Pregnancy Month By Month (Labor, Delivery and First Days of Life)

Welcome to the final article in the series : Pregnancy Month By Month. I hope you have gained some useful insights during this series and will use what has been written to make your pregnancy run as smoothly as possible.

For this final article, I want to provide some tips on what happens during labor, during the delivery of your baby, and what to do and look out for during those first crucial days of your new-born’s life.

Labor

Hopefully, things would have gone to schedule and you will be fully prepared to know within a day or two when your contractions will start. Preparation is everything as this will be a stressful time and you would have, therefore, wanted to have all of the necessary prep work done (see month 9 of Pregnancy Month By Month – Months 8 and 9).

Of course how you have approached the whole of your pregnancy will be reflected on how easy the next 24 hours are going to be. If you have built up your strength with the correct exercises and food, then that will pay dividends during labor and delivery.

Have you previously decided where the birth will take place ? In a hospital, at home, in a birth pool…. In the back of the yellow cab on the way to hospital ? Where ever it’s going to be, just make sure you have prepared for it.

He you decided to have any pain killing gas or injections. Make sure that all of this is documented before-hand. You don’t want to have to make decisions on the day as you will be too stressed.

The Birth

Remember any breathing lessons you might have has, these will make the difference (trust me !!!). Also make sure the father of the baby is in attendance, so you can claw into his hand and blame him for the pain that you are now going through (only joking….although he should be there of course).

“When A Child Is Born “

So your little boy or little girl has arrived…. Now what ?

Well, you need to get back to ‘normal’. You’ve just delivered quite a sizable human being. You are obviously going to have some soreness in the vagina region (or soreness form the stitches if you had a Caesarean section). Witch Hazel or an ice pack will help dampen the pain.

Hemorrhoids might also be an issue. There are plenty of creams and gels that can help, as well as remembering to maintain a high fluid intake and a fruit and fiber rich diet.

Some moms suffer from post natal depression – this is one step up from the more common baby blues and if it gets too bad then you will need to involve your doctor. Try to get as much sleep as possible and look to get as much assistance with the baby as possible (can your mom or your partner’s mom help ?). Your hormones will be messed up and this will add to your feeling down. As always, eat correctly, but don’t be afraid to ‘spoil yourself’ occasionally – go on, eat that chocolate…. in moderation of course.

Assuming you had a normal birth, with no stitches, then exercise can also be a great way to release those feel good hormones, to counteract any sadness you might be experiencing – even if the exercise is just a good walk in a park, or by the coast. If time is a problem, then try out the excellent Belly Beautiful postnatal fitness DVD by Patricia Friberg.

In short, the better you look after yourself, the better position you will be in to look after the little one in your life.

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Pregnancy Month By Month (Months 8 & 9)

Welcome to the next in the pregnancy month by month series. This article covers months eight and nine. If you missed out on the previous articles then please refer to the Pregnancy Month By Month category to the right of this page.

Month 8

At this point, you should be seeing a health official every two weeks. This will ensure both the safety of you and your baby, so don’t miss these important appointments. You should also be tested for Group B Streptococcus. This bacterium is commonly found and is harmless to the mom. However, it can be a problem for the baby as it is being delivered. If discovered during these tests then your healthcare practitioner will arrange for intravenous antibiotics to be administered during the birth of your baby.

Also during this time, if you have not already experienced them, you will be feeling false contractions. These are also known as Braxton Hicks contractions. Many believe that they are the body’s way of preparing itself for the eventual childbirth. Whilst they shouldn’t be unduly painful (if they are, then consult your doctor immediately), there are some things you can do to help relieve any symptoms :

  • Keep yourself hydrated as this will help prevent the symptoms in the first place
  • Try moving about a bit to break the contraction
  • Try laying on your left side
  • Go to the toilet (urinate)
  • Try rhythmic breathing

The baby’s lungs and brain are really taking shape this month, so continue to eat healthily.

You might really be tempted to stop with the exercising, now that you have a large ‘bump’ to carry about. However, this would be the wrong thing to do and remember that you need to have flexibility and lower abdominal strength to help with the birth of your child.

Sleeping might start to become a problem now (If you think this is bad, just wait until the baby is born). Try to take power naps throughout the day – to be honest you might not have any option and many moms find out that staying awake is not an option during the day, due to the constant ‘wake ups’ during the night. Also, whilst in bed, it might be an idea to prop yourself up as this will ease the symptoms of heartburn.

Month 9

Here we go. You’re on the homeward stretch now. Emotions will be running high and you may even experience some moodiness. Fear not, this is perfectly normal and hopefully those around you will understand and will be fully supportive.

Your baby will now be pretty much developed and it will just be a case of the little one gaining a little more weight to help its strength and then waiting for labor to start.

