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The Historical Documents

The Pregnant Pernese Woman (Birth Control, Between & Pregnancy)

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The Following is a compilation by Stephanie, Lindsay, & Laura
Thank you, ladies!

For all you girls getting frisky!

Holder and Crafter Cycles: Well, most of you should already know this. A woman has a menstrual cycle once a month, about every 28 days. Ovulation takes place between cycles (about day 14 or so). A woman has an opening to get pregnant about 3-6 days around the time of ovulation. Pregnancy lasts for 40 weeks. Since Pern has 13 months with four weeks per month, pregnancy lasts for 10 months instead of the '9' on Earth.

Greenrider Cycles: Most women who are engaged in high stress/intense activity jobs (soldiers, athletes, firefighters, cops, greenriders) experience irregular cycles. If they *are* regular, their periods are very mild and usually don't last long. Hence, it would not be unusual for a greenrider to skip her cycle and not notice (or not think anything of it), especially with all the other things she has to think about. Not to mention, she's probably using birth control.

Pregnany Detection: Pern does NOT have a test for HCG, which is the hormone released by the ovaries during pregnancy. This means you can't pee on a stick and know you're pregnant. Most women will have to wait until the first symptoms show up, which is about four weeks after conception. These symptoms can include sore breasts, morning sickness, vivid dreams, and headaches. Hopefully, you don't get all four. And, of course, if you'd miss more than one cycle, you'd start to wonder.

Greenriding Pregnancy: A pregnant greenrider is effectively grounded from fighting Thread. Also, she cannot go Between for the first or third trimester without risk of losing the baby. Since most greenriders go Between during that first month before they would even think about it, many dragonrider children are lost this way. Sometimes it's also deliberate.

If you have any questions or would like more specific information, don't hesitate to ask!

Brought to you by your friendly neighborhood health teacher.
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Birth Control

The availability of birth control is a bit different at Dawnsisters than it would be at other clubs. Some characters will have access to FSP created birth control options, others will stick to the old-fashioned methods, which lean a bit more to the superstitious, unless they include going Between.

There are some herbal methods that people would probably swear by, but these will work differently for different body chemistries. Most of the methods would be like the day after pill and cause mini-miscarriages that would take place after the fetus had implanted.

Yarrow will do this here on Earth, other plants I'm sure would be effective in the department. It would be like "Oh, I had sex last night, better drink my tea this morning" kind of thing.

Make sense?

Low body-fat content will also whack a woman's cycle up, another reason female riders usually have dysmenorrhea (sp?) and irregular cycles when they have them... the rigors of being a dragonrider, dragoncare and lots of Betweening have a tendancy to keep most riders with low body fat. If a woman's body fat drops below 18% it can frell her cycles up, A man is considered healthy/normal with bodyfat between 8% and 12%.

Too much body fat can also mess up a cycle. A woman should be between 18% and 24% and she's good. Greenriders are much below that, probably around 13-15% thanks to all the training.

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DANGER SIGNS IN PREGNANCY

DANGER, WILL ROBINSON, DANGER! The First and third trimesters are dangerous on Pern!


  • During the first trimester, a trip Between will cause a miscarriage. That's why so few greenriders ever have babies - they don't know they're pregnant in time to stop going Between. Keep this in mind if you want to have your greenrider become pregnant. It's almost impossible for a greenrider to become pregnant accidentally and keep the baby.
  • The second trimester is more or less safe, assuming you don't linger too long Between.
  • Going Between during the third trimester is likely to cause premature birth.


Of course, all of these are kind of best case scenarios. Depending on the health of the mother and the child (and all sorts of other things), the problems caused by going Between during pregnancy could potentially be worse.......

Most women will have normal pregnancies with no complications whatsoever. It is important, however, to learn the warning signs that something is wrong. Your healer or midwife should alert you to potential problems that may be specific to your situation, but the general warning signs apply to every pregnancy, even the low risk variety.

Your midwife or healer will routinely screen for potential problems throughout pregnancy. The blood pressure and urine testing that is done, as well as other potential tests, will help you know if you are in a higher risk category.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, it is important to contact your midwife or healer immediately. They can advise you as to what further steps may be necessary or help you rule out the more serious complications. Delaying care may also make the situation more serious than if care had been begun when you first noticed the symptoms.

Symptom Potential Problem Other Possible Causes
Vaginal Bleeding Miscarriage, placental abruption, placenta previa Hormonal bleeding, Implantation bleeding
Pelvic or Abdominal Pain Miscarriage,ectopic pregnancy, abruption Cyst, uterine growth, round ligament pain
Persistent Back Pain Miscarriage, preterm labor Kidney/bladder infection, cyst, normal pregnancy pain
Gush of Fluid from Vagina Preterm labor, preterm rupture of membranes, miscarriage Leaky bladder, watery mucous
Swelling of the Hands/Face Preeclampsia, Ecclampsia Swelling
Severe Headaches, Blurry Vision Preeclampsia, Ecclampsia Headaches caused by hormonal changes or stress
Regular Contractions prior to 37 Weeks Preterm labor Gastric upset
No Fetal Movement Fetal distress, Fetal Demise Slowed movements, anterior placenta

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TIPS FOR MORNING SICKNESS

It's actually a misnomer. Morning sickness can strike at anytime of the day or night, sometimes all day and all night.

In any case about 50% of all pregnant women will experience some form of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Trying to eat a healthy diet can become very difficult when you've also got to deal with problems like food aversions, a sensitive sniffer, and a growling, churning stomach. Here are some ideas to help you get along your days and nights, and hopefully feel a little bit better.


  • Eat something high in protein before going to bed. Helps your blood sugar stay more level.
  • Two crackers before your head leaves the pillow is old but wise advice.
  • Have sips of ice water as the urge to purge strikes. Many women say that this helps them keep meals down as well.
  • Avoid foods and smells that seem to trigger nausea. Sometimes this will be nearly every food or every smell.
  • Ginger, teas, cookies, even the spice can be helpful in preventing nausea.
  • Smaller frequent meals can also help keep an ailing belly at bay.
  • Peppermint, either smelling it in aromatherapy form or sipping the tea can help curb nausea. It's also known to help with sagging energy levels.
  • A teaspoon of cider vinegar in a cup of warm water has been said to be effective.
  • Take a deep breath. It might be mind over matter sometimes.
  • Comfort foods! Eat what you can, if it stays down it is probably a good thing. Slowly add more foods to your diet as possible.
  • Sleep to avoid nausea. Hey, don't knock it until you've tried it.
  • One mom swears by cold veggies soaking in water to help relieve the churning feeling.
  • When possible avoid hunger, it can also make your stomach upset.


Remember that not all of these will work for everyone, try some and find out which work for you.
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The following is to try to help you understand your pregnancy and the fetal development taking place. When using this information keep in mind that the weeks are calculated by LMP (Last Menstrual Period) and not by gestation.


