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Nint h Month

37-40 weeks

Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!! You only have around four more weeks until you meet the new addition to your family.

Feelings

This month its normal to have a slew of emotions tearing you every which way. You can't wait for pregnancy to be over so you can start your new life. Infact its very common for women to be extremely sensitive to their body's signals, even almost looking for any sign of the start of labor. At the same time its normal to feel nervous and unsure about how labor and delivery will be along with how your new life will be. The last month of pregnancy can be kind of strange because it passes by very quickly but for many women not quick enough.

For tips on how to cure or comfort any of these symptoms listed on this page check out :

Symptoms To Expect During The Third Trimester & Tips To Help Make This Trimester More Comfortable.


Easier To Breath

As baby drops and engages into your pelvis the pressure will be released off of your lungs and you will be able to breath more easily.

Bigger Appitite

As baby engages your stomach is also another organ that will start to get more space and as a result you will be able to hold more food and feel hungrier than you had been in the past few months.

Harder To Walk

If only the law of gravity could make acceptations for pregnant women. With the extra weight of your baby and the size of your stomach, your body, especially your legs, is not use to handling the weight. Instead of a normal brisk walk that you are use to you'll feel like you are waddling everywhere you go.

More Difficulty Sleeping

During the ninth month not only is the size of your stomach causing problems with sleeping but the anxiety of your due day often leaves it hard to catch a good night sleep. Its very normal for women, especially if this is your first pregnancy, to feel anxious about labor. You often think: Will I know when it starts? What do I do when it starts? How will it feel? Will I be in pain? And millions of other questions and anxieties. Even if this isn't your first pregnancy its normal to feel this way.

Achy Muscles All Over

Just as the weight of the baby and size of your stomach causes problems with walking because your body isn't use to handling the weight. Your body also reacts to the stress with achy muscles. Right now your stomach muscles are being stretched while pressure is pushing down on your leg muscles and pulling at your back muscles.

Constant Heartburn

At this time you may experience constant heartburn when laying down or eating spicy food. If you are the type who prefers being the bottom partner during sex, you may end up having problems. Laying down flat may cause acid reflux making sex uncomfortable.

 

Baby's Movements Have Changed

Have you noticed that baby isn't really moving much anymore? Don't be concerned if you do find baby is not as active as usual. By the ninth month baby is almost out of space to move which is why all you may be able to feel is a little squirming.

 

Loss Of Mucas Plug

By the beginning of this month you should start to notice a type of green mucus on your toilet paper when you wipe after going to the bathroom. Occasionally you may even see a small blob of mucus at the bottom of the toilet bowl after going to the bathroom. Don't be alarmed its is just your mucus plug thinning. In your earlier months of pregnancy mucus was building up to form a sort of plug in your birth canal to keep your water from breaking and everything in tact to prevent premature birth. During your ninth month your body is slowing down production of amniotic fluid and your cervix is "ripening" for birth. When your cervix starts to ripen or also called softening your mucus plug starts to loosen and there for releasing mucus each time you use the bathroom. This is perfectly normal. As you get closer to your due date the mucus will start to turn into a brownish color and you will discharge it more. You can usually tell you have a weeks left of your pregnancy when you discharge a large amount of mucus at once, usually its about the size of a lima been. It is also perfectly normal if you don't even see the last of your mucus plug. It may be thinned out so much that its not a blob or you may have passed it and not seen it.

Softening of Cervix

With each doctor's visit this month your doctor will do a pelvic exam and see how your cervix is softening. When your cervix softens it starts to dilate or also known as the opening of the birth canal starts to open wider and the mucus plug loosens more.

Difficulty In Telling Braxton Hicks And Gas From Real Labor

Even with second time pregnancies it is very difficult to tell what is false labor, what is gas and was is real labor because they seem to feel the same. The best way to tell the difference is to count the minutes between each contraction. If it is more than a hour then it is most likely false labor or gas. Also if the contraction is not coming on a constant bases such as it moves from every 20 to 10 to 30 minutes or something like that then it is false or gas but the best way to be sure is if the pain continues more than two hours then it may not be false. You can usually tell you are in labor if the times between contractions start to lesson each hour. Example is for four hours you have contractions once a hour but then it starts to go to a contraction every 45 minutes to every 30 and lower and lower. With most labor you will feel a tightening pain in the lower abdomen that will keep tightening for 1 minute or so and then loosen. Some women may even experience back labor were you start to have sharp pain in your lower back that slowly moves to your stomach with each contraction. If you feel you are in labor don't rush to the hospital unless your water has broken. Doctors usually don't like you to come in until contractions are a constant 8- 5 minutes apart.

