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Twenty to Twenty Four Weeks Pregnant

Twenty to Twenty-Four Weeks Pregnant

You are perhaps still enjoying the glowing middle months of pregnancy. Your little bump is growing bigger and your hair is thicker and you don’t feel sick anymore.

How you might feel between twenty weeks and twenty-four weeks of pregnancy:

  • As your baby and your uterus grow, they may take up some of the space your lungs are used to enjoying. This can contribute to a feeling of breathlessness. Let your care provider know if it happens a lot.
  • For some women, lying on their back as their uterus gets bigger is very uncomfortable and causes nausea or unease because it makes their blood pressure drop. This is why women are told to sleep on their side. For other women, sleeping on their side is difficult because they are not used to it, or they cannot make it comfortable. There is no evidence that it is necessary to avoid sleeping on your back. For a reassuring post on this click here.
  • You may experience changes in skin pigmentation. Your nipples and areolas may become darker. You may develop dark patches on the skin of your face and a dark stripe down your tummy. These are made darker by exposure to the sun. They will fade again after your baby is born.

Things you may do between twenty weeks and twenty-four weeks of pregnancy:

  • You might want to start thinking about baby names. This might be a good time to start a list. Baby name books are available in the shops or at the library. And there are lots of resources on-line. BC Vital Statistics provides a fun gadget here.
  • Your baby can hear now. Talk to her! Sing to him! Read stories out loud. Beat little rhythms on your belly. See if you can tell what kind of music or stories your baby likes best. You don’t have to sing lullabies or read kids stories, unless you want to. You baby is just as likely to enjoy opera or jazz or heavy metal. And if you or your baby’s other parent read the newspaper or a text book or a novel out loud, you will find that you can tell from your baby’s movements that he or she is listening.
  • Some women worry about their weight gain. In this middle trimester, you do tend to gain weight faster than in the first three months. About 0.2-0.5kg per week (1/2 a pound to a pound.) Remember, healthy eating is what you should focus on, not controlling your weight.
  • You might want to start finding places to have naps. The library? Your car? On the floor in your office? Sleeping for 15-20 minutes after lunch is wonderfully refreshing. Lie down, set an alarm and practice deep, slow breathing.

 Between twenty weeks and twenty-four weeks of pregnancy, your care-provider will probably:

  • be seeing you every month at this stage
  • weigh you at each visit and discuss healthy weight gain
  • palpate and measure your abdomen
  • listen to the baby’s heart beat using a hand held Doppler ultrasound device
  • offer you a detailed ultrasound around 18 weeks to check for baby’s growth and development

Your care provider is one of your best sources of information.  Keep a list of questions to ask at your monthly appointments.

Things you can do for your health and your baby’s health:

  • You may start to feel a lot hungrier. Make sure that you choose healthy, nutrient-dense snacks. It’s a good idea to carry a little package of raw almonds, or some whole-grain crackers and cheese to help get through the day.
  • Wear your seatbelt. The lap belt should be under your belly, low on your hips. The shoulder belt should go between your breasts. Your seatbelt will keep you and your baby safe in the case of an accident.
  • Keep up with regular physical activity. Prenatal yoga classes will take the needs of your growing and changing body into account. And they are a great place to meet other pregnant women.
  • If you have not yet joined the Pregnancy Happy Hour on Fridays evenings at the Mothering Touch Centre come and try it out!

Resources:

Healthy Eating: www.healthlinkbc.ca
Prenatal Yoga: www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week
Songs and Rhymes for Baby: www.wordsforlife.org.uk

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Sixteen to Twenty Weeks Pregnant

 

Sixteen Weeks to Twenty Weeks Pregnant

This is the best part of pregnancy for most women. The nausea and fatigue of the First Trimester are over. You may have gotten used to the idea that a baby is growing inside. You’ve made a few – maybe a very few – lifestyle changes and you feel good about that. You may have told others about the pregnancy and this helps you to adjust to this new identity.

How you might feel between sixteen weeks and twenty weeks of pregnancy:

  • You may be “showing” now. A little baby “bump” may be a source of pride. Some women feel it says “I’m pregnant – I’m not just gaining weight.” Other women feel shy about the pregnancy becoming obvious.
  • Most women start to feel the baby moving sometime in this period. At first you may just wonder if those are bubbles in your gut. Soon, you will recognize those flutters are the movements of your baby.
  • Some women may feel short of breath at this time. Your lungs are increasing in capacity, but your baby is also growing and taking up space. Shortness of breath and dizziness may also be caused by low blood pressure. These are a normal part of pregnancy, but if they distress you or prevent you from functioning well, do talk to you care provider about them.

Things you may do between sixteen weeks and twenty weeks of pregnancy:

  • Plan for your maternity leave. You will also want to look into Employment Insurance coverage for your maternity and parental leave.
  • Buy some maternity clothes. Your pre-pregnancy clothes may have reached the limit. And you may want something new that says “I’m pregnant.”
  • You may find yourself thinking about what kind of a parent you want to be. This is a good time to talk with your partner (if you have one) and or your friends and family about parenting styles and philosophies. Some good books include: Becoming The Parent You Want To Be: A Sourcebook Of Strategies For The First Five Years, by Laura Davis and Parenting From The Inside Out, by Daniel J. Siegel and Mary Hartzell.
  • You may find yourself having very vivid (sometime scary) dreams. As your sleep is disrupted by the discomfort caused by your growing belly and your (seemingly) shrinking bladder, you are waking more often in the night and recalling more vividly, dreams which you might otherwise have forgotten. These dreams are common to pregnant women and reflect how seriously we take the changes that are coming in our lives.
  • Mood disorders – depression and anxiety – are just as common in pregnancy as in the postpartum period. Some sadness about the changes in your life, some sense of loss or anxiety about the future, these are normal feelings for this time in your life. If these feelings distress you or prevent you from functioning, do talk to your doctor or midwife about them. It is best to get help and support early.