You will notice a yellow substance emanating from your nipples at this time. This is concentrated milk (Colostrum) that will aid the baby in the first few days. It is much higher in proteins, but lower in carbohydrates than normal milk.

As for you, you would have gained as much as 30 pounds in total – although there will not be much of an increase in this final month.

If you go past 38 weeks of pregnancy, you might be asked to undertake a non-stress test. This will basically be to scan the baby and, in particular, check on its heart rate.

During this month, you must of course be prepared that the baby could arrive at any time. Do not travel far from home and make sure you have your hospital stay bag packed – which can be grabbed as you are leaving for the hospital at very short notice. Remember though, in addition to the toiletries and clothing that you are going to need, you need to have items for the newly born baby as well.

I hope you found the fifth of these six articles helpful. For the last article in the series, please click :

Pregnancy Month By Month (Labor, Delivery and First Days of Life)

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Pregnancy Month By Month (Months 6 & 7)

Welcome to the next in the pregnancy month by month series. This is months six and seven. If you missed out on the previous articles then please refer to the Pregnancy Month By Month category to the right of this page.

Month 6

By this stage you may have gained in the region of 12 pounds in weight or 5.44 Kilo grams for the metrically minded. From here on, you will probably see 1lb weight increases per week (obviously this will vary from person to person).

Your belly will become an ever increasing factor in your life, making getting around and doing everyday simple tasks more of a problem. Your bladder will also come under further pressure and even with the best exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles (see Pregnancy Month By Month (Months 4 & 5), there still might be some urine leakages. I recommend Maxim Maternity Pads as the pad of choice to keep you clean and fresh.

At about this time, you should be screened for gestational diabetes. It has very few symptoms, but can be a problem for both mother and child. It results in high blood sugar levels as a result of the mom not producing enough insulin.

You might be finding that snacking is becoming regular. Try to avoid it late at night though, as it could bring on uncomfortable heartburn which will keep you awake (you might be struggling to sleep as it is).

Keep your water intake up (I know I keep saying it, but it really is crucial). And don’t forget potassium and calcium to ward off cramping in your muscles

Month 7

You are now into the final third of your pregnancy. Whilst sickness will be a thing of the past, your size will really start to be an issue in the coming weeks. Aches will be the norm as your body stretches like it’s never been stretched before (unless this is not your first child of course), and you are also carrying significant extra weight. Don’t forget it’s not just the 7lb of baby weight, but more so the weight of all that fluid that it’s living in at the moment.

You will, of course have an increasing desire to urinate, so you need to make allowances for that if you are going shopping, or even on the shortest of car journeys.

At some point during this time of your pregnancy, haemorrhoids (or piles) might become noticeable (and irritating, as I knew only too well). There are of course preparations you can buy, but always read the label first and, certainly, check with your health-care practitioner before using any treatment. Parental Yoga

Movements will certainly be noticeable, even from just looking at your stomach. It looks freaky, but it’s obviously a great sign. Exercise routines should be very selective now and don’t risk anything that might make you fall (i.e. running). Specialist parental exercises certainly helped me at this stage. Try : Prenatal Yoga, Pilates & Strength Training 3x DVD set.

You need to keep a look out at this stage for the following : Severe swelling of your feet, ankles or hands, blurred vision, severe headaches, or severe weight gain. All of these might be a symptom of a condition called pre-eclampsia. You can read more about this here : Understanding Pre-eclampsia.

Do

  • Ask for help with lifting things (even light items will be difficult to pick up from the floor). People will see the state you are in and will only be too glad to help
  • In addition to what you would normally eat, add about 300 calories to this per day (for the baby obviously)
  • Eat whole-grains, fruits and vegetables
  • Avoid processed foods which, generally lack any real nutrition and contain too much salt

Don’t

  • Use any herbal remedies without consulting your doctor first. Some can lead to real complications in pregnancy.

I hope you found the third of these six articles helpful. For the next article in the series, please click :

Pregnancy Month By Month (Months 8 and 9)

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Pregnancy Month By Month (Months 4 & 5)

Welcome to month’s four and five of my pregnancy month by month series. If you missed out on the previous articles then please refer to the Pregnancy Month By Month category to the right of this page.

Month 4

You are now coming up to the mid-way point, but could actually be starting to feel a bit more lively as you start to consider what lies ahead after your baby has been born.

Physically, you might be noticing some stretch marks around your middle and puffy ankles could also start to feature.

Additional red blood cells are being made all of the time. Therefore, you must make sure that you are getting plenty of iron in your diet (beef poultry and green leafy vegetables are all an excellent source).