FIRST TRIMESTER

Congratulations! You're pregnant! Or so they say. The first trimester actually begins as you begin your last period prior to becoming pregnant.

Pregnancy is counted in weeks, lasting 40 weeks (on average) from the first day of your last period. So you are actually only preparing for pregnancy during those first two weeks, until ovulation.

About the time your next period is due is when pregnancy tests (only available at Alpha) begin to pick up the first traces of hCG in your urine or blood.

Hopefully, you've already begun preparing yourself by eating right, if not now is a great time to start. Believe it or not all of your baby's organs are made suring the first trimester, which is why it is the most sensitive time period as far as exposure to drugs and chemicals.

WEEK ONE
Mother:
Your last period has just started and you may be considering a pregnancy. Preconceptional health planning is a good idea. However, if you haven't started before now, make sure that you "act pregnant" until you know other wise. Taking a prenatal vitamin (available from the infirmary), with .4 mg of folic acid (to help prevent neural tube defects) is a good idea. Discontinue any form of chemical/herbal birth control, and avoid other chemicals/herbals and high risk activities such as: alcohol, betweening, flying fall.....

Baby:
As the uterus sheds it's lining, the hormones are preparing another egg for release.

Dad:
Many fathers-to-be also begin watching what they eat and drink. The health of dad does play an important role in baby's health and development.

WEEK TWO
Mother:
Your uterine lining is thickening, and ovulation is getting ready to occur. Some women will actually feel ovulation, with a one sided pain called mittleschmertz (literally meaning middle pain).
Getting to know your family's medical history is very important. About 75% of complications with pregnancy and birth can be identified at the first healer visit.

Baby:
Almost!

Dad:
Did you know that wearing loose underclothes can increase your sperm count? By wearing regular or tight underwear, even pants, you can over heat your testicles and that has an adverse effect of the sperm.

Twin Tips:
If you ovulate more than one egg, chances are you'll get pregnant with multiples! The rate of naturally occurring twins is about 1 in 89 births.

WEEK THREE
Mother:
You have ovulated and some how been exposed to sperm! When the egg implants some women have a tiny bit of spotting called implantation bleeding, where the egg burrows into the uterine lining, shedding a bit. This is nothing to worry about. Your body also releases an immunosuppressant protein called Early Pregnancy Factor (EPF) to prevent your body from seeing the baby as an invader.

Baby:
Implantation will occur this week! The egg and the sperm have met in your fallopian tube and will begin the 7-10 day journey to the uterus. Cell division begins immediately and continues throughout this journey. Once it has implanted your baby is called a blastocyst and is about 0.1-0.2 mm in diameter.

Dad:
You're probably blissfully unaware of what is going on at this point. Or you might be anxiously awaiting the results of the pregnancy test. Either way continue with good habits previously started or work towards forming new habits.

WEEK FOUR
Mother:
Your body is figuring out what is going on! A urine pregnancy test (only available at Alpha) would probably be positive by now. They measure the amounts of the pregnancy hormone, hCG, in your urine. Each test measures a different level. You are probably beginning to feel tired, urinate more frequently, experience mood swings, and possibly have tender or swollen breasts.
If you have not been avoiding environmental hazards, begin doing so now. The first trimester is the most critical time for formation of your baby. If you have any questions please contact your midwife or healer.

Baby:
The chorionic villi are fully formed by the end of this week. In one study, 100% of the transvaginal ultrasounds showed a gestational sac. The yolk sac that helps feed your baby until the placenta is fully functional is appearing as well.

Dad:
Do you have a plan on how you'll find out about the pregnancy? Will the test be a joint effort? The words you say when you find out will be remembered forever.

Twin Tips:
hCG levels in moms carrying multiples are often more elevated. This can often be the first sign that you have more than one on the way! An average hCG for a singleton at 18 days post-ovulation is about 70 mIU, a twin gestation is about 200 mIU at the same day. Though this is not a foolproof way to detect twins. (these tests only available at Alpha)

WEEK FIVE
Mother:
If you are in your fifth week, you might not be able to stop yawning long enough to read this! Sleeping in a braband can help the breast soreness. Many of your symptoms are the same as last week. Some women may also get headaches from the rise in hormones.
There are also a lot of women who will have none of these symptoms. They will sail through early pregnancy without vomiting or being light headed. For a lot of women this can be normal as well. Do not panic if you do not have pregnancy symptoms, although you should contact your care provider if you suddenly lose your pregnancy symptoms.

Baby:
The heart will begin to beat this week! It's amazing how much is happening so quickly. A transvaginal ultrasound (only available at Alpha) will show about 90% of the yolk sacs. It is now possible to differentiate between the head and the tail of the baby now. By the end of the week that folic acid will be paying off as the neural folds begin to fuse. Your baby is now an embryo! Average length is 1.5 - 2.5 mm.

Dad:
Whether you're bursting to tell or planning to wait to spread the good news, the first few weeks of pregnancy are weird. She's not feeling particularly pregnant or different, you're definitely not feeling anything, and life is plain weird. It's also normal to have feelings of ambivalence, even if you've planned the pregnancy. It's important to start talking about how you feel with your partner.

Twin Tips:
Early pregnancy ultrasound (available only at Alpha)can usually diagnose multiple gestational sacs, and there by you know early on. However, early ultrasound can also miss an early multiple gestation. Some reports say that the appearance of sacs via ultrasound can be different by up to 4 days. Early ultrasound is also more helpful in determining how many sacs are present and whether or not your babies share the same sac (monoamniotic). Monoamniotic sacs occur only in identical babies and places the pregnancy at a higher risk for problems like cord entanglement.

WEEK SIX
Mother:
Your nausea may actually get worse this week as your hormone levels rise. Remember it's called morning sickness, but it can strike at any point of the day. Your breasts may tingle, feel heavy, the areola (dark nipple portion) may become darker.
Avoid changing feline litter for there is a risk of toxoplasmosis. Let someone else do this duty for while. Toxoplasmosis can cause genetic defects, but most women who have cats have already had toxoplasmosis, and just believed it to be the flu. So don't get rid of the feline, just let someone else change the litter.

Baby:
This week is another busy one for your baby. By the end of the week your baby will be 4-6 mm Crown to Rump (CR). The larynx starts to form as does the inner ear. The lining of the placenta begins developing but the placenta will not take over production of the hormones until about week 12.
The heart is bulging from the body and blood circulation is well established. Upper and lower limb buds will appear this week. And the primordia of the liver, pancreas, lungs, and stomach are evident.
Transvaginal ultrasound (only available at Alpha) can pick up 86% of the fetal poles with heart motion, and 100% of the yolk sacs at this point.

Dad:
It's not easy watching the mom-to-be in your life feel ill. Be sure to ask her what you can do to help. Sometimes a cool wash cloth for her face and neck is helpful, sometimes bringing her a snack before she gets out of bed can help and sometimes she just wants to be alone.

