The third trimester is a time of rapid growth -- for you and your baby. You might gain a great deal of weight -- and for good reason. Only 31 weeks, your baby weighs in at about 3 pounds 5 ounces (1590 g), and measures over 18 inches (46 cm) tall. Thanks to the deposits of white fat underneath the skin, the baby's color is changing from red to pink. At this point, the baby's irises dilate and contract in response to light, and his fingernails may extend to the end of the hands.
The organs are also in a growth period. Don't worry: Even if your lungs (and heart) make you feel breathless when you climb a flight of stairs or walk around the block, your womb mate is getting plenty of oxygen from your placenta.
Most first-time moms have mixed emotions and endless questions when it comes to labor and delivery. You may wonder how you will know when you're having a contraction, or when you should go to the hospital. You may be worried about what you can take for the pain. One of the easiest ways to get answers and ease your fears is to arm yourself with knowledge: Read books on childbirth, take notes during your childbirth education class, consult your health care practitioner, and ask friends and family to share their experiences.
Many women put together a birth plan to delineate their wishes for labor and delivery. It’s probably better to think about your “birth preferences,” because the inherent unpredictability of labor and birth makes it hard to have a plan.
So what’s to prefer? Births are a little like weddings – you’ve probably been to weddings that you think are lovely and tasteful and elegant, and you’ve been to others that you thought were vulgar and tacky. But the bride and groom chose to spend their day with that cake, those flowers, and that DJ – and it was right for them. Similarly, some women want to have a birth without any pain medicine and minimal medical intervention, and want to hold and bond with their baby immediately after birth, amniotic fluid and all. Other mothers would happily have an epidural placed before the first contraction, and would like their baby washed, with lots of soap, diapered, and dressed before touching him or her for the first time. Within the realm of what’s safe, there are lots of different “right” ways to have a birth. You and your partner should think about what works best for you.
The following are some of the key issues to think about what your preferences are, then ask your practitioner or talk to the hospital to learn about general policies. Discuss the risks and benefits of the various options. You may have to fill out specific forms or releases concerning many of these items ahead of time.
Some other issues routinely come up in books and web sites about birthing plans, but are rarely used at hospitals today. Check with your health care provider to make sure, but generally, you won’t be offered an enema, nor will your pubic area be shaved, unless you specifically request it.
To ensure that you and your little one are strong and stay healthy, follow the guidelines of this Nutritional Food Pyramid for Pregnancy. It will help you feel good and will help your baby grow great!
A lot of moms and dads-to-be wonder if and when they will bond with their baby. An easy way to welcome and connect with your future arrival is to write a letter beforehand. Share your feelings about the pregnancy and about becoming a parent. Regale him with things friends or family have said or done, what you would do the same or differently if you could do it all over again. You can use it as a time to reflect on the past seven plus months and to relish the time left.
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