Pregnancy Week 40

Fetal development in pregnancy week 40:

You’ve made it!!  Any day now your little one will arrive.  Don’t be surprised at how your baby looks after birth.  Their little heads can be misshapen and their skin may be discolored and have patchy looking rashes.  An average baby weighs about 7 ½ pounds and is about 21 ½ inches long at birth.  Every baby is different, though, and soon you’ll get to meet your little one.

Babies have more than seventy different reflexes when they are born.  These automatic, unlearned behaviors are necessary for survival.  While in the womb you provide your baby with antibodies and make their immune system stronger.  These immunities that you pass on to your baby will stay with them for the first six months of their lives.  Because of your hormones passing on to the baby, your baby may have enlarged genitals when they are born.  Hormones can also cause both little boys and little girls to secrete milk from their nipples.

Light exercise, such as walking, can help bring on labor now.  Try to relax and enjoy the last few days before your little one arrives.  Getting plenty of rest now will help you make it through the labor and delivery you have ahead.

Maternal Changes

Congratulations! You have made it to pregnancy week 40. While many women will delivery sometime this week others may find they pass their due date and go on to deliver at 41 weeks pregnant or beyond. Remember that due date prediction is not an exact science though due dates do offer your doctor strong guidance about your babies potential delivery date. It is often hard for doctors and parents alike to predict the exact date their baby will be delivered, but many have fun trying.

Some baby’s prefer to stay in a little longer, while others feel ready to come out a bit early. It’s really hard to say. While most mothers won’t make it to 42 weeks pregnant, some do and some may even require induction.

Some women start thinking about natural induction if they haven’t had their baby by 40 weeks of pregnancy. If this is you there are some important considerations you should note before trying any methods. There are some common natural labor inducers. Some are very safe and quite fun while others have drawbacks. You should be aware of the potentials risks and benefits of any natural labor induction method before trying one. Here is a brief summary of some of the more common labor inducers:

  • Walking – Walking is not just a labor inducer. It will help lift your mood and spirits and provides a great form of exercise. Walking can however stimulate labor or encourage labor to progress once it has started by helping contractions become more regular. You’ve probably seen many photos or movies with women in the labor and delivery ward walking the halls. That’s because walking helps your baby move farther into your pelvis in preparation for delivery.
  • Sex – Your partner will probably appreciate this one. Semen actually contains natural prostaglandin’s which can help ripen your cervix in preparation for delivery. Orgasms also release oxytocin in the body which can help trigger contractions. It’s worth a try and if nothing else will help relieve the stress and anxiety of waiting for baby.
  • Spicy cuisine – Some people swear by spicy foods for inducing labor. There is no exact recipe you can follow that will work every time, but certain spices including cumin are thought to trigger labor in some women. This is also a safe albeit often heartburn inducing way to try and induce labor.
  • Nipple stimulation – You should never try nipple stimulation unless you are under the care of your healthcare provider. Nipple stimulation is a very strong method of inducing contraction in the body. Nipple stimulation can lead to prolonged contractions which may stress your baby, hence you should get your doctors approval before trying and may even have to be monitored while trying this. If you are using nipple stimulation be very certain you stop stimulating when you reach a contraction to avoid hyperstimulating your uterus.
  • Castor oil – This is a bad tasting but traditional method of inducing labor that requires you swallow some castor oil. Castor oil generally smells and tastes very bad, but can help loosen the bowels and cause contractions in the colon which can stimulate the uterus to contract in turn.

Remember that your baby will come when your baby is ready to. Be sure you check in with your doctor before trying any natural induction technique to ensure that you are doing things safely. Any time now you will be welcoming your tiny bundle of joy into the world!

Dad

Looking for a way to pamper mom before the birth? Consider a pedicure or a pregnancy massage to help her relax. A nice date is also encouraged. Though be careful about picking things she has to sit through for long periods like concerts and the movies.

Maternity Clothes

Any pregnant woman will tell you that overalls and rompers are among the most comfortable items a woman can have in her maternity collection. One of the best things about overalls and rompers is that they can be worn before, during and after pregnancy. In fact, overalls and rompers are particularly useful in the postpartum months when you don’t quite have your pre-pregnancy shape back just yet. They provide room to expand and breathe throughout your pregnancy.

Though casual by nature, you can find overalls rompers at Destination Maternity that are designed a little more elegantly, so you can even wear them for an evening out if the need arises. If you are pregnant or soon will be, don’t neglect to check out the amazing collections of overalls and rompers available for expectant mothers today!

Pregnancy Health Tips

Are you thinking about ways to induce your labor naturally at week 40 pregnant? If you are, you should take great care to make sure that you don’t try to do anything that might be harmful to your baby.

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There are a number of natural ‘labor inducers’ that will stimulate labor contractions and start labor. Some women will swear by these methods, whereas others simply had fun trying. Here is a list of the more common natural labor inducers women have been trying since the dawn of time:

  • Sex – This is by far the most popular. You may be thinking of anything but intimacy at this point in your pregnancy, particularly given your size and weariness. However, semen contains prostaglandins, which can help stimulate contractions and start labor. Because of this, many women are willing to give it a try. You may find your partner a more than willing advocate, particularly since sex will be off limits for six weeks postpartum. Why not give it a try? There certainly is no harm. Some women prop their feet up after to give their cervix a chance to bathe in the prostaglandins. If nothing else, sex may help ripen the cervix. Orgasms can also trigger contractions in a woman.
  • Walking – Walking is great exercise. It can help stimulate labor particularly if you are having contractions that aren’t yet regular. Walking can help your baby move further down into your pelvis for delivery. Most women find walking also helps relieve some of the discomfort associated with contractions.
  • Spicy Foods – Some people believe that spicy foods or foods that contain cumin and garlic help trigger labor. While there is no specific ‘science’ behind this idea, there is nothing wrong with trying.
  • Nipple Stimulation -Nipple stimulation can be a very powerful way of inducing labor. Nipple stimulation causes the body to release oxytocin, which like pitocin (a synthetic substance used to induce labor contractions) can cause uterine contractions. Nipple stimulation can lead to very long and very strong uterine contractions. This can be dangerous for your baby because it can cause your baby’s heart rate to slow. You should only perform nipple stimulation if you have your doctors approval and even then you should monitor your contractions slowly to be sure you don’t over stimulate. Generally you should ease off nipple stimulation during each contraction to help minimize hyper stimulation.
  • Castor Oil – You should not try inducing labor with castor oil unless you talk with your healthcare provider first. Many midwives suggest that women who are past their due dates consider using castor oil. It may trigger spasms in the colon and intestines, which surround the uterus. These can result in labor contractions. Castor oil is foul smelling and generally tastes very bad. It will cause horrible diarrhea in many women. If you are considering this, be sure to talk with your doctor first to see what dose they might recommend, or what other methods they might suggest.
  • Membrane stripping – In some cases, your doctor may strip your membranes. This can sometimes help start labor. During a vaginal examination your doctor will place a finger through the cervix and basically ‘sweep’ the membranes. This helps release the amniotic membranes from the lower uterine cavity. Sweeping of the membranes may release prostaglandins, which can help push the body into labor.