 Between sixteen weeks and twenty weeks of pregnancy, your care-provider will probably:

  • be seeing you every month
  • weigh you at each visit and discuss healthy weight gain
  • palpate and measure your abdomen
  • listen to the baby’s heart beat using a hand held Doppler ultrasound device
  • offer you the option of having an ultrasound scan around 18-20 weeks.
  • In BC, ultrasound technicians are forbidden by law to identify the baby’s sex. If the baby’s genitals were visible, the sex will have been included in the report sent to your doctor or midwife. If you want to know, you can ask your care provider.

Things you can do for your health and your baby’s health:

  • Continue to stay active. As you get bigger, take care of yourself before and during your workout.
  • Eat a small snack about an hour before your workout. The calorie boost will increase your energy.
  • Sip water throughout your workout. It’s especially important to stay hydrated while you’re pregnant.
  • Take extra care with exercises that require balance. Your body is changing rapidly, and you can feel especially off-kilter while running or doing step-aerobics.
  • Continue to experiment with nutritious food. As you become a family, you will find that cooking and eating together is an important part of taking care of the whole family. When you and your partner shop and cook together, you are practicing making a home for your baby.

Resources:

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Twelve to Sixteen Weeks Pregnant

Twelve Weeks to Sixteen Weeks Pregnant

You’ve come to the end of the First Trimester! You are now entering the Second Trimester – this is the time of the legendary glowing, energetic happy pregnant mama. Of course, that does not happen for everyone. For some, nausea and vomiting do not subside, and fatigue persists even after twelve weeks. This is very difficult.

How you might feel between twelve weeks and sixteen weeks of pregnancy:

  • Nausea and vomiting might start to get better.
  • Heartburn might start or get worse
  • Some women find their sex drive gets stronger at this time – estrogen from the placenta contributes to this.
  • Stuffy nose and nosebleeds
  • Sore back
  • Hair growth – all those growth hormones the placenta is making can make hair grow well on your head – and elsewhere.
  • Headaches. Acetaminophen may be ok (ask your care provider to make sure), but ibuprophen and aspirin are not safe for use in pregnancy. Try a cold compress on your forehead, taking a nap, or having a snack.

Things you may do between twelve weeks and sixteen weeks of pregnancy:

  • Because you are now passed the period of highest risk for miscarriage, this may be when you choose to tell friends and family about your pregnancy. This can be an exciting and happy thing. It can also create a lot of attention and make some women feel shy. Take your time, and tell your news at your own pace.
  • Pregnant women tend to spend a lot of time in the Second Trimester thinking about the baby (some call it daydreaming, or processing, or meditating), wondering what s/he will be like and how it will feel to be a parent.  Use that motivation to learn right now about baby care, and infant development. Some good books include, The Baby Book, by William & Martha Sears and Your Amazing Newborn, by Marshall and Phyllis Klaus.
  • This is alo a good time to learn more about breastfeeding. A good book would be Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers, by Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, Nancy Mohrbacher.
  • Consider having a doula at your birth.  A doula is a woman experienced in childbirth who provides physical, informational and emotional support and helps parents to have an easier and more positive childbirth experience.  You can learn more by clicking here.
  • Register for Prenatal Childbirth Preparation Classes.  It’s best to take these after 28 weeks, but you have to schedule them and register for them now or the class you want may not be available. 

 Between twelve weeks and sixteen weeks of pregnancy, your care-provider will probably:

  • be seeing you every month at this stage
  • weigh you at each visit and discuss healthy weight gain
  • palpate and measure your abdomen
  • at this stage, you and your care provider will be able to hear the baby’s heart beat using a hand held Doppler ultrasound device
  • if your prenatal screening tests have shown positive results, you may be offered amniocentesis. You can read about that here.

You’re getting to know your care-provider now, and developing a relationship with him or her.  Keep a list of questions to ask at your monthly appointments.  It’s so easy to forget.

Things you can do for your health and your baby’s health:

  • As the nausea starts to go away, experiment with new, nutritious foods.  You may feel hungry in a way you have not experienced before.
  • Keep up with regular physical activity.  As you get bigger around the middle, you may feel a little awkward in your regular classes and decide to join a pregnancy yoga, fitness or aquafit class.  Or not!  The best way to get exercise is to do what you love in an environment you feel comfortable with.  Don’t let anyone else tell you where that should be.
  • If you have not yet joined the Pregnancy Happy Hour on Fridays evenings at the Mothering Touch Centre come and try it out!