Twin Tips:
Nausea and vomiting may be multiplied if you're carrying more than one baby. Though the standard remedies can still be helpful.

WEEK SEVEN
Mother:
Your face may break out due to the changes in hormones.

Baby:
The hand plates become present this week, and the baby is about 7-9 mm CRL by the end of the week. The genital tubercle is present, but you can't distinguish girls from boys by sight at this point. Nasal pits are forming.
Your baby will actually go through 3 sets of kidneys, very rapidly as they develop during this period. This week the second of such sets will form.
With a transvaginal ultrasound (only available at Alpha), one study shows that 100% of the ultrasounds will be show a fetal pole with heart motion.

Dad:
What about sex? It's definitely not a thing of the past, but libido issues are certainly big throughout pregnancy. You might have strange feelings about having sex with a pregnant woman, but rest assured it's perfectly fine to have sex assuming there are no problems with the pregnancy. The key here will be that, particularly during the first trimester, there are many reasons why she may not be interested. Don't let this cause a ruffle in the relationship. Talk to her about your feelings and desires and be equally willing to listen to hers. Most women find a dramatic increase in their libido as the second trimester approaches and the fatigue and ill feelings fade.

Twin Tips:
Your diet is of particular importance with a multiple gestation. Some practitioners believe that the more weight gain you do early is a better chance you have of having healthy babies, since multiples are more likely to be born early.

WEEK EIGHT
Mother:
You may have already gone to see the healer. This will decrease the numbers of false pregnancies and miscarriages. Many things will take place at the first visit:

  • Blood Pressure (baseline)
  • Weight (baseline)
  • Pelvic Exam (size of uterus, cysts, coloring of cervix)
  • Family History (complications that may be predictable)


This is a good time to ask any questions that have come up.

Baby:
Your baby will be about 8-11 mm CR by the end of the week. The baby's hind brain is clearly visible. This week the baby's gonads will become either testes or ovaries. And spontaneous movement begins! There are a lot of things that we do know about life before birth.
Bones and joints this week have many things going on. Elbows appear and the process of ossification (hardening of the bones) begins. Toe rays become present, almost ready for you to count!

Dad:
Looking for a way to treat her? Why not fix dinner and offer her a nap in the afternoon? The fatigue of the first trimester is really hard on most women, particularly if they normally are very active. Getting extra rest helps. If a nap isn't possible perhaps you could tuck other children in bed or close the weyr up for the night while she runs to bed a bit earlier. Or the opposite, you can get everyone up or fix breakfast, allowing her to sleep in for a few minutes. These will be much appreciated.

Twin Tips:
Indigestion and other gastrointestinal problems can start earlier when there is more than one baby.

WEEK NINE
Mother:
You may find yourself with a stuffy nose. Nasal congestion and nose bleeds are fairly common during pregnancy. You continue to feel tired, nauseated, and possibly dizzy. Making a baby is hard work!

Baby:
We have elbows! Your baby is now approximately 13-17 mm crown to rump length, or about 0.51 - 0.66 inches. S/he also weighs in at 1 gram! Toe rays are present as the toes begin to form. Gonads have become testes (for boys) or ovaries (for girls). Baby will move away if touched through the uterine wall, and can spontaneously move as well. Ossification (hardening) of the bones may begin.

Dad:
Don't worry if she cries seemingly for no reason. These are simply hormones. The same ones that might cause her to be more irritable. And if you think it's bad being on the receiving end, let us assure you that it's not very pleasant to feel like your body has been taken over. Again, the good news is that as the placenta matures and begins to take over production of some of these hormones, mom-to-be feels better.

Twin Tips:
Weight gain in a multiple pregnancy is going to be a big issue. By 24 weeks a twin mom gain may have gained 24 lbs, a triplet mom gained 36 lbs. After that the rate of weight gain should be about 1/2 lb per week, per baby.

WEEK TEN
Mother:
You are still tired, and nauseated, hang on only a few more weeks for most of you! Your abdomen may begin to pooch out, but it will be more from bowel distension than the uterus. Your waistline is slowly disappearing!

Baby:
The baby now enters it's fetal period. The average size is approximately 27-35 mm crown to rump length (CRL), or 1.06-1.38 inches. S/he weighs in at 4 grams, or 4 paper clips. Tiny toes have formed. The eyes are largely open, but the eyelids are beginning to fuse, and will stay that way until 25-27 weeks. External genitalia is beginning to differentiate. External ears are completely formed, as well as the upper lip. The biggest accomplishment this week is the disappearance of the tail! A baby's heart beat at 10 weeks is beating at about 160 beats per minute (BPM).

Dad:
Is the reality of pregnancy setting in yet? Make sure you sit down and rationalize your feelings prior to having 'worry' discussions with her. There are plenty of answers to your questions.

Twin Tips:
Try to find a time to rest each day, it's a great start on alleviating stress and lack of sleep. Even if it's 20 minutes, it's good for you and the babies! Try a body pillow as your belly grows, this can help you make the most of your down time.

WEEK ELEVEN
Mother:
Weight gain is a concern of a lot of women during pregnancy. By this stage of pregnancy most women have gained very little weight. Generally we say that you will gain about 1-2 lbs. a month in the first trimester. Some women will actually lose weight and be perfectly fine, particularly if they were ill. Some will gain no weight whatsoever. While yet others will gain 10+ pounds. The key is a healthy diet.
However, your focus should be on nutrition rather than weight. Despite folk lore, you are not eating for two, but you should make everything you eat count. You will only need about 300-500 calories extra a day while you are pregnant.
Avoid junk foods, and try to ensure that you are getting a variety of fruits and vegetables and protein. One word about protein, even in pregnancy it does not have to come from meat. There are a lot of successful vegetarian pregnancies.

Baby:
If you have seen pictures of babies at this stage you will notice that the head is about 1/2 of the body size. This will change as the baby grows. The iris will begin to develop this week and finger nails appear! Your baby weighs about 7 grams.

Dad:
Did you go with her to her healer appointment? If you didn't be sure to go to the next one, you'll get to hear the baby's heartbeat. Attending healer appointments is also a great way to be involved in the pregnancy.

Twin Tips:
Look up another mother of twins to help you through your pregnancy and new parenting. Even if you've had children before having twins is a whole new ball game.
WEEK TWELVE
Mother:
You may actually start feeling better from your extreme tiredness and nausea this week. Others will hang on to it for awhile longer. Your abdomen may start expanding, especially if this is not your first pregnancy.
Your placenta will take over the production of hormones around this time. If you have suffered from corpus luteum cysts they may begin to dissolve now. Your risk of miscarriage is reduced even further.

