9 Months Pregnant: The Home Stretch
The 9th Month!
There are a few ways to look at the ninth month of pregnancy. First, just think…you’re almost done! This is, by far, one of the most comforting thoughts of childbirth, so celebrate knowing that you have made it this far. Another way to look at the ninth month is through the eyes of a new parent. Pretty soon, you will have the most euphoric feeling of joy that may ever have in your life when you see and hold your baby for the first time. Positively magical is the best way to explain that feeling. Having gone through this with my two boys I can say it is like no other experience in life.
Finally, there is the…”Oh my gosh, what have I done, what am I going to do, and what in the world is going on with my body” feeling that you are almost sure to experience…especially if this is your first child. But, stay positive, stay focused, and stay calm. You will make it through this. Here are some things that you can expect during this third, and final, trimester.
You doctor will most likely want you to start making weekly visits for your prenatal check-ups. This is a great time to ask any questions or share any concerns that you may have. Your doctor will check your abdomen, as more attention is going to be paid to how the baby is presenting (whether head up or head down) and the baby’s position (whether facing front or back). These could be significant factors in determining whether you will be able to have a vaginal birth or whether you should consider having a Cesarean section. Either way, your doctor will be instrumental in helping you to make a decision that will work best for you and your baby. He will also check the baby’s heart rate. Of course, your urine, blood pressure, blood (for low iron/anemia), and steadily climbing weight, will be checked also. Expect for him or her to examine you for signs of vaginal infection, also. Your practitioner should be a key supporter for you. In these final days before baby, your doctor will also check for any pre-labor symptoms, such as a thinning cervix, that could require you to go on bed rest or, even, get admitted to prepare to have the baby. Do your best not to get alarmed or stressed out as you go through these final exams. Many are simply routine and will give your practitioner the information that they need to be handle your pregnancy.
You may have also been wondering what those infamous contractions would feel like. Now’s your chance to find out. You should be getting your fair share of the pre-labor kind called Braxton Hicks contractions. This is a tightening of the uterus similar to the contractions of labor. However, truth be told, these are just the “prep” contractions. The real ones will be much more intense and will last longer. They will also be instrumental in the movement of your baby. While they will most likely be painful, take some comfort in knowing your body knows what it is doing. It needs those contractions to bring forth your little darling. So, don’t fret. Despite the discomfort, they are a very good thing!
Your weight may increase a bit in these last few weeks. (I know you are probably tired of this part of your pregnancy as well. I know I was) When it is all said and done, your baby bump will typically increase your weight by twenty to thirty-five pounds. After your delivery, much of that extra weight will be gone, as the baby and amniotic sack are significant contributors to that weight gain.
As the time nears, you may experience edginess, moodiness, disturbed sleep (just your body getting your ready for what is to come), back pains, and, of course, fatigue. Try to keep moving. Prenatal exercise, even if you do just a little walking, can help your body to better handle the changes of labor and delivery. Since we are in the middle of the summer here is a link for some tips to help with summer time pregnancy.
By the end of this period, your baby will be fully developed. Things are bit cramped in your uterus at this point, so your baby may move a little less than before. Baby will have times when he or she is sleeping like a little angel, and other times when you will feel lots of thumps and bumps. I remember laying in bed at night marveling at the movement of my boys. It’s really amazing.
Most likely, your baby is starting to have his own sleep pattern now. Baby is just as ready as you are (actually it is usually the other way around when you are late!), and will slip into position in your lower abdominal area. So, you should expect to feel an additional heaviness in your pelvic area. Just think, your baby will be as happy to see you as you are to see him or her. The instant connection that will happen is absolutely magical when you first meet. If you plan to nurse your baby you may be given the opportunity to start nursing shortly after the baby is born. You will be completely amazed at how fast your baby learns to nurse.
The home stretch is here. Relax. Believe that you can do it and let your body do the rest. Whether natural or cesarean, your baby will be here before you know it. Be confident. Your child knows nothing about anyone else, but you. You will be the best mom! You have so much to offer a baby, and now is the time to accept, celebrate, and marvel at this beautiful new life!
Prepare as best you can for your little one. Pack for the hospital visit for both of you. This will be the first of the thousands of times that you will pack for your child! Your baby will need clothing, blankets, and a car safety seat for the trip home. Also, make the finishing touches in the nursery. But, if you can’t get to everything, don’t worry. Your baby will not really notice that there are only two shelves instead of three or that the lamp is two shades darker than the paint. As long as your baby has a safe bassinet and crib, love and attention, your child will feel right at home.
You’re almost there. Before you know it you’ll be a new mom. Let me be one of the first to congratulate you on the upcoming birth of your baby.