Resources:

Infant development: https://www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca/home/articles/babies-physical-development-0-6-months
Breastfeeding videos: https://www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca/home/articles/topic/feeding
Doulas: http://www.doulasofvictoria.ca/
Doulas: http://doulamatch.net/
Genetic testing: 
http://www.perinatalservicesbc.ca/ScreeningPrograms/PrenatalGeneticScreening/family-resources/default.htm

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Eight to Twelve Weeks Pregnant

 

Eight to Twelve Weeks Pregnant

This business of explaining to people how far along you are in your pregnancy! When you have COMPLETED Eight weeks of pregnancy, you are in your NINTH week, but you are not nine weeks pregnant – yet

How you might feel between eight and twelve weeks of pregnancy:

  • Bloating
  • Nausea, vomiting, food aversions or food cravings
  • Intense fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Mood swings
  • Increased urination
  • Sensitive breasts and nipples
  • Breasts may grow and nipples and areola and sebaceous glands of the areola (little brown or pink bumps)get darker

Things you may do between eight and twelve weeks of pregnancy:

  • If nausea and vomiting are a problem, you may want to read up on remedies. Motherisk is a great resource and even has a forum where you can talk to other moms having trouble with this.
  • Your bra may start to feel tight. It may be time to get bras in a larger cup size. You don’t need a maternity bra – a well-fitted bra of any sort will do. If your bra’s cups still fit but the band it too tight around your ribs, ask for a bra extender.
  • You may feel that your pants are too tight, or that you don’t like anything tight around your middle – even though you are not “showing” a pregnancy bump yet. Bella Bands or other waist band extenders are available for that time before you actually need to buy new, maternity pants.
  • Some women have very few symptoms of pregnancy at this stage. They don’t have nausea, they aren’t showing yet and they sometimes worry: “Am I really pregnant?” This feeling will pass, with time, as your body start to grow to accommodate the baby.
  • Buy a pregnancy book or two. Our favourites include:
    • Pregnancy Childbirth and the Newborn by Penny Simkin
    • The New Pregnancy & Childbirth: Choices & Challenges by Sheila Kitzinger
    • Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

 Between eight and twelve weeks of pregnancy, your care-provider will probably:

  • be seeing you every four weeks at this stage
  • weigh you at each visit and discuss healthy weight gain
  • check your blood pressure
  • check your urine for protein and infection
  • discuss nutrition and food safety
  • palpate and measure your abdomen
  • after 10 or 12 weeks of pregnancy, you and your care provider will be able to hear the baby’s heart beat using a hand held Doppler ultrasound device.
  • discuss work place safety with you
  • discuss genetic screening tests

Things you can do for your health and your baby’s health: (Note that all the tasks below are just as important for the non-childbearing parent (the father or other parent) to undertake. The health of a child is affected by the health of the whole family, not just the mother’s.)

  • Talk, talk, talk with your partner about your plans as co-parents. This is a good time to work on your relationship and make it as strong and harmonious as possible.
  • Continue your normal physical activity routine. Unless you have some special risk, there is no need to reduce your activity.
  • Try a prenatal yoga or fitness class – a good place to meet other pregnant women
  • Avoid hot-tubs, steam rooms, saunas and hot yoga. Anything that raises your body temperature above 102°F or 38.9°C may put your baby at risk.
  • If you find yourself worrying about whether the risks of taking medication, or herbs, or  environmental toxins, you should of course, consult your doctor or midwife. But if you need the answer right now, try Motherisk.
  • Join the Pregnancy Happy Hour on Fridays evenings at the Mothering Touch Centre – “You don’t have to be showing to show up!”

Resources:

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Eight Weeks Pregnant

 

(There are lots of places online to read about how big your baby is, whether he can hear yet, or how long her fingernails are. We thought we would provide you with a list of to-dos, for each month of pregnancy. Our culture’s convention is that pregnancy is 40 weeks long – which is 10 lunar months or 9 calendar months. Because most women seem to count their pregnancies in weeks, we will count in lunar – 28-day – months.)

Eight Weeks (the First Two Months)

The most confusing thing about being eight weeks pregnant is that you are only SIX weeks pregnant! Your pregnancy is counted from the first day of your last period, which can be confusing since that was probably two weeks before your egg and sperm met! But your doctor or midwife will count from there, so you might as well too.

How you might feel before Eight Weeks Pregnant:

You might think “Wow! It worked!” or “Oh no! What now?” or both. You might have some early symptoms of pregnancy – sore breasts, moodiness, cramping, a little spotting (implantation spotting around day 21-22 of your cycle is normal and nothing to worry about) – or you may have none of these.

Things you may do before Eight Weeks:

  • Tell people you’re pregnant – your partner? Your parents? Your friends? When do you tell them? How? It’s all up to you. There is no right way or right time to do it. Some women wait until the end of the First Trimester because of the small risk of miscarriage during this time.
  • Decide what kind of care-provider you would like – do you want a doctor or a midwife?
  • Find out about the family physicians in Victoria who provide maternity care with the Victoria Medical Society.
  • Find out about the midwives providing care in Victoria from the Midwives in Victoria, or from the BC Midwives Association. 
  • See your chosen care provider. If you can interview a couple or care-providers and decide who you like best, that is ideal. But often, given the demand in Victoria for midwives and maternity care doctors, there is not much choice.
  • If you live on Vancouver Island, you can register with Public Health online.

