Hello little Baby,
Gosh, the time that you will be meeting us is getting closer and closer. Last 4 weeks to go!
The reality of being heavily pregnant is totally a thing now. The top of my uterus is called the fundus, and at this stage of pregnancy is at its highest. Once you drop into my pelvis and engage, it will go lower again. This causes all manner of discomforts…the nausea and heartburn is back. That’s because my uterus has pushed my diaphragm upwards, my lungs are being pushed on, and my stomach and heart are pushed sideways to accommodate it. It causes my ribs to flare outward, and this can cause pain in between the ribs. I feel breathless and get heart palpitations from all this (it is a normal thing to occur at this point in pregnancy. Any other time, please mention it to your Gynae as it could be a heart or lung issue that needs attention).
I still have the urge to wee a lot…I know cutting back on fluids is tempting, but it is not advisable. Constipation is a problem as well, as extra fluids and fibre are recommended. Swollen feet and hands are normal, and the more fluid you drink, the less fluid you retain.
Hip and back pain are normal, some people have it worse than others, and seeing a Pelvic floor Physio can help to assess the possible cause.
Sleeping at night it difficult, as the heartburn and physical discomfort of you just under my chin (ha ha) is hard. I know it’s not for long, but it’s amazing what our bodies are capable of managing during pregnancy!
My friend who is pregnant with twins is my hero. How she manages all this with two babies is nothing short of miraculous. Her doctor has warned her that she is considered term at 36-37 weeks, so she is doing really well. He has given her a check list for labour. It is not unusual for some babies to arrive around 36 weeks so I have kept the list handy in case. The main dangers for a prem baby have passed now, and many 36-weekers are absolutely fine. However there is still a lot of lung and brain development that occurs in the next few weeks, so it is better for you to be inside a bit longer.
Signs of Labour
Water may break. This can happen in a noticeable gush or just an annoying trickle that doesn’t stop. a pad and as it fills up, you can see if it is urine that is leaking. They can test it in the Labour Ward as well. Always go in to be checked if your waters break. Don’t wait for contractions. The staff will assess you and let you know if you can go home and come back later. Because they need to check the baby after the waters break, you need to pop in to see if all is in order. If any coloured water (bloodstained or black, green colour, it is urgent).
Contractions. These can start off irregularly and feel much like Braxton Hicks. Eventually, they will become stronger, last longer and come again, sooner. They will also start in the lower back and move around to the front …. At first, it feels a bit like period pain but soon changes to a mixture of colic cramps as well.
Mucous plug. This can come away around 36 weeks (it looks like a glob of mucous and may be bloodstained or a bit brown). This does not mean that you are in labour, but it is one of the signs that your cervix is starting to get ready for labour. This may only happen in weeks to come. Many moms never even see a mucous plug…
It is now a good time to pack a bag for Labour Ward. You can keep it in the boot of your car if you are far from home. Check with your hospital as to what they supply, and what they wish for you to bring with you. This differs from hospital to hospital, so you will need to contact yours.
Consider a preggy pillow to help support you when sleeping.
Hello my Mommy,
I am really looking like a baby now. My skin is soft and starting to fill out. I am gaining a lot of weight each week as I put down subcutaneous fat. My hearing is perfect (I love and respond to your voices already). My liver and kidneys are working, my circulation is good and my immune system is functioning.
I am head down already (yay, I know you are relieved). Some babies may still be in a head up position called a Breech. At this point, it is still possible for them to turn head down (vertex).
There is still time to have your Covid and Whooping cough vaccines. Then your body will make all the strong antibodies that will cross the placenta and come across to me. When I am born, I will be well protected.
Chat to our Gynae about the test for Group B Strep.
If you are struggling with heartburn and nausea at night, eat a main meal at lunchtime and a light, early supper. Eat small frequent, bland meals.
Use a Belly wrap or similar to support your pelvis and back. These are wonderful to use after delivery as well.
You will likely see your Gynae weekly now.
Our Diary of a Pregnancy series is written by Sr Des Meyer, a Perinatal Educator, in private practice, who is based in Durban North. Sr Des has been a Childbirth Educator and Well Baby Clinic sister since 1991. Her passion lies in educating new parents to enable them to achieve their goals as confident parents. “Knowledge is power and a good foundation for the exciting years ahead.”