Mom's Changing Body
Your baby is due this week, and if you're lucky she will actually arrive this week! Soon you'll feel your first real contractions. They'll come fast and furious once you're in active labor, lasting up to a minute each, or even a bit longer. And yes, they huuuurt. You'll feel this intense pain radiating through your stomach, lower back and upper thighs. This is like nothing you've ever felt before, and each woman copes with it differently. Now's the time when pain-relieving epidurals are usually administered, so don't be afraid to ask for one. While your baby gets the once-over, you'll be busy delivering the placenta, the 2-pound, bluish mass of blood vessels and tissues that has nourished and protected your infant over the past nine months. Although you may continue to feel contractions, most new moms are too blissed out—"I did it! She's here, she's healthy, she's gorgeous!"—to notice them.
Once you get to the hospital, a doctor will check things out down there to see how much your cervix has dilated. Once you reach 3 or 4 centimeters, you'll likely be offered an epidural to help manage the pain. (According to the many women who swear by them, the needle prick of the local anesthetic going in before they give you the epidural may be the most painful part of your entire labor.) Or, you may be set on delivering drug-free. No matter what you've planned or imagined, it's perfectly fine to change your mind at the last minute. It happens a lot!
What Week 40 of Your Pregnancy is Really Like
Pregnancy Confidential Podcast
To Induce or Not to Induce? That is the Million Dollar Question.
You've made it to your due date! Congrats. But the fact that you're still listening to this tells us you're not exactly in the throes of labor—yet. Reaching Week 40 and beyond can be a frustrating time. You can feel as big as a house with a four-car garage and totally, 100% ready to get this birthing show on the road. Like NOW. In our last episode, we covered the lovely, laid-back things you can do naturally to coax your body into labor, but now that you've hit D-day, it's time to get serious. Do you induce or don't you? And if so, how long do you go before the P-word (Pitocin) is uttered? Remember: it'll all be worth it once you're holding that baby!
This Week's To-Do List
This Week's FAQs
Cervical Ripening: Can You Soften Your Cervix for Birth at Home?Cervical dilation and effacement is necessary for a vaginal birth, but it doesn't always happen like it should. Here's how to encourage the process yourself with natural methods.
Your Postpartum Body: 20 Ways It Changes After BabyYour body will inevitably look different after giving birth. Read on for advice from doctors, midwives, and physical therapists about what to expect from your postpartum body.
7 Exercises to Induce Labor You Can Do at HomeCertain movements can improve a pregnant person’s alignment and properly position the baby for delivery. Experts share how to do them safely and effectively.