This is it; you’re last pregnancy lap, so to speak. The two of you are so close to the finish line. In truth, by Week 36, baby’s lungs are developed enough to live happily out of the womb. Some babies will be born earlier – right around weeks 37 or 38, while others may prefer more time to put on their final touches – waiting as long as 42 weeks or so, before your healthcare provider starts to get antsy.
It really is all about the finishing touches at this point, and those are making your body increasingly uncomfortable. The bottom line: there’s no more room to spare in there!
Month 9: What’s Going On For Mommy and Baby?
Oh, mama. While things are undoubtedly exciting for you, they are also pretty uncomfortable. All of your basic needs have become a chore – eating causes heartburn, sleeping through the night is impossible and even putting on your own socks and shoes can require the assistance of family members.
Odds are you’re experiencing your fair share of Braxton-Hicks contractions, which are your body’s way of getting ready for labor. These contractions don’t steadily accelerate or intensify the way “real” contractions do, and they ease off if you lay down and put your feet up. Take baths, get your partner to rub your feet and lower back, and do anything you can to make yourself as comfortable as possible until the time comes.
As for baby, he is feeling pretty cramped too, which leads to more stretches, bumps and kicks as he tries to create more room. He is gaining a half a pound a week, which doesn’t help the comfort factor much either. While we aren’t sure exactly what kicks labor into gear, experts are fairly certain it has something to do with finalized lung development. When the right amount of surfactant has developed, allowing the lungs to breathe air on their own, a hormonal dance begins.
Review your birth plan with your OB and/or midwife to make sure everyone’s on the same page. Get your bag packed and wait for those “real” contractions to begin.
What’s Happening For Daddy?
This is Daddy’s time to check and re-check the packed bags and to run over the if/then game plan for labor, depending on when you go into labor and where he is at the time. You’re probably tired of fielding the “is the baby there yet?” questions so get Daddy into Daddy Bear mode. Make him your front line defender from all things/people that annoy you or stress you out.
It’s good practice for when the baby comes and he has to shoo well-meaning visitors out the door so you can baby can rest and bond.
What’s Happening for Sister and Brother?
Make sure your kids have a clear idea of what will happen when you go into labor. Where will they be going? What do they need. Let them pack their own “bags” if they’ll be staying the first night with family members or friends.
If you have younger children (although teens often like to participate too), ask them to make something to hang on the nursery door or on the exterior rungs of the crib to welcome their new brother or sister. It’s an exciting time for siblings, but it can be scary too, so make sure you don’t talk about the potential pain or hardship of labor as this can cause unnecessary and fear, worry and stress about you and the baby.
Have questions about your last weeks of pregnancy? Feel free to contact Women’s Health Associates and we’ll be happy to help any way we can.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net