Your little one is probably at their birth weight. Most babies weigh somewhere between six to eight pounds when they are born, with boys usually being longer and heavier than girls.
Your baby hasn't changed much since last week. They've developed a little more baby fat over the past week; and though all of their internal organs are ready to support them in the outside world, their immune system will continue developing after birth.
Congratulations! You've reached the final weeks of your pregnancy (if you haven't delivered already)!
Your nesting instincts are probably kicking into high gear, which is a sign your baby may make an entrance soon. Try not to drain yourself of energy too much. Nap as often as you can because you'll need that extra oomph soon enough. It's almost time for delivery!
If you've been experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions over the past few weeks, you may wonder how to know when it's the real thing. Regular uterine contractions are the strongest indication of being in labor! These contractions may feel like menstrual cramps or lower back pain; and in early labor, they can be 20 to 30 minutes apart. Over time, however, the minutes between contractions will decrease. When they are consistently five minutes apart, it’s time to call your midwife or doctor.
You should also call your doctor or midwife if you pass your mucus plug. This is a small quantity of thick mucus, which seals your cervical canal during pregnancy. The mucus plug is released when your cervix dilates in preparation for labor. It may come out in one grand lump all at once, or over the course of a few days as vaginal discharge. This mucus may also be tinted with blood, appearing pink, brown, or even red.
Another sign of labor is your water breaking. This means that the amniotic sac surrounding your baby, which is filled with fluid, has ruptured, causing the fluid to leak from your vagina. It may come out in a large gush, as many movies display it to. But for most women, it isn't so dramatic as that. And for some women, only a small trickle of fluid is noticeable. No matter how your water breaks, if it breaks, it's time to call your doctor, midwife, or doula!
Hi, my name is Louise, I am a Registered Midwife, founder of Let's Talk Birth and Baby and the face behind Instagram's The Honest Midwife. I have worked in health settings for the past 30 years, the majority of which have been working in children and family settings.
After delivery, you are supposed to experience one of the happiest moments of your life. Right? This is what you've been waiting for... so what happens if you feel sad? "The Baby Blues" refers to a state of heightened emotion, after you give birth, in which you may cry more easily, have trouble sleeping, and feel irritable, sad, or on edge. More than 80 percent of women report feeling blue immediately after giving birth; so, if you feel this way, you aren't alone. You're not a bad mom. And you're not a weak woman.
Sometimes, these feelings may last more than a few days. Postpartum depression, a more severe form of depression, can develop within the first six months after giving birth. Feelings such as sadness, anxiety, and restlessness may even become strong enough to interfere with daily tasks. Though it isn't known for sure what causes postpartum depression, many medical professionals believe hormones play a big role. (And once again, thank you, dear hormones!) During pregnancy, estrogen and progesterone hormones increase greatly; but in the first 24 hours after delivery, they rapidly drop back to non-pregnant levels. This fast change in hormone levels can lead to depression.
You should contact your healthcare provider if you still experience these mood swings or feel depressed one week after the birth of your baby; if you feel you are unable to cope with daily activities in your life, such as caring for your newborn or older children; and if you have strong feelings of depression or anger one to two months after childbirth, have trouble sleeping, or have suicidal thoughts.
Please remember, if you experience any of these symptoms, you aren't alone. Support is available. Counseling, antidepressants, and hormone therapies are just a few examples of effective treatments available, should you experience postpartum depression.
Recording your birth story is a gift to yourself, and to your child. When you're experiencing these things for the first time, you'll think it's completely unforgettable. And, in many ways, it is. But a few months from now you may find yourself wondering... what time was it, when you first started feeling labor contractions? Or... was your little one 19 inches or 19½ inches long? Life barrels along, with sleepless nights, new adventures, and more, keeping you busy. The details may start to get fuzzy around the edges.
In those early days after the birth, in between those initial feedings and while your little newborn is sleeping, write down your birth story. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. You aren't writing for a national magazine or aiming for any bestseller lists. Simply create a snapshot of the moment, because your life will have forever changed. Someday, your child will be able to see what you were thinking and feeling during their first moments on earth.
Some questions to consider... What are some of the details of your conception and pregnancy? Was it an easy journey? What were some of your challenges during conception and pregnancy? What were your thoughts and feelings in the days leading up to birth? Was your labor scheduled or unexpected? What were you doing when you first realized you were in labor and having a baby? Who was with you? Who was there and with you at the hospital, or in your delivery room at home?
List some details, like the names of your doctors, midwifes, doulas, and/or nurses. The time of delivery. Your baby's weight, length, Apgar scores, etc. What was the funniest moment of the day? The scariest? The most touching? What were your thoughts and feelings when you finally held your new baby, in your arms for the first time? These details, combined with photographs, will be a keepsake to treasure for years.
You can even begin to answer the pre-birth questions right now, in your pregnancy journal, before you forget!
Pregnancy is exhausting, but when you hold that little baby, you'll realize it was all entirely worth it. Here is a list of symptoms you may experience during week 39.
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