All About Baby
Your baby’s lungs and brain are beginning to mature. Although he’d have a good chance of survival if he were born now, he could use a few more weeks of growing. Added layers of fat are continuing to form. These layers will help your baby regulate his temperature once outside the womb and help keep him warm.
Remember to count your fetal movements. Every fetus has its most active times (and often it’s late at night when you are trying to catch a few zzzzs!). During his active periods, your baby should move 10 times an hour. Choose an hour, and mark each movement on a piece of paper. If your baby hasn’t moved 10 times, drink some juice and count again for another hour. You should call your doctor if the baby hasn’t moved at least ten times during any two-hour stretch.
All About You
Your fears—of delivery, failure as a parent, changing lives and relationships, finances, pain, and more—are all common. Talking about them can help. Writing them in a journal can help, too. And sharing them with your partner (who is undoubtedly feeling some of the same fears) can aid you both as you work through these challenging times.
As your baby bump expands, you may experience a few growing pains: Your skin may itch as it stretches. Meals may be smaller, but you may want to eat more often as your stomach has less room. Heartburn and indigestion can be frequent as your stomach is pushed up closer to your esophagus. And the added baby weight puts pressure on your bladder, meaning you’re still visiting the bathroom often.
Fear of Labor
If you’re terrified by the idea of labor, you’re not alone. Maybe you worry you won’t know you’re going into labor, that the pain will be too intense, or that you’ll have an emergency C-section. Theses concerns are normal, but by learning more about what scares you, you’ll feel better about delivery day.
Worried about knowing you’re in labor:
In the weeks leading up to your baby’s birth you may feel Braxton Hicks contractions regularly. These false contractions, which feel like a tightening in the abdomen, give your uterus a slight workout. Once you slow down, put your feet up, and have a glass of water these contractions usually subside.
There’s a helpful method to figure out whether your contractions are false or labor-inducing, explains Dr. William Camann, MD, director of obstetric anesthesia at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, and coauthor of Easy Labor: Every Woman’s Guide to Choosing Less Pain and More Joy During Childbirth. Touch your finger to your nose—feel the resistance? Now put your finger on your forehead. It feels tighter, harder. The difference in touch between the two is like the difference between Braxton Hicks and real contractions. Your forehead is like real contractions, tight and hard, explains Dr. Camann, whereas your nose is still hard but slightly squishy, as with false contractions.
Braxton Hicks contractions may make you nervous, but they’re normal. Let your healthcare provider know the frequency of any false labor pains. Keep in mind that as you get closer to your due date, your healthcare provider will be able to evaluate whether you may go into labor sooner than expected. Your appointments, once monthly, will now be biweekly—and later, weekly.
There are plenty of women who have gone to the hospital thinking they’re in labor, only to have the contractions stop. If you have any concerns or doubts, call your healthcare provider.
Worried about the pain of labor:
Concerned labor will be painful? Many women are. You have several options when it comes to pain management on delivery day. Now is the time to talk to your healthcare provider about your birth plan. A birth plan is simply what you have in mind for your delivery. You can type up a document to give to your healthcare provider or go over your preferences in the doctor’s office. Before you prepare this plan, discuss with your healthcare provider what pain medications may interest you.
By preparing a birth plan and understanding your options, you should feel better about pain you may experience during childbirth. Remember that you may change your mind once in labor: maybe you’ll decide to go without medications; maybe you’ll choose stronger pain medications than you planned on.
Taking childbirth classes may also ease your labor fears. Once you have a good understanding of what will happen on delivery day you won’t have to be anxious about any surprises—you’ll know what to expect.
Worried your baby will have problems:
Your fear of labor might be tied into worries your baby may have problems, or your delivery will be fraught with complications. While there are no guarantees everything with your delivery will go smoothly, complications are the exception, not the rule, reminds Dr. Camann.
Q & A
Got questions about Week 27? Other women have asked…
“Most parents assume that they must take a childbirth class with little regard to their own wishes relating to the birth. Are you planning on having an epidural? Has it been determined that you need a C-section? Do you wish to have an unmedicated delivery? When making the decision about where and with whom to take a childbirth class, talk to the instructor to find out what about their philosophy…” Read More
“You can start by transforming and recycling the list you have—and turn that Chloe into Colby, or Daisy into a Duke. Eloise, a variation of Louise, can become Louis or Lou. Surnames and word names can give you gender-neutral alternatives, too…” Read More
“The condition that you are describing sounds like symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD). As your pregnancy progresses, your pubic bones need to separate in order for your baby to pass through during delivery. Pregnancy hormones relax the cartilage between the pubic bones to make this possible. But sometimes…” Read More
The Importance of Childbirth Classes
Attending birthing classes and taking a hospital tour are two important things you can do to get ready for the birth of your baby. Knowledge is power, and the more you know the better.
Classes will help you understand the process of labor and delivery (and how you can best help your partner during childbirth), familiarize yourself with the facility where your little one will be born, and get an idea of what Baby will be like the first few hours of life and beyond.
Are you nervous about the actual birth? Many men are. Classes can help you prepare for seeing your partner in pain and give you tips on how to personally manage the stress of watching a medical procedure. While some men may joke that pregnant life is always about women and babies, when it comes to giving birth it really is. You’ll need to work through your anxieties or fears now so that you can help fulfill the needs of your partner and child during birth.
You hope the labor and delivery will go smoothly, but just in case it doesn’t, you’ll need to act as an advocate for your partner and baby. For some men, this can be surprisingly stressful. For the first time, you may feel torn by the needs of your partner and the needs of a new baby. Balancing out these emotions takes time. Being aware of and prepared for this possibility can help you manage these feelings more comfortably.
Take the time now to discuss with your partner how you feel about labor and delivery, your partner, your baby-to-be, and your new role as a father. Doing so while you’re both calm and clear-headed can make a big difference when the time comes for Baby to arrive.