Problems Sitting

Because of your stomachs growth sitting and getting up can be very difficult especially since your stomach has probably grown to its capacity.

Dilation

With each prenatal visit this month, as your doctor is doing a pelvic exam, he or she will check to see if you are dilated or not. Dilation is when the entrance to the birth canal (cervix) starts to slowly widen so your baby may fit through when it is time for him/her to be born. If your doctor tells you you are one or two centimeters dilated don't get overexcited and expect baby to be born in a few days even if your doctor tells you your water bag is starting to bulge through. Even if you are at two centimeters it could be a week to three weeks before the second stage of labor starts. Dilation is considered the first stage of labor but the stages of labor will be explained on another page. Dilation can be a very slow process and usually doesn't start until your second week into your ninth month. Your cervix will dilate to ten centimeters before baby is born and most times pain medication won't be given until you are dilated four centimeters. Usually by the time you are in active labor (contractions are 5-8 min apart) and are in the hospital you are still dilated 2-4 centimeters and the dilation process goes by a little bit more quickly.

Nesting Instinct

As your due date starts to get closer its very common for a pregnant woman to feel the need to clean and organize everything and anything and get absolutely everything ready for when baby comes home. Its natural maternal instinct for you to want to get everything ready for baby. Even after cleaning you may feel like there is still more even though everything is ready for baby.

Induction

Being induced is when you are hooked up to a saline I.V.(saltwater mixture to prevent dehydration),which is standard procedure for anyone in labor or being induced, and Oxytocin is injected into the I.V. to start labor. Oxytocin is a normal hormone in the brain that produces contractions. When that hormone is not being produce or not being produced enough is when the hormone is injected to start contractions. Induction can be risky and in most cases is only an option in extreme cases including a case were the patient has gone a week or two past due date with no sign of labor starting or baby is at risk. I have personally been induced with my second child and I strongly recommend staying away from that option if possible. My O.B. chose to induce me the day before my due date. At the time my baby had already dropped and had been engaged for a month (not common for 2nd pregnancies. I was dilated 2 centimeters for two weeks and for two weeks my water bag (amniotic fluid) had been bulging out of the cervix were the plug had once been. I've been told this is very unusual for a second pregnancy. With most second pregnancies baby usually doesn't drop or engage until the contractions start or progress. My O.B. decided to induce because my cervix was ripe, meaning it was ready for birth and all I needed was contractions to start. My due date was the next day and my O.B. had to leave town for a convention in a few days and she had promised me before that she was going to deliver me. I think mainly because she had worked with my mom 20 yrs ago when my mom worked in the nursery and my O.B. wanted to make sure I got all the good care possible.

Being induced is nothing like normal labor. If you have experienced labor times labor contraction pain by three and the contractions are the strength of about 180 every three minutes. A normal labor lasts 24 hrs for a first time labor and about 15 to 17 hrs or closer for second or more time labors. When you are induced labor (active and nonactive)lasts a little less than 8 hours. The shortness of an induced labor may sound wonderful to most women but it comes with a high price that I'm sure most women won't want to pay. Before being induced your water is manually broken (more about that in the labor delivery section of the 3rd trimester)When the Oxytocin takes effect active labor starts only the contractions are not like normal contractions. They are at least 3-4 times as strong as regular contractions and leave you crushing your partner's hand in pain. If you've ever had the stomach flu or very bad gas pains imagine the pain 3-4 times as bad. The reason for the strong contractions is to progress labor as quickly and safely as possible mainly because in most cases induction is used when baby or mother might be in danger and the quicker the labor the better to prevent more problems. Believe it or not there are a lot of women who ask their O.B.s to be induced and in most cases those women have no clue what they are getting into. I know I had no clue what would happen with induction and What To Expect When You're Expecting didn't give me a rough idea of what was going to happen either. I had to learn it for myself.

