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1: Know that the end is near
The last two months of pregnancy can be rough (the baby will come out). As Nora Ephron said: If pregnancy were a book, theyd cut the last two chapters.
You may find yourself bored during pregnancy
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2: A childbirth class may come in handy
Take a childbirth education class with your partner; if you are hoping for a non-medicated birth, consider a class outside the hospital where you will learn more about non-medicated pain relief.
Decoding childbirth education classes
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3: Take your partner to class with you
Childbirth and newborn care classes can be particularly important for partners who may feel a little out of the loop or intimidated by all that's about to happen.
Do men only go to birthing class to make wives happy?
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4: Find out all you can about where you'll deliver
Tour the hospital or birth center and ask lots of questions like: Can I move around in labor and while pushing? Can the baby room in with me?
How to choose where youll give birth
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5: Ask about the C-section rate
The World Health Organization recommends a C-section rate of 10-15%. The U.S. rate is over 30%. Ask your care provider for his or her C-section rate; if you want to avoid a C-section, the rate should be closer to 10-15% than 30%.
10 things you should know about C-sections
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6: C-sections aren't always necessary
As a culture weve become increasingly comfortable with the idea of surgery and can forget that C-sections are a major abdominal surgery involving risks and recovery pain. They can be life-saving in some cases, but preventable in others.
Im not sorry I had a C-section
Your Pregnancy 7 of 32
7: There are many ways to give birth
Hypnobirthing is a kind of childbirth education that focuses on reframing birth so that it feels a lot less scary. The self-hypnosis can help reduce both anxiety and pain in labor.
Why this mom doubts hypnobirthing works
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8: Episiotomies are not always recommended
Though they used to be done routinely, episiotomies are not recommended unless theres a medical reason. Ask your provider how often he/she performs them. The answer should be something like, very infrequently.
What Consumer Reports had to say about episiotomies
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9: Do what's right for you
If you are catching grief for how youre planning your birth (at home, in a hospital, etc.) remember: People can feel strongly about what feels right for them. What matters most is that you do what feels right to you.
10 home birth lessons for the hospital
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10: Write a birth plan
Think about what's important to you when it comes to birth and convey this to your care provider(s) in person. You can write a thorough birth plan to help you (and your partner) work through the choices you may have but consider writing a very short one — maybe just a list of 2 or 3 priorities — to give to the hospital staff/your care provider.
How to write an effective birth plan
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11: Try to include your partner as much as possible
The Bradley Method of childbirth education focuses on partner-supported birth. Classes include lots of information about how labor works as well as many techniques for supporting a woman in labor.
Why this hospital rejected the Bradley Method
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12: Lamaze is more than just breathing
Lamaze classes are much more these days than just breathing techniques. The focus is on supporting natural or non-medicated birth through a wide variety of coping techniques.
Learn more about the lamaze philosophy
Your Pregnancy 13 of 32
13: Relaxation techniques will work during labor too
Relaxation techniques — such as deep breathing and visualization — can help with third-trimester insomnia. Also, if you practice them now, they might help in labor, too.
Ask your labor partner to help you with relaxation techniques
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14: Baby is getting into position
Most babies tend to get into a head-down position by around 32-34 weeks. If your baby is upright (breech) or horizontal (traverse) talk to your caregiver about turning the baby or visit spinningbabies.com.
What position is best?
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15: You will still pee a lot
In first pregnancies, the babys head will drop down to the pelvis in preparation for birth about 2-4 weeks before labor. Increased pressure on the bladder means more peeing, but your stomach and lungs will have more room.
4 more not-so-great things about being pregnant
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16: Your boobs are still changing
Most women find they go up two cup sizes after the milk comes in. Still, its hard to predict what size youll be. One option: buy a stretchy, flexible bra for now and breastfeeding bras a couple of weeks in.
The best nursing and maternity bras
Your Pregnancy 17 of 32
17: Swelling can cause sagging
The idea that breastfeeding causes saggy boobs is a myth. Its actually the 40 weeks of swelling during pregnancy that can stretch the skin and cause any eventual sagginess.
More on why your boobs really sag
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18: Get in those last pregnancy pics
Even if you havent been documenting pregnancy so far, these last months are a good time to get out the camera. Consider some fun pictures, too. Maybe dress up? Or pose nude?
Try taking photos in the nude
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19: It's okay to feel removed from the non-pregnant
Women at this stage are often very focused on preparing for the birth and the baby. You may feel some understandable distance from the non-pregnant world. But its appropriate to be where you are; youll get back to other priorities soon enough.
How to find mom friends
Your Pregnancy 20 of 32
20: Massage is good for you
A nightly foot massage from someone you love is good for your circulation, your aches and pains, your mood, and your relationship.
How to get your partner to massage your feet
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21: Surround yourself with support
Toward the end of pregnancy, surround yourself with people, books, websites, and advice that make you feel confident and supported, not judged.
One tip for having a healthy pregnancy
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22: It's not about the birth, it's about the experience
A happy birth experience usually has nothing to do with what happened (epidural, no epidural, c-section, water birth) but whether mom felt supported and treated with respect at a vulnerable time.
Not the birth I planned — but I loved it!
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23: There's no rush to induce
Full term is anywhere between 37-42 weeks; If all is going well, there's no reason to induce labor with medication before then, says the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Inducing labor has its risks
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24: There are different stages of labor
Labor for a first-time mom is about 24 hours on average, but not all of this is hard, active labor! Educate yourself about the very different stages of labor and how you can cope with each one.
Some pre-labor signs you may notice late in pregnancy
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25: Most labors occur at night
Most labors begin in the middle of the night. This is because the labor hormone oxytocin tends to be released in the dark and when women feel safe.
5 reasons to stay home in early labor
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26: You don't have to wear a hospital gown
In labor you can wear a hospital gown or something of your own — just wear something you dont mind getting messy in.
15 essentials to pack for the hospital
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27: Learn about the recovery process
When you tour the hospital ask what your options are for recovery; some hospitals have private recovery rooms and some dont. Some charge extra for a private room and require you to sign up for one as soon as you arrive.
How to choose the right hospital for you
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28: Baby will be a bit slimy after birth
When you first see your baby after birth, he or she will be covered with vernix, a waxy, beneficial substance that protects the babys skin in utero. Mostly its wiped off at some point after birth.
Why cotton balls should be in your overnight bag
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29: Your milk will be different those first few days
Women produce colostrum, a very potent, nutrient-dense pre-milk substance, before or right after birth. Its thicker, darker, and sweeter than milk and its just what the baby needs in the first few days of life.
How to prepare for breastfeeding
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30: Consider a lactation consultant
Not all pediatricians are up-to-date with the best breastfeeding advice. You may need to call a lactation specialist or attend a breastfeeding moms group if you need some help. Getting support early can prevent problems.
Not all moms can breastfeed
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31: Be patient with your weight post-birth
Some women lose weight very quickly while breastfeeding — it burns 500 calories a day — while others find they seem to cling to some pounds until they wean. Everybodys different.
Does breastfeeding really help you lose weight?
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