To aid the absorption of iron, vitamin C is a must (citrus fruits being the best source). Of course, water is always important and, together with a high-fiber diet, this will help with your constipation which should be expected during this month.

In addition to exercises mentioned in previous months, you might want to consider Kegel exercises for your pelvic floor. This will help strengthen your muscles in this area, which will help the birth and reduce your incontinence. The video blow is a brief introduction into the Kegel / Pelvic Floor Exercises :

Inside of you, the bones of your baby are starting to form, and it will soon be hearing you – following the formation of its ears.

Do

  • A useful tip to aid blood flow is to lie on your left side when sleeping; placing a pillow between your legs if this makes life more comfortable.

Don’t

  • Sleep on your stomach or back as this will restrict blood flow to the baby.
  • For the same reason, don’t lie on your back for more than five minutes whilst exercising.

Month 5

You can plan for an ultrasound scan around the 20th week of pregnancy and, if you want to, you can find out the gender of your child at this point. An increasing number of parents are opting for this so they can plan better. But some still don’t want to ‘tempt fate’. Personally I always chose to know what my babies were, because I couldn’t wait to start decorating.

This month will see the start of ‘fluttering’, tiny little movements inside of you which, although disconcerting to start with, soon become very exciting.

Blood pressure will start falling – with the ever increasing volume of blood putting pressure on your system. This could result in feelings of light-headedness – especially when standing up. Try to keep cool, as any amount of heat will make the condition worse.

Although I’ve said it before, iron and vitamin C are increasingly important – especially after your 20th week when anemia is a real possibility if you are not eating correctly.

Exercise should still be possible at this stage, just make sure you seek guidance from your doctor. Slow deliberate movements are preferable to anything that’s going to make you bounce. Yoga for pregnant moms is excellent. And remember to keep up your water intake.

Do

  • Remember your back this month. The front of you will be getting bigger and the back muscles will be strained as you try to compensate. A small pillow under the small of your back when resting will help greatly.

Don’t

  • Come into contact with fumes form household cleaners. Particularly the ‘heavy duty’ ones such as oven cleaners and similar sprays. Be mindful of paint fumes as well, when you’re decorating your baby’s room.

I hope you found the 3rd of these 6 articles helpful. For the next article in the series, please click :

Pregnancy Month By Month (Months 6 and 7)

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Pregnancy Month By Month (Months 2 & 3)

Welcome to months two and three of my pregnancy month by month series. If you missed out on the introduction and the first month, then please click : Pregnancy Month By Month (Intro and Month 1).

Month 2

This is when you are likely to have confirmed that you are in fact pregnant. Weight gain will be about 4 pounds and that will be enough to feel your clothes getting a little bit tighter. Some moms, however, will actually lose weight during this period, due to morning sickness, but you should not feel alarmed by this. The baby will be getting enough nutrients……albeit at your expence.

The baby’s brain and nervous system are rapidly developing now, so folic acid, and also calcium, is crucial. Parental vitamins are available and you should consider taking these to supplement the food you are eating.

You may be getting constipated at this point, due to muscles relaxing in the bowel region as the uterus increases in size. So it is important to eat a fiber-rich diet to ease the symptoms. This can include whole grain bread and dark leafy vegetables.

There should be no reason why you cannot try some moderate exercise at this point. Keep your heartbeat below 140 per minute, and look to do this for up to 30 minutes for, say 4 – 5 days per week. Note : This exercise could also be in the form of house cleaning, as well as other forms of aerobic exercise, and even a brisk walk will be good for you.

Do

Do remember to take a rest when you need to. Your body will be under an awful lot of strain, and you will certainly tire more quickly than before you were pregnant. In particular, your body will have increased its blood flow now and this will be putting additional pressure on your circulatory system.

Month 3

This is a crucial month, the end of which will see your baby officially develop into a fetus. The good news is that the chances of miscarriage will drop significantly, and usually after the 12 week scan, moms are more than happy to share their great news with their wider circle of friends and family.

At this stage, there will still be little to show externally, so those that claim that they thought you were pregnant have probably just imagined it. Sickness, tiredness and the occasional headache will still be there, but this will ease as time progresses.

Do

  • Undertake exercises that are safe to perform, such as : low impact aerobics, walking, swimming, or cycling on a stationary bike.
  • Take the opportunity to have things such as your teeth and eyes checked now. You’d be surprised what ailments can be spotted from a routine dental check or optician’s appointment. And if you do need painful dental work it is better to have it done earlier in your pregnancy rather than later.
  • If you are over 35, or have a family history of genetic issues, then arrange for a genetic testing for about weeks 11 or 12 of your pregnancy.

I hope you found the second of these six articles helpful. For the next article in the series, please click :

Pregnancy Month By Month (Months 4 and 5)

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