Baby:
While your baby's brain is not the same size it will be at birth, it does have the same structure. Bile is being secreted by this time. S/he weighs about 14 grams and is approximately 3.54 inches in total length.
Your baby has its reflexes and also practice movements in the digestive tract. All of this in preparation for extrauterine life.
If your healer uses a doppler, you may be able to hear your baby's heart beat at this visit. It will sound very fast. Some say that they hear clicking or the sounds of runner hooves. Either way it is a joyous sound to hear! Your risk of miscarriage is greatly reduced once you hear this sound.

Dad:
Consider chatting up some other dads about the weyr to discuss all of your feelings from the good to the bad and every joy and frustration in between.

Twin Tips:
Your uterus may begin to measure larger for dates than a singleton mom. This could also be one of the first times that multiples are suspected.

SECOND TRIMESTER


The second or middle trimester is the time of your life! Not only have most women ceased being nauseated, many feel a burst of energy and report feeling the best that they've ever felt.


Because of the changes in the first trimester disappearing sexuality also peaks at this time as well for the majority of couples. Not having to be concerned with birth control or falling asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow opens a whole new realm for the couple.


The baby is finishing it's development and at the end of this trimester she or he will begin to put more weight on. Major organ systems are functioning and fetal movement can be felt by mom and outside parties by the end of the second trimester. Some women will have ultrasound screening around 20 weeks gestation. About 50% of families will choose to find out the sex of their baby at this point as well.


WEEK THIRTEEN
Mother:
Welcome to the second trimester! This is usually the time when mothers feel their best. They are "over" the joys of early pregnancy and have more energy. They are also beginning to feel pregnant.
Some people have delayed spreading the good news until this point. If you are one of these people enjoy telling now, and think of some creative ways to do it. This is also a time when fathers and other family members start becoming more involved as the pregnancy becomes more real for them. Encourage them to participate in your pregnancy to the extent that you feel comfortable with.
Your appointments will now consist of:

  • Blood Pressure
  • Weight
  • Fundal Height (Growth of the Uterus)
  • Baby's Heart Tones
  • Urine



Baby:
There are a lot of things going on this week! All twenty teeth have formed and are waiting (Teething is yet to come!). Your baby approximately weighs in at 1 ounce (28.3 grams). Consider that the placenta weighs about an ounce now as well.
Your baby's intestines are migrating from the umbilical cord into his or her abdomen. The villi are also forming in the intestines, these help in peristaltic movements and digestion. The pancreas of your little one is even secreting insulin!


Dad:
It's time to celebrate! You're out of the first trimester! Perhaps you've been waiting to tell family and friends. Most people feel more confident at this point and do begin to tell their circle of friends.


WEEK FOURTEEN
Mother:
The hormonal changes in your body are becoming apparent. Many are in the form of skin changes. You may have developed a dark line down the middle of your abdomen to your pubic bone called a linea negra. The areola (dark nipple portion of your breasts) may have darkened and gotten larger as well. Your uterus is now the size of a grapefruit.


Baby:
The baby is now about 12.5 cms or 4.92 inches. Your baby is now producing urine and actually urinating into the amniotic fluid. It also can practice "breathing" the amniotic fluid in and out of its lungs.
Amniotic fluid is an amazing substance. It completely regenerates itself every three hours. We do know that it is partially composed of urine from the baby, but where amniotic fluid in general is made we are not sure.



Twin Tips:
Amniocentesis (available only at Alpha) can still be used in multiple pregnancies, be sure to talk to your healer if you're interested.


WEEK FIFTEEN
Mother:
Your heart is increasing its output to supply the baby with oxygen. Your enlarged heart is pumping about 20% more blood than prepregnancy. This volume will actually increase throughout your pregnancy for an ending increased heart output of 30-50%.
If your clothes are getting tight, do not try to cram yourself into clothes. Either invest in some maternity clothes, borrow them, wear your partner's clothing or unzip your pants!


Baby:
Your baby may have developed the habit of sucking his or her thumb! The skin is very thin and you can see the blood vessels clearly underneath.
Your baby is about 70 grams. The scalp hair pattern is developing. And the heart is pumping about 25 quarts of blood a day. This will increase to about 300 at term.
WEEK SIXTEEN
Mother:
You may begin to feel the baby move around this point. This is more likely to happen now if you are a multipara (someone who has had a previous child) or if you are very thin. Generally you will feel the baby move about one month earlier than you did in a previous pregnancy, mainly because you know what you are feeling. It is not uncommon for first time mothers to not recognize fetal movements until 22-24 weeks. These first movements are called "quickening." They can also be used in helping to determine your due date.


Baby:
Your baby's nails are well formed, and some babies are even in need of having their nails trimmed at birth. The ears have also moved from the neck to the head.
Your baby is emptying his or her bladder every 40-45 minutes. The limb movements are becoming more coordinated. Your baby is about 3 ounces (85 grams) and 6.3 inches (16 cms). The gender may be detectable by ultrasound (available only at Alpha).


Twin Tips:
You may begin to feel movement now. Another "sign" that there are multiples is the mom who describes fetal movement like an octopus, or "all over the place." Your healer may begin to wonder if there is more than one if they can palpate more than 3 large parts (and several small ones!) in your uterus.


WEEK SEVENTEEN
Mother:
Your uterus is now about halfway between your pubic bone and navel. Your secretions all over your body may increase, due to the increased blood volume. So if you are sweating more, have nasal congestion, or are suffering from increased vaginal discharge this is nothing to worry about and will go away after the birth of the baby.


Baby:
Your baby is forming brown fat deposits under his or her skin, by the end of pregnancy this will account for 2-6% of their total body weight. This will help them maintain their body temperature when they are born. The baby weighs in at about 5 ounces (142 grams). This means that the baby now weighs more than the placenta. No new structures have formed.
Loud noises outside may actually cause the baby to startle.


Twin Tips:
Make sure you're getting about 120 grams of protein a day for twins, more for higher order multiples.


WEEK EIGHTEEN
Mother:
Sleeping may be increasingly difficult now, as your body grows. Try propping yourself with pillows to help you find a more comfortable sleeping position. You might also try doing pelvic tilts before bed, and always urinate before laying down.


If you haven't started yet, try playing around with baby names! Look through your family history, read books, look at combinations for girls and boys.


Baby:
At 20.5 cms or 8.1 inches total length, your baby is growing rapidly. S/he weighs about 7 ounces (198 grams). The bones are continuing the ossification process. The pads of the fingers and toes are formed and the fingerprints are developing as well.


Twin Tips:
If you're having trouble with hemorrhoids or varicose veins, remember to drink lots of water an put your feet up when possible. The more babies, the more pressure on the veins in the lower half of your body.


WEEK NINETEEN
Baby:
This is an impressive week for growth! The baby will increase in weight to 8 ounces (227 grams)! If you are having a girl, her ovaries now contain primitive egg cells. Lanugo appears all over the baby's body. This fine hair will remain until birth draws nearer. Sometimes you can still see some on the baby's face and ears after birth.
Permanent teeth buds are forming behind the already formed milk teeth buds.


