Your Pregnancy: Week 30
Can’t seem to remember where you put the keys? Your wallet? The sentence you just read? Pregnancy mind fog is incredibly common, even for the most organized, with-it women. Studies have shown that pregnancy reduces a woman’s brain cell volume, thought to be caused by (of course) hormones, as well as sleep deprivation and an increased stress load. Don’t worry – the fog will eventually lift, but to be honest, it might not improve until both you and baby are sleeping through the night. For now, keep to-do lists and Post-its on hand for reminders and avoid herbal remedies (like ginkgo biloba), which may not be safe during pregnancy.
While your brain might seem to be on hiatus, your baby’s brain is expanding by the day, taking on new functions like temperature regulation. This week, the brain is starting to get that wrinkly, indented look, which will help the brain tissue expand as the baby develops into adulthood. Besides the brain, your baby’s body is continuing to grow – now at just over 3 pounds and 17 inches long.
Swing by the salon for a haircut (the more low-maintenance the better) because your free time will be seriously limited in the coming months.
Cook and freeze your favorite comfort meals for after the baby’s born.
Having a boy? Research and decide if he’ll be circumcised.
Take care of any loose ends, like overdue bill payments and unreturned phone calls.
Advice from Dr. Shari E. Brasner
The baby itself makes its presence known more and more, not only through indelicate and uncomfortable symptoms, but perhaps also through mini-contractions known as Braxton-Hicks contractions. The uterus, in order to successfully dilate the cervix, has to get the hang of contracting, and Braxton-Hicks are essentially a practice run-through of the real thing. Sometimes women become frightened when they feel these sudden sensations of tightening across the abdomen, worrying that they have gone into premature labor. But I reassure my patients that the presence of Braxton-Hicks contractions does not mean that they are going into labor. (I also tell them that the absence of Braxton-Hicks is not worrisome, either. Some women just never experience them.) How to tell the difference? True labor pains, when they eventually start, will occur rhythmically, organizing themselves into a pattern, where Braxton-Hicks are disorganized contractions that start and stop at random. Women shouldn’t be afraid, but should be impressed by the body’s amazing ability to stage a rehearsal for the big event.”
Babble recommends Dr. Brasner’s pregnancy book, Advice from a Pregnant Obstetrician.
Mom-To-Mom Advice: “I’ll Never Be Like That”
You’re sitting quietly in a cafÃ© with a cup of Organic Decaffeinated Earl Grey Tea, daydreaming about the perfect baby sling, when your peace is shattered by the piercing whine of a toddler; the mother is not doing a thing to shut him up.
- You’re out to dinner with a friend when she confesses she hasn’t slept with her husband in months. Apparently her daughter is incapable of sleeping on her own, so Dad’s camping out in her room.
- Despite her plan to wean after a year, your sister is STILL breastfeeding her almost-two-year-old.
- Your neighbor’s formerly magazine-quality loft is now a cluttered shrine to garish, blinking, plastic crap.
- We know what you’re thinking, and we know because we thought it too.
“I’ll never be like that.”
Right now, you’re sitting pretty (if somewhat painfully, depending on your sciatic nerve) on your pregnant perch, imagining what life will be like with an imaginary child. Granted, you’re growing one, but you haven’t even met him yet. Nor have you met yourself as a parent. It’s much easier to foresee a life where you’re in control of a well-behaved kid than see yourself at the mercy of some tantrum-prone brat. And it’s much easier to imagine that the woes you see parents endure are the fault of their own missteps. If you just make better choices, you’ll be a better parent, right?
Maybe, but probably not. Those “bad parents” you’re judging are not failures, they are simply negotiating the rocky terrain of day-to-day parental life. You never know what those hiking boots are going to feel like until you’ve walked a mile in them.
We say this not to be critical but to let you in on a secret before you are forced to come to terms with it yourself: The more we know about parenting, the more we think nurture is only a small piece of the puzzle. Children are who they are. Tantrums are developmental milestones, like walking and talking. Completely unfathomable sleep arrangements are often temporary solutions for exhausted parents. Weaning: well, it’s complicated. Rough patches are normal, and sometimes they happen in the presence of others.
Perhaps you will be able to transcend the muddles that befall every other parent on the planet, but we’ve yet to meet anyone who’s entirely successful. More likely, you’ll be on the other side of that cup of tea someday, oblivious as your kids ruffle the feathers of a pregnant woman who is absolutely sure she’ll be a better mother than you.
Babble recommends From the Hips, by Rebecca Odes and Ceridwen Morris.