After everything you have been through the journey is almost over, or this part of it anyway, as your due date approaches and Baby could arrive any day now.
Your Baby in Week 39 of Pregnancy
Although Baby’s overall growth has stalled a little right now it is still ongoing, as it will be for years to come. One thing that still is developing at a rapid pace however is Baby’s brain. In fact a child’s brain growth is turbocharged for the first three years of their life, a fact you will quickly recognize as you become enthralled by their ever changing skills once they arrive.
At this point Baby should be in position to make their exit, with their head way down in the pelvic area.
Your Body in Week 39 of Pregnancy
If you have made it to Week 39 and there is no Baby yet there are almost certainly plenty of signs that their debut is imminent. Braxton Hicks contractions may be coming at a far more frequent rate now and it can be hard to tell them apart from the beginning of the real things. If you do end up at the hospital ahead of time based on a mistake though don’t feel too bad, many women have done so before you, although if at all possible most OB GYN’s will prefer you do not make that hospital dash until you have checked with them (mainly so that they know that their services are about to be called upon)
You will also be told to be on the lookout for other signs that the labour process is about to begin. One of those will be what is generally referred to as the ‘bloody show’. This is a pink- or brown-tinged stringy mucus discharge, is a sign that your cervix is dilating and/or effacing. Usually once this appears you will be considered to be a few days away from full labour, especially if your waters have yet to break. However, in the case of a ‘fast starter’ labour could now be just a few hours away, so give your doctor’s office a call to give them a heads up anyway, even if contractions have not begun.
Having their water break is something that many women worry about, especially that it may occur in public. But in fact only a small percentage of Mums to be experience a water break before they are already in labour so despite the stories you may have heard that kind of incident is far less likely than you might think.
Tips for the Thirty Ninth Week of Pregnancy – Be Open to Change
Chances are that you created your birth plan a while back, have it pretty much memorized, have given copies to every medical person and facility that might need it and even have a few extra copies in your going to the hospital bag just in case you need them. The one thing you do have to realise right now though is that you also need to be open to – and prepared for the fact – that that plan may have to change at any given time.
There are many reasons why a birth plan cannot be followed to the letter, even though most doctors and hospitals fully understand how important they often are to a couple. However, their only real priorities are ensuring that a Mum to Be and a Baby are healthy.
It is important that you have a discussion about this possibility with your partner before the big day arrives. All too often there are arguments in the labour room that no woman needs at that point because things are not going to plan and one or the other of a couple are very unhappy about it. As a Mum to Be you need to be as certain as possible that you can trust the people around you to do the right thing, as in some situations you may not be able to make decisions for yourself.
Having a birth plan is a great idea, especially as the sense of control it can impart is calming for many women who are in a situation that can become overwhelming. However, the safe delivery of Baby, and your own safety, is of paramount importance. If things do have to change think of it as making a new birth plan, albeit one that has to be rather hastily assembled and you should still have a feeling of some comforting degree of control.
For Dad to Be – Facing Your Labour Room Fears
Everyone expects that a Mum to Be – not just a first time Mum to Be but ‘repeat’ Mums as well – will be full of nerves as her due date looms larger and sympathizes with that, but all too often Dad to Be is every bit as nervous and yet that all kind of gets swept under the carpet.
A few decades ago a Dad to Be at the birth of his child was given a nice cup of tea and sent away to sit in a corridor someplace to wait to be informed that everything was over. Those days are long gone however and now a Dad to Be is expected to be a full participant in the labour and delivery process.
Not all Dads to Be are all that keen on the idea however, and for lots of different reasons. Some are simply very squeamish and are pretty sure that, even if they have spent months attending classes and reading books, that the sight of any gory stuff is going to completely throw them. Or they really don’t know if they will be able to handle the sight of the woman they love in so much pain. Basically, they are afraid that they will be more of a hindrance than a help and begin to wonder if they should consider the cup of tea in the corridor route after all.
These fears are normal, almost every dad to Be has them, even if this is not their first child. Facing them is important though, especially to your partner. Even if you do get very queasy, or feel like hiding behind a screen your presence, whatever you are doing is very important to your partner (even if she does not show it at the time.)
Ask most Dads to be honest and they will tell you that being present for the birth of their child was a real rollercoaster ride emotionally, covering exhaustion, exhilaration, amazement, boredom, fear, annoyance, panic and zen-like calm. Some did have to leave the room for a while to gather themselves, and if that happens to you its OK. You can even have that cup of tea or take a little head clearing walk. Just make the effort to come back in again, not only to please your partner but because the other thing those Dads will tell you is that they would not have missed the experience for the world. And one last thing – its also OK to share your fears with your partner and the medical staff, they will all be a lot more sympathetic than you might imagine.