and chocolate might seem the best way to beat the pregnancy blues but they will only add to your troubles. It might seem that heartburn is a permanent state of things for you but once you deliver, you will no longer need to worry about it.

You can expect your shoe size to go up again. This is because while the ligaments of your feet are relaxed, your feet get wider. You will be slightly disappointed to know that all your fancy sandals might not fit you anymore. It is time to invest in a pair of new shoes.

Your mood swings could really take a toll on your family life; especially if you have older kids. While controlling ore regulating your mood might be difficult at the moment, you and your partner need to talk to the older kid about the arrival of a new baby and how roles and responsibilities will change for the time being. If you have been preparing your older one for a while, he could be more understanding than you thought. If not, he could get more demanding and sibling rivalry might begin even before your baby is born.

In such situations, always distribute the work between yourself and your spouse. Handling the older kids should ideally be done by him because with all the huffing and puffing you are into these days, it will be next to impossible if you are expected to look after everything.

Somewhere in the midst of all these engagements, your concerns regarding labor and childbirth seem to be looming large. First-timers are mostly apprehensive because of the uncertainty that lies ahead. Second or third timers are keen on not repeating the mistakes in the first couple of times. The trick is to focus on the task at hand instead of letting the anxiety and apprehension build.

Dealing With Frequent Urination

Frequent urination comes back to haunt you in the  third trimester because your uterus drops down into the pelvis yet again and your growing baby places a god amount of pressure on your bladder now. Your baby is also settling down into the birthing position which further pushes your bladder to the extremes. You will feel the need to urinate every often but do not give in to the temptation of cutting down on fluids.

It is essential to have enough fluids so that you don’t feel dizzy, light-headed or dehydrated. Cutting down on fluids could lead to urinary tract infections. UTI3 is quite common in pregnancy and has a vicious cycle of recurrence. Drinking plenty of water will flush out the toxins through urination.

What you could rather do is cut down on your intake of tea, coffee, juices and carbonated beverages. They do not quench your thirst in any way. What they really do is make you feel like urinating even more frequently. Having homemade juice without added sugar makes more sense.

Have You Thought Of Cord Blood Banking?

What is cord blood and why does it need to be preserved or banked? Cord blood banking is the latest development in the medical world. Although there is still scope for extensive research in this field, it is believed by researchers that this blood is made of stem cells that can be used to treat a number of life-threatening health conditions in future.

After birth, the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and the placenta is what is called cord blood. The collection of the blood is safe and painless and takes about five minutes after birth. There are two ways of storing cord blood; the first way is to store it in a public facility, with access to all those who need it. The second one is to store it privately, so that it is accessible only when you and your family need it. For the latter, an annual storage cost needs to be paid.

All said and done, it is not compulsory to preserve cord blood. While some people choose to do it, some others are yet to be convinced of its efficacy since there is not enough evidence to back up its claim.

Does The Thought Of Labor Intimidate You?

A lot of pregnant women feel petrified as they inch closer to their due date. More than worrying about the new roles and responsibilities that will crop up after your baby is born; all you can think of is whether you will be able to bear the pain of labor. Listed below are the common factors that play a major role in building up anxiety in pregnant women:

  1. Am I equipped enough to handle the pain?

While natural, intervention free births are empowering and liberating at the same time, there is no denying the fact that tolerance of pain is not everybody’s cup of tea. Some women are prepared to take epidural or other pain relieving medication even before they are in their third trimester. Some others want a drug-free birth and can go to any length for it. If you find yourself asking this question too often, find out your strengths and weaknesses and identify the triggers. If you do end up getting pain relief, that does not belittle your efforts in any way. It only means that you are human.

  1. What if I end up passing bowel?

This could be embarrassing for you but it is the last thing that your doctor and the nurses around will be bothered about. While pushing in labor, there are chances that you may pass poop on the deliver table. You might even not have a movement but if this is a cause for concern, wipe it off like a boss.

  1. Will I need an episiotomy?

While some women need episiotomies, others get natural tears. Both have their own pros and cons. An episiotomy is a cut made between the vaginal opening and the anus if the doctor feels that the opening is not wide enough for the baby to pass through. This is again a topic of debate because some women feel that a natural tear is better. However, a natural tear could be severe if not detected. Your doctor might want to wait till she feels you are absolutely ready for the cut.

