women

Welcome to your Third Trimester (part 38) - Prescribed bedrest

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You are 35 Weeks and 3 Days 32 days to go…

Don’t forget this is a life-changing time for your partner, too, so find positive ways to involve him in the time preceding the birth.

Your baby today

In this week, the lungs become almost fully functional and able to support the baby if delivered early. This baby at this time is still considered preterm and it is not until 37 weeks that the baby’s maturity is such that full term is reached.

There is, understandably, a lot of focus on women in the lead-up to childbirth, but it’s important not to neglect the dads-to-be. Your partner may be getting anxious about the birth itself, fearing that he might not manage well with being in the delivery room or just concerned about how it will affect him to see you in pain. Some men feel guilty that they cannot take their share of the pain and help more during labor.

Aside from thinking about the birth, your partner may be anxious about the fact he’ll be responsible for a newborn baby in just a few weeks!

Talk to your partner if he appears anxious and involve him as much as possible—from helping you cope with pregnancy discomforts to preparing for the birth. If you’ve written a birth plan and Birth ideologies), go back over it now and discuss what might happen and how your partner could help on the day.

You could practice positions and breathing techniques for labor so that he feels more confident about helping you manage. If possible, he could go to your final prenatal appointments with you, where he can discuss any concerns he has with the doctor.

… Doctor
Q: I’m having my twins next week, but will I be able to love them both equally?
A: Although this can be a concern, it is more likely to be the case that rather than favor one child over the other, a parent gives more love and attention to the baby who needs it most at that time.

It is also possible that the strain of having two babies in the house may increase the likelihood of delayed bonding, although this can also happen if the birth has been traumatic; if the mother or indeed the father is exhausted; or if one baby has taken time to establish feeding, or is more fractious than the other. This does not mean that bonding will not take place over time.

In every family, there are bound to be ebbs and flows of love between parents and children. When a parent has two children born at different times, that parent may love one child differently than the other, but this does not mean that the love a parent has for one child is to the detriment of the other. If once your babies are born you still have concerns, speak to your doctor.

… Dads
Getting ready

Have you done all your dad-to-be jobs? These include:

  • Buy a car seat and make sure you know how to install it safely in the car. You can’t leave the hospital with your newborn without one.

  • Assemble the crib if you’re going to use one in the early weeks.

  • Ensure there is storage space for the baby’s clothes, bedding, diapers, and other bits and pieces.

You are 35 Weeks and 4 Days 31 days to go…

The lungs don’t become fully functional until these final weeks, but important development is taking place now.

Your baby today

Your baby’s heart will beat quite fast, at between 110 and 160 beats every minute. Even after birth, your baby’s heart will continue to beat at this speed. It will be several years before the heart rate is 70 or so beats per minute, the same as an adult.

If you imagine the lung as a tree, then the windpipe or “trachea” is the trunk of the tree. This then forms several branches or “bronchi,” which divide several times, like twigs, to then produce the most delicate structures: the alveoli or leaves of the tree. It is within the alveoli that gas exchange will take place.

The alveoli began to develop at 24 weeks but they continue to increase in number throughout the pregnancy. The alveoli contain surfactant-producing cells to keep them open and these now become fully functional.

Prescribed bedrest

Toward the end of pregnancy, there are some circumstances when you may need to be admitted into the hospital for bedrest.

You may be closely monitored in hospital toward the end of your pregnancy if there is any concern about your health or that of your baby. A fetal monitoring machine will be used to check your baby’s heartbeat.

  • If you have contractions, but your water hasn’t broken.

  • If you develop preeclampsia. Measures will be taken to reduce your blood pressure.

  • If you have placental abruption, where the placenta separates from the uterus .

… Your body
Getting strong

Maintaining muscular strength, stretching, and doing gentle exercise right up until you give birth will help your posture—minimizing backaches, reducing stress on your skeleton, and making you feel more energized and relaxed.

As long as you feel good and adhere to the guidelines set out on page 18, you can continue with your activities.

Most importantly, at this time you should use common sense and listen to your body. If you’re in pain, feel fatigued, or have dizzy spells, see your doctor immediately and stop exercising. You’ll be feeling tired carrying around all that extra weight so adjust your activities accordingly. This could mean that you lower the intensity of your exercise and exercise for a shorter time, but if you feel good don’t stop exercising entirely.

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