Most natural labor induction methods will only work if your cervix is ripe and you are ready to go into labor anyway. You should never try to induce labor before you are 40 weeks pregnant to ensure that your baby is well developed. There is also some evidence that supplementation with evening primrose oil may help soften the cervix and prepare your body for delivery. You should be able to find evening primrose oil supplements at your pharmacy. Ask your healthcare provider about dosing.

Remember, after 40 long weeks you are almost on your way to delivery! Take some time to enjoy your last few days as a pregnant woman. If you can take some time to sleep. You certainly won’t be getting much sleep after your newborn baby arrives!

Many women find journaling a delightful and fun experience at this point in their pregnancy. Consider taking some time to sit down with your thoughts and feelings about labor, delivery and the pending meeting you will have with your newborn baby. One day you will have the opportunity to look back on this day with fondness and joy. You can share your thoughts with your loved one as they grow and mature. You can even take some time out to journal to pass the time away when you are in early labor. Simply pull out a pen and paper and start writing! It doesn’t matter if your thoughts are random or coordinated. Just write down what comes to mind. You may find yourself laughing and weeping years later when your little ones have flown the coup. Congratulations on your pending motherhood!

Twin Tips

The rate of undiagnosed multiples is very slim. Finding out earlier you have multiples helps ensure a healthier delivery for both mom and babies.

Pregnancy Week 39

Fetal development in pregnancy week 39:

A healthy range of weight is between 5 pounds and 11 ounces and 8 pounds 5 ounces.  Your baby is probably somewhere in this range now.  The umbilical cord doesn’t have any nerve endings (this means that you and your baby will not feel any pain when it is cut!) and is about 20 inches long and about ½ inch thick.  It’s pretty common for the umbilical cord to get knotted at this point, because things are so crowded inside the uterus.

All of your baby’s organs, including the lungs are ready for birth now.  Your baby’s immune system is gaining strength at this point.  Right now, you are probably very uncomfortable and can hardly stand the wait.  Try to take it easy and rest when you can, long naps and reading can help you through the last few days of your pregnancy.  Remember that very few babies are born on their due date.

Maternal Changes

At 39 weeks pregnant you will probably be experiencing multiple mood swings, varying from elated to worried to tired and excited. Many women are quite ready for delivery around 39 weeks pregnant. You should keep in mind the emotional roller coaster you are experiencing will continue for a short period of time right after birth.

Immediately following delivery your hormones drop significantly. For some women this causes a bit of distress or a case of the baby blues. In fact roughly 80 percent of women will experience some form or another of the blues after birth. This is however usually very normal and should go away after a short period of time. If you can’t shake your blues however it is important you talk with your doctor. Some women develop a more serious form of the blues called postpartum depression. If you notice after a couple of weeks that you are experiencing excessive anxiety, have long crying jags, feel depression or guilty or feel like you may harm your baby, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately. Postpartum depression can be quite serious, but fortunately there are some simple measures and treatments your doctor can prescribe to help you adjust during this time.

Dad

Have you ever changed a diaper? You might see if there is a baby you can borrow to experiment on. And here is a cheat sheet to see what a new diaper looks like. Seriously, changing diapers is but one thing a dad can do to help a new mom. You can help bathe and snuggle with your baby, consider getting a baby carrier so that you can hold the baby close while you walk around.

Maternity Clothes

Are you an active mom-to-be? Why not look great while working out all at the same time? Fortunately for active mothers, there are wealth of Active Collections at Destination Maternity that move with you and support you before, during and even after your pregnancy.

When shopping Active Collections Dresses at Motherhood Maternity, keep in mind you will need to find clothes made of breathable and stretch fabric. These items will grow with you, move with you and more importantly, and breathe with you while you work out during your pregnancy. Rest assured, most active collections provide extra support particularly for a woman’s chest and belly, the two areas that require the most attention during pregnancy!

Pregnancy Health Tips

Some women will require forceps or vacuum delivery. You might have thought about this by 39 weeks pregnant. While relatively uncommon sometimes a little assistance is needed to help the baby during labor and delivery.

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Forceps are an instrument that resemble a pair of tongs. They are sometimes used if the baby isn’t moving into the vaginal canal. This may happen for a number of reasons, but typically occurs if the uterus isn’t contracting well enough to expel the baby. Forceps are sometimes also introduced if the baby has to be delivered quickly because it is in distress.

If you doctor needs to use forceps, he will likely numb your vaginal area and may perform an episiotomy. The forceps are placed on the sides of your baby’s head and used to help pull the baby out. The risks of using forceps when used correctly can be relatively low, but may include bruising or swelling on your baby’s head and scalp.

In other cases, your doctor may need to use a vacuum extractor. This is a device that is shaped like a cup. It is placed on top of your baby’ head. The vacuum extractor applies a gentle suction to the top of the baby’s head to help pull your baby out of the birth canal. This can help prevent the baby’s head from being pushed back up the birth canal in between contractions. Bruising or swelling might also occur when a vacuum extractor is used.

In most instances, neither of these instruments will need to be used, but there is always a small possibility. If you have any concerns be sure to check with your doctor prior to labor and delivery. They can help explain the risks and potential need to you in greater detail.

Twin Tips

Are you tired of answering questions about still being pregnant? Not much longer. Your weekly check ups probably include non-stress tests to help ensure babies are growing well and that the placentas are not aging. Remember to ask any questions you have during your visits. If you have poor memory, write them down before you go and record the answers on the same paper!

Pregnancy Week 38

Fetal development in pregnancy week 38:

Your baby now weighs 6.8 pounds and measures about 21 inches long.  This is what many babies weigh when they are born, and your little one is just around the corner from arriving.  Baby is gaining about an ounce each day.

Since your baby is using their lungs to practice breathing they may get hiccups occasionally and you will be able to notice these little jumps.  The head and abdomen are about the same circumference at this point.  The abdomen is large because of the liver, which is producing red blood cells.

Tear ducts will not appear until a few weeks after birth.  The brain and the lungs are the last of the organs to develop, but both are nearly ready now.  The lungs are developing surfactant now, which helps the alveoli expand.  Baby can turn their head, react to sounds and lights and blink their eyes.

Vernix, the waxy substance that protects your baby’s skin while in the womb, is mostly gone now.  There is a small amount left to help the trip through the birth canal go smoothly.

Your appetite may decrease now, as you have less room for everything, including your stomach, as the baby has grown larger.  Remember to rest often because many sleepless nights are ahead!

Maternal Changes

By 38 weeks pregnant you may start worrying again about the labor process. Keep in mind that you could start labor at any point in time. You should be ready to go armed with your doctors phone number and your hospital bag. What will you need to take with you? That varies from woman to woman. Some good items to have however may include a robe, slippers or warm socks, lip balm, a change of clothes, personal toiletries, a magazine and nursing pads.

