February 01 2005 10:23 (+ 5 - 2 )
posted by (gen_here)

How your baby's growing: It's hard to say for sure how big your baby will be, but the average newborn weighs in at a little over 7 pounds and is about 20 inches long. Your baby will continue to grow with every passing day (her nails and hair will continue to get longer, too). Your baby's skull bones are still separated and they'll stay that way to allow the bones to compress enough to fit through the birth canal during labor (you'll notice soft spots or "fontanels" on your baby's head for a year or more after birth).

How your life is changing:
Despite medical advances, there's still no way to know for sure when a woman will go into labor. You may not be as late as you think, especially if your baby wasn't conceived exactly when you thought (this happens more frequently when your due date is based only on the date of your last menstrual period and you haven't had an ultrasound in the first half of your pregnancy). But even with reliable dating, some women still have prolonged pregnancies, and experts don't really understand why.

You still have a couple of weeks before you'll be considered "post-term." But to be sure your baby is still thriving, this week or by the start of 41 weeks at the latest your practitioner will want to begin special testing to monitor your baby. (If you have any pregnancy complications, you've likely started this testing already.)

A biophysical profile (BPP) consists of a detailed ultrasound to look at your baby's overall movements, breathing, and muscle tone (whether she opens and closes her hand or extends and then flexes her limbs), and the amount of amniotic fluid that surrounds her (important because it's a reflection of how well the placenta is supporting the baby). It may also include 20 minutes or more of heart rate monitoring. Alternatively, you may have what's sometimes called a modified BPP, which includes monitoring your baby's heart rate with a fetal monitor, and an ultrasound evaluation of the amount of amniotic fluid. These tests are usually done twice a week.

If the fetal testing isn't reassuring the amniotic fluid level is too low, for example you'll be scheduled for an induction as soon as possible. If there's a serious problem, you may have an immediate c-section.

Your practitioner will also check your cervix to see how it 's "ripening." Its position, how soft it is, how effaced (thinned out) it is, and how dilated (open) it is can all affect when and how your labor is induced. If you don't go into labor on your own, you'll be induced sometime between 41 and 42 weeks.

Use caution if you're tempted to try some techniques at home to get labor started. None of the following methods have been proven to be consistently effective, and some aren't safe to try on your own:

Having sex won't induce labor, but the prostaglandin in semen and having an orgasm may stimulate some contractions.

Stimulating your nipples releases oxytocin, which may start labor but can also result in long contractions that put stress on your baby so don't attempt this at home.

Castor oil is a strong laxative that can stimulate your bowels. There's no proof that it helps induce labor though plenty of women can attest to its unpleasant effects! Talk about the pros and cons with your practitioner.

Herbal remedies for labor haven't been proved safe and effective, and a few are known to be downright dangerous. Ask your doctor or midwife before doing or taking anything to stimulate labor contractions.

Meanwhile while you're waiting for labor to begin be sure to pay close attention to your baby's movements and let your practitioner know right away if there's a decrease in activity.

Ooo... gotta love scare tactics! "For the love of GOD - don't even THINK of taking an evening primrose capsule or some castor oil... rush to the hospital and let the doctor pump you full of medication and then slice you open if things don't go according to a schedule!" Since when did we, as a society, throw away our trust in natural things and put all our hope (and our lives) in the hands of people who read books for an extra four years? Don't forget the insurance companies that have a vested interest, too... you know, the ones that won't cough up $250 for a professional labor assistant (proven to reduce the need for a C-section by over 50%)... they would rather shell out the couple thousand dollars for the surgery... it's "proven" to work.

Now that I'm off my soapbox...

Things are going well here. As of yesterday's prenatal - and lots of joking with the receptionists, nurse, and doctor - I'm still pregnant =) They were all betting that I wouldn't be there yesterday, but Wags and I (and our trusty driver-dad, Geof) proved them wrong. I even teased about making an appointment for two weeks from then. The doctor said she didn't think I'd need one - but that they'd squeeze me in if I did.

Baby is still doing well... and I'm doing better, too. My blood pressure was down to 118/80 - so everyone breathed a sigh of relief. I'm up 4 pounds in a week (don't ask me how) - but I'm not swelling at all, so there's no concern there, either (I'm at just about 20 pounds gained this whole pregnancy - give or take a pound). Actually, we do have *some* idea where the weight went... last week I measured 38 cm - down from 40 the week before - because the baby had descended lower. This week the baby was REALLY low (that made the doctor happy - but not my hips) - and I measured 42 cm - so this kid really stretched out or something. As I joked with some friends yesterday, I'm pretty sure I'm growing a toddler! Baby's heart rate is still in the 140s. And the doctor couldn't reach my cervix to check for dilation (she said that many times just before labor it will "pull up" out of the way - but with baby's head so low, she's not worried at all - especially since I've already been dilating for a bit.

We did discuss next week's appointment - if I'm still pregnant. Should that be the case, I'll have what is called a "non-stress test" or NST right at the main clinic (yay for not having to go to the hospital). They would hook me up to two different monitors (one for baby's heart rate, one for contractions) and watch for changes in Wags' heart rate with movement. She said that sometimes they give the mom a button to push when she feels baby move so that they can check for heart rate changes. Neither of us had any reason to think anything is wrong, though... just a stubborn baby. Wags still dances multiple times a day =)

Geof and I headed into the city for our car seat check after that. This place is WEIRD. When I called to make the appointment, the guy seemed to be in a rush to get me off the phone. I understood when he said they had a mechanic call in that day and they were short handed. So we get there, I tell the guy at the counter why we were there, and he said that we were there at the wrong day and time. Um... no. So he said that the guy who does the checks (the only one person in Sioux Falls who is trained to do them!) called in sick that day - so we had to reschedule (again) for NEXT Monday. I explained to him that I was due today, and if we had the baby, Geof was going to just bring the car in and they will check it then. He got a little cocky and said, "Well, if I had a phone number I could have called you..." I said, "Do you want a phone number? The other guy didn't." Jerk.

But we went and got our car tuned and oiled (and the license plate put back on... stupid me and garage doors...). We walked the mall, too, to give the baby some "gravity time" =)

Today I'm going to the chiropractor so that I can (hopefully) bend my body and the hips again. I know it's all normal, so I'm not worried, but we figure why not give it a try and see if an adjustment will alleviate some of the pain.

We'll update as soon as something start happening =)

two comments:

Cindy [ ] February 01 2005 15:45
I love your soapbox! That is one happily, content baby. Or perhaps just an early show of personality!:)

Stingray [() (link)] February 01 2005 20:58
Personality? Must take after mommy...stubborn! :-P

Nah...there are some traits Wags "displays," even in utero, that we're already assigning to both of us.

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