WEEK TWENTY
Mother:
POP! Your belly button may pop out and stay that way until delivery as your uterus presses upwards. Some people will have trouble breathing as their lungs become cramped with the internal organs. This will usually continue until the baby "drops" or engages into the pelvis. In a first pregnancy this will generally occur 4-6 weeks before your birth and with subsequent pregnancies not until you are in labor. There is a trade off once the baby "drops." You will have to urinate more frequently, hard to believe, eh? Remembering to do your pelvic tilts prior to laying down will hopefully allow you a few more minutes of rest before the next bathroom break.
You are half way through your pregnancy! Congratulations!


Baby:
Lanugo forms from sebum and skin cells to create vernix. This creamy white substance is believed to help protect the baby inutero. It will cling to the lanugo and in the creases. This is also something that can be seen sometimes after the birth. Rumor has it that nursery nurses use it for hand lotion, because of its smooth, protect quality.
You may be aware of sleep wake cycles in your little one. The weight is now up to 10 ounces (283 grams) and the baby measures about 25 cms total length, about 9.8 inches.


Twin Tips:
If you're having your first ultrasound (available only at Alpha), you might be surprised to find that there is more than one in there!


WEEK TWENTY ONE
Mother:
Everyone is probably telling you what sex your baby is using different myths! Some people find this fun, other find it annoying. Using things like how you carry, the Chinese Gender Chart, or other myths are fun, but not always accurate. Have you decided whether you want to find out the gender of your baby? There are many things to consider before doing so, and still your baby may not cooperate.(The technology for this is ONLY available at Alpha)


Baby:
Your baby can still move all over in the amniotic fluid. Towards the end of this trimester the baby will begin to settle, usually in a head down position (Although some babies do not turn head down until late in the last trimester.). About 3-4% of babies will remain in a breech position. Your baby weighs just under a pound (13 ounces or 369 grams).


Twin Tips:
Got back pain? While watching your posture and being careful to lift and carry properly can go a long way.

WEEK TWENTY TWO


Mother:
You are still feeling pretty good and active in this second trimester. If you are still having aches and pains or feel like you are slowing down you may want to look into some different remedies.
Sex is something that many pregnant couples don't really discuss at length. However, sexuality can change a lot during pregnancy. Usually in the first trimester you are nauseated, your breasts are sore, or you are just too tired.
In the second trimester libido is usually increased. With the increase blood flow and secretions.
There is no way that you are going to harm the baby during intercourse, although this is a common fear. The baby is well surrounded by the amniotic sac and blissfully unaware of your actions. Unless you have been told by the healer that you should abstain.


Baby:
The baby is getting bigger and continuing to practice for extrauterine life. This week your baby has developed eyebrows! S/he weighs about 15 ounces (425 grams) and is 27.5 cms or 10.8 inches total length!


Twin Tips:
Your body will provide you as much milk as you need with only a few exceptions.


WEEK TWENTY THREE
Mother:
During your appointments your healer/midwife may palpate your abdomen. This process is a way of feeling the position of the baby. A tape measure will also be used to measure your fundal height. This is the top of your uterus and is a good indicator of the continued growth of your baby. Some people will worry if they measure a bit "too big" or "too small." However, it is completely normal to have slight variations at this point. Be sure to ask your healer/midwife if you are worried.
You may actually feel Braxton Hicks contraction, or you might just happen to notice with your hand a slight tensing of your abdomen. This is just your uterine muscle preparing for birth. The uterus actually contracts at all phases of a woman's life, however, we rarely notice this unless our uterus is full!


Baby:
The baby's finger nails are almost fully formed and the lanugo darkens. Your baby continues to grow in preparation for the journey of birth. He or she is totally unaffected by the Braxton Hicks, or practice, contractions. Meconium, the baby's first stool, is developing. Baby weighs 1 pound 2 ounces (510 grams).


WEEK TWENTY FOUR
Mother:
Your fundus (top of the uterus) reaches just above your navel! You are now aware of your baby's movements and may even be able to tell the sleep/wake cycles of your little one.
It is important to recognize the signs of premature labor. Premature labor is actually more common in the summer months, thought to be caused by dehydration in some women, so continue drinking lots of water! See your healer if you have any of the following:

  • Contractions or cramps, more than 5 in one hour
  • Bright red blood from your vagina
  • Swelling or puffiness of the face or hands, a sign of preeclampsia
  • Pain during urination, possible urinary tract, bladder or kidney infection
  • Sharp or prolonged pain in your stomach (preeclampsia signs)
  • Acute or continuous vomiting (preeclampsia signs)
  • Sudden gush of clear, watery fluid from your vagina
  • Low, dull backache
  • Intense pelvic pressure



Baby:
Your baby is almost completely formed, and is beginning to deposit brown fat on his or her body. The purpose of the brown fat is to retain body heat. Newborns are notoriously bad at regulating body temperature at first. This is particularly a problem for a baby born early.
Babies born at this point have some chances of survival with very special care. They will be in the Intensive Care Unit at Alpha, probably for many weeks. Usually we say that you can expect them to stay in the NICU (ONLY at Alpha) until their due date.
A major problem with premature babies is lung development. If preterm labor is detected early enough a steroid shot, called Betamethasone (Only available at Alpha), can sometimes be given to enhance lung development.
S/he weighs in at 1 lb 5 ounces (595 grams) and 30 cms or 11.8 inches total length!


Twin Tips:
If your cervix measures less than 2.5 centimeters on ultrasound (only available at Alpha), you will probably be placed on bed rest to prevent preterm labor.
WEEK TWENTY FIVE
Mother:
At this point in pregnancy you probably still feel really good! Soon you will begin to see your healer more often. When this happens, many women begin to get the feeling that they are "running out of time."
Fixing the baby's room or deciding where to let the baby sleep is one of the thing you need to work out your feelings about now. Although, let me tell you from experience that you should reserve the right to change your mind once the baby gets here!
Many people spend the first few months with the baby either in their bed or next to their bed in a cradle or bassinet. This allows for easy access to night feedings and changings, and many parents report feeling more secure about their baby. Other parents have a nursery and use a firelizard to monitor to allow their baby to waken them for night feedings, etc. Some parents feel that they need more privacy or believe that the baby should learn to sleep alone from the beginning.
Look at all of your options before making up your mind. And again, be flexible. You may find life with baby very different from what you had imagined. The choice is yours and it is personal, so don't let others make you feel guilty for your choices.


Baby:
Baby weighs 1 pound 9 ounces (709 grams). The bones are continuing their ossification process, meaning that they are becoming harder.


Twin Tips:
Starting to feel huge? If your clothes don't fit that might not make you feel any better. There is nothing like a shirt that fits to make you feel better! See if you can borrow one from the storerooms or from one of the 'larger' residents of the weyr.