Before Eight Weeks of Pregnancy, your care-provider will probably:

  • ask about your medical history and get to know you a little
  • examine you and weigh you and measure your height
  • check your blood pressure
  • check your urine for protein and infection
  • provide useful information about your health and safety (and those of your baby) during pregnancy
  • order blood tests to determine your blood type and to screen for a variety of diseases which can harm the baby (STI’s, HIV, rubella, Hepatitis B)
  • offer prenatal screening for genetic abnormalities You can read about this at Perinatal Services BC.
  • Ask your care-provider about getting a Pregnancy Passport to keep track of appointments, tests and results.

Things you can do for your health and your baby’s health: (Note that all the tasks below are just as important for the non-childbearing parent (the father or other-mother) to undertake. The health of a child is affected by the health of the whole family, not just the mother’s.)

  • Start taking a pregnancy vitamin tablet with folic acid – ask your pharmacist for a recommendation.
  • See your dentist for a cleaning and a check-up. Make sure your teeth are healthy, it affects you own general health.
  • Stop smoking, drinking alcohol, or taking recreational drugs – if you do.
  • Evaluate your exposure to environmental toxins in your workplace or your home and reduce it as much as possible
  • Improve your nutrition. Eat nutrient-dense foods, emphasizing whole grains, vegetable and fruit, lean protein and high-quality fats
  • Limit your intake of salt and caffeine
  • Be physically active on a regular basis
  • Start or continue a physical activity you can pursue during your pregnancy (yoga, swimming, hiking)

Resources:

  • Subscribe to the Lamaze International Weekly Pregnancy email for information on healthy birth practices, from nutrition during pregnancy to measures that will help you feel more comfortable during labour.
  • Baby’s Best Chance
  • Healthy Pregnancy BC
  • Motherisk Women and their healthcare practitioners wanting to learn more about the risk or safety of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, herbal products, chemicals, x-rays, chronic disease and infections during pregnancy and while nursing can contact the Motherisk program at SickKids. Motherisk is a clinical, research and teaching program affiliated with the University of Toronto.
  • Ready to quit smoking? Quit Now! 
  • Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy 
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Thirty-Six to Forty Weeks Pregnant

 

Thirty-Six to Forty weeks Pregnant

This is the last full month of your pregnancy. You may be winding up at work, finishing up projects at home. The baby is coming soon!

Although the baby is getting bigger and is almost ready to be born, it is not full term until 40 weeks. Although it is safe for a baby to be born at 37 week, most first babies are born after 40 weeks. And 40-week babies are bigger and stronger and often breastfeed better. Don’t start expecting the baby too early – it makes for a long wait!

 

How you might feel between thirty-six and forty weeks of pregnancy:

  • Your growing baby is using up almost all your resources. You may be feeling very tired at the end of the day.
  • Back pain, caused by the increasing weight of the baby and softening joints, may slow you down too.
  • Baby’s movements are not just kicks anymore, but feel more like stretches and rolls. Baby’s hiccups – a little, slow, pulse-like feeling, deep inside you – can feel odd.
  • You may find it difficult to sleep through the night, waking frequently to pee or to roll over. Try to take the sleep interruptions lightly. Stay relaxed. Sleep will come again soon.
  • Heartburn becomes (or is still) a problem.
  • Braxton-Hicks contractions, also called pregnancy contractions, may start to become more intense. Remember your uterus contracts more if you are dehydated or over-active. Take it easy and have a glass of water if the tightenings start to bother you.
  • Feet and ankles may be swollen by the end of the day, or if the weather is warm.

Things you may do between thirty-six and forty weeks weeks of pregnancy:

  • Getting ready for your baby to come home. Washing clothes, tidying, installing car seat.
  • Cooking and freezing meals for after the baby comes.
  • Enjoy time alone with your partner! Go out for some meals, to the movies.
  • Buy nursing bras around 37-38 weeks. An experienced fitter can help you find a bra that will fit as your breasts get bigger when your milk “come in” around day 3 of your baby’s life.
  • Think about daycare? It sounds ridiculous, but if you are planning to go back to work outside the home after your maternity leave is over, you need to think ahead.
  • Think about the Fourth Trimester  (first three months of baby’s life) … Who will be available for physical support right after the baby is born? Partner? Birth-helper? Family? Friends? Post-partum Doula? All of the above?

 Between thirty-six and forty weeks of pregnancy, your care-provider will probably:

  • Be seeing you once a week at this stage.
  • Weigh you at each visit and discuss healthy weight gain.
  • Check your blood pressure.
  • Check your urine for protein and infection.
  • Palpate and measure your abdomen.
  • Listen to the baby’s heart beat using a hand held Doppler ultrasound device.
  • Review test results.
  • Discuss breastfeeding, the importance of feeding early and often.
  • Newborn care in the hospital, including eye ointment, Vitamin K and newborn screening tests.
  • Infant sleep and safety
  • Postpartum moods and support
  • Options if pregnancy is prolonged – monitoring and induction.

Your care provider is one of your best sources of information.  Keep a list of questions to ask at your monthly appointments.

