© The Anatomical Travelogue
Good news! There's an excellent chance that your baby will have no complications if born at 35 weeks or later. He's 5 pounds now and is nearly 18 inches. His skull is still fairly soft and isn't yet completely fused so he can squeeze through the birth canal.
Ever notice a few drops of clear or yellowish fluid on your nipples? Your breasts have been preparing to make milk since the fifth or sixth month of pregnancy. This "early milk," called colostrum, is loaded with your system's antibodies and is the perfect food for your baby during his first few days. Next comes first milk, which is creamy and white in color. This arrives two or three days after delivery, when stimulation from your baby nursing sends a signal to your brain to produce prolactin, which affects the mammary glands.
Do's and Don'ts
If you work outside the home, consider easing into your maternity leave soon. Although you may want to save your time for when the baby's here, taking some days off during the final weeks of your pregnancy will allow you to rest and gear up for what lies ahead. (After all, it isn't called labor for nothing.)
If you're feeling low, can't sleep, and have no appetite, share your feelings with your doctor or midwife. Approximately 10 percent of pregnant women suffer from the blues, which increases your risk of developing postpartum depression. The good news: Relief may be a prescription away; some antidepressants are safe to use during pregnancy. Yoga, meditation, and other relaxation techniques may also help you shake off the blues.
Mom to Mom
Difficult as it may be, try to keep a sense of humor at the hospital. "During my c-section, my dear husband whispered terrible jokes into my ear but I loved them because they lessened the tension until we learned we had a healthy, beautiful baby girl."--Elizabeth Malaby, Hancock, ME
Owning Your C-Section
You could probably shop for weeks for baby outfits, but if you want to stick to the basics, here's all you'll need: four to six undershirts or bodysuits that fasten between the legs, four to six nightgowns or stretchies, four to six onesies or pairs of pants and tops, one to two blanket sleepers, a few sweaters, a couple of hats, a pair of booties, three pairs of socks, and a snowsuit or bunting if you're delivering in winter.
If fatigue is setting in, cut back on weekly exercise. Three times a week should be sufficient. Or reduce the amount of time you work out (from a half hour to 15 minutes, for example). Most of all, be sure to take more frequent breaks now and stay hydrated.
Everyone wants to hear the good news as soon as possible, so compile a list of friends and relatives for your partner to call or e-mail on the big day. This way, you're less likely to forget someone. Also if you start composing your announcement now, you won't have to grapple with what you want to say later. You can fill in the details when the time comes.
Plan on having your partner carry the baby when you return from the hospital, so your arms are ready to give your firstborn a big hug. Or schedule your homecoming for when she's at school, so that you and the baby will be settled by the time your eldest gets home.
If there's space, consider keeping your twins' cribs in your room. "I wish I'd had my twins sleep in my room immediately. By the time I'd hear them and walk to their room, they were screaming and frazzled. It was hard to settle them down, and the whole nursing process took a lot longer than it should have."--Leslie Lido, Merrick, NY