WEEK TWENTY SIX
Mother:
While you have been feeling movements for awhile, those other people in your life may not have been able to. Around this time it may become possible for them to begin feeling the baby from the outside. It is a really neat to share the experience with others.
Finding a comfortable position for sleeping is a new task! Between night time wakings to go to the bathroom, to get water or snacks, you need all the sleep you can get.
I highly recommend a body pillow. This will enable you to support your legs and your growing belly! If you don't have a body pillow, try making use of several regular pillows. The main problem with pillows is that soon there isn't much room for more than one person in bed, except the pregnant mom.


Baby:
Veins are visible through your baby's skin, although it is quickly changing from transparent to opaque.
Your baby can hear you and those around you. Although we assume that the uterus is a quiet place, the baby has been surrounded by noise for a long time. Things like your heartbeat, digestion, and other body functions are heard by the baby as well as external noises. Now you may feel the baby jump at a sudden external noise.
The uterus also allows some light to be seen. So your baby is aware of lightness and darkness.
S/he weighs 1 pound 12 ounces (794 grams) and measures 32.5 cms or 12.8 inches total length.


Twin Tips:
Do you feel funny? Perhaps you think your belly feels tight. Anything even remotely like contractions should be reported to your healer. Preterm labor is much easier to stop in the early stages (at Alpha) and every day your baby stays inside are days it's not in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)at Alpha. Your healer will probably have you go to the Alpha for monitoring, you'll probably get an IV to ensure you're well hydrated and potentially you might be given medications to stop contractions if it is needed.

THIRD TRIMESTER


Welcome to the third trimester! The home stretch! Around this time you will begin to really put on the weight, this will last until about week thirty-six. Although some cultures dictate otherwise, weight gained during pregnancy is not fat or unhealthy, but rather, necessary for a healthy pregnancy and baby.
The weight that you gain will be distributed in several places. In the beginning of pregnancy you may have noticed that your breasts got larger. The average breast before pregnancy weighs about 7 ounces and during pregnancy each breast can weigh up to an average of 28 ounces! Some of the weight will go to body fluids (amniotic fluid, blood volume, etc.). Remember that your blood volume increase by 30-50% during pregnancy. And let's not forget the baby and the placenta! Add this to a few measly pounds put on as maternal fat stores, and you average about 25-30 pounds.
The most important thing to remember is that a healthy diet is more important than what you gain. Some women will gain more, as in the case of women who were underweight to begin with, and those carrying multiple babies. While others will gain less. Pregnancy is not the time to go on a reducing diet. Even if you are overweight, reducing can actually harm the baby by burning your maternal fat stores sometimes toxins can be released that are harmful to the baby.


WEEK TWENTY SEVEN
Baby:
Your baby's skin is very wrinkled from floating in water. This will stay this way until a few weeks after birth as your newborn fills out into a baby. Although take heart in the fact that your baby's looks are assuming the looks that they will have at birth! Baby has also hit the 2 pound mark (900 grams).

WEEK TWENTY EIGHT
Mother:
You will probably begin to see your practitioner every 2 weeks now. Some women really like the added visits, while others feel that they are running out of time before the baby is born.
Your breasts my leak colostrum now, although if they do not leak, this is not an indication that you can't breastfeed.


Baby:
Your baby's eye lashes are developing, as subcutaneous fat is deposited. If you have a baby boy, his testes will probably begin descending. Your baby is about 13.8 inches long (35 cms) and weighs about 2 pounds 4 ounces (1 kilogram)!
A baby born at this time has a good chance of survival with the help of medical technology, but only at Alpha.


Twin Tips:
Many healers ask that you stop working your duty shifts and get at least 6 hours of rest a day, even if you don't have a high stress or physically demanding job.


WEEK TWENTY NINE
Mother:
As your baby is growing, so is your body. You may feel as if your internal organs are crowded. They are. The best way to deal with the discomforts of late pregnancy are:

  • Good Posture
  • Proper Nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Rest (When you can!)



Most discomforts will occur in your back, your legs, and the amount of air you can take into your lungs. Hang in there!


Baby:
Your baby is busy getting ready for the birthday! The baby is beginning to regulate his own temperature and the bone marrow is completely in charge of production of the red blood cells. The baby is even urinating about a half liter of urine into the amniotic fluid everyday!
The movements that you feel will probably begin to change at this point. You once were the home of wild gymnastic parties, now as the space becomes cramped you will notice smaller movements, such as elbows and knees. Try monitoring the baby yourself, using fetal kick counts.
Your baby weighs in at about two pounds nine ounces (1.16 kilograms)!


Twin Tips:
If you're finding yourself out of breath or having trouble breathing while you sleep, try propping yourself up on some pillows to help alleviate one other sleep stealer.


WEEK THIRTY
Mother:
Your posture is still very important to your comfort. Maintaining a good posture is a good way to decrease the strain on your body as your center of gravity continues to change.
One of the things that you can do to help maintain your energy levels and to increase your stamina for the birth is to exercise. It is important not to over do it, especially if you have not been exercising prior to this week. Try taking walks or swimming short distances. Getting out and stretching will help you have feel better and reduce the numbers of pregnancy related complaints.


Baby:
The baby is very aware of the surroundings. We tend to think of the uterus as a dark place. The uterus actually can be light and dark depending on the mother's environment. You may be able to distinguish sleep and wake cycles in your baby. Although it usually seems as if the baby wants to sleep while you are awake and vice versa at night. This is not indicative of a sleepless newborn.
If you are having Braxton Hicks Contractions use them to practice what you've learned in prenatal classes, and know that they are a sign that your body is getting ready for labor. The baby notices the contractions, but is not adversely affected by them.
Your sweetpea weighs a whopping 3 pounds (1.36 kilograms)! S/he measures about 14.8 inches (37.5 cms) in length.


Twin Tips:
Up until this point the growth rate of your babies has been about the same of a singleton baby. Now their growth rate will slow. This is why the early weight gain and proper diet was so important.


WEEK THIRTY ONE
Mother:
Your abdomen swells and your rib cage and pelvis may be sore as the baby gets bigger and fills up all the space you have available. While it is really great that your baby is gaining weight and growing strong, you may be in line for different discomforts at this stage of the game.
Some women will have more heartburn as the uterus displaces the internal organs, leaving less room for her stomach and its contents. This can be relieved by remaining upright after a meal. Some women say that eating smaller, more frequent meals helps their heartburn. Remember to ask your healer before using any medications or herbals.
One of the most frequent complaints in pregnancy is back pain. This can start at almost any point of pregnancy and can continue well into the first postpartum year. Some of this can be relieved by maintaining good posture, exercise, and stretching. And don't forget to ask your partner for a back rub!
The pregnant body produces a hormone called relaxin. This is what loosens the pelvis making it mobile to help your baby be born. However, this can also cause waddling! I also refer to this as "feeling like a Barbie with her legs pulled off." This is only temporary, and while it may be a pain now, come birth time you'll be rather grateful!
A few women will breeze by even this phase of pregnancy without any discomforts. This does not mean that your body isn't preparing for birth. It could be pain tolerance levels, exercise and agility levels and many other factors. So, count your blessings if you fall into this category!