Dad

I highly encourage men to go in to be present at the birth. It is one of the most amazing experiences you will ever be able to have. Be assured that you will only have to watch or participate as much as you feel comfortable with. For some men this will be little more than holding your partners hand and gazing into her eyes. If you wish to take a more active role this may include labor support (breathing, massage, heat and cold packs, etc.), cutting to cord, helping to catch the baby. These are all fine, but should be discussed with your practitioner ahead of time, so that they know your preferences.

Maternity Clothes

Some practitioners routinely wish to induce moms of multiples at this point. Be sure to discuss the pros and cons of induction with your practitioner.

Pregnancy Health Tips

One of the most important things you will need to take to the hospital with you is an infant car seat. In fact, the hospital will not let you leave without one. All infants must be transported in a rear facing infant carrier until they are about 20 pounds heavy. The best thing you can do to alleviate some of your pre labor jitters is to have your car seat professionally installed. Check in with your local fire department. Most agencies have certified car seat technicians on staff that can check out your carrier and ensure that it is installed properly in your car. Your car seat must be used correctly in order to provide your baby with adequate protection in the event of an accident.

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Never re-use a car seat that has been in an accident. It may have been damaged in some way or another, and this could compromise the safety and well being of your new child.

You should also consider packing some nice things for your baby, including an outfit for the trip home and a warm baby blanket. If it is cold outside, consider bringing some booties, gloves and a hat for your little one.

Many hospitals will offer pictures of your baby during your stay. If you want to have your baby’s first photo taken while in the hospital, bring an outfit to show her off in. Sometimes getting your baby’s first photo taken in the hospital is more convenient than trying to drag your newborn baby to the photo shop during the first few weeks of life. You can usually also order custom birth announcements when you get your babies photo taken.

Twin Tips

Some practitioners routinely wish to induce moms of multiples at this point. Be sure to discuss the pros and cons of induction with your practitioner.

Some practitioners routinely wish to induce moms of multiples at this point. Be sure to discuss the pros and cons of induction with your practitioner.

Pregnancy Week 37

Fetal development in pregnancy week 37:

Your baby now weighs about 6 ½ pounds and measures about 21 inches long.  You are now considered a full term pregnancy, if you go into labor now, your health practitioner would not try to stop your labor!

Baby is gaining lots of weight now, about ½ an ounce each day.  Typically, boys will weigh more than girls at birth.  Right now, your baby is practicing their breathing and getting stronger.

Every baby is different, but some are born with as much as 1 ½ inches of hair already grown.  You probably can’t wait to see your little one at this point, but you are very close to the end of your waiting.

Lungs are almost completely mature now; in a few days they will be done maturing.  Your baby is becoming more coordinated now and can grasp things with their little fingers.

You may have a pelvic exam this week to see how your cervix is progressing.  Don’t forget to pack your bag and get together all the things you’ll need at the hospital or birthing center, including the camera and car seat.

Maternal Changes

You may have gained 35 pounds by pregnancy week 37. Some women will find to their surprise that they actually lose a pound or two in the very final weeks of pregnancy. This is normal and will not harm your baby. Keep eating healthy and drinking plenty of water as you continue your pregnancy from this point on.

By now you are probably bursting with excitement to meet your newborn baby. If you haven’t packed a delivery bag you should do so now. You should also start talking with your healthcare provider about your plan of action for delivery. This will guide you when you do start having contractions and start labor. You might also consider drafting a birthing plan. This doesn’t have to be anything complicated, just a simple outline for you to convey your thoughts and preferences regarding labor and delivery to your healthcare team. Your birth plan may consist of nothing more than a list of preferences for delivery.

Right around pregnancy week 37 your healthcare provider will take a group B strep test. Group B is a form of bacteria that lives inside the vagina or surrounding areas. Up to 35 percent of healthy mothers will have Group B in their vagina at one time or another. Typically this bacteria will not pose any health risks, unless of course you are pregnant.

When you have Group B during pregnancy, there is a chance your baby will get infected with the bacteria during labor and delivery. Typically Group B infections in newborns can be quite serious and result in a host of complications including sepsis (an infection of the bloodstream. In other newborns Group B infection may result in meningitis, which affects the lining of the fluid surrounding your baby’s brain. Most babies affected by Group B will start exhibiting symptoms in the first few days or weeks after delivery.

Fortunately you can protect your baby from infection, which is why your doctor will perform a a culture to determine whether Group B is present in your vagina. If group B is present your doctor will likely prescribe a course of antibiotics for your before and during your labor. This will help minimize the risk that the infection will spread to your baby during delivery.

Some women are more at risk than others for Group B infection, including those that have delivered previously with a Group B infection, women who have a UTI during or around the time of delivery and women who rupture their membranes prior to 37 weeks pregnant. Hopefully in the future researchers will develop a vaccine to help prevent Group B infection and spread to newborns.

Dad

If you haven’t helped her pack a bag for labor or get the house ready. Right now she could go into labor safely at any point.

Maternity Clothes

Think you’ll miss your favorite pair of jeans once you get pregnant? Think again! Modern moms know that there is an exceptional selection of Maternity Jeans available at Destination Maternity! No longer do pregnant women have to suffer wearing paneled pants with no style or class. Today’s maternity denim is made often made of breathable, stretchy fabric and it comes in a variety of styles, including non-paneled versions for the fashion conscious mom-to-be!

At Destination Maternity, you can also find great looking casual wear, skirts, pants, shorts, and even tops made of denim. Complete your maternity wardrobe with their great selection! Most maternity denim is made of stretchy fabric that is designed for functionality as well as comfort!

Pregnancy Health Tips

At 37 weeks pregnant it is the time many women consider creating a birth plan. A birth plan is simply a way that you can convey your ideas and desires regarding the birthing process to your healthcare team before, during and after labor.

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Many women use birth plans to list their expectations regarding the birth process. A birth plan can help your healthcare team better understand your needs and desires, and it can help you prepare to welcome your baby into the world in a manner you deem fit.

You don’t have to use anything fancy to create a birth plan, you can simply write down your ideas on paper. There are some common things, however, you probably want your birth plan to address. Among the more common areas covered by a birth plan include:

  • Whether or not you wish to receive pain relief during labor.
  • What kind of pain relief you prefer.
  • Whether you plan to breastfeed or bottle feed.
  • Whether or not you want a circumcision performed if you are having a boy.
  • If you want to listen to music or other forms of entertainment while giving birth.
  • Whether or not you want to use a tub or shower if available to relax in during labor.
  • Describe what positions you prefer to be in during birth.
  • Whether or not you agree to an episiotomy, or if there are certain steps you would like your healthcare provider to take in order to avoid one.
  • Whether or not you have any special requests related to the birth process.
  • Who is allowed in the room when you give birth.

Not sure where to begin? Simply start by writing down a list of your hopes and expectations about the birthing process. Then number and list them to make sure the most important of your needs gets addressed.

You should also consider having your partner contribute to the birth plan. Your partner may come up with a request that you hadn’t considered. You should be comfortable sharing your plan with your healthcare provider, nurses, and anyone else that might be interacting with you during the labor and delivery process.

