All About Baby
Just like you, your unborn baby will establish a daily routine. You’ll notice at times your baby is active and wiggly, while at other times you can’t feel her movements. Once your baby’s born, she’ll most likely continue with her in-utero pattern. Along with a routine, your baby has favorite positions too. A favorite of many unborn babies is to have their heads down, rumps up towards the ribs (conveniently, the perfect position for labor).
All About You
Only a few weeks to go and you’re probably counting down the days! No wonder, with all the aches and pains throughout your body. But along with a sore back and swollen ankles, you may notice less painful signs that delivery day is around the corner. A whitish to clear fluid may leak out of your breasts. This foremilk, called colostrum, will sustain your baby for the first few days of his life if you choose to breastfeed. You may also have a whitish, vaginal discharge called leukorrhea. This is normal throughout pregnancy and will increase as you approach delivery.
Alternatives to Medication
You have a lot of choices when it comes to pain management during childbirth. What kind of strategy you go with is an extremely personal decision. You should consider several methods and even combinations and backup plans as you think about delivery day.
Here are a few popular methods pregnant women use to go through labor medication-free.
You’ve probably heard of Lamaze, an approach to childbirth that encourages women to be active during labor by moving around and using breathing strategies versus medication to cope with pain. Your partner is a key part of making this method a success. This practice has been around since the 1960s and remains popular today. To fully understand Lamaze, locate an instructor in your area by going to Lamaze.org.
The Bradley Method
A cousin to Lamaze, the Bradley Method also relies on women being active participants in labor. In Bradley Method classes, couples learn deep-breathing strategies to cope with labor pain. It’s expected that your partner will help you focus on these breathing exercises as well as other strategies during labor. (Contact Bradleybirth.com for more information.)
Even if you haven’t attended classes in Lamaze or the Bradley Method, you may still try an alternative route to deal with pain. A certified nurse midwife or doula may guide you through labor with a variety of coping strategies.
Warm temperatures and soothing water can help your body relax, potentially making labor and delivery easier. If you’re not ready to give birth in the tub, you can still experience the benefits of water therapy in the shower. “Women don’t realize how soothing water can be until they’re in the water,” says Dr. Joanne Motino Bailey PhD, and a certified nurse midwife. Dr. Bailey says water therapy is “underutilized” as a method of pain relief in labor.
Movement and body positions
During childbirth class or even at the instruction of your certified nurse midwife during labor, you can try several body stances to ease your pain. For example, you may find the rhythmic motion of rocking back and forth helpful. To help you focus and move labor along, “Try to stay upright and go walking,” suggests Dr. Bailey.
This is certainly not a comprehensive list of what’s available when it comes to managing childbirth pain without medication. Along with these methods, there are plenty of others such as acupuncture, hypnosis, and more.
Research any coping strategy you intend to try before delivery day and discuss your desires with your healthcare provider. Some hospitals are more accepting of certain options than others; for example, some hospitals don’t have watertubs for childbirth, and some physicians may not be prepared to deliver your baby in the shower or with you under hypnosis.
Around this week you may experience an increased discharge called leukorrhea. Your expanding uterus is pressing against your diaphragm, and you may find it more difficult to catch your breath. This will get better once the baby “drops” (usually about two to three weeks before delivery). Try sitting up straight and sleeping in a propped up position to alleviate any discomfort you might be feeling.
Another point to be aware of this week is to watch for any increase in swelling. Swelling of the feet is normal in advanced pregnancy, but if you experience facial swelling, severe headaches, abdominal pain or nausea, contact your doctor immediately. You may be suffering from preeclampsia.
Q & A
What’s on your mind about Week 32? Other women have asked…
Q: What are some symptoms of premature labor?
Premature labor is one of the most costly complications of pregnancy. Although we still don’t know all of the reasons patients may experience preterm labor, there are nevertheless many things that we do know can provoke it. Read more about premature labor.
Q: Can my baby survive if he’s born this week?
In tertiary (high level) care centers, the survival rates for babies born at 32 to 33 weeks are very high. Broadly speaking, issues that may present revolve mostly around size, feeding, and growing. A baby born seven weeks early is significantly smaller than one at full term, since weight gain is concentrated in those last weeks in utero. Read more about survival rate at 32 weeks.
Q: Who can be with me during my labor and delivery?
Most hospitals allow one other person in the room in addition to your partner. If you decide to have another person present for your delivery, choose carefully. Make sure that this person will be there to support you and your partner. A doula can be a great asset to you during labor and delivery. Read more about who to have in the delivery room.
Preparing the Nursery
Planning the nursery can be a fun and creative experience for parents-to-be. You and your partner may already have ideas for what you’d like to do with your new baby’s environs. Imagine what it will be like to bring your baby home, put her to sleep in her own room, and cuddle together as a family! Don’t be afraid to let yourself get caught up in the excitement of it all.
The 32nd week of pregnancy is a big milestone. From this point on, your baby can be born and be perfectly healthy, and if she’s at a good weight, she may not even need to spend much time in the hospital. Once your wife’s pregnancy reaches this point, it is a good idea to start getting everything ready. (If you wait until the last weeks of pregnancy, you may find you waited too long!)
This is also a good time to ask friends and family which gadgets and baby supplies made parenting easier (and which were deemed unnecessary or unhelpful). These may be things people don’t register for, but parents don’t want to live without. Seemingly small conveniences, such as stroller straps, night lights, and car window shades, are all great assets that can ease your role of raising Baby.