YOUR CHANGING LIFE
Gearing up for breastfeeding
Welcome to week 39 of your pregnancy. As you circle what will be the final few weeks of your pregnancy, everything that you're bound to experience – the aches, the discomfort, the phantom waves of pain that signal your little guy or gal may be meeting you sooner rather than later – are all old hat at this point. In fact, you're probably such a pro at picking up on the signs of Braxton-Hicks contractions that those pesky things don't even faze you now.
But despite the fact that you're poised to handle whatever minor physical problems come your way, that's no reason why you shouldn't be vigilant about sudden changes or things that seem out of the norm.
During this time, it's not uncommon for membranes to be ruptured or, loosely speaking, for your water to break. This in turn could lead to the leaking of amniotic fluid.
Other symptoms that your labor may come faster than you expect it to is that you may notice bloody show, which occurs when your capillaries burst due to your expanding cervix, causing blood-tinged discharge. This is more stressful than it sounds, so if this happens, just remember to take a deep breath and simply call your healthcare provider. He or she can ensure that everything's as it should be and you're in good health.
YOUR BABY THIS WEEK
From pumpkin to watermelon
You know how you've been feeling like you're carrying a watermelon under your T-shirt these last few weeks? Well during week 39, you can have a chuckle over the fact that you really are, because your little one is the weight and size of one!
By week 39, your baby likely weighs between 6.2 to 9.2 pounds and is between 18.9 to 20.9 inches, making him or her quite a load to bear, indeed.
The little one you've been carrying is basically done developing at this point, but that extra time inside your belly is helping him or her hone those basic motor and cognitive skills that will be necessary for life on the outside.
Your baby's skin is now a white or pink-like shade, and this is true for babies who will later go on to have darker skin. His or her nails are continuing to grow, and they may be past your baby's fingertips at this point, which is something you'll need to take care of after the birth.
Your baby is also repositioning his or her body deeper into your pelvis to better facilitate labor and delivery. This process, known as dropping, may be more evident with your first child, but you may also pick up on it with later pregnancies. While most babies will move their heads down, others may prefer to be head-up, which can lead to breech – or feet-first – deliveries.
Induce labor naturally
Your little gal or guy may still need a few weeks to cook in the old oven before he or she is ready to greet the outside world, but if you're itching to cradle your baby in your arms – not to mention squeeze back into those skinny jeans – you may want to consider a few of these tips for how to induce labor naturally.
While you should absolutely consult with your healthcare provider before you consider pursuing any of the following options, these can be an excellent choice for you if you're interested in hastening your labor and delivery.
The easiest option for you if you're looking to induce is to take a walk around your home. Doing this can help push your baby further down in your pelvis, placing some pressure on the region and giving your cervix the push it needs to prepare for delivery.
But if you want to have a little fun along the way, having sex can be a stress-relieving and emotionally intimate way to quicken your baby's passage into the great, big world, and in more ways than one.
Sperm has prostaglandins, which are hormones that help dilate the cervix. Additionally, during orgasms your body releases oxytocin, which can help contractions develop.
Other all-natural methods for inducing labor include taking evening primrose oil, castor oil and exploring the benefits of acupuncture and acupressure.