The countdown begins! And it is only two weeks before the most awaited big day. Congratulations! You’re almost there! By this time, you may have already chosen what birthing method you will use to welcome your baby to the world. Is it a c-section or normal delivery? Or you opt for alternative birthing methods like the water birth and the lotus birth? You might also have chosen your birthing partner – either your husband, a family member or a friend to help you go through all the process of childbirth.
You might already have sets of names to choose from that will fit your baby. All the supplies that the baby might need are already piled up in one side of the room, waiting to be used by the baby for the first time. You are also preparing yourself for that day of labor and delivery. Your husband is also excited and anxious especially if it is your first time. Everyone is excited – even the baby!
How is the baby?
By this period, your baby has grown and developed. Just like the term they use for cooking, it is almost done. By this period, a baby is about the size of a volleyball or a mini watermelon. Approximately, he weighs about 6-9 pounds and measures 48-51 centimeters. Think about how fast he has grown since week 1. There are only some work and finishing touched ahead.
The baby will lose the vernix, which is the waxy clothing that protects his young skin from amniotic fluid. Lanugo, the fine hair which temporarily covered his skin will start to shed. The vernix and lanugo will then be swallowed by the baby together with other waste products like urine, bile and old cells. Sounds a little gross? Yeah. But that is nature’s way of doing it and it will end up as the baby’s first poop.
The baby’s lungs have now matured and strong, almost ready for the big day. It is filled with shrunk air sacs, these will be popped up open after the first breath. The vocal cords have also developed. It continues to produce surfactant to prepare the baby for a smooth transition from the soggy womb to the marvelous world outside. The placenta starts to deteriorate, little by little, just enough to sustain the baby’s need until the baby is welcome to the outside world.
All the systems of the body are almost ready. Her brain is now gearing up for the life outside the womb. It is already set up for the new sensations coming – lights, sounds, scents, and touch. Fat has stored up to make her little body warm. Babies lose heat quickly, that is why it is always advised for mothers to have skin contact with the baby right away.
How about mom’s body?
You’re already in the ninth month! At this point, some mothers continue to gain weight. Since the last trimester, a mother must have gained at least 6 pounds. The belly is ever-growing, making it hard for mothers to find a comfortable sleeping position.
Exercise may be hard by now, but instead, a mother can focus on breathing exercises, which can also be of help to prepare her for normal birth delivery breathing.
Frequent urination. Expect a lot of bathroom visits these days. The baby’s head is already positioned in your pelvis, making lesser room for your bladder. Skip caffeine and other diuretics. Although frequent urination seems like a hassle, don’t cut on fluids, especially water to keep the body hydrated as you get closer to childbirth.
Vaginal discharge. Mucous plugs may be present in the undies. These are a clear drop of mucous which is present throughout the pregnancy. Tinged pink or brown discharge can also be present since blood vessels may rupture during dilation. The hint of the color in your undies signals that you are going to see your baby soon.
Itchy belly. Soothe itchy belly by anointing it with vitamin E oil.
Swollen feet and ankles. This time, the body has the tendency to produce and also retain more fluid as usual that can cause edema or swelling hands and legs. Swelling and the discomfort caused by it can be lessened by using the support hose. Be sure that the top is not too tight not to hamper proper circulation. Wore it in the morning before the swelling. Wear loose clothes and comfortable shoes. Drink a lot of water to flush excess liquid and sleep or rest with the feet up.
Take note of sudden swelling in the hands or the face, it could be a sign of preeclampsia, a blood pressure condition. Contact your doctor immediately.
Pelvic pressure. As the baby drops lower, mothers can feel pressure in the pelvis, the hips, and the bladder. This can cause back pain and pelvic pain, especially as your due date, get closer. Rest and move carefully. Soaking in a warm bath may help to lessen the pain.
Braxton Hicks contractions. These are practice contractions that occur irregularly while true labor contractions will come at regular intervals, getting closer over time, increasing in strength and intensity. Braxton Hicks’s contractions stop when the expectant mother change position.
Diarrhea. Loose bowel movement can be nature’s way to make enough room for the baby to move. Diarrhea also signals that labor is already coming. Avoid fatty foods which are loaded with insoluble fiber. Opt for light meals and drink plenty of water.
Leaky breast. The breast is bigger than before. The hormone prolactin which is responsible for the production of milk has become active since the start of the third trimester. This time the prolactin level is higher than estrogen and progesterone, causing colostrum to leak. Just like any other pregnancy symptoms, it is normal.
Energy swing. Change in energy levels is common. At one point, you might feel tired and want to take a rest. Sometimes, you may feel extra strong making you feel like cleaning the house before the baby arrive. These are all pretty normal. Do not tire yourself, save the energy for childbirth.
Insomnia. Are you having insomnia? Try to make some sleep by grabbing a book or magazine. Do not turn on that computer or mobile gadgets, it will decrease the melatonin level, making you sleep harder.
These and more signals that sooner, the baby is coming. Be sure that you have already prepared your hospital bags as well as the baby’s needs. Do some last-minute checking. Relax as you wait for the great, big day.