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35 Weeks Pregnant: Understanding The Stages Of Labor
What is it like?
Your baby isn’t moving as much anymore because it’s getting pretty crowded in there. He’s still gaining weight, putting on extra fat especially in the face, arms and legs. At about 20 weeks, your baby’s fat made up 2% of his total weight, but now it’s close to 15%. If you go to term, it will be about 30% of the total – the fat will help him regulate his body temperature in the outside world.
Your baby’s growth
- Body size
Your baby weighs about 6.2 pounds (2800 grams) and has a height of approximately 18.8 inches (480 millimeters). Boys tend to weigh a few grams more than girls.
- Head characteristics
Your little one does not have wrinkles anymore, but plump and pinkish skin. Many babies are born with hair, up to several inches long. But don’t be surprised if it’s the wrong colour – some babies lose all their hair in the first few weeks and it grows back a different color. Other babies are born bald or only with a few fine hairs.
- Body appearance
Your baby is still gaining weight, especially the subcutaneous fat deposits accumulating on his elbows, knees and face.
- Internal organs
The kidneys are fully developed now, and the liver starts to metabolize and excrete waste. Your baby’s brain is adding dents and indentations, folds that multiply brain size.
What happens inside your body?
As you fill out and your uterine walls stretch, they will begin to take in more light. You may see the shadow of a hand and foot, as he moves about. He’ll have less room, meaning the kicks and punches will turn into wriggles and squirms. More light will also make Junior more aware of day and night cycles although you probably won’t be able to tell from his sleeping patterns!
From this point on, your doctor will want to see you every week until you give birth.
- Vaginal discharge
You may also notice an increase in your vaginal discharge (leucorrhea) and a change of viscosity. Blame pregnancy hormones (especially estrogen) for this symptom — they increase blood flow to the pelvic area and stimulate the mucous membranes. Don’t worry, but keep the area clean and (relatively) dry. Don’t douche – the discharge is keeping the area well lubricated and healthy and its removal can upset its balance.
How different will you look?
Your uterus is about 5.5 to 5.9 inches (14 to 15 centimeters) above your belly button. Your weight gain is approximately 26 to 33 pounds (12 to 15 kilograms) but it depends on your metabolism, body constitution and pre-pregnancy weight.
If you find you suddenly have an itchy rash on your belly, red bumps that look like hives, you could have PUPP, which stands for the “pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy. PUPP is also called late-onset prurigo of pregnancy, or rash of pregnancy. These blotches start on your belly, but they can spread to your legs, feet, arms, chest and neck. They are more common with twins or multiple births. The good news is that while annoying, they are almost always benign, and will disappear after the pregnancy. You can soothe them with an unscented moisturizer cream or an aloe-vera gel.
How can you care for both of your loved ones?
If you find the sudden urge to clean the house, or paint Junior’s room, you haven’t gone crazy, but are simply benefitting from the natural new dad instincts. The urge to nest isn’t mom’s alone – fathers have them too. If you decide to take on any big DIY projects, just make sure that you’ll have the time to finish them – she could give birth early – any day now.
Tips to help you go through trimester
Here is some information about Labor stages.
First stage: you have regular contractions and your cervix begins to expand. It ends when it is time to push out the baby. Because the first stage can be pretty long, it is divided into three phases, early labor, active labor, and transition. Each stage corresponds how big your cervix is, and how long and protracted the contractions are.
- Early labor can start and stop over days. Unless you have pregnancy complications, it’s probably a good idea to spend this time at home so you don’t have to spend hours or even days at the hospital. During early labor, you will dilate about 3 centimeters. Your contractions may last up to a minute and may come three to 20 minutes apart.
- Active labor: your cervix will begin to dilate more rapidly. Contractions will become more intense, lasting from 45 to 60 seconds and should come at two- to three-minute intervals.
- Transition: Your cervix has dilated from 8-10 cm. This is the most intense part of the labor. Your contractions will last 60 to 90 seconds. Your rest periods between contractions will shorten, lasting just 30 to 90 seconds. You may feel nauseated, begin to shiver and shake, or feel the urge to move your bowels. This stage lasts anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. You may feel a deep primal urge to push.
Second stage: This begins when you are fully dilated and ends with the birth of the baby. The contractions during this phase last approximately 50 to 90 seconds and come every two to three minutes. You may feel a “second wind” of strength. The urge to push may be uncontrollable now. If you choose to have an epidural, however, you may not feel this urge to push. Instead, the doctor or midwife will let you know the right time to push by watching your contractions on a monitor. Your baby will move through the birth canal in a two steps forward (push), one step back (relax) type of progression.
Third stage: The after-birth is a time of great relief. The placenta will detach from the uterus and be ejected with more mild contractions. This stage of the birth will last between 5 – 20 minutes.
Don’t be surprised if your pregnancy and birth is nothing like what you see on the movies. It will probably be messier, longer, and more intense. Ultimately, it won’t be as sanitized, but it will be more meaningful and beautiful.
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