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Third Trimester 1stTrimester     2ndTrimester

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37 WEEKS, 1 DAY

20 days to go...

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Your baby today

Full term has been reached and your baby's features are now very clearly formed. To a certain extent from now on your baby is simply growing and putting on weight-factors necessary to provide energy after birth and help with temperature control.

Start preparing for the birth now: by being practical and positive, you can make it memorable for all the right reasons.

Probably the most effective way to remember as much as you can about your labor and the birth of your baby is to try to remain as healthy and rested as possible prior to the start of your labor; this will give you the best chance of staying strong and clear-headed throughout.

Feeling strong and having plenty of energy may also help you remain upright and active during the course of your labor, reducing the need for pain relief such as Demerol (see Tranquilizers), which can sometimes cause memory loss that makes it more difficult to remember the finer details of the birth. It's also helpful to have your birth partner with you throughout your labor so that he or she can help to fill in any blanks later. Photographs and videos are also good prompts.

After the birth, if you find that there are parts you can't remember, you can ask your doctor to let you see your birth notes. You might want to write up your experience in a journal.

Focus On... Dads

Health professionals and you

When you get closer to the birth, and especially during labor, you will find that there is inevitably more contact with health professionals. These individuals are a source of reassurance and a font of knowledge, but as a male you may sometimes feel that you're being sidelined or that your opinion doesn't count. This can be very frustrating if you want to be highly involved in the pregnancy and birth.

Bear in mind that the health professionals are trying to provide care for the person who needs it the most-namely your partner. If you want to be heard, it's a good idea to write down any questions that you may have before you meet with health professionals. Labor nurses will make every effort to help you to feel involved, and support you in supporting your partner.

Try to keep in mind that the most important relationship your partner has is with you, and that a positive attitude on your part can make a substantial difference to your partner's pregnancy and birth. So be patient and persistent but not pushy.

Ensure you get plenty of rest in the next few weeks to get you in the best frame of mind for labor and birth.

As A Matter Of Fact

Being hypnotized during pregnancy can make you more confident in the lead-in to labor.

A study found that first-time pregnant women also experienced a shorter labor. The average amount of time they pushed in the second stage was one hour, compared with the usual two hours for a first baby.

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Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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