Baby:
You may worry that if you are breathless from walking or sometimes even just sitting that your baby is in danger. This is not true. Your baby is getting plenty of oxygen from your placenta.
The baby's irises can now dilate and contract in response to light. Due to the deposits of white fat underneath the skin the baby's skin is no longer red but pink, and your baby weighs about three pounds and five ounces (1.5 kilograms). The finger nails may reach the end of the hands.


Twin Tips:
About 10% of twins will be born by this point, 30% of triplets, compared to 1% of singletons.


WEEK THIRTY TWO
Mother:
As you begin to have more and more Braxton-Hicks contractions you may begin to wonder more about labor and what it will entail for you, your family and your baby. About 10% of women will tell you that labor is extremely painful, while 10% of the women will tell you that they experienced no pain. The rest, 80%, will fall someplace in the middle of the two extremes.


Baby:
Your baby's movements will peak this week. From now on the will change in quantity and quality. Remember to do your Fetal Kick Counts. Most of the wrinkles are disappearing from your baby's face, and there may be a lot of hair on their head! The weight gain has been fairly incredible recently. Your baby has put on about 2 pounds of weight, mostly fat and muscle tissue, since last month, bringing the total to about three pounds eleven ounces (1.7 kilograms), and measurements to 40 cms or 15.8 inches!


Babies who are born at a younger gestation than this will most likely having difficulties sucking or nursing. This also applies to babies who weigh less than 1500 grams at birth. A good sucking pattern is a sign of neuromuscular maturity.


Twin Tips:
The majority of triplets will be born by now. If you haven't already looked for postpartum help, now is a good time!


WEEK THIRTY THREE
Mother:
You can now probably distinguish the baby's knee from and elbow, even though the movements are smaller. You may also notice small bumps that appear to be rhythmic in your uterus. This is probably caused by the baby having hiccoughs and isn't cause for alarm.


Baby:
Your baby has surfactant, which helps baby breathe after birth, coating the alveoli in the lungs. After this week, if your baby is born, you have less of a chance of apnea of prematurity. S/he weighs about four pounds (1.8 kilograms).
There are almost 2 pints of amniotic fluid in your uterus. You may have been told that you have polyhyrdamnios, or too much amniotic fluid. The opposite of which would be oligohydramnios, often associated with Intrauterine Growth Retardation (IUGR). However, it is important to keep in mind that everyone has varying amounts of amniotic fluid and that simply having too much or too little doesn't not generally indicate a problem.


Twin Tips:
Average birth weights for twins are 5 lbs 5 oz, triplets weigh in averaging 4 lbs, and quadruplets average a bit over 3 lbs.


WEEK THIRTY FOUR
Mother:
Your body is really getting ready and you may notice that you have more and more contractions that seem less and less like practice! This is a great sign that your body is getting ready!
Let's go over some of the labor basics.
Labor is broken down into three major stages:

  • First Stage: This begins when you start to have regular contractions that increase in frequency and intensity. Make sure you know how to time contractions. Usually you will start off slowly, nearly always questioning if this is really labor. Bear in mind that a lot of women have wandered around for a bit feeling like they had the flu or were just really sleepy. The contractions will then pick up and you will be in the active phase of the first stage of labor. Contractions are more intense and come more frequently, usually requiring more of your attention. Somewhere between this active phase and the next phase, transition, you will change to your place of birth. Transition is the short but hard part of labor. Transition has contractions coming very close together, but they never actually feel any stronger than the contractions of the active phase. At the end of transition you will be completely dilated!
  • Second Stage: This is the fun part! You begin this stage completely dilated! You will begin pushing your baby into this world. Most women really enjoy the pushing stage, they say that they feel more actively involved. Your contractions will get further apart and feel differently. You will feel the urge to push. If there is an episiotomy done, it will be done at the end of this stage. There is quite a debate about the need and use of episiotomies on a routine basis. The end of the second stage will be marked by the birth of your baby!
  • Third Stage: This is the anticlimax! You are holding your lovely baby and anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour later they will want you to give a few small pushes to get the placenta out. Most women are so wrapped up in their babies that they always say, "I forgot about the placenta!" Nursing your baby right away will help speed up a third stage or control any bleeding that you are having.



Baby:
Baby is continuing to get bigger! Four pounds seven ounces (2 kilograms) and a length of 42.5 cms or 16.8 inches. The hormones from the placenta are starting to activate the milk in your breasts. Did you know that the baby urinates almost a pint a day! Watch out diapers here you come!


WEEK THIRTY FIVE
Mother:
Your pregnancy is progressing and you may have trouble sleeping at night. Some claim that this is mother nature's way of preparing you for life with a new baby. Others believe it is caused by worrying about the health of your baby, labor, and/or parenting. There are also numerous physical reasons that sleep may be difficult.
For one going the bathroom every 45 minutes isn't conducive to sleep, nor is a constant backache. Try doing pelvic tilts before bed, limiting fluids after a certain time, and being tired when you go to bed.


Baby:
Your baby weighs about 4 pounds 12 ounces (2.15 kilograms) right now, although later in pregnancy there is more room for variation than in the beginning of pregnancy. Your baby is putting on an average of .5 pounds a week at this point. The length is reaching 18 inches from head to toe, as opposed to the earlier measurements from crown to rump. All organ systems have been present for a long time, now they are just putting on the final touches before birth.


Twin Tips:
About 35% of twins will be born by this point, 80% of triplets, compared to 5% of singletons.

WEEK THIRTY SIX
Mother:
You will probably start to see your healer/midwife every week until you give birth.
Most babies will be in a head down position at this point. However, about 4% of the babies will be breech. Do not panic! There are plenty of things that you can do to encourage the baby to turn, including special exercises. If the exercises do not work, your healer/midwife may want to attempt an external cephalic version (ECV). The ECV is a manual turning of the baby.


Baby:
The baby continues to grow and snuggle down into your pelvis. The benefit of this is that you can breathe more easily, however, you also have to urinate more often. Your practitioner will probably not stop your labor if you were to start having regular contractions now.
Baby weighs about five pounds two ounces (2.3 kilograms) and measures 45 cms or 17.8 inches. Although here at the end there is a larger margin of difference among babies. Ask your healer/midwife to palpate (feel through your abdomen) to guesstimate the weight. Remember it is just a guess, although some are better than others.


Twin Tips:
Most vaginal born twins are born within an hour of each other, though this can vary from one right after the other, to several hours. You and the babies will be monitored to ensure the process does not need to be speeded up.