Things you can do for your health and your baby’s health:

  • Might be a good time for a pedicure! Very relaxing, and totally justified when you can’t reach your feet!
  • Aquafit classes really help with swollen feet and legs, and backache. Or just go for a gentle evening swim.
  • Be aware of your baby’s movements. Although babies slow down in the last few weeks, they still move a lot! Keep track of times when you expect your baby to move. Note your baby’s daily patterns.
  • Keep working on perineal massage to increase health of perineal tissues and give you practice relaxing as perineum stretches.
  • Learn about Postpartum Mood Disorders.  What might it feel like?  Where can you find help if you need it?  20-40% of women are diagnosed with some mood disorder (anxiety or depression) after giving birth.  We’re pretty sure other women have the same feelings but never seek help.  Support makes it all easier to deal with.
  • Ask friends to throw you a shower where they all bring casseroles for the freezer or tell a friend about MealTrain (I think this is really cool!) and get them to set up a meal rotation for you after the baby comes.

Resources:

Finding a Doula in Victoria, BC: Greater Victoria Doula Directory

What to pack in your hospital bag: Packing for the Hospital.

Home Birth Supplies – an example: Access Midwifery, Victoria

Instructions for Perineal Massage: Perineal Massage in Pregnancy

Organizing friends and family to help with meals: Mealtrain.com

Learning about postpartum emotions: Pacific Postpartum Support Society

Coping with postpartum depression and anxiety: Healthy Families BC

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Thirty-Two to Thirty-Six Weeks Pregnant

Thirty-two to Thirty-six weeks pregnant

Thirty Two to Thirty-Six weeks Pregnant

As baby gets bigger, the issue of how you are going to get the baby out may start to feel more relevant. Many mothers find that they become quite preoccupied with planning and daydreaming and thinking about their impending labour. Talk to your partner or birth helper, meet with your doula. This is a good time to be taking childbirth classes.

How you might feel between thirty-two and thirty-six weeks of pregnancy:

  • Your growing belly and growing baby are putting more strain on your body. You may start to feel quite weary, especially towards the end of the day. Napping is a useful skill to start cultivating now!
  • Back pain, caused by the increasing weight of the baby and softening joints, may get worse. Consider seeing a massage therapist, physiotherapist or chiropractor.
  • Baby is moving a lot. The baby’s movements may keep you up at night, or wake you up even. Baby’s hiccups – a little, slow, pulse-like feeling, deep inside you.
  • As baby moves, and your back hurts, and you get less exercise during the day, you may start to find it difficult to sleep at night. Try having a high-protein snack before you go to bed. Practice your breathing exercises and isten to soothing music. Think of it as free time to rehearse for labour.
  • Constipation may become a problem. Remember to eat lots of high-fiber vegetables and whole grains. Make sure you drink enough water too.
  • Braxton-Hicks contractions, also called pregnancy contractions, may start to become more intense. Remember your uterus contracts more if you are dehydated or over-active. Take it easy and have a glass of water if the tightenings start to bother you.

Things you may do between thirty-two and thirty-six weeks weeks of pregnancy:

  • Planning for your baby’s birth. What is really important to you about the experience of giving birth? Where will you give birth?
  • Consider your preferences and values with regards to your baby’s birth. How would you like things to go? How would you like to cope with labour pain? What interventions would you like to avoid, if possible?
  • Discuss your birth preferences and values with your partner or birth-helper.
  • Gather home birth supplies and/or start to pack your hospital birth bag.
  • Are you having the support of a doula? You will probably meet with her in this month, if you have not already done so.She will want to know about your plans and preferences for your baby’s birth so that she can help you carry out those plans.
  • Plan for the postpartum period. Who will help with household tasks after you have the baby? Who will visit? How much time will your partner take off?

 Between thirty-two and thirty-six weeks of pregnancy, your care-provider will probably:

  • Be seeing you every two-three weeks at this stage.
  • Weigh you at each visit and discuss healthy weight gain.
  • Check your blood pressure.
  • Check your urine for protein and infection.
  • Palpate and measure your abdomen.
  • Listen to the baby’s heart beat using a hand held Doppler ultrasound device.
  • Review test results.
  • Check the position of your baby to screen for breech presentation (bum first) or other variations in presentation.
  • Offer screening for Group B Strep.
  • Provide you with information about how to reach your care provider when you do go into labour.
  • Provide information about when yo go to the hospital – if that is where you are having your baby.
  • Discuss the possibility of a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) if you had a Caesarean at the end of your last pregnancy.

Your care provider is one of your best sources of information.  Keep a list of questions to ask at your monthly appointments.

Things you can do for your health and your baby’s health:

  • Pay attention to self-care. Take time for a massage or acupuncture session.
  • A very large amount of calcium is transferred to the baby in the third trimester. Focus on good sources of calcium: dairy, tofu, leafy greens, dried fruit and nuts.
  • You may want to start doing some perineal massage to increase health of perineal tissues and give you practice relaxing as perineum stretches.
  • Aquafit classes or swimming really help with swollen feet and legs, and backache.

Resources:

Finding a Doula in Victoria, BC: Greater Victoria Doula Directory

Deciding where to have your baby – Hospital or Home? Hospital or Home?

Deciding where to have your baby – Hospital or Home? Place of Birth Handbook

What to pack in your hospital bag: Packing for the Hospital.

Home Birth Supplies – an example: Access Midwifery, Victoria

Group B Strep: HealthLink BC

Group B Strep: BC women’s Hospital

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Twenty-Eight to Thirty-Two Weeks Pregnant

Twenty-Eight to Thirty-Two Weeks Pregnant

Twenty-Eight to Thirty Two Weeks Pregnant

You are officially in the Third Trimester now. The baby is bigger and movements are stronger. You may be starting to think of this baby as a separate person from you.