Remember that even with a birth plan surprises do happen during labor and delivery. You may state that you do not want a cesarean section for example, but sometimes a cesarean may be necessary to protect the well being of you and your baby. Keep an open mind about your birth plan, but also remember that you have a right to inform your team of your preferences and desires during your stay at the birthing center of your choice.

Twin Tips

If you haven’t already addressed the envelopes on your birth announcements you might want to go ahead and do that! Remember once your babies are here there will be a lot of things going on and the birth announcements will probably be low on that list. Do everything you can before the birth of your babies so that you can enjoy what little quiet time you’ll have after you come home with your bundles of joy.


Pregnancy Week 36

Fetal development in pregnancy week 36:

Your baby now weighs about 6 pounds and measures about 20.7 inches long.  You’ve almost made it to the end now.  Keep this in mind as you continue to grow increasingly uncomfortable.  Your health practitioner will probably want to see you weekly now.

Fat is deposited in the baby’s cheeks this week and the muscles that help your baby suck are helping to fill out their little faces.  Your baby’s bones are very strong, but the skull is going to stay soft, so that it can pass through the birth canal.

Baby’s immune system is continuing to develop and now they are receiving your antibodies.  Liver and kidneys are now fully developed and functional, allowing baby to process some of their own waste.  Meconium is accumulating rapidly now.  This first bowel movement is normally voided soon after birth, but some baby’s will void while they are still waiting to be born.

Your baby is now a plump, round little person.  All the extra weight and fat accumulation over the last few weeks has filled out their little bodies.

If you haven’t already had a GBS, or Group B Strep test, now is the time to ask your doctor or midwife about this test.

Maternal Changes

As you continue your pregnancy week by week your baby’s main job at 36 weeks pregnant is still gaining weight. This will continue up until the point of delivery. You may not think this is very exciting but don’t forget all of the important changes and developments your baby has undergone in the last several weeks. Your baby has been working diligently to mature and develop organs, reproductive systems and other unique features that will make your baby the unique person he is at delivery.

You should also remember that weight gain is vital to your baby’s health and well being after delivery. The more weight your baby puts on the better prepared your baby will be to face the challenges that will present on the ‘outside’.

Here’s an interesting bit of information you may like to know, around pregnancy week 36. Some researchers think that babies actually release a signal to the mother’s body that triggers labor. There are actual many different theories about what exactly triggers labor. The truth is no one is one hundred percent certain, as different factors can influence different women and babies differently!

Some researchers think that when your baby is ready to delivery their brain sends a signal to the fetal adrenal glands. These glands might respond by producing hormones to help stimulate altered production of estrogen and progesterone, a sign your body may need to go into labor.

Still others believe that your baby’s lungs may secrete signals or hormones indicating to the rest of the body that they are mature and ready for the outside world. This combined with the presence of certain enzymes may result in the release of prostaglandin’s that can trigger labor by ripening and preparing the cervix for delivery. This is a very plausible suggestion as prostaglandins do play a key role in labor and delivery.

Your Body’s Development
By pregnancy week 36 you are at the height of your pregnancy glory. Your uterus has risen to more than 6 inches above your navel. You may think you couldn’t possible grow a centimeter more, but your baby has other plans. Most women will continue their pregnancy until the 39th or 40th week (or more in some cases!).

It is quite remarkable how well our uterus adapts to pregnancy. During pregnancy the uterus grows from the size of a plum to the size of a large melon and then some. At no other time during the course of your life will your body change, transform and adapt more so than during pregnancy. Amazingly, within six weeks after delivery however, your uterus will return to its pre-pregnancy size and shape!

Changes In Your Body
By pregnancy week 36 you are probably very focused on labor and delivery, and may even be anxious for labor to begin. Keep in mind however that you still have a good four weeks or so before you deliver. That time is essential to allow your baby the opportunity to fully develop and grow. Don’t forget a full term pregnancy lasts anywhere from 37 to 41 weeks duration. Your baby can come anytime between then and be quite normal.

You may hope your baby will come early, but most babies have a peculiar habit of coming a bit late. Remember, take some time to relax in the upcoming weeks. Chances are you will delivery around, though not exactly on your due date. In fact, only about five percent of women actually deliver on their due date!

Dad

Since her prenatal appointments are every week now, you might want to go with her to check in with her midwife or doctor. If you are planning a home birth you may have a special visit from your home and your birth kit may have arrived already.

Maternity Clothes

When the weather starts to cool down you’ll probably find yourself reaching for a sweater. Maternity sweaters are a must have item, particularly if you plan on spending 5 to 9 months in a cold climate or season. Remember, the warmer you keep your belly, the less likely junior is to kick you for keeping things a bit chilly!

Fortunately, Maternity Sweaters at Destination Maternity come in many different styles and colors. You can usually find something that works in a casual setting or something a bit more sophisticated to wear in the office. When shopping for maternity sweaters during pregnancy, you might want to avoid certain fabrics, such as wool, that might irritate already itchy skin!

Pregnancy Health Tips

If you are planning a vaginal birth after previously delivering by C-section you may be surprised to learn that your hospital may no longer allow the practice. Many hospitals are not able to comply with the guidelines the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists developed in 1999. These rules require that a doctor be immediately available throughout active labor in case a woman needs an emergency cesarean section. For a hospital to comply fully, an entire operating crew, OB, and anesthesiologists would need to be available 24/7. With the exception of larger medical facilities, this often puts a strain on resources for smaller hospitals.

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The guidelines were established recognizing that many women attempting to deliver vaginally after a c-section are more at risk for complications including uterine rupture. This condition is life threatening for the mom and baby. Many women are aware of the risks associated with VBAC but still want to give it a try. This causes controversy when they realize they may not have a choice at their chosen facility. Most doctors argue their position is based on concern for the safety of the mother and baby.

What is of concern is that these women may attempt home births in order to avoid repeat cesareans. While vaginal births after cesarean are possible, there are also very serious risks involved. It is vital that women take control of their health but also recognize the dangers of not having access to a medical staff that is capable of performing an emergency cesarean surgery, if it is needed.

Civil rights also come into play with this issue. Most activists would agree a woman should have the right to select the type of delivery. Many women feel this right is crushed under laws that limit doctors the ability to grant patients’ wishes. One thing is certain; the controversy is likely to continue. The best step you can take if considering a vaginal birth after a c-section is discuss your situation with your doctor or healthcare provider. Together the two of you can likely come up with a safe and accommodating plan of action.

Twin Tips

Most vaginal born twins are born within an hour of each other, though this can vary from one right after the other, to several hours. You and the babies will be monitored to ensure the process does not need to be sped up.

Pregnancy Week 35

Fetal development in pregnancy week 35:

Your baby weighs about 5 ½ pounds now and measures about 18.9 inches long.  As you know each baby has a different weight and length at birth, so these measurements are just an average.  Now your baby will start it’s most rapid weight gain, adding ½ to ¾ of a pound every week until they are born.

