You are 30 Weeks and 4 Days 66 days to go…

In the uterus and in the first months of his life, your baby relies on your immunity to various infections.

Your baby today

In this 3D scan the baby’s arm is held up next to the face. This type of scan shows external features but also looks inside the baby in 3D so you may see some parts of your baby “through” an arm or leg. Here, the baby’s ear can be seen through the arm.

If your immune system thought your baby was foreign, it would mount an attack on him. You and your baby are designed so that this does not happen. Your baby does not have the ability to produce antibodies (which would attack you) in the uterus: he relies completely on you to protect him from infection, not only in the uterus but also after birth. Protection after birth is possible because antibodies from your immune system cross over the placenta into your baby’s bloodstream, while you’re pregnant. If you have immunity to a disease such as measles, mumps, polio, and many other severe infections, your baby will carry your antibodies to these conditions. This so-called passive immunity is lost with time and it is for this reason that, from two months onward, your baby will require a program of immunizations to protect against these and other illnesses.

… Your body

There have been numerous studies over the past few years involving women exercising while they’re pregnant. The bottom line is that exercise performed effectively and safely, at a moderate intensity and in healthy women, is beneficial.

In addition to being good for your health and making you feel more energized, exercising will get you into great shape for labor and childbirth, which is, in effect, a workout!

Here are the myths:

  • Exercising will harm my baby if I move too much. Your baby is protected by amniotic fluid and nourished by the placenta. By keeping within safe exercising guidelines , and not doing any high-impact sports or activities where you are at risk of falling or injuries, you are not putting your baby at risk.

  • Exercise will use up some of the nutrients my baby needs. Your baby’s growth will be monitored at doctor appointments, so you and your doctor will be able to tell whether your baby is growing at a usual rate or whether you should increase your calorie intake. If you’re concerned, increase your calorie intake on the days that you exercise.

  • Doing abdominal exercises will harm the baby. You can do abdominal exercises but you should not do abdominal exercises lying on your back in the second and third trimesters. The risk of lying on your back is that the baby can press down on the vena cava (the large blood vessel that returns blood to your heart). This causes your blood pressure to fall and compromises the oxygen flow to the baby. The first sign of a problem will be feeling dizzy: if you roll on to your left side, any symptoms should disappear. Don’t hesitate to consult your doctor if you’re concerned. The abdominal exercises shown on page 250 give you some great ways of doing safe abdominal exercises that do not put you or your baby at risk.

You are 30 Weeks and 5 Days 65 days to go…

If you want a home birth atmosphere with additional support, consider having your baby in a birthing center.

Your baby today

Here the hands are holding the umbilical cord as it arises from what will become the belly button, or umbilicus. The umbilical coils and its covering of firm, clear jelly protect the cord from kinking and prying fingers.

Birthing centers give moms-to-be a labor experience different than that of a hospital. The emphasis is on a natural birth. They can be attached to a hospital or on a separate site. Some hospitals have a birthing center facility in the maternity unit. Since the majority of women give birth without needing medical intervention, these centers provide a good alternative to a more medicalized hospital environment. The environment in a birthing center tends to be more relaxed and flexible than a hospital environment. You’ll have continuous support from a combination of labor nurses and midwives. Your doctor may also be affiliated with a birthing center. Furthermore, the medical team in these centers is very experienced at handling a birth without medical intervention. All of these factors therefore increase your chances of having a straightforward birth. To be give birth in such a center, you need to have had an uncomplicated pregnancy and be unlikely to require specialized medical care or monitoring in labor and birth. If complications did occur, you would be transferred to the closest hospital, although this is rare.

Sit down with your partner and discuss what you both would like to happen during the whole labor and birth experience. Then start putting your hopes, thoughts, and feelings into a birth plan that you can discuss and expand on with your doctor.

… Doctor
Q: I’m having a home birth. Can my older children, four and six, be present at the birth?
A: There is nothing more wonderful or miraculous than the birth of a baby, and it’s natural to want your older children to be present and witness it for themselves. However, do consider this carefully before you give them the go-ahead. For one thing, even the easiest of labors are painful, and young children will be distressed to see mom in pain. What’s more, they may be slightly daunted to see their new sibling emerging from your body, probably covered with various substances. Having said that, many kids handle the experience well if they know what to expect, so outline everything, and explain that any cries, shrieks, or swearing on your behalf are necessary to help get the baby out. You could also mention that you may cry or even vomit, just so they are prepared. Let them know to expect some blood, and that baby will be attached to a (rather gruesome!) cord. If they’re squeamish, get them to position themselves by your head, or bring them in immediately after.
Home is where the heart is

The prospect of sleeping in your own bed and being taken care of by people who love you are reason enough to opt for a home birth. It’s natural to feel less inhibited at home, and you may be more inclined to move around more and for longer, be as vocal as you like, use gravity, and try different birthing positions, all of which can make labor and delivery shorter and easier. Your midwife will explain what’s involved, so seek her advice. On the big day be flexible: you may want to head for the hospital.

Your baby still has slender arms and legs and little fat under the skin. His skin is covered with fine lanugo hair and waxy vernix and he now has eyebrows and eyelashes—his first mature hairs.

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