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.
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.
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.