The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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Hang in there
Pregnancy may be starting to lose some of its glow. Having your baby shower right about now may give you just the boost you need. When you register, keep it in perspective: All you really need is a car seat, a safe place for the baby to sleep, diapers and some basic baby clothes. Don’t go overboard with newborn-size clothing; you don’t know how big your baby may be, and tiny outfits are quickly outgrown.
Any time after week 35, the baby may drop lower into your pelvis in preparation for delivery. This should make it easier to breathe, yet your pee breaks will become even more frequent due to the increased pressure on your bladder. Don’t cut back on fluids during the day; dehydration can lead to uterine contractions, but do limit your intake in the evening. Your breasts may also start leaking colostrum—your baby’s first food—so load up on nursing pads. Plan on weekly OB visits from now on.
[ ] Tour your hospital’s maternity floor.
[ ] Look into maternity leave benefits at work.
[ ] Interview lactation consultants and take a breastfeeding class.
[ ] Choose a pediatrician. She’ll need to check your baby while still in the hospital.
[ ] Consider doing perineal massage daily. This may reduce the need for an episiotomy.
[ ] Choose a cord-blood bank if you’re planning to store your baby’s cord blood.
[ ] Organize a support system of friends, family members and/or neighbors to help out when you’re home with your new baby.
[ ] Buy several nursing bras and have them professionally fitted, if possible.
[ ] Think about leaving a status sheet at work in case you go into labor unexpectedly.
A pregnancy is considered full-term beginning at 38 weeks, so pack your hospital bag. Hint: Ask your experienced mom friends what to bring and what to leave home; you might be surprised (and enlightened) by what they have to say. (The 10 must-have items you'll want to be sure to pack fitpregnancy.com/hospitalbag.) Call your doctor or midwife or head to the hospital when your contractions occur every five to 10 minutes or if your water breaks. It’s finally time to meet your baby!