Anxious For Pregnancy To Be Over


By now you are probably counting the days to your due date, praying labor starts soon so you can hold your baby in your arms and get on with life. A great number of pregnant women in the 9th month feel the same way and its not something to feel guilty or wrong about. It means that you feel at least a little if not fully confident in your new role as a mother. Now if you are one of those women who can wait for the new event whether its not feeling ready to be a mother yet or you just don't want the pregnancy feeling to end. That's perfectly normal as well. To be honest most women at this stage feel torn between wanting to get on with life as a new mother, getting pregnancy over with but yet also not wanting the pregnancy to end because of the great bond with your child and at the same time also having a part of you that feels unsure about being a mother. Even with the confusion of feelings, as the due date grows nearer its common for a lot of women to mistake something as little as gas pains to be the start of labor. Especially with women who have never experienced labor before and have no clue what to really be looking for or even what the process of labor is suppose to be like.

 

Nervous About Being A Mother

Being nervous about being a mother is one of the most common feelings during pregnancy no matter how many children you have. With each of my pregnancies I wanted them to be over with so I could live my life without the side effects of pregnancy and at the same time start my life as a mom and have the chance to hold my baby. I also had that lingering feeling about whether I was ready to be a mom and with my second pregnancy I was worried about whether my daughter would accept a new baby. After finally being able to take my baby home the nervousness started to melt away with each day and after a while I didn't understand why I was so nervous:)

 

Getting Ready For Baby

Whether this is your first baby or not I believe you never feel quit ready for when baby arrives, there is always something little you forgot. Hopefully by now you have either bought or received everything baby needs and have the nursery set up and baby necessities put together like bouncy seat, swing ect.. If you don't have a name picked out yet don't panic. Most couples don't know what name to use for certain until baby is born and even then its common not to have a name until its time for mommy and baby to leave the hospital and the birth certificate has to be filled out.

Fear Of Water (Amniotic Sac) Breaking In Public

You may have noticed in some shows on T.V. that you watch the pregnant character's water breaks. Believe it or not only 5% of pregnant women experience their water break naturally. In most cases labor starts and once contractions are 5 minutes apart and you reach the hospital the amniotic sac needs to be punctured and broken manually by a nurse in order to progress labor. It's a painless process though and nothing to be concerned about. If by chance you are the few who experience water breakage naturally, even if contractions have not started, you need to go to the ER immediately because there is risk of infection.

A Few F.A.Q.

 

Wow Am I Growing!

By the time you reach the ninth month, if it hasn't happened already, you'll start to notice your belly button is missing or almost missing because your stomach has grown to much. By the beginning of the 9th month your baby is working overtime and growing more and more each week causing your stomach to grow almost to its maximum capacity. Don't worry though, once baby is born you won't have stomach flab hanging to your knees:)

How Can I Tell If I'm In Labor?

I have a whole page dedicated to how you can tell if you are in labor or whether its false and what you should do if you are in labor. Am I In Labor? How Do I Tell False From The Real Thing?

My Due Date Has Come And Gone And I Don't Feel Like I'm Going To Start Going Into Active Labor Anytime Soon.

Believe it or not your baby is not on the same set schedule everyone else would like he/she to be. Basically the date your baby is born is up to when your baby is ready to want to come out. Its very rare in a first time pregnancy for baby to be delivered on the set due date infact most women go a day to two weeks until baby wants to come out. In most cases though if it's a week past your due date your dr. will suggest inducing labor because once you hit 40 weeks of gestation the placenta and amniotic sac stop providing and slowly start to deteriorate. Your baby is still safe at that time but its best to get baby out before things start to deteriorate.



WHAT DO I NEED TO DO THIS MONTH?

If you haven't figured out a birthing plan with your doctor and your husband, now is the best time to talk with them about it. Also if you haven't packed your hospital bag, the next few days is the best time to start packing one and putting it aside. This month you need to take it easy as much as possible. Depending on how your dr. feels, its usually ok for you to take walks and do a light work out a week before your due date in order to help start the labor process.

Its Almost Time! What To Pack For Your Hospital Stay

What You Should Expect This Prenatal Visit

By your 37th week or maybe sooner depending on how your OB practices, you should be going in for a prenatal check-up once a week until your baby is born.

Urinalysis screening: You basically get this every time you go in for a appointment. All you need to do is pee in a cup provided by the office. If you're like me and have trouble going to the bathroom in public places, I find the easiest way to provide a specimen is to take a pee cup with a top home with me and pee at home in the cup a hour or less before my appointment.

Weight and Blood Pressure:Your weight and blood pressure will be taken at every appointment.

Fetal Heartbeat: You will be asked to lay on your back on the exam table, pull your pants down to your hips and raise your shirt. The nurse will squirt a gel like substance on your stomach and what looks like a little microphone hooked up to a box over your lower stomach. This device picks up the baby's heart beat kind of like a ultrasonic microphone.

