Welcome To Week 36
Your Baby: Dropping Into The Birth Canal
Your little one weighs about 5 - 6 pounds (a tad over 2 kilograms) and measures approximately 20 inches or 50 centimeters tall. He has filled out so much that fat is forming creases in the neck and wrists and dimpling on the elbows and knees. That said, the closer you get to your due date, the greater the size differences in babies. To get a better idea of your baby's weight, ask your doctor to feel around your abdomen (to palpate) and approximate it.
You may have less difficulty breathing - and more of an urge to urinate - as your baby settles down into your pelvis, getting ready to descend into the birth canal at any time.
Your Body: Changes In Fetal Movement
As you start your ninth month and look down at your burgeoning belly, you might notice a passing leg or arm poke out or punch you. But sometimes, you might sense a quietness that makes you wonder just what is going on inside. By this time, your baby has become so big and takes up so much room in your uterus that he has little room to perform those amazing acrobatic stunts of months gone by.
Despite the cramped conditions, it is important to continue monitoring your baby's activity and make sure that he is moving on a daily basis. An absence of fetal activity may indicate fetal distress, or it may not mean anything more than a tired baby. Talk to your health care provider for instruction on how to monitor your baby's movements.
Note: If you do not feel your baby's movements at all or suddenly sense frantic activity, call your doctor without delay.
On a Different Note: Checking It Off Your List
If you still haven't packed your bag for the hospital and wonder what you need, print out this checklist for ideas. It's detailed and in-depth, and it even tells you what to bring for your baby, your labor coach, and the hospital staff!
If you're planning on breastfeeding, now is the time to buy nursing bras. Your milk isn't in yet, but your breasts are at their fullest and a good indication of what's to come. Ask for help from a sales person who is knowledgeable about nursing so you are properly fitted. You might want to get one for the day that has extra support and another one to wear at night -- without an under wire.
Irina Burd, MD, PhD, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
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