You are definitely on the home stretch now, although you’re fortunate that Month 7 of pregnancy typically still allows for a few “roomy” comforts and pleasures that may be diminished by the time you arrive at Months 8 and 9.
If you’ve put off signing up for Childbirth Preparation Classes, this is the time to do it. Depending on when your baby decides he is “full term,” which could happen as early as 36 weeks – these classes can help you prepare for what lies ahead. In addition to familiarizing yourself with your pregnant body’s physiology and what to expect during labor and delivery, the class is a wonderful way to meet other soon-to-be parents. It provides an open and receptive place where all of your questions can be answered by a knowledgeable childbirth educator.
If this isn’t your first rodeo, look for refresher courses instead. Busy parents, or those who travel for work, may be interested in the online classes offered by Women’s Health Associates – Click Here for more info.
Month 7: What’s Going On For Mommy and Baby?
By now, your baby’s body is pretty complete – in theory – but the next two months will be dedicated to maturing the organs and systems that allow him to enter the world as healthy and whole as possible.
He now weighs about four pounds and is roughly 16-inches long. If he were to be born at this stage of the game, he’d look pretty tiny with red, wrinkly skin. In utero, this skin will begin to fill out as he stores more fat over the next eight weeks, and the lanugo (that fine, downy hair that covers a developing fetus’s body) is coming off.
His eyelids can open now, so although his underwater world is blurry and hazy, he will be even more sensitive to changes of light and dark. His brain and nervous system are also becoming more refined, and baby can now feel pain, cry and respond to external stimuli more consciously.
His continued growth means your uterus is getting bigger – and your abdominal cavity is filled to the brim. This makes you more breathless and prone to discomfort when baby elbows or kicks in an effort to stretch out, resulting in some funny lumps, bumps and belly shapes. Odds are your breasts are leaking colostrum as they gear up for breastfeeding. If your breasts seem exceedingly tender, you may want to invest in high-quality nursing bras and wear them to bed.
If you haven’t experienced any “practice contractions,” called Braxton Hicks, you may notice a painless tightening of the belly or even lower back from time to time. Most of the time, this is your body’s way of preparing for labor. Putting your feet up or lying down should cause Braxton Hicks contractions to recede. If contractions persist even after taking it easy, or increase in duration, frequency or intensity, call your healthcare provider to check in.
Start clearing your calendar a bit more this month as your midwife and/or doctor will want to start seeing you bi-weekly, rather than once a month.
What’s Happening for Daddy?
Daddies typically experience a myriad of emotions by this point in their partner’s pregnancy. There’s the excitement of the baby-to-be, as well as increased bonding now that baby may respond to his voice and gentle pats or pushes on the belly. Then there’s the frustration of sleepless nights due to your restlessness or the additional chores he has to take over in an effort to help you out. Fear and anxiety may also come into play as the pressures of more responsibility loom on the horizon.
While you are still the star of the show, do try to be as conscientious as you can about the factors affecting his mental/emotional status as you navigate your communication and the re-balancing of household responsibilities.
Depending on your own libido and/or comfort levels, sexual activity may need to be diminished. Try playing around with different positions and put an emphasis on oral sex – rather than penetration – which is often easier to accommodate.
What’s Happening for Sister and Brother?
This is a good time to check in with your other children to find out what their expectations are when the baby comes. Many parents are unaware that their three-year old expects to be able to take the baby on walks or change his diapers. Your 17-year old may think she gets to shirk responsibility all together since you are the one who decided to have another baby, not her!
By meeting as a family and talking about what will and won’t be expected the first days, weeks and months of the new baby’s arrival, you can stave off a myriad of misunderstandings and false expectations. You don’t want to deal with arguments, fussing or unnecessary fretting when the new baby joins your household.
Are you new to the area and looking for a health care provider? Is your current health care provider feeling like a bad fit, or unwilling to cooperate with aspects of your birth plan? Contact Women’s Health Associates to schedule a consultation and see if we’re a good fit for you and your family.