How you might feel between twenty-eight weeks and thirty-two weeks of pregnancy:

  • The baby is bigger and movements are stronger. You may be starting to think of this baby as a separate person from you. Some mothers find that they like this feeling of always having a loved one close, inside. Some mothers start to feel a little crowded.
  • Your softening ligaments and growing belly may cause sciatic pain which starts in your low back and goes down the back of one leg. Mention this to your care-provider who may recommend seeing a chiropractor or physiotherapist.
  • As you body slows down, your brain may feel like ti’s slowing down too, because the higher levels of endorphins you are producing. You may experience some absentmindedness or “baby brain.” Carry a notebook, make a to-do list.
  • Heartburn may become more severe. Small meals, pineapple, yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut are some remedies women have tried. Ask your care provider about what antacids you an safely use.

Things you may do between twenty-eight weeks and thirty-two weeks of pregnancy:

  • This is when you may start to attend childbirth classes. Make sure you talk to the other parents and make connections. This is the beginning of creating your group of mommy-friends.
  • You are probably thinking about getting your home ready for baby. Setting up the nursery, shopping, gathering hand-me-downs.
  • Where will your baby sleep? Have you thought about room-sharing? Bed-sharing? Bassinet? Crib?
  • Get your pets ready for baby. If you have not done obedience training, it miht be time. Expose them to other babies, decide where they will sleep when baby comes, take them to the vet for a check-up.

 Between twenty-eight weeks and thirty-two weeks of pregnancy, your care-provider will probably:

  • Be seeing you every two-three weeks at this stage.
  • Weigh you at each visit and discuss healthy weight gain.
  • Check your blood pressure.
  • Check your urine for protein and infection.
  • Palpate and measure your abdomen.
  • Listen to the baby’s heart beat using a hand held Doppler ultrasound device.
  • Discuss your emotional health and adaptation to your pregnancy.
  • Discuss postpartum depression and preparations for postpartum support.
  • Review test results.

Your care provider is one of your best sources of information.  Keep a list of questions to ask at your monthly appointments.

Things you can do for your health and your baby’s health:

  • Arrange to have a dental checkup – it will be more difficult to find time after baby comes and healthy teeth mean healthy mom.
  • Make sure you include lots of fiber in your diet to help with constipation, which gets worse as pregnancy continues.
  • Take an evening walk after supper. It can help with morning blood-sugar levels.
  • Essential fatty acids (Omega 3 fatty acids, fish oil) can help with depression and general health. Ask you care provider whether they are appropriate for you.
  • Start attending your childbirth preparation classes (prenatal classes).
  • Consider taking Baby Care classes.

Resources:

Depression in Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period: Here to Help BC

Eating Fish in Pregnancy: Health Canada

Dental Care in pregnancy: HealthLink BC

Pets and Babies: HealthLinkBC

Heartburn: HealthLinkBC

Childbirth Classes: Mothering Touch

Baby Care Classes: Parenting the Newborn

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Twenty-Four to Twenty-Eight Weeks Pregnant

Twenty-Four to Twenty-Eight Weeks PregnantTwenty-Four to Twenty-Eight Weeks Pregnant

You are coming to the end of the Second Trimester. Almost two-thirds of the way through your pregnancy!

How you might feel between Twenty-Four and Twenty-Eight Weeks of pregnancy:

  • The hormones of pregnancy soften everything up, your ligaments as well as your emotions. You may find that you are much more tender-hearted. You may feel weepier and more sensitive to negative events in your life. But you may also find that you feel much more loving and attached to your partner and your baby.
  • The softness in your joints may lead to increasing clumsiness. You may find yourself bumping into things as your tummy grows, and your extra weight shift you off balance.
  • Loosening ligaments may also cause you to experience a sharp pain in the middle of your pubic bone when you get in or out of bed, or the car, or when you are walking or rolling over.  This may be Pelvic Girdle Pain or Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction. Mention it to your care-provider. Keep your knees together when rolling over or getting out of bed or the car. Sleep on your side with a pillow between your legs. Things that may help: warm bath. ice pack on pubis, acupuncture, physiotherapy.

Things you may do between Twenty-Four and Twenty-Eight Weeks of pregnancy:

 Between Twenty-Four and Twenty-Eight Weeks of pregnancy, your care-provider will probably:

  • be seeing you every four weeks at this stage
  • weigh you at each visit and discuss healthy weight gain
  • check your urine for protein and infection
  • palpate and measure your abdomen
  • listen to the baby’s heart beat using a hand held Doppler ultrasound device
  • offer you RhoGAM at 28 weeks if your blood is rhesus negative
  • offer screening for gestational diabetes

Your care provider is one of your best sources of information.  Keep a list of questions to ask at your monthly appointments.

