You are 37 Weeks and 3 Days 18 days to go…

It’s a good idea to give some thought to life after the birth, and ensure you have adequate help and support lined up.

Your baby today

With each day that goes by delivery is becoming ever more likely. You may experience Braxton-Hicks’ contractions, which help to soften the cervix and prepare for labor. The amniotic fluid that surrounds your baby ensures she’ll hardly notice these mild tightenings.

Even at this late stage of pregnancy, it may still be hard to imagine your baby being born and living in your home. You and your partner may settle into life with your newborn with ease, and manage without any help, but it’s still a good idea to have backup support just in case.

What you may not be prepared for is the fact that you’re likely to be exhausted after weeks of poor sleep during pregnancy, and the rigors of labor itself. Add to this interrupted nights’ sleep and the whole adjustment to being a new parent, and you may well find you’ll need to call on people to help practically and emotionally.

It can help enormously to have a good support network set up in advance. Ideally, this will be close family and friends who you know you can rely on to drop in to help, but who will also know when you need to be left alone. Even an hour’s help to prepare you a nutritious meal, or hold your baby while you get a much-needed rest or a shower, can give you some welcome respite.

Have the number on hand for your lactation consultant, so that you can ask for advice. Also get on the phone to moms-to-be whom you’ve met at prenatal classes; they more than anyone will be able to relate to how you’re feeling.

Don’t be too proud to accept help with housework and shopping. Knowing these tasks are taken care of will help you relax and focus on your baby.

Try to limit the number of guests you have in the early days, and make sure that they are warned that visits will be short. Although you will be desperate to show off your new baby, visits can be draining so it’s better to wait until some routines are more established.

… Nutrition
Healthy snacking

Large meals are likely to leave you feeling uncomfortably full, especially late in the third trimester. If you go long periods of time between meals, you may become light-headed and feel weak from hypoglycemia—low blood sugar. This is because the baby is constantly drawing glucose from your bloodstream.

Healthy snacking is the key to eating well and comfortably:

  • Keep lots of fresh fruit on display in a bowl so you’ll remember to eat it.

  • Stock your cupboards with a variety of dried fruits and nuts.

  • Hard boil eggs and keep them in the fridge. Try eating them with a sprinkle of salt to quell that salt craving.

  • Buy or make some frozen juice pops and keep them in the freezer. Some women also find it refreshing to suck on these during labor.

Yogurt is a nutritious and healthy snack for any time of day. For variety and additional nutrients, sprinkle granola or dried fruit on top.

You are 37 Weeks and 4 Days 17 days to go…

Gradually, each of your baby’s bones is becoming strengthened thanks to adequate amounts of calcium.

Your baby today

What exactly triggers the start of labor is still a mystery. Does the signal come from your own body or does the baby play a part in the decision? Every labor is different, and the timing of your first labor can be quite different from your second.

Your baby’s bones are strengthened by the process of ossification in which hard bone is formed from calcium. To meet this increase in demand, you absorb calcium much more readily from your diet.

By this stage of pregnancy, the baby’s humerus in the upper arm, femur in the upper leg, and tibia in the lower leg have undergone this process. As ossification occurs at specific weeks in your pregnancy, ultrasound can use these as markers to estimate the date of the pregnancy, if necessary.

The time at which this ossification occurs may be seen a few days earlier in girls than boys and, interestingly, the patella (knee bone), does not ossify until after birth.

Just because your partner weighed above average at birth, it doesn’t mean your baby will too.

The birth weight depends on the mix of genes your baby inherits. So, if your partner is tall and big boned and you’re petite and were a tiny baby, keep your fingers crossed that you have the more dominant genes!

… Doctor
Q: I’ve had a small amount of bleeding. Should I be concerned?
A: Bleeding in late pregnancy may be serious since it can be due to the placenta partially, or totally, detaching from the wall of the uterus, known as placental abruption, or to a low-lying placenta, known as placenta previa. If you have a mucus discharge tinged with blood in late pregnancy, this may be a “bloody show” .

Always seek medical advice for bleeding at any stage of pregnancy to rule out any problems.

Bach Flower Remedies

Flower essence blends are designed to calm and center your energy, which some think can help you relax and encourage you to focus. Rescue Remedy and Emergency Essence, types of Bach Flower Remedy, are thought by some to be effective when used in labor, and in the weeks prior to and after the birth. The remedies are taken for a variety of symptoms including anxiety, shock, worry, stress, or simply for a boost during a long or painful labor.

A few drops may be taken on your tongue as required or mixed in water, as shown above. Both of these blends also come in cream form, to apply topically, or as a spray, to spritz yourself, and your environment.

Ask your doctor before you try these or other natural remedies, since they haven’t been thoroughly studied.

One way to take Bach Flower Remedies (see Bach Flower Remedies) is to put four drops into a glass of water and sip it at intervals. Alternatively, you can put the drops directly on to your tongue using the pipette. Always talk to your doctor before using any remedy.

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