You may be able to distinguish body parts such as a head, hand or foot now that your baby is getting larger and your uterus is getting thinner.  Baby’s hearing has completely developed now and the lungs are very close to being complete and ready for birth.

The kidneys are fully developed and the liver is able to process waste products.  Fat is continues to accumulate at a rapid pace now, which will help your baby stay warm after they are born.

When you visit your health practitioner now they may begin to exam your cervix to see how ready it is for delivery.  If you are not having a home birth, have your overnight bag packed and ready so that when your labor starts you have everything you want and need ready to go to the hospital or birthing center.

Maternal Changes

Many women have extreme mood swings from about pregnancy week 35 on. Ok, many women have mood swings their entire pregnancy, but you may find them particularly dramatic around this time. Don’t worry incessantly however about the little things in life during this time. Now should be a time where you sit back and relax and try to enjoy the final weeks of your pregnancy.

It’s easy to find things to worry about during this time. As your pregnancy continues week to week you may for example feel more anxious about delivery. Your best bet however is to take some time and relax. Talk to other mothers who have had good labor and delivery experiences. This will help relax you. There are some studies that actually show a mother’s anxiety about labor and delivery may actually delay labor, and that is something you probably want to avoid as you reach the final weeks of your pregnancy.

Keep in mind that women have been giving birth since the beginning on time. No matter what your worries you are bound to do a spectacular job. Even if you have no siblings and no experience parenting trust us, after a few weeks you will get into the swing of things. Your natural parenting instincts are bound to kick in and you will do a fine job of raising your little baby.

You might start thinking about who you want to accompany you in the delivery room around 35 weeks pregnant. Some women prefer to have many family members present, while others prefer a quiet delivery with just their partner. The decision should be yours entirely. You should feel comfortable and safe in the environment you give birth in. This will help you relax during your labor and delivery.

Be sure you share your concerns, worries and excitement about delivery and the birth of your baby with your partner. Now more than ever it is important you keep the lines of communication open. You may find that you share many of the same worries and concerns, and can laugh together and support each other together from here until the delivery.

During the last few weeks of pregnancy you should definitely consider a prenatal massage or two, particularly if you haven’t already. Pregnancy massage is wonderful for relieving minor discomforts including pain and swelling. You may also find during a massage you are better able to calm your fears and settle your anxiety. You will also appreciate the hour to yourself. Prenatal massages provide exceptional health benefits for expectant mothers, whether delivering for their first time or third. Many centers offer prenatal massage include wellness centers, spas and chiropractic centers. If you reach pregnancy week 40 some even offer acupressure to help stimulate labor and delivery! If someone asks what they can do for you suggest a prenatal massage. You’ll be glad you did!

Dad

If you haven’t enjoyed playing the “kicking game” with your baby do so now. Typically when you hold your hand on mom’s belly you’ll feel the baby kick. Try tapping back and see how your baby responds.

Maternity Clothes

Nothing feels worse that wearing ill-fitting clothing during your pregnancy. This is the case whether you are wearing tops or bottoms. One thing you must invest in during your pregnancy is one or more elegantly designed maternity shirts. Maternity Shirts from Destination Maternity, are crafted with pregnant mothers in mind. They offer the much needed extra space to allow your newborn baby to grow without looking overly bulky or out of style.

In fact, today’s maternity shirts and blouses are much classier and stylish than some versions offered in the past. Not sure what to look for? Keep in mind that your skin might be overly sensitive during your pregnancy. You may want to look for clothes that are made of a cotton/lycra blend, so they are comfortable, breathe, AND stretch a little as your growing belly expands!

Pregnancy Health Tips

By this point in time, your healthcare practitioner might start paying close attention to the position your baby is in. There are several positions your baby may be in, the most common of which include head down, breech and transverse.

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Most babies will settle into a head down position near term, or from about 35-36 weeks on. Head down is the safest position for delivery.

Breech birth occurs when your baby is presenting with the buttocks rather than the head first. Three to four percent of babies will actually start labor in this position. A breech position can be more dangerous than a head down position. Usually sometime between weeks 34 to 36, the baby settles into a position that is hard to get out of, as movement becomes more and more restricted as the pregnancy progresses. Typically, by about 36 to 37 weeks, whatever position the baby settles into is likely to be the position they present at during labor. Most babies will settle into a head down position.

The most common breech position is the frank breech. In a frank breech, the buttocks are positioned to come out first and the legs are folded in front of the body. A breech position may increase the likelihood for a cesarean delivery.

In some cases, your healthcare provider may decide to perform a procedure referred to as an external version. This procedure is only performed in a hospital, and it involves your doctor pressing down on your belly to push the baby into the correct position. If your physician must perform a version, he will monitor your baby both before and after the procedure using both an ultrasound machine and fetal heart monitor. A version can sometimes be a painful procedure. Typically, your healthcare provider will perform a version after 36 weeks gestation. This allows enough time to move the baby before actual labor begins.

Breech is the most common alternative position that babies present in prior to labor. A footling breech, when one leg is lowered over the cervix is less common than a frank breech position. Some women are more at risk for breech delivery than others, including:

  • Women who go into labor prematurely.
  • Women who have had two babies close together, which lends itself to excess laxity of the uterus.
  • Women who have excessive amniotic fluid.
  • Women carrying multiples, where one or more of the babies is in a breech position.
  • Women with placenta previa.

When a baby is in the transverse position, they present sideways. Typically a baby in this position lies with her shoulder or her back over the cervix. This position is much less common, typically occurring in 1 out of every 2,500 births. A transverse position close to the time of delivery may necessitate a cesarean delivery.

The risks for having a baby in a transverse position, increases when women go into labor prematurely, if you have given birth to four or more children, or if you have placenta previa.

You should keep in mind that some babies defy all odds. Some babies will turn at the last minute and still present in a head down position for a natural delivery. If your baby is in an ‘abnormal’ position, keep in mind that your healthcare provider will be paying close attention to the situation. Your doctor can discuss with you the safety of a vaginal birth if your baby stays in a breech position, and he will also discuss with you a cesarean delivery if your circumstances warrant one.

Twin Tips

About 35% of twins will be born by this point, 80% of triplets, compared to 5% of singletons. Have you read the multiple birth stories.

Pregnancy Week 32

Fetal development in pregnancy week 32:

Your baby now weighs about 4.9 pounds and measures about 18.4 inches long.  Your baby is fully developed at this point, but is growing and gaining weight now.  Baby’s chances of survival outside of the womb are very good now, with only the lungs needing further development.

Baby is probably in the head down position now and the skull is soft so that baby can move down the birth canal during birth.  Pressure from the baby being head down can make you have to urinate frequently.

The immune system is continuing to mature now and preparing to fight infections.
Because your baby is rapidly building up fat, little dimples are forming at the elbows and knees.  Creases are forming around the wrists and neck.  Bones are continuing to harden now and the waxy substance covering your baby’s skin, vernix, is thickening.

There are several prenatal tests that your health practitioner may recommend at this point.  One that you need to ask for, if your doctor or midwife doesn’t suggest is, is the GBS (or Group B Step) test.  This test screens for harmful bacteria that you can pass to the baby at birth.

