Your BabyYour baby can - and does - respond just as a newborn would by opening his eyes while awake and closing them while sleeping. Your baby can also grasp firmly and his little fingernails may need to be trimmed shortly after birth. This month also offers more time for your baby to build antibodies and for his skin to continue to thicken. Your baby is approximately 18 inches long and weighs about 4.5 pounds. It's wonderful to know that if your baby was born now, it has a 95 percent chance of full and normal survival with medical intervention.
Your BodyYour 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. This is a good time to learn all you can about labor and the stages of labor:
- First Stage: This begins when you start to have regular contractions that increase in frequency and intensity. The contractions will then pick up and you will be in the active phase of the first stage of labor. Contractions are then 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: You begin this stage when you are completely dilated. You will begin pushing your baby into this world. Your contractions will get further apart and feel differently. If you have been un-medicated you will feel the urge to push. If you have been medicated you may or may not feel the urge to push and will be directed at how to proceed. If there is an episiotomy done, it will be done at the end of this stage. The end of the second stage will be marked by the birth of your baby!
- Third Stage: This is the anticlimax. Anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour after delivering your baby they will want you to give a few small pushes to expel the placenta.