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  • Your Pregnancy 1 of 32

    1: Register before you go into labor

    Your Pregnancy: Month 9: Register before you go into labor Pre-register at the birth center or hospital so you don’t have to deal with too much paperwork when you arrive. Your care provider can help with this.

    New baby preparation timeline

  • Your Pregnancy 2 of 32

    2: Opt for organic baby products

    Your Pregnancy: Month 9: Opt for organic baby products When you’re buying baby products, err on the side of the perfume- and dye-free. Lotions and potions and soaps with fragrances and chemicals can be harsh on a newborn’s skin. Go organic if/when you can.

    How to choose the safest baby care products

  • Your Pregnancy 3 of 32

    3: Keep moving

    Your Pregnancy: Month 9: Keep moving Even with all this heavy weight you’re carrying and a blood volume 40-50% more than before you were pregnant, it’s still a great idea to remain active. All you have to do is walk or swim or stretch — serious workouts are too much at this point.

    Why this mom loved swimming while pregnant

  • Your Pregnancy 4 of 32

    4: Take your time

    Your Pregnancy: Month 9: Take your time Women frequently find they get out of breath very quickly at this point in pregnancy. It’s normal, given what your body is doing. To avoid light-headedness, take your time climbing stairs and don’t get up too quickly.

    If you’re frequently short of breath, try these nasal strips

  • Your Pregnancy 5 of 32

    5: Pack for the hospital

    Your Pregnancy: Month 9: Pack for the hospital When you pack your clothes for the hospital consider the following: a robe, slippers or socks, pajamas, a few pairs of underwear, and stretchy comfy clothes to wear home (you’ll still look about 5 months pregnant right after birth).

    The comfiest maternity pants — ever

  • Your Pregnancy 6 of 32

    6: Pack for your partner too

    Your Pregnancy: Month 9: Pack for your partner too When packing for the hospital, bring some stuff for your partner: a change of clothes/shirt, toiletries, and a bathing suit if he or she will get in the shower or tub with you.

    Here’s a packing checklist for mom, baby, and partner

  • Your Pregnancy 7 of 32

    7: Bring some comforts from home

    Your Pregnancy: Month 9: Bring some comforts from home Before you leave to go to the hospital or birthing center, grab a pillow or two from home. A laboring mom can always use extra pillows, and hospitals sometimes don’t have them.

    Try the Boppy pregnancy wedge pillow

  • Your Pregnancy 8 of 32

    8: Read up on labor medications

    Your Pregnancy: Month 9: Read up on labor medications Educate yourself about the benefits, risks, and alternatives to medications and procedures used in labor such as induction, epidurals, and monitoring. If you participate in decisions regarding your care, you’ll likely feel more confident about what’s being done.

    12 things you should know about epidurals

  • Your Pregnancy 9 of 32

    9: Squeeze in a prenatal massage while you can

    Your Pregnancy: Month 9: Squeeze in a prenatal massage while you can Prenatal massage is great for your body and your mind and, if you are past 40 weeks, a well-trained therapist can use acupressure to help trigger labor.

    Prenatal massages also help release this key hormone

  • Your Pregnancy 10 of 32

    10: Your water might not actually break

    Your Pregnancy: Month 9: Your water might not actually break Only 12% of women have their water break before labor starts. Of those 12% almost all will go into labor by themselves within 24 hours.

    “Did my water break or did I just pee myself?”

  • Your Pregnancy 11 of 32

    11: Induction may not be necessary

    Your Pregnancy: Month 9: Induction may not be necessary Try to let labor start on its own. Using drugs to induce labor for convenience has been associated with increased risks for mom and baby.

    5 ways to induce labor naturally

  • Your Pregnancy 12 of 32

    12: There are natural ways to jumpstart labor …

    Your Pregnancy: Month 9: There are natural ways to jumpstart labor … Nipple stimulation, spicy foods, evening primrose oil, and lots of walking and acupuncture all may help trigger labor naturally. Talk to your care provider about these options should they become necessary.

    5 things you should know about induction

  • Your Pregnancy 13 of 32

    13: …But discuss these natural induction methods with your doctor

    Your Pregnancy: Month 9: …But discuss these natural induction methods with your doctor Castor oil and enemas are sometimes used to trigger labor without using medication. Do not try these without talking to your care provider. Castor oil can be highly unpleasant, though sometimes very effective.

    Why this mom looked into enemas before giving birth

  • Your Pregnancy 14 of 32

    14: Sex can also help get labor started

    Your Pregnancy: Month 9: Sex can also help get labor started Sex can help trigger labor at term: female orgasm and semen can trigger the labor hormones oxytocin and prostaglandins, respectively. Sex is a great way to try and induce labor naturally, as long your water hasn’t broken.

    The power of oxytocin

  • Your Pregnancy 15 of 32

    15: Find out about the food policy

    Your Pregnancy: Month 9: Find out about the food policy Some hospitals and birth centers have lifted the old-fashioned ban on food and drink in labor. Talk to your care provider about this; staying hydrated and nourished before and during labor has been proven beneficial.

    Do women deserve food during labor?

  • Your Pregnancy 16 of 32

    16: Labor can take a while

    Your Pregnancy: Month 9: Labor can take a while Talk to your care provider about when to call/go to the birth center or hospital. For first-time moms, in the absence of any concerns, you can probably stay home until the beginning of active labor — when contractions are 3-5 minutes apart.