Maternal Changes

By 34 weeks pregnant you might start feeling a bit uncomfortable and anxious to meet your tiny baby. Some women start feeling anxious about delivery around this time. Others worry that their baby may not be able to fit through the birth canal. Fortunately most babies have no difficulty fitting through their mother’s pelvis, even if your pelvis is small. If you do have concerns your healthcare provider can provide you with guidance to predict whether or not your baby is too big to fit through your pelvis. Usually this diagnosis is not bade until delivery though, as your doctor assesses how well your baby fits into your pelvis.

Petite women are just as capable of delivering large babies as larger women. Many petite women have delivered babies weighing in at eight pounds or more. So don’t panic just because you are small. You can do it!

The same is true of larger women. Some onlookers have an annoying habit of pointing out how large some women are growing. Just because you are large doesn’t mean you will have a 12 pound baby. Relax. Most babies know just how big to grow to fit through their mother’s birth canal.

Sometime after pregnancy week 34 you may notice that your baby drops lower in your belly. This is a process whereby your baby’s head enters the birth canal to prepare for delivery. For first time mothers this can happen a few weeks before delivery. For second or more time moms, this sometimes doesn’t happen until right before birth. You may notice this happens when your abdomen looks lower or when it suddenly becomes easier to breathe. Most women welcome dropping as a sign they are approaching delivery.

Dad

If you haven’t done it yet, consider doing a piece of art work that is related to your pregnancy. You can do a photo shoot, paint her belly or even do a belly cast. It’s a great way to spend time together as well as commemorate the pregnancy.

Maternity Clothes

Want to know what many pregnant women find most comfortable to wear? Why, maternity tees of course! Maternity Tees and Shirts from Destination Maternity, provide all the comfort of ordinary tees with just a little extra room for expansion… something you will need during the next 9 months! Many maternity tees are specially designed with expectant mothers in mind. They may have cute logos that tell onlookers whether you are having a boy or girl (and even twins in some cases!) or other classy pictures. The majority of maternity tees come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. You can mix and match plain ones with more dramatic, colorful concoctions.

If you are considering wardrobe essentials during your pregnancy, don’t forget to add Maternity Tees from Motherhood Maternity to your list of must haves! Once you have a perfect maternity tee, you’ll find that you can’t live without it!

Pregnancy Health Tips

As your baby’s birth approaches, many women start wondering about whether or not they will need an episiotomy. Recent studies have suggested that while episiotomies are common, they are an unnecessary medical procedure that many new mothers endure at the time of delivery.

An episiotomy is an incision that your healthcare provider will make from the bottom of your vagina to the top of the rectum in an effort to avoid tearing during delivery. Many women experience tearing when the baby’s head passes through the birth canal.

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Supporters of the procedure claim that it may help prevent unnecessary tearing and lacerations. However, there are many women who endure increased lacerations, complications, unnecessary pain, and even those that require reconstructive surgery after having an episiotomy. Many times, an episiotomy will result in a longer recovery period after delivery.

There are certain risks associated with having an episiotomy including:

  • Increased risk of blood loss during delivery.
  • Increased risk of infection.
  • Weaker pelvic floor muscles after birth.
  • Increased healing times.
  • Loss of sexual sensation post delivery.
  • Incontinence.
  • Increased risk of a severe tear during birth.

In some instances, an episiotomy may be a life saving procedure. It can be medically necessary, particularly during times when the baby is in distress and needs to be delivered quickly.

Baby size doesn’t really have anything to do with the amount of tearing you might experience. How big your baby’s head is will actually determine whether or not you experience any tearing during delivery.

Is there anything you can do to avoid an episiotomy? Some women and healthcare providers encourage gentle stretching of the birth canal during labor and delivery. This is often referred to as a perineal massage. You can actually perform this massage in the weeks leading up to your birth.

Perineal massage is a form of exercise that can help prepare your body for labor. Many women begin massage in the five to six weeks leading up to delivery. Use of perineal massage may help reduce your risks for excessive tearing.

Many women choose to perform a perineal massage themselves, however, there is no reason your partner can’t help you. To perform a perineal massage you will need to do the following:

  • Sit in a position that allows you to remain comfortable with your legs apart.
  • Place some water soluble lubricant on your fingers and thumbs as well as the area between your vagina and anus.
  • Next, you will place your thumbs into the vagina about half way. Spread your legs and press down firmly on the perineal area. Try pressing down and to the sides at the same time, so that you are stretching the area.
  • Hold for a few minutes. You should feel some tingling.
  • Massage the lower vaginal canal back and forth.

It is best that you ask your healthcare provider exactly how to perform a perineal massage if you are interested. It is often hard to visualize such activities without someone actually showing you how to perform them.

Ultimately, the best way to avoid tearing is through a slow decent and controlled delivery of the head. If you work with a qualified health practitioner, you have the best chance of delivering your baby with minimal damage to your vagina and surrounding areas. If you have concerns about tearing, talk with your healthcare provider. Typically, your healthcare provider will be able to alleviate some of your concerns and inform you of all your options prior to delivery.

Twin Tips

As you look towards birth you may have the same questions any mom would have. A regular childbirth class is perfectly appropriate for you, but you might also want to find out if any of the hospitals in your area have a multiples class to give you a bit more information on what to expect for more than one baby. Epidural anesthesia can still be used in multiple births, just as unmedicated birth is still an option. Be sure to discuss your desires with your practitioner. Around this point you might have a better idea of the final positions of the baby, though it’s still possible for them to change, it’s less likely.

Pregnancy Week 33

Fetal development in pregnancy week 33:

Your baby now weighs about 4.4 pounds and measures about 17.8 inches.  Baby will gain one third to one half of their weight during the final weeks of your pregnancy.  The amniotic fluid is now at it’s highest level and will stay at this level until your delivery.  Your little one may have now settled into the head down position; however, some babies do not do this until later in pregnancy.

The baby’s skull is not joined and is very pliable.  The brain is rapidly growing now and increasing in size.  Fat is rapidly accumulating and changing the color of your baby’s skin from red to pink, the skin appears less wrinkly as they continue to accumulate this white fat.

Because your baby is rapidly gaining white fat and weight at this point you may be gaining weight more rapidly than in the past as well.  Continue to eat right and exercise as you can to help your baby grow and develop at a normal pace.  Now may be the time to decide if you will circumcise your little boy after his birth.  Continue to plan the details of your baby’s arrival including your birth plan the details of the nursery for when they come home.

Maternal Changes

By pregnancy week 33 you are probably finding yourself more and more excited at the prospect of meeting your little baby for the first time. You are more than � of the way there by this point in time. By around week 33 you should consider pre-registering at your hospital if this is allowed. This will help speed the admissions process once you are in labor. The last thing you will have on your mind as you approach delivery is filling out lots of paperwork!

