Many babies will still have a good volume of amniotic fluid around them, but shadows from the placenta or side of the uterus, coupled with the curled up fetal position, will make imaging the baby harder and harder.
With only around four weeks to go, now is the time to make sure you have all your partner's contact details and know exactly how to get hold of him in case you go into labor when he's at work. He might want to be extra careful to ensure he has his cell phone switched on and at hand in these final few weeks, and that he's not traveling too far away.
If you have other children or other dependants (pets, for example, a dog) then you should arrange what will happen to them when you go into the hospital. You may want to explain to any older children what is going to happen so that they are prepared for when they go to stay with Grandma, or whoever will be taking care of them. If you're having a cesarean, you might also want your older children taken care of once you're home from hospital.
Reassure your children that you will be coming back and that you're not sick, but that you have to go to the hospital when the baby comes. Depending on the age of your children, you could go with them to buy a present for the baby or you could give them a special job such as opening all the new gifts. Presents from the newborn to her elder siblings is also a good gesture.
Yes, very much so. Breast milk helps ensure that the mother's natural immunity is passed on to her baby via her milk. Since premature babies are more prone to infection, expressing your breast milk is a great way to help your baby while she is in the NICU. Breast milk is much easier for a baby to digest: this is important for premature babies since their digestive tract may be less developed than a full-term baby's.
This is also a great way for you to bond and develop a relationship with your baby. It's likely to be a time of considerable stress for you and you may feel helpless, so knowing that you're doing such a great thing to help your baby will help enormously.
In one study of women who anticipated that they would not need pain relief, 52 percent actually used it.
According to recent research from NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence), women underestimate how much giving birth will hurt, and don't find out enough about the pain-relief options available (see Tranquilizers).
Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright Â© 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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