Things you can do for your health and your baby’s health:

  • Rub your tummy with coconut oil or a lovely-smelling lotion to relieve the itchiness caused the the stretching of your skin. Lotions of oils can feel nice, but they will not prevent stretch marks. Some kinds of skin just get them. It’s a genetic tendency. There are no miracle cures. Gaining weight more slowly and gradually may help lessen the effect. Remember, the marks start out purplish, but will fade with time to be much less noticeable.
  • Take care of your legs before bedtime to prevent cramps in your calves at night.  Stay hydrated, warm legs up before bed with a bath or heating pad, do stretches and ankle circles, massage calf muscles. If you get a cramp anyway, flex your foot in response, breathe out, stand up and walk around. Ask your care-provider about taking extra calcium and magnesium. If your leg is swollen, please tell your care-provider. It could be a blood clot.
  • Focus on sources of iron in your diet: red meat, eggs, leafy greens, legumes, beans and nuts. Remember that combining iron-rich foods with vitamin C helps absorption.
  • Keep up with regular physical activity. Prenatal yoga or exercise classes will take the needs of your growing and changing body into account. And they are a great place to meet other pregnant women.

Resources:

Rhesus Negative: Healthy Families BC and HealthLink BC

Pelvic Girdle Pain: HealthLink BC,  BC Women’s Hospital, www.nhs.uk

Leg Cramps: HealthLink BC

Symptoms in Third Trimester: Health Families BC

Stretch Marks: www.nhs.uk

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Those First Three Months With The Baby : The Extra Trimester

Baby weeks 0 – 12 : The first twelve weeks of baby’s life is full of joys…

The smell of a new baby, the sweetness of feeling that baby cuddle into you, the silkiness of the baby’s skin, the bliss of baby’s little toes.  The feeling of accomplishment, or learning new things, of falling in love, all of these are wonderful.

But Trimester 4 is also a difficult time for everyone.  For the baby, it’s a challenge learning to live outside the uterus, dealing with the sounds and smells and tastes and feelings and sights of this big noisy world.  For the mother, it’s a challenge to learn to breastfeed and understand and respond to the baby’s cues.  For the mother’s partner and/or the baby’s other parent, it’s a challenge to learn to care for baby, support a tired and emotional mom and deal with increased household responsibilities.  It’s very important at this time for you all to be very forgiving and accepting of each other.  You are all learning your way to being a family.  Soon it will all be much easier.

 

Tasks:

  • Learn to read baby’s cues – the baby will set her own agenda…
    • Spend time just sitting and watching your baby.
    • Listen to the sounds your baby makes.  Which ones are cries?  Are there any other sounds?
    • Usually babies cry about two things: loneliness and hunger.  Try picking the baby up and holding and carrying and then nursing.
    • If those don’t work, you could try diaper changing.
    • But then see if there are other things that work:
      • talking
      • singing
      • dancing
      • swaying
      • bouncing
      • going out for a walk
      • having a bath together
  • Recover from childbirth…
    • Mom needs rest.  She needs to stay home and in a semi-horizontal position for several days.
    • After four or five days, she could go out for a short walk, with a companion.
    • She really should not be alone at home with the baby for long periods in the first week of the baby’s life – it can be very overwhelming.
    • Mom’s partner, who was probably with her during labour, needs sleep.  Make sure the birth partner gets naps during the first few days.  It’s very easy for the non-breastfeeding parents to do a lot of running around and get quite exhausted too.
  • Take care of the parents.  Make sure you both get…
    • sleep – to make up for the night wakings
    • good food when things are disorganized – ask friends and family to bring a meal
    • company – when the working-outside-the-home parent goes back to work, make sure the stay-at-home parent gets visitors and support
    • entertainment – caring for a bay intensively can get a little boring.  Funny movies and good music can help.
    • exercise and fresh air – after the first week or so, a daily walk can really help mood, and sleep
  • Become a family…
    • Do things together.  There is a temptation to split the work up so one parent cares for the baby and the other does the shopping/cooking/cleaning/laundry.  Instrad, try doing things all three of you together, if you can.  It gives the non-breastfeeding parent time with baby, and teaches both of you to include your baby in family activities.
    • Make family cuddle time every day – in the morning in bed or in the evening on the sofa, for example.
    • Make family singing and dancing time.
    • Family bath time?
    • Family meal time – possibly one of the most important.

Click here to visit our Resources page for a list of local pregnancy, birth and early childhood resources.

Or refer back to…

An Introduction to The 5 Trimesters

The 0th Trimester : Planning To Get Pregnant

The 1st Trimester : The First Three Months of Pregnancy

The 2nd Trimester : The Happy Middle Months

The 3rd Trimester : The Last Months of Pregnancy

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Getting Ready For The Birth : The 3rd Trimester

Weeks 29 to 42 : This is the time when many pregnant women start to feel more uncomfortable…

You may feel big and swollen and your back may be sore.  Your body is sending you a lot of messages: slow down, take it easy, relax – Listen!  Be kind to yourself and your baby.

 

Tasks:

  • Many women don’t think a lot about labour and birthing until this trimester.  That’s just fine – there’s lots of other stuff to think about.  As you start to think about getting the baby out, you might want to watch some videos or read some good books, such as Birthing from Within by Pam England or Birth Matters by Ina May Gaskin.

  • Your care-provider will offer you the option of being screened for Group B Strep and will want to see you every week after week 36.  During this time, the position of your baby will be checked to screen for breech or other variations in presentation – head-down is best!

  • Attend your Prenatal Childbirth Preparation Classes with your partner or birth-helper.

  • Consider your preferences and values with regards to your baby’s birth.  How would you like things to go?  How would you like to cope with labour pain?  What interventions would you like to avoid, if possible?  What is really important to you about the experience of giving birth?

  • Discuss your birth preferences and values with your partner or birth-helper.