By pregnancy week 33 many women start experiencing mild swelling or edema. This pattern often remains as you continue your pregnancy week by week. Some women find that swelling is worse during warm weather or in hot climates. If you are experiencing your third trimester in the middle of summer more kudos to you! You are probably very warm and quite bloated. Just be sure to drink plenty of water to keep your body as hydrated as possible. This will help with swelling and improve your comfort.

Some women begin experiencing numbness or tingling in their fingers and wrists around 33 weeks pregnant. This often results from a condition referred to as carpal tunnel syndrome. You may find the tissues supporting your wrists and hands also swell, pinching the nerves running through your wrist. This is often more noticeable for women who work in a job that requires frequent typing. If this is you ask your healthcare provider if wearing a brace will help relieve some of the discomfort you are experiencing in your wrists and hands. Taking frequent rest breaks should help relieve some of the discomfort and swelling you are experiencing.

By now you may be curious about some of the stages of labor. Labor occurs in several well defined stages. Here’s a glimpse of the stages of labor to prepare you for your upcoming delivery:

  • Stage One – During this stage or the latent stage of labor your cervix slowly dilates and effaces. Most women don’t’ notice this process and only recognize contractions as similar to Braxton Hicks contractions. Some women may experience a bloody show during the first stage of labor, where the mucous plug discharges as the cervix softens and opens to prepare for delivery. This stage of labor is often the longest, and can last more than 14 hours for first time mothers.
  • Stage two – this is the active stage of labor where your body prepares to deliver your baby. Your cervix will typically dilate between five and seven centimeters during this stage in labor. If you plan on an epidural it may be administered during this point in labor. Most moms will spend roughly six to eight hours in this stage of labor if this is their first baby.
  • Transition – During this time your contractions come every two to three minutes apart and you dilate from eight to ten centimeters. You are almost ready to have your baby! This stage can last a few minutes to a few hours!
  • Stage three – Your cervix is full dilated and your baby descends fully into your pelvis for birth. During stage three you begin pushing. If this is your first baby you will probably push longer than an experienced mother. Some women may push for 20 minutes while others may push for an hour or more.
  • Stage four – Your baby is delivered. At this point the baby’s placenta will deliver. Most women don’t even notice this stage of labor as they are busy being enamored with their newborn baby!

Dad

Don’t forget to spend some time practicing relaxation with mom. Try putting on some nice, quiet music and giving her a massage and working on practicing relaxation for birth.

Maternity Clothes

What woman doesn’t want to look and feel attractive throughout her pregnancy? Finding intimate apparel to wear during your pregnancy doesn’t have to be a chore. Yes, your body is changing each and every day. Fortunately, there are many quality and elegant options available for mothers looking for maternity intimate apparel during their pregnancy. One of the more important things to look for is supportive and flowing garments that move with you as you grow and expand.

Whether you are looking for something special to wear for a special occasion or simply in the mood for something sexy or romantic, rest assured that intimate apparel from Destination Maternity comes in all shapes, sizes, fabrics, and styles.

Pregnancy Health Tips

By 33 weeks of pregnancy most women, if not having a planned cesarean delivery, probably have started wondering a little bit about labor and delivery. Labor occurs in very distinct stages. Some healthcare providers divide labor into three stages and include an ‘early phase’ whereas others divide labor into four stages, which considers the early stage as the first stage of labor. Below we have broken labor down into four distinct stages.

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Remember that the rupture of membranes, also known as your water breaking, can occur at any point before or during labor. Some women will start having regular contractions before their water breaks, but sometimes, your water can break before you have contractions.

Twin Tips

Average birth weights for twins are 5 lbs 5 oz, triplets weigh in averaging 4 lbs, and quadruplets average a bit over 3 lbs. Are you ready for labor with multiples?

Pregnancy Week 32

Fetal development in pregnancy week 32:

Your baby now weighs about 4 pounds and measures about 17 inches.  If you’re feeling kicks in your ribcage it probably means that baby has finally moved into the head down position that 96% of babies are born in.  Don’t worry if this hasn’t happened yet, you still have a few weeks left for baby to move.

During baby’s awake times their eyes are open and looking around.  When they are sleeping their eyes are closed.  Eye color is usually blue right now, but this will change with exposure to light, and then it can change again a few months after birth.

Little boys testicles are descending into the scrotum now.  Sometimes this doesn’t happen until after birth, but this condition usually corrects itself.  Baby’s immune system is starting to develop now and sometimes the fingernails are so long that they will scratch themselves.

White fat is continuing to accumulate now.  This helps baby’s skin appear more pink and diminishes the wrinkly appearance of your little one’s skin.

If you haven’t already gotten a list together of the things you need to take with you to the hospital you should start now.  Ask your health practitioner what signs to watch for to indicate you are in labor and when they would like for you to call their office.  Be sure and ask what the procedure for contacting them is once you think you are in labor.

Maternal Changes

Most women are quite large during pregnancy week 32. If you are carrying twins you’ll find your uterus is already the size a singleton moms would be at 40 weeks pregnant! If carrying one baby your uterus should measure roughly five inches above your navel by 32 weeks pregnant. You may find that your baby is placing more pressure on your abdomen now, which can contribute to heartburn and indigestion throughout your pregnancy.

By pregnancy week 32 you should be drinking plenty of water and consuming foods with plenty of fiber. This will help ward of constipation and the associated side effects (like hemorrhoids). Your body is also preparing for labor and delivery, as your hips expand and your ligaments continue to stretch in the upcoming weeks.

Every woman wants the best for herself and her baby during labor and delivery. You should prepare yourself for any situation however during birth. While most deliveries go as planned, sometimes the unexpected does occur. If you go into delivery well informed however and educated regarding your choices, you’ll find the birthing process less fearful and anxiety ridden.

If you need a cesarean section you should also know what to expect. You should have some knowledge of a cesarean even if you plan a natural birth, as you never can tell what will happen when it is finally time to deliver. During a C-section your bay is birthed through a small incision in your abdomen and uterus. It is a surgical procedure that must be performed in an operating room. At times c-sections are planned, particularly if the mother’s or baby’s health is at risk. Other times cesarean sections are the result of an emergency that may arise during delivery or even before you go into labor. Roughly one of every four babies are born via cesarean section every year in the United States. What should you know about this procedure?

First, some women plan to have a cesarean delivery. This may be due to a number of factors including:

  • Previous delivery by c-section.
  • Obstruction of the birth canal due to physical problems.
  • Active herpes or other infections that may harm the baby.
  • Placental abnormalities that necessitate c-section delivery.
  • Multiple births where the first baby isn’t presenting head down.

There are other instances when a cesarean section happens in an emergency. Some examples of times when this may occur include:

  • If labor isn’t progressing and the health of the mother or baby is at risk.
  • If the baby is not responding well to labor suggesting a problem.
  • If the baby is in breach position and cannot be turned or birthed successfully.
  • If bleeding is present in the vagina caused by placental abnormalities.
  • If the umbilical cord has prolapsed into the vagina, which can result in fetal death.

While there are risks associated with a cesarean delivery, in many cases the risks of not performing surgery may be even greater. Be sure you talk about your health and the health of your baby with your doctor. Together you can make the choice that is best for you both.

