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‘Mommy would like to meet you… now!’

By now you would be more than ready to meet your newborn. And it is very common for expectant mothers to start feeling even a sense of frustration, because some women have prolonged pregnancies for no apparent reason. Just remember that soon it will all be worth it!

Week 29 – 30

Your baby’s very active now, so you’re going to notice a lot of movement. You may also be feeling a little tired these days, especially if you’re having trouble sleeping.

Your blood volume has also increased 40 to 50% to provide for you and baby. And since your uterus will be pushing up near your diaphragm and crowding your stomach, you may experience shortness of breath and heartburn.

Things to consider:

Your growing uterus may also be contributing to hemorrhoids. To help with this, avoid sitting or standing for long stretches. Talk with your doctor before using any over-the-counter remedies during pregnancy and inform him if you have any rectal bleeding.

Weeks 31 - 32

Many women will experience random contractions, called Braxton Hicks contractions. These can last about 30 seconds, are irregular, infrequent and painless. If your contractions are frequent they may be a sign of preterm labor. even if they don’t hurt so call your doctor immediately.

Also call your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms…

  • An increase in vaginal discharge or a change in the type of discharge like if it becomes watery, mucus-like, or bloody — even if it’s pink or just tinged with blood abdominal pain or menstrual-like cramping
  • An increase in pressure in the pelvic area
  • An increase in lower back pain, especially if you didn’t have it before.

Things to consider:

You may have some leaking of colostrum, or “premilk,” from your breasts. You may try tucking some nursing pads into your bra to protect your clothes. It’s also time to choose a nursing bra at least one cup size bigger than you need now, because when your milk comes in you’ll need the extra space.

Week 33 - 34

You may be feeling some aching and even numbness in your fingers, wrists, and hands. The feelings of fatigue have also probably returned by now, but not as severely as in your first trimester. This is understandable, as your body has been working overtime.

You may also notice itchy red bumps or welts on your belly, thighs or buttocks as well, which means you may have a condition called pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP for short) which affects up to 1% of pregnant women.

This is harmless but can be quite uncomfortable. See your doctor just to ensure it’s not more serious.

Things to consider:

Make a labor contingency plan just in case you go into labor early or you’ll need to be in the hospital longer than you plan. Arrange for a relative or a friend to have the keys to your house, and to help you with other matters like

  • Taking care of your other children, seeing to their meals, sending them to school etc
  • Feed the dog, water the plants, get the mail
  • Fill in for you at work or any other obligations

Weeks 35 - 36

From here on out, you’ll probably need to start seeing your doctor weekly. Around this time, your doctor will do vaginal and rectal cultures to check for bacteria called Group B streptococci (GBS).

GBS is usually harmless in adults, but if you have it and pass it on to your baby during birth, it can cause serious complications, such as pneumonia, meningitis, or a blood infection. Because 10 to 30 percent of pregnant women have the bacteria and don’t know it, it’s vital to be screened.

Now that your baby is taking up so much room, you probably wont be able to stomach a normal-size meal, so start eating smaller, but more frequent meals.

Things to consider:

This is a good time to create a birth plan, this can include what you will bring, who will be present, your in-hospital preferences like pain management techniques, and your post-delivery plans.

Week 37 - 38

The remaining weeks will see you mostly playing the waiting game. Try to keep yourself during this period like preparing your baby’s nursery or ensuring you have everything you need when you bring your baby home. This is also a good time to spend some quality time with your partner, before your lives change forever.

Let your doctor know immediately if you have any of the following symptoms as they are symptoms of a serious condition called preeclampsia. These include severe or persistent headaches; visual changes (such as double or blurred vision, seeing spots or flashing lights, light sensitivity, or a temporary loss of vision), intense upper abdominal pain or tenderness, or nausea and vomiting.

Things to consider:

You don’t need to pack your bag yet, but start making a list of items to bring to the hospital. Besides a change of clothes and a toothbrush, some items to include:

  • A photograph or object to focus on during labor
  • Snacks to keep your energy up and gum or mints for bad breath
  • Cozy socks and slippers
  • Your favorite pillow
  • Some light reading material
  • A nursing nightie and nursing bra
  • A going-home outfit for your baby
  • A camera or camcorder, fresh batteries, and film, if necessary

Week 39 - 40

Your doctor will now frequently do abdominal exams to check your baby’s growth and position, and may also do an internal exam to see whether your cervix has started ripening.

While you’re waiting for baby to pop, it’s important to pay close attention to your baby’s movements and let your doctor know immediately if they seem to decrease. Your baby should be active right up to delivery, and a decrease in activity could be indicative of a problem.

Things to consider:

Make a list of all the people you want to hear about your baby’s birth and pass this along to a relative or friend who can help you spread the news.

Week 41

It’s hard not to be anxious when your due date has passed and baby has still not arrived, but don’t worry, you likely go into labor sometime this week. If not check with your doctor and he’ll induce labour if he feels it is necessary.

How your doctor will induce labour will depend on the condition of your cervix. If your cervix hasn’t started dilate, it’s considered to not yet ready for labor and you may require hormones to ripen your cervix before the induction. Depending on your situation, your doctor may try methods like stripping or rupturing your membranes, or using drugs like oxytocin (Pitocin) to start your contractions. If these and other methods don’t work, you will need a cesarean.

Now’s where we say congratulations on your newborn and enjoy the joys of parenthood that lie ahead! LWB

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