Checking The Size Of The Uterus :A lot of doctors like to start checking the size of the uterus and how it is growing by the third month. The doctor will ask you to lower your pants to your hips and he/she will do a external palpitation and just lightly push around your lower abdomen a little to feel the size of the uterus is.

Checking The Height Of The Uterus: By now your doctor should pull out what looks like a measuring tape and measure you from your pelvic bone to the top of your stomach. Instead of numbers on the measuring tape, this tape has weeks and the tape will measure how many weeks along you are showing.

Checking Your Cervix: Depending on how your doctor practices he/she may start doing a internal exam to check on how your cervix is progressing. Once your weight and blood pressure have been taken by the nurse you will be asked to get undressed waist down and put a paper blanket over your lap and hips while you sit on the exam table. After your doctor checks fetal heartbeat and size of the uterus he/she will ask you to scoot down to the end of the exam table, place your feet in the stirrups at the end of the table and lay on your back. Your doctor will put on a rubber glove with some gel(same gel used on your stomach for fetal heartbeat and ultrasound). He/she will place two fingers into your birth canal and press to see how your cervix is progressing. It may sound kind of weird and a little scary but it's a common routine procedure done to every pregnant woman nearing the end of the pregnancy. This procedure will be done at each of your doctor appointments up until you deliver. This procedure will be able to tell your doctor how close you are to delivering. Nearing the end of your pregnancy your doctor will be able to tell if your baby has dropped by being able to feel the baby's head during the exam and it will also be able to tell your doctor if you have dilated, how far along you have dilated and if your water is ready to break.

Checking Hands And Feet For Swelling: Most pregnant women at some point in their pregnancy tend to retain water which can cause the swelling of hands and feed known as Edema. This is quit normal especially in warm weather but doctors like to check mainly because if it happens too often it maybe a sign of preeclampsia which from what I understand doesn't happen to often. Preeclampsia can cause problems with the pregnancy but is something that can be easily caught early and treated.

 

What To Bring With You To Your Appointment

If you have any questions or concerns about your pregnancy, I find it best to write them down on a piece of paper as soon as you think of one and bring the paper in with you at your next appointment so you can talk them over with your doctor. Don't be concerned if you feel like you are asking too many questions or you feel your questions are embarrassing or odd. Your doctor has had many patients and I'm sure has heard them all. Besides your doctor is there to help you as much as possible and make you feel as comfortable as possible about your pregnancy. That's a big part of their job.

What Should Be Covered At This Appointment

When your doctor comes in to see you he/she should ask you how you feel. During your appointment your should also discuss any previous problems you have encountered. This is also a good time to discuss any new problems or concerns about your pregnancy and find out what can help you.
Because you are so close to your due date your dr. will start discussing any precautions you need to take at this time and will also cover what you need to do once you start labor. Before you leave (in most hospitals)your dr. will provide you with a closed envelope that has a copy of your medical record. The reason why he/she is giving you a copy is because a lot of hospitals have found that if you come to the hospital after your dr.'s office hours they have to call and order your medical files and in most cases the file is either lost or doesn't come when its needed the most. Once you are going through the registration process after arriving at the hospital to deliver, you are to give that envelope to the nurse who is registering you so they have your file at the time you arrive and without waiting for a currier to bring it from your dr.'s office. Also before you leave your doctor will want you to make an appointment for every week until you deliver and then you will see your dr. 4-6 weeks after you deliver for a postpartum check-up to make sure that you are healing correctly after birth. If you haven't delivered a week or more past your due date your dr. will suggest inducing labor.

 

What Does My Baby Look Like Now?\

By now your baby's lungs and all organs are mature. Your baby has most likely added 2 pounds and grown 2 or more inches by now. The smooth creamy white varnix that protects your baby's skin is now starting to come off. Hopefully by your 40th week your baby will be in head down position with his/her front facing your back. If by chance your baby is in breech position(buttom down and head facing up) your dr. will try to gently move baby by placing his/her hands on your stomach and manually moving the baby gently. This is a dangerous procedure if not done by a dr. so please do not try it yourself. The actual weight of your baby depends on how much you and your husband weighed when you were born. Most babies weigh close to the same weight as his/her parents. I weighed 8lbs 1oz when I was born and my husband weight 3lbs 4oz. When my first child was born she weighed 6lbs 7oz and when my second child was born he weighed 7lbs 6oz.

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