WEEK THIRTY SEVEN
Mother:
The pregnancy is considered a "term" pregnancy at this point and nothing will be done to stop labor in most circumstances.
Many women wonder if they will really know when labor has begun. There are several ways to tell the difference between real labor and prelabor. Be sure that you talk to your healer/midwife about knowing the difference.
Since this is Pern and NOT RL breastfeeding is the norm. Though Alpha is in possession of pumps, bottles and artificial nipples that can be borrowed when breastfeeding is NOT an option due to mother's illness, injury or death and/or if a wet-nurse is unavailable.


Baby:
Your baby is practicing breathing by inhaling amniotic fluid. Sometimes the baby will even get hiccoughs!
Remember to feel these last few weeks of kicks, believe it or not you will miss them.


WEEK THIRTY EIGHT
Mother:
You may begin to feel electrical buzzes down your legs and inside your vagina. This is caused from the baby hitting nerves as s/he settles into your pelvis.

A lot of time and effort has been spent educating mom about the process of labor, we are going to talk about a common fear for men this week: BEING IN THE BIRTH ROOM!

I highly encourage men to go in to watch the partners give birth. It is one of the most amazing experiences you will ever be able to have.
Be assured that you will only have to watch or participate as much as you feel comfortable with. For some men this will be little more than holding your partners hand and gazing into her eyes. Let me assure you that this is a great thing to do! If you wish to take a more active role this may include labor support (breathing, massage, heat and cold packs, etc.), cutting to cord, helping to catch the baby. These are all fine, but should be discussed with your healer/midwife ahead of time, so that they know your preferences.
A note about cord cutting: The umbilical cord contains no nerves, so neither the mother nor the baby will feel the cut. The cord is also a tough, fatty substance (this protects the cord from compression inutero) so expect to give it some effort to cut it.


Baby:
The baby may be gaining as much as 1 ounce (about 28 grams) a day at this point! However, your weight gain has slowed or stopped. Hang in there!


WEEK THIRTY NINE
Mother:
Now that you know how to tell if you are really in labor, let's talk about some of the ways your body prepares for labor. It is really neat to examine all of the changes that take place in your body as the pregnancy continues.
Your baby will descend into your pelvis, sometimes called engagement or lightening, usually before labor in first time moms and during labor in subsequent births.
Your cervix, the mouth of your uterus, will begin to soften and possibly dilate. Some healers will do routine vaginal exams towards the end of pregnancy. Contrary to popular belief, you can't predict when labor will start by the details of your cervix. Some healers will also strip the membranes in an attempt to "get things going." If you feel strongly about this mention it to your practitioner before any physical exams.
In the days before labor begins you may also experience the following, although they are not always accurate predictors of when labor will begin:

  • bloody show
  • loss of mucous plug
  • nesting instinct
  • loose stools
  • loss of weight
  • increase in appetite



Hang in there! You are almost done!


Baby:
Did you know that the amniotic fluid is continually replaced, even in labor, at the rate of every three hours? Pretty amazing stuff! We really don't know where amniotic fluid comes from, although it is partially comprised of urine, sweat and other fluids from the baby. Your baby has been practicing breathing the amniotic fluid for many weeks in preparation for the big event!
The meconium in the baby's intestines will be shed as the first movement that the bowels make after birth. Meconium is a black, thick, tarry substance that is hard to get off of their rear ends! About 30% of the time, the baby will actually pass this stool before birth. This can cause problems if the baby swallows the meconium, however, that is not likely if the proper suctioning is done at birth. This can be done by a healer or a midwife.


WEEK FORTY
Mother:
Your body has been getting ready in many ways over the last few weeks. We have talked before of the labor and what it entails. We have discussed pain relief and other aspects as well. As you know many healthy pregnancies will still be in full gear past 40 weeks gestation. This is very normal, only about 4% of women will actually give birth on their due date. While 98% of women, including those who give birth on their due dates, will give birth 2 weeks before or 2 weeks after.


Baby:
Your baby is probably one of the 96% of babies who is head down and deeply snuggled into your pelvis. The immune system is still immature and the baby receives antibodies from the placenta and after birth they will receive antibodies continually from your breast milk. Most of the lanugo has fallen off the baby's body, although you may still find some hidden spots, particularly in the creases, and around the shoulders or ears.
The average baby will be about 7.5 pounds (3.4 kilograms) and 20 inches long at birth. The placenta will weight about 1/8 th the size of the baby and the umbilical cord will be about the same length as the baby. Your baby will be judged, at birth and 5 minutes later, with an apgar score.
After all these many months of waiting, enjoy your new baby! And, if you want to, share your story with us!


Twin Tips:
The rate of undiagnosed multiples is very slim. Finding out earlier you have multiples helps ensure a healthier delivery for both mom and babies.

WEEK FORTY ONE
Mother:
Surprise! You're still here. That's okay you aren't alone. While some moms have their babies prior to their due dates, many moms don't have their babies until after their due dates. The majority of the time it's simply because the due date was miscalculated...
Extra rest is very important, temper your bouts of energy with naps.


Baby:
Okay, are you surprised that the baby is still in there? You shouldn't be! He or she is tucked away, happily, inside. The average first time mother will go more than four days past her due date. Remember that the due date was more of a guess than anything based in science!


Your healer will still be monitoring you and the baby for the proper growth, fetal movements, and signs of labor.


WEEK FORTY TWO
Mother:
Okay, so it's not funny anymore. Your back really hurts, the neighbors, the relatives, no one will leave you alone. The solution: set a dragon or firelizard at the door. Pregnant woman stalking is now a very popular sport.


Seriously, continue doing all the comfort measures you need to stay comfortable. Continue exercising, sleeping, and drinking lots of water. Remember that no one has been pregnant forever.


If you haven't had a vaginal exam yet one may be performed to see if your cervix is favorable. Although this truly has no bearing on when you will go into labor or how long it will take, but for some women and practitioners it's comforting information to see that her body is changing. Remember that not all of the preparations for birth can be measured by a vaginal exam.


There may be health reasons to start looking at induction, though by the end of this week 98% of you will be gone and off enjoying your babies. Sometimes the baby isn't growing well and would be better off outside the uterus. Sometimes the mother has an illness, like PIH or diabetes that means a birth sooner would be better than later. Only your healer can tell you if these are required for you.


So, settle in and enjoy the last few days of pregnancy. Read some birth stories, finish up last minute plans, go for a walk, and remember to enjoy those last few hours of baby movements, it will be what you miss later!


Baby:
Babies honestly don't tend to get that much bigger after 37-38 weeks. A baby who is truly postdates (after 42 weeks) is usually characterized by the loss of weight and body fat.


Remember to do those fetal kick counts to monitor the baby's health in between visits with your healer/midwife.


{{All of the the info in this and the previous 2 posts is from http://pregnancy.about.com with a few deletions and additions with regard to Pern and DSW}}

Updated 07-08-2015 at 07:57 PM by Lindsay

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