If you arranged them earlier in your pregnancy (see You are 17 Weeks and 6 Days), You may be starting prenatal classes, also called childbirth education classes, about now. The Lamaze Method and The Bradley Method are common classes. Ask your health-care provider, friends, and staff at the hospital where you're giving birth about where to find a class near you. In the class, you may be taught, for example, relaxation or breathing techniques, or be told about the different types of pain relief available. Some hospitals also offer newborn care classes, where you'll learn all the basics: How to diaper, dress, feed, carry, and generally take care of your baby when she is brought home from the hospital. It's common to feel excited about the classes and eager to learn about what's going to happen and to meet other people going through the same experience. But prenatal classes are not just about gathering information, they're also about meeting others, which is difficult for some people. However, since you're all parents-to-be, you're likely to find things to talk about. Just talking with others about your symptoms or worries can help, especially if they're going through the same emotions as you. It can be reassuring to know that you're not the only person to feel a certain way.
If you do make friends in your prenatal class, this support group can also be very helpful after you all have your babies.
A vaginal infection is very unlikely to harm your baby since the mucus plug around the cervix stops infection from reaching her. The symptoms of an infection-itching, irritation, and a discharge with an unpleasant odor-are uncomfortable. Your doctor will prescribe medication to clear it up.
As the uterus expands, the rib cage is pushed outward to make room for it, and this can lead to rib pain or discomfort. This is not inevitable, but it is more likely if you have a smaller than average body frame or you're carrying twins or more. It can be worse if your baby kicks a lot or if she spends a lot of time in the breech position since her head will push against your diaphragm and rib cage.
Sitting down may make the pain worse since being seated compresses your internal organs more. If you have a sedentary job, get up and move around as often as you can, and if you're forced to sit for long periods, keep adjusting your position until you find one that's comfortable.
Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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