The grand finale is approaching. You may feel like you've been waiting forever. But even if you had the time of conception pinpointed, your baby may decide he needs a little more, or a little less, time preparing. Never fear; he will arrive sooner or later.
Month Nine Checklist
- Make sure that your other children's teachers and care providers are aware of your impending hospital stay.
- Pack your bag and compile a call list for your partner.
- Line up postpartum assistance.
- Stock up the freezer with heat-and-eat meals or recruit postpartum kitchen help.
- Make a plan, and a back-up plan, for getting to the hospital.
- Put your feet up, relax, and take a deep breath. The rest is up to your baby!
Your Baby This Month
Your child is packing on about a half-pound per week as he prepares to make his big exit. He's fully formed and just waiting for the right time now. His lungs, the last organ system to fully mature, now have an adequate level of surfactant in them to allow for breathing outside of the womb.
Your Body's Changes
While your baby is still growing, your weight gain tapers off, and you may even lose a pound or so due to a drop in amniotic fluid production. Many more things are happening this month. Check off those you experience, note when they occur, and call your doctor or midwife with any questions.Groin soreness
As your cervix thins and dilates (opens), the soft mucous plug keeping it sealed tight may be dislodged
Increased need to urinate
Feel shockwaves through your pelvis as your baby settles further down onto the pelvic floor
Braxton Hicks contractions may be more frequent this month as you draw nearer to delivery. You're close enough to be on the lookout for the real thing, however. You know you are experiencing real contractions when they:
- Are felt in the back and possibly radiate around to the abdomen.
- Do not subside when you move around or change positions.
- Increase in intensity with activity like walking.
- Increase in intensity as time passes.
- Come at roughly regular intervals (early on this may be from twenty to forty-five minutes apart).
Other signs that labor is on its way include amniotic fluid leaks in either a gush or a trickle (your water breaking), sudden diarrhea, and the appearance of the mucous plug. For many women, the bag of waters does not break until active labor sets in.
On Your Mind
You're likely tired but happy as you pack and prepare for the big day. Just remember the "estimated" in estimated delivery date to avoid a big letdown if baby is tardy.
As sleep gets more and more elusive and your discomfort increases, you may find yourself easily provoked. To keep your cool and limit anxiety:
- Stay clear of encounters with people you know will irritate you.
- Ask your significant other to be the point person on all "anything yet?" questions.
- Take a deep breath and go over what you learned in childbirth class.
- Talk with your partner or labor coach about ways to relax.
- Ask your provider any questions that may still be on your mind about labor and delivery.
At the Doctor's or Midwife's Office
You'll see your doctor or midwife on a weekly basis now until you deliver. You should expect that your provider will:
- Perform an internal exam with each visit to check your cervix for changes that indicate approaching labor.
- Administer a group B strep (GBS) test one month prior to your estimated delivery date.
- Take note of any descent or dropping of the baby toward the pelvis. This descent is called the pelvic station.