  • Meet with you doula, if you have chosen to have one.  She will want to know about your plans and preferences for your baby’s birth so that she can help you carry out those plans.

  • If you’re planning a home birth, you’ll need to gather supplies as requested by your midwife.  Click here for more information.

  • Take a Parenting the Newborn or Infant First Aid class.

  • Organize equipment, supplies and a space for the baby.  Babies don’t need a whole lot, but gathering stuff for your baby is part of the process of getting ready, physically and emotionally, as well as logistically!

  • Think about daycare.  It sounds ridiculous, but if you are planning to go back to work outside the home after your maternity leave is over, you need to think ahead.

  • Start planning for "Trimester Four"…  Who will be available for physical support right after the baby is born?  Partner?  Birth-helper?  Family?  Friends?  Post-partum Doula?  All of the above?

  • How much time can your partner take off work after the baby comes?  Can your partner work flexible hours for a few months?

    Plan meals for after the baby comes.  Cook and bake and freeze.  Ask friends to throw you a shower where they all bring casseroles for the freezer or tell a friend about MealTrain (I think this is really cool!) and get them to set up a meal rotation for you after the baby comes.

    Learn about Postpartum Mood Disorders.  What might it feel like?  Where can you find help if you need it?  20-40% of women are diagnosed with some mood disorder (anxiety or depression) after giving birth.  We’re pretty sure other women have the same feelings but never seek help.  Support makes it all easier to deal with.

  • Take a little time off to rest and enjoy the calm of a child-free house before everything changes.  Try not to work flat out until the last minute.  Becoming a mother is a rite of passage and requires a little pause, an interruption in your usual life, for you to prepare mentally.

  • On the other hand, having a baby is not the end of your life.  You will still be able to do many things.  I see some moms-to-be shopping as though they were preparing for a siege.  Shopping is actually a great activity to do with a baby (after the first few weeks).

  • Enjoy your partner.  Talk and talk and strengthen your relationship.  There are difficult days ahead and you need a strong team to get through them well.  Do cozy pleasant things together.  Run out to a movie on a whim.  Go for long leisurely walks.  Have a fancy dinner out.  You will be able to do these things together again someday, but not right away.

Click here to visit our Resources page for a list of local pregnancy, birth and early childhood resources.

Continue on to…

The extra Trimester : Those First Three Months With The Baby

Or refer back to…

An Introduction to The 5 Trimesters

The 0th Trimester : Planning To Get Pregnant

The 1st Trimester : The First Three Months of Pregnancy

The 2nd Trimester : The Happy Middle Months

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The Happy Middle Months : The 2nd Trimester

Weeks 13 to 28 : This is the best part of pregnancy for most women..

The nausea and fatigue of the First Trimester are over.  You may have gotten used to the idea that a baby is growing inside.  You’ve made a few – maybe a very few – lifestyle changes and you feel good about that.  You may have told others about the pregnancy and this helps you to adjust to this new identity.

 

Tasks:

  • Pregnant women tend to spend a lot of time in the Second Trimester thinking about the baby (some call it daydreaming, or processing, or meditating), wondering what s/he will be like and how it will feel to be a parent.  Use that motivation to learn right now about baby care, infant development and breastfeeding.  Some good books include, The Baby Book by William & Martha Sears and Breastfeeding Made Simple by Kathleen A. Kendall-Tackett & Nancy Mohrbacher.

  • Your care-provider will offer you the option of having an ultrasound scan around 18-20 weeks and a test for gestational diabetes around week 25.

  • Your care-provider will screen you for Rh negative blood type and offer you a RhoGam shot at week 28 if you are Rh negative.

  • By week 30, your care-provider will want to see you every 2-3 weeks.

  • You’re getting to know your care-provider and developing a relationship with him or her.  Keep a list of questions to ask at your monthly appointments.  It’s so easy to forget.

  • In BC, ultrasound technicians are forbidden by law to identify the baby’s sex.  If you want to know your baby’s sex, you’ll have to arrange for a private ultrasound scan.

  • Register for Prenatal Childbirth Preparation Classes.  It’s best to take these in the Third Trimester, but you have to schedule them and register for them now or the class you want may not be available.

  • Consider having a doula at your birth.  A doula is a woman experienced in childbirth who provides physical, informational and emotional support and helps parents to have an easier and more positive childbirth experience.  You can learn more by clicking here.

  • As the nausea starts to go away, experiment with new, nutritious foods.  You may feel hungry in a way you have not experienced before.

  • Plan for your maternity leave.  Tell your employer about your pregnancy, if you haven’t yet – you must give your employer 4 weeks notice before you start your maternity leave.  You will also want to look into Employment Insurance coverage for your maternity and parental leave.

  • Keep up with regular physical activity.  As you get bigger around the middle, you may feel a little awkward in your regular classes and decide to join a pregnancy yoga, fitness or aquafit class.  Or not!  The best way to get exercise is to do what you love in an environment you feel comfortable with.  Don’t let anyone else tell you where that should be.

Click here to visit our Resources page for a list of local pregnancy, birth and early childhood resources.

Continue on to…

The 3rd Trimester : The Last Months of Pregnancy

The extra Trimester : Those First Three Months With The Baby

Or refer back to…

An Introduction to The 5 Trimesters

The 0th Trimester : Planning To Get Pregnant

The 1st Trimester : The First Three Months of Pregnancy