Your Pregnancy: Week 39
As your official due date
approaches, you're probably fixed on the calendar. But since less than 10 percent of women deliver on their actual due date, chances are baby is going to take you by surprise on a different day. Whenever the muffin arrives is the right
time for him or her, so try not to get disappointed if your date comes and goes and the Mini hasn't made an appearance.
Wondering what's up with your body, your baby and your life this week? Read on ...
What You're Thinking:
"Stick a fork in me. I'm done."
Head for the hospital or birthing center if you think you're in labor (even if it turns out that you're not!) It's better to make a couple of test runs than to deliver your baby at the local truck stop. If you are in labor but it has just started, the hospital may send you back home, which can be a bit of a buzz kill. But trust us, you'd rather be comfortable in your own home than stuck in a hospital bed with only four TV channels for the next 12 hours waiting to dilate from 1 centimeter to 2.
While there is nothing false about the pain that comes with false labor, it's a fake-out because it doesn't dilate the cervix like true labor does. And when you're trying to squeeze a grapefruit out of something the size of a cherry, it's an important distinction. Basically, false labor gives you all of the pain and none of the advancements. Nice, huh?
One way to identify false labor is to start timing your contractions. True labor contractions come regularly and get progressively closer together (and they hurt more as they get closer). False labor contractions are about as regular as your bowels since you've been pregnant—not very—and they vary from one to another on the pain meter.
False labor is more common in second or subsequent pregnancies than in first pregnancies.
One uncomfortable complaint of late pregnancy is frequent hiccups. No, not you, your baby. Because there is no air around your baby, when she practices breathing, it can cause amniotic fluid to get into her windpipe, resulting in those regularly spaced thumps that make you think you're carrying a jumping bean in your belly. Other news this week:
The lanugo (an exotic word for soft, downy hair) that used to cover your baby's body has mostly disappeared, but you may find a bit leftover on the shoulders, forehead and neck. Don't freak and think you've given birth to a monkey: It'll fall out soon.
The color of baby's skin is changing from a red-pink hue to a white or blue-pink color (even in babes with dark skin). These changes are due to the amount of fat your little pudger is putting on. The circumference of your baby's head and abdomen are about the same size now (though you may not be able to tell if your baby's born with the common cone-shaped head!).
The placenta is lending your Mini antibodies that'll keep him strong and healthy after birth. That said, it's still a good idea to invest in that mega-size bottle of hand sanitizer.
At this point your little critter is about 19 to 20 inches long and weights about 7 pounds. That's just around the size of a large rabbit. What's up Doc?
After the first contraction hits (and you've regained your composure), there are probably some people you'd like to alert. For instance, those key people who will be with you in the delivery room.
Have a plan for contacting your team (coach, partner, Mommy, videographer, Zen master?) once labor kicks in—whether it's by calling your husband and having him call everyone else or programming everyone's number into your cell phone under: "Help! I'm in labor!"
Now that you technically have one more week, you may be feeling the pressure to lap up all this quiet time. So put your feet up, take a load off (and it is a load, let's be honest) and pop in your favorite DVD so you can think about something other than baby and when she'll show up.
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