Dad

Are you ready for baby? What do you have left to do? Sit down and make a list of things that are left to be done before the birth. Do you have a car seat? Have you picked a pediatrician?

Maternity Clothes

Breastfeeding is difficult enough to master without having to worry about finding clothes that easily lend themselves to the process. Fortunately there are a variety of maternity outfits that help make breastfeeding much easier. New arrivals at Destination Maternity are readily available to help make feeding your baby easier in the first few weeks of life and beyond. Many women start looking for breastfeeding maternity wear while still pregnant, particularly nursing bras. This is an exceptional idea, particularly if you find your breasts growing and in need of more support during your pregnancy. Your breastfeeding experience should be easy, feminine and above all else comfortable.

Think cotton is the best choice for your nursing bra? Think again. Over time, cotton can stretch out or lose its shape. When looking for nursing bras from Destination Maternity to complement breastfeeding, consider a bra with a cotton/Lycra or spandex and nylon blend. When it comes to breastfeeding, you have a wealth of options available to you.

Pregnancy Health Tips

Each and every woman who is expecting should prepare herself for the possibility of a cesarean birth. By doing so, if the need arises, you will feel more informed, educated, and relaxed about the procedure. This birthing process can sometimes induce fear and anxiety in women who are uninformed.

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So what exactly does a cesarean entail? Cesarean delivery (C-Section) is the birth of the baby through an incision made on the mother’s abdomen and uterus. It is a surgical procedure that is performed in the operating room. Sometimes cesarean sections are planned, while others are performed as the result of an emergency that develops. Typically 1 in 4 babies are born by cesarean every year. Whether or not you are planning a C-section, it is a good idea to educate yourself about the procedure. Knowing what to expect will help relieve any fear or anxiety you might experience should the need arise to perform a C-section.

Twin Tips

The majority of triplets will be born by now. If you haven’t already looked for postpartum help, now is a good time! While the old fashioned thing to do was to have a baby nurse, now there are other professionals designed to help new families, called a postpartum doula. A postpartum doula will help you with all things baby related and home related, whether that be fixing meals, or learning to breastfeed, even taking an older child for a walk. Contact local doulas as soon as you can to learn schedules and prices. Some of these gems even spend the night!

Pregnancy Week 31

Fetal development in pregnancy week 31:

Your baby now weighs about 3.3 pounds and measures about 17 inches.  Growth will begin to slow down now, but the average weight of babies at birth is around 7 pounds.

Baby is opening and closing their eyes this week.  A brain scan would show that your baby is probably having dreams now.  Lungs are quickly developing now, getting ready for full time work after birth.  White fat is now being deposited beneath the skin, which helps make baby’s skin look pink.

By now you should be seeing your health practitioner every two weeks.  Your doctor or midwife will be checking your blood pressure and any swelling in your arms and legs, measuring the baby, asking you about how the baby is moving around and keeping close tabs on you and the baby in general.  They’ll start paying attention to what position the baby is in now, as the birth gets closer.  About 96% of babies born are born head first.  The rest are born breech with the buttocks or feet coming first.  Having a breech birth does not mean an automatic cesarean section, but be sure and talk with your doctor or midwife if you are concerned. It’s probably time for you to remove your rings, if you have not already done so, because with swelling it can become very hard to remove these later.

Maternal Changes

During pregnancy week 31 and beyond you may become more aware of your breasts. Some women leak colostrums in the last trimester of pregnancy. This is the pre milk that forms in your breasts to nourish and protect your baby in the first few days of life. Colostrum varies in color from clearly to orange or even yellow at times. Some women never notice colostrum until right before delivery while others leak frequently. Fortunately a good breast pad can prevent embarrassing leaks from making their presence known to others.

Colostrum is particularly beneficial for babies born prematurely. Packed full of important antibodies, colostrum helps boost your baby’s immune system and protects your baby against early infections that can occur during the first weeks of your baby’s life.

By about this time you may be thinking more and more about your impending delivery. Delivery comes with many choices and many options. Some women will prefer a natural delivery while others will have an induction or a cesarean section. Of increasing interest of late are patient choice cesarean delivery at term. This is sometimes also referred to as a cesarean delivery at maternal request. This is an often controversial health care subject. Many women feel that the risks of a vaginal birth often outweigh those associated with cesarean delivery, thus they choose a cesarean delivery. It is their right to do so.

Women should know they can actively participate in the decision making process during their pregnancy. This includes working with their healthcare provider to decide the best method of delivery for their baby. Physician’s work intimately with patients to assure the best outcome for the mother and their baby, and at times this may mean a cesarean delivery is necessary.

Dad

If you are planning on giving birth in a hospital or birth center, you might want to plan your route there. Don’t forget to plan for traffic, special parades, having gas and even car keys.

Maternity Clothes

Want to know the one thing all moms have in common? They are hot… no, we aren’t referring to the fact that moms look good (even though all pregnant women are gorgeous!). We are referring to the fact that most moms feel very hot while pregnant because their body temperature is higher than normal. If this feels like you, then consider adding maternity shorts to your wardrobe. If you are expecting, there is no reason you can’t wear Maternity Shorts from Destination Maternity all year round, particularly if that is what it takes to keep you cool and comfortable. So what are you waiting for?

Pregnancy Health Tips

As you approach labor and delivery, you are probably starting to think about the method of delivery you will endure. While some women prefer to have a natural delivery, others prefer an induction or even a planned cesarean section.

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Cesarean delivery on maternal request, is a new and controversial women’s health care topic. Some women feel that the risks of a vaginal birth may outweigh the risks of a cesarean delivery, thus they would rather opt for a cesarean. Can a woman choose to have a cesarean delivery? The answer is… YES.

As an informed mother, you have the right to assume the risks associated with cesarean delivery for the well being of your unborn child.

Women’s health care rights are evolving and the definitions are changing. It is important that pregnant women actively participate in the decision making process during their pregnancy. This includes deciding the best route of delivery for their unborn baby. More and more physicians are accepting a woman’s right to be involved in her healthcare and delivery decisions. In times of old, physicians bore the burden of making the majority of decisions related to their patient’s health. However, more and more physicians are working intimately with patients to provide them with the information and resources they need to make sensible and safe decisions for themselves and their families.

If you do consider an elective cesarean delivery, make sure you discuss this option with your health care provider. There are many risks associated with a cesarean delivery. In some cases, it may be in your best interests to deliver vaginally. In others, you may benefit from delivering via cesarean section. Your healthcare provider can work with you to make this determination.

Some women consider the risks of cesarean more troublesome than the risks of a vaginal birth. All in all, it is important that the facts are explained to you, including the risks and benefits of a cesarean versus a natural delivery. You should know that the concept of maternal requests for a cesarean delivery is still a highly controversial and an emotionally charged issue. In many instances, your healthcare provider may decline your request. If you feel strongly regarding your decision, your healthcare provider can always refer you to another provider that is comfortable with the decision you have made.

Twin Tips

About 10% of twins will be born by this point, 30% of triplets, compared to 1% of singletons.