    What does a contraction really feel like?

  • Your Pregnancy 17 of 32

    17: It's normal to lose your mucus plug days before labor begins

    Your Pregnancy: Month 9: It's normal to lose your mucus plug days before labor begins You may notice the passing of your mucus plug a day or two (or more) before labor starts or you may not. It’s actually more mucus than “plug” — some say it looks like clear phlegm tinged with blood. You may never notice it, which is fine, too.

    Mucus plug — it’s as pretty as it sounds

  • Your Pregnancy 18 of 32

    18: Poop happens

    Your Pregnancy: Month 9: Poop happens Fear of pooping in labor is so common. And hey, it sometimes happens and the doctor or midwife will wipe it away so fast, you’ll never know. They’ve seen it all and don’t care.

    More pregnancy and birth fears

  • Your Pregnancy 19 of 32

    19: The timing of the epidural matters

    Your Pregnancy: Month 9: The timing of the epidural matters Epidurals very early in labor increase the chance of a C-section. Meanwhile, those used after mom has labored for a very long time and is utterly exhausted can actually prevent a C-section.

    The risks and benefits of epidurals

  • Your Pregnancy 20 of 32

    20: Vaginal tearing is common

    Your Pregnancy: Month 9: Vaginal tearing is common Some vaginal tearing is common in a first-time birth, but there are things you can do to minimize it: Gravity-friendly pushing positions — like squatting — can help. It’s a good topic to bring up with your care provider to see how to lower risk.

    More steps to reduce vaginal tearing

  • Your Pregnancy 21 of 32

    21: Moving during labor can help the pain

    Your Pregnancy: Month 9: Moving during labor can help the pain Labor is dynamic. Moving and changing position throughout can make labor more efficient and take the edge off the pain.

    Some tips on “free-range labor”

  • Your Pregnancy 22 of 32

    22: Water is a great pain reliever

    Your Pregnancy: Month 9: Water is a great pain reliever Immersing yourself in water during labor can be as effective for pain relief as an injection of narcotics. Do you have access to a tub in labor? Showers are also helpful for reducing pain.

    Why this mom is glad she gave birth in water

  • Your Pregnancy 23 of 32

    23: Labor speeds up your digestion

    Your Pregnancy: Month 9: Labor speeds up your digestion As the pregnancy hormones shift to labor hormones, women sometimes find their digestive system is suddenly less sluggish — loose bowels are not uncommon in pre-labor.

    Why you shouldn’t be embarrassed about pooping

  • Your Pregnancy 24 of 32

    24: Labor increases adrenaline

    Your Pregnancy: Month 9: Labor increases adrenaline Women feel a burst of adrenaline when they go into labor. This blast of hormones helps with the final stage of the baby’s lung development.

    What to expect during the second stage of labor

  • Your Pregnancy 25 of 32

    25: Labor can take hours and hours and hours

    Your Pregnancy: Month 9: Labor can take hours and hours and hours In first pregnancies, early labor can be very long (6-12 hours average in a first time-birth, with contractions 5-30 minutes apart). If it’s daytime distract yourself and stay active. If it’s nighttime take a bath, maybe have a few sips of wine, and try to get some sleep.

    Why this mom thinks first pregnancies are the best

  • Your Pregnancy 26 of 32

    26: But remember, the baby is almost here!

    Your Pregnancy: Month 9: But remember, the baby is almost here! The good news about all that discomfort at the end of pregnancy: It actually makes you look forward to labor.

    Plus, you won’t have to hear these questions anymore

  • Your Pregnancy 27 of 32

    27: Know that your body was built for this

    Your Pregnancy: Month 9: Know that your body was built for this Remember, labor can be hard, challenging, and downright painful, but we were meant to do this. Focus on what you can do to help with pain and anxiety rather than what feels out of control.

    How pregnancy and giving birth cleared this mom’s worried mind

  • Your Pregnancy 28 of 32

    28: Theres more boob swelling ahead

    Your Pregnancy: Month 9: Theres more boob swelling ahead Milk comes in around day 3 or 4 postpartum. This can be painful, as the breasts become temporarily very engorged. To treat any discomfort, try putting frozen cabbage leaves on your breasts between feedings.

    How your breasts may change from each trimester

  • Your Pregnancy 29 of 32

    29: Your milk supply changes

    Your Pregnancy: Month 9: Your milk supply changes The first 4-6 weeks of breastfeeding are important for establishing supply. The more you feed, the more milk you’ll be able to make moving forward.

    5 things you should know about breastfeeding

  • Your Pregnancy 30 of 32

    30: Breastfeeding isn't easy

    Your Pregnancy: Month 9: Breastfeeding isn't easy Breastfeeding can be very rewarding but often very hard at first. It can take a while for you and your body to get used to it. Lots of support and quality advice from the beginning will give you added confidence!

    Troubleshooting breastfeeding problems

  • Your Pregnancy 31 of 32

    31: Recruit breastfeeding help, if you're going that route

    Your Pregnancy: Month 9: Recruit breastfeeding help, if you're going that route If you want to breastfeed, make sure all the hospital or birthing center staff members know this. Introducing a bottle or artificial nipple (even a pacifier) can disrupt breastfeeding within the first few weeks.

    What makes breastmilk so good?

  • Your Pregnancy 32 of 32

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