Your 36th Week

Don’t leave crucial arrangements until the last minute. Have an action plan ready for when you go into labor—it might be sooner than you think. Babies can arrive ahead of schedule, so make sure you and your partner feel confident about managing. Figure out practicalities, such as arranging care for other children, or even the cat. Rope in your parents or friends to help if need be, pack your hospital bag, and relax.


Get together with your partner and talk through your birth plans

You are 35 Weeks and 1 Day 34 days to go…

You may be surprised to find that your social life is already changing, and the baby hasn’t even arrived yet!

Your baby today

Your baby’s hair and eye color are all determined genetically and set before birth. Unfortunately, however detailed an ultrasound image is, it can only show the shape of structures and will never be able to show true color information.

If you’ve become a homebody recently, be reassured it’s quite normal. Wanting to stay at home is common in the final stages of pregnancy. You may be reluctant to plan social engagements for the next few weeks, just in case. For example, you don’t want to spend money on a theater ticket that might not get used. Do, however, pencil in dates with friends because they will understand if you cancel last minute. You’ll also find that once you’re on leave, you’re glad to get out of the house in the evenings.

Take the opportunity to go out with your partner in these last few weeks since dinner dates may not be on the agenda once the baby arrives.

… Doctor
Q: My feet are swollen and tight; can I do anything about it?
A: Swollen feet and ankles, known as edema, is due to excessive fluid seeping into the tissues because of the increased volume of blood. By late pregnancy, as blood volume continues to rise, this is a common problem. The swelling is usually worse later in the day and when the weather is warmer.

There are steps you can to take to help reduce the swelling, such as elevating your legs when sitting, rotating your feet, and lying on the floor with your feet up the wall. Wearing support hose also improves circulation. Make sure you drink plenty, particularly water, since this improves the kidney function and reduces water retention. Don’t take diuretics—studies have found that these can adversely affect an unborn baby.

… Your body
A soothing swim

Although you may feel too big to be exercising, swimming is a great activity for late pregnancy. The water supports the weight of your belly, so you may feel much lighter than you do normally. Try to do some gentle swimming as well as just relaxing in the water. Also consider going to prenatal water aerobics classes, which have exercises tailored for pregnant women.

When the weather is hot, relaxing in a swimming pool can be the best place to be. Use a float to support yourself and enjoy the wonderful feeling of weightlessness.

You are 35 Weeks and 2 Days 33 days to go…

Although the color is developing in your baby’s eyes, the final color will not be known for some time.

Your baby today

This MRI scan shows detail of the baby’s brain. MRI is particularly good at showing structures within the central nervous system. Taking and interpreting these images remains difficult and time consuming, however, so they are not part of routine testing.

What color will your baby’s eyes be? The iris controls the amount of light that enters the eye and gives the eyes their color. Eye color is determined by the amount of melanin within the iris; this is the substance in the skin that gives different skin tones.

It certainly doesn’t follow that your baby will have an identical eye color to that of you or your partner. Most fair-skinned babies will be born with only a small amount of melanin in the eye and the iris will appear gray or blue. If dark-skinned then there is a great deal of melanin and the color is usually dark gray or brown. The color continues to change after birth as melanin is produced in response to light. Your baby will be a year old before the final color of her eyes is fully developed.

You may have started to wonder whether your baby will have the same eye color as you or your partner. Her eye color may resemble either of yours, or it may be different than both of you.

Practicing visualization

Visualization is an effective and positive way to help prepare for labor. Try practicing it in these final weeks, beginning with a basic relaxation exercise. So start at the top of your head and gently flex and relax every muscle down to your toes, concentrating on each muscle, and your breathing, as you do so. Now imagine the birth, with every step given a positive connotation. For example, your baby is floating in water, and is gently rocked as the contractions begin; the tightening you feel is the strong walls of your uterus, guiding your baby into the world; the contractions are waves on which you and your baby are riding, as your baby is washed out—you are both swimming together with the tide.

… Your body
Cesarean birth

If you know you’re going to have your baby by cesarean, it’s good to being aware of what to expect following the birth. Although you should remain mobile after cesarean surgery, it’s also important to get plenty of rest. Keep in mind that a cesarean section is major surgery so you will need to avoid lifting and carrying heavy loads for the first few weeks. Since this may be difficult if you have other small children or you are at home alone, you should try to recruit as much help as possible after the surgery. You should avoid doing any shopping since this usually involves carrying heavy bags. Order online if you can.

The advice is not to drive for six weeks. If you feel up to it before this time, check with your doctor that it is okay and make sure you’re comfortable wearing a seatbelt and doing maneuvers, including emergency stops.

It is generally thought to take up to six weeks to fully recover from a cesarean delivery.

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