Some women are of the opinion that massaging your perineum five to six weeks before due date might keep the episiotomy4 and the tears away.

  1. Is a C-section a possibility?

C-sections have been unnecessarily demonized. You might feel disappointed if you end up having a C-section because a natural birth is all that you had hoped for but you are as much of a mother if you end up delivering surgically. A lot of women feel cheated after a c-section because apparently, they did not go through the pain and trouble and it was not a choice. There is nothing like an ideal birth, which is why feeling disappointed because you never had a vaginal delivery makes no sense at all.

  1. I will end up with a different kind of birth

Most pregnant women would have a birth plan in place and if you are one of them, you might feel anxious about not being able to live up to it at the last moment. You will need to speak to your doctor or midwife regarding these fears and they will be able to let you know what you could expect. However, a lot of births need medical intervention when either the mother or the baby is in distress. You cannot be assured till the last minute whether your birth plan will hold but if it does not, you can at least feel happy about the fact that you tried for a natural birth.

  1. Something will go wrong with the baby

Most women would not own up to this fear but it does exist in them. All through pregnancy, you might have felt apprehensive about your baby’s well-being and the same happens at birth. What you need to keep telling yourself is how you are doing the best for your baby and she will be fine all through. If you have had a complicated pregnancy or miscarriages in the past, there is more reason to feel apprehensive about the future but you are only stressing yourself and your baby by worrying about the situation.

  1. What if my water breaks at home?

What you really need to do about this is to keep yourself updates about the different stages of labor by attending a birthing class in advance. The instructors would teach you how to deal with emergencies and how to reach the hospital on time. You could also educate yourself about home births, if you have been worrying about needing to deliver at home. Your spouse should also be a part of this learning since he will be the person around you most of the time.

Is Your Baby Gear In Place?                                           

In case you did not know, you will only be allowed to leave the hospital with your baby if you have a car seat properly installed in place. Some hospitals insist on car seats that meet the safety standards in every way. This is the week you should plan to buy a car seat and get it installed. If your friends want to help you in any way, ask them to accompany you in bringing together baby gear and placing them accordingly in the nursery.

If you want to babywear, trying a couple of carriers before birth is the right place to begin. If your friends have carriers, request them to bring a couple along so that you have time to place an order and receive it before your baby is here. Some carriers take longer shipping time so ordering them in advance is more convenient.

If you want to get a stroller, buy one that can grow with your baby. This will come in handy when she would be a toddler but will run out of energy at the mall. The same applies to cribs. Buy a crib that can be transformed into a bed or can be attached to your won if you plan to co-sleep.

There are other things like cot mobiles, bassinets, swings and diaper changing table that you will need to assemble. Keep these entire set ready for the baby before you visit the hospital. Nothing spells trouble like a sleep-deprived mum and you can trust yourself to be the queen of clumsiness in the initial days of caring for a newborn. Keep spare batteries at hand; get rechargeable batteries and a battery charger if you plan to use them.

If you have not disinfected your house lately, you could get it done now. However, ensure that you are not around when the work is happening because you need to keep away from inhaling toxic fumes.

What Can You Do For Your Pregnant Spouse This Week?

In a few weeks, you will call yourself a father. As incredible as that realization is, there is no denying the fact that it comes along with a host of responsibilities. How would you cope with your emotions and concerns while ensuring that your spouse feels loved and pampered at the same time? Focusing on your common goals will help. Educating yourself about the different stages of labor will also come in handy if both of you have been contemplating a home birth. Always accompany her to the birthing classes so that you can remind her of what she needs to do in case labor pains begin. Like every week, reminding her to take her prenatal vitamins, drink enough water, eat healthy and get enough rest should ideally be your priority now. If you have not applied for paternity leave yet, it is time you do and get into the groove of being a new parent. Bracing yourself for sleepless nights by getting enough rest yourself is also a wise idea to follow this week.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infant_visual_development
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probiotic
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urinary_tract_infection
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Episiotomy