Thrive Baby Thrive
At 33 weeks your baby’s eyes are quite remarkable and now focusing. Your baby can detect light as it enters his or her eyes. Your baby’s pupils are dilating and constricting as yours do. Over the next four weeks an amazing amount of growth will take place. Tiny lungs are working hard on maturing.
Your amniotic fluid is now at its greatest capacity within the uterus. As little kicks continue to be counted and felt, they may be a little more noticeable and forceful. Due to your baby’s rapid growth from now to delivery day and his or her greater size in your uterus, your level of amniotic fluid is not as cushioning.
Your baby may have added an inch in length this week and weighs approximately 4½ pounds. Your baby is the size of a small watermelon.
Now is the time to inform your Insurance Company of your expected baby’s arrival.
Pregnancy is a time of great anticipation, weekly changes and a new mindset. A savvy birth plan enables you to share your intended choices and wishes leading up to and during delivery with your health care team. But did you realize that delivery day is not the finish line? Or that your baby’s birthday is really the starting point? Enter the Postpartum Plan.
According to Elly Taylor, a parenthood researcher and author of the book Becoming Us: 8 Steps To Grow A Family That Thrives, “Most couples find it hard to think beyond the birth, but there’s so much they can do to plan for a positive postpartum experience. I call it nest-building: plan to take as much time off work as possible, gather your support system (it takes a village!) and have your partner actively involved from the get-go.”
The postpartum period lasts about six weeks beginning immediately after the birth of your baby as your uterus, body, and hormone levels begin returning to a non-pregnant state. The World Health Organization (WHO) describes the postpartum period “as the most critical and yet the most neglected phase in the lives of mothers and babies; most maternal and/or newborn deaths occur during this time.”
Did you know the United States differs from many countries that savor built-in birth and postpartum traditions that pass from generation to generation? With this in mind, it’s important that you take the time to think, plan and strategize about your postpartum period.
Begin to envision what your new nest will look like following delivery day. Carrie Murphy of Parents. suggests seven steps that will enable you to zero in on how to make your postpartum experience the best. She realizes that taking your baby (or babies) home is when life gets real. Murphy knows that with a simple plan, your postpartum experience will be upbeat and fruitful.
There are many ways to fashion the postpartum plan that’s right for you. In realizing the importance of creating an innovative and complete pregnancy experience, Phoenix, Arizona’s leading team of doulas, Phoenix Family Birth (PFB) introduced their tangible postpartum birth plan. As Carrie Murphy mentions above, PFB also advocates using the services of a Postpartum Doula. PFB encourages you to explore the tough questions and varied opinions that will make your plan feasible and realistic. Close your eyes for a moment…
Did you know that you might avert mood disorders and possible postpartum depression by using a postpartum plan? Remember that like your birth plan, your postpartum plan is also flexible. Share your plan with everyone ahead of time so there will be no surprises or hurt feelings. Keep in mind that the plan you drafted on your iPhone may not work best for you in reality at times and that’s perfectly okay!
With a little planning prior to your baby’s arrival, you will make your hospital stay, arrival home and the weeks and months following delivery enjoyable and practicable.
Dr. McGregor advises that pregnant women avoid unnecessary, frequent or forceful cervical exams that may push bacteria closer to your baby; both vaginal or perineal ultrasounds in place of cervical exams are less invasive.
It is important that you discuss the benefits and risks of possible methods of induction with your health care team well before your due date. You may not be asked before “stripping” or “sweeping” of your membranes is performed.
Stripping or sweeping of your amniotic membranes is a technique performed by your health care team to try to jump start labor. During a regular office pelvic exam, the practitioner inserts a finger into the cervix (the mouth of the uterus) separating the amniotic fluid sac from the side of the uterus near the cervix. Hormones are then released which may soften the cervix preparing the uterus to contract. This approach will not put you into labor right away and may not put you into labor at all but it may start contractions and help the cervix open.
If you have tested positive for GBS tell your health care team not to strip your membranes. Be aware that although you may have tested negative for GBS initially in your pregnancy, you may test positive before your due date. GBS can cross membranes that are intact so stripping membranes or using cervical ripening gel to induce labor may push bacteria closer to your baby.