Glucose Screening Test.
Between the weeks of 24-28 you will be offered a glucose screening test, this is a test to see if you have developed gestational diabetes. If you have already got diabetes then the test will be offered to you much sooner. This can affect your baby's blood sugar levels which can cause your baby to grow larger.
How do they perform the test?
Your midwife will often ask you not to eat for a couple of hours, this will give your body a chance to show it's true blood sugar levels and will make it easier to detect. They will then take a blood sample (usually from your arm) called a baseline test. After the blood has been taken the nurse will then ask you to drink a high sugar level drink then test again within 2 hours.
What will happen if the blood tests come back positive?
It depends on the result itself, the doctor will guide you through what is needed to be done. They will guide you on which foods that will low your blood sugar levels. But with a healthy balanced diet and the right exercise then that should help lower the blood sugar. They will offer you a scan to check on your baby's size, if your baby is shown to be larger than normal then the doctors will offer you insulin injections.
Now is the time to get planning!
Around week 28 you should be thinking about the birth itself, There are many options such as:
- Water birth - (Which involves you actually giving birth inside a small pool, this is what most women would like since it eases back pain)
- Natural Birth - (This involves you actually giving birth as naturally as possible with out the use of pain relief)
- C-Section - It is advised that you do not have a C-Section if your pregnancy is going well, a c-section is a procedure that they use to help get the baby out as quickly as possible, it involves the woman either being on general anesthetic or a milder form so she can stay awake through the whole thing, they will then cut just below your bikini like and start to get the baby out. NOTE: You will have to stay in hospital for a couple of days to make sure that you do not contract any infections and to ensure that you are healing properly.
You will also start buying clothes ready for your baby, usually women buy clothes that are 0-3 months old, but others advise that you buy clothes as old as 6 months, since birth weight can vary it is not advised to buy "Tiny Baby" clothes. You may be thinking about names for your little one, don't worry! There is still plenty of time to think, there are also great books to help you through it.
Week 30 - 10 more weeks to go!
Time as flown by! Right now you baby is a whopping 15.7 inches and weighs at around 2.75lbs. At this time you may notice your belly twitching, this is because every once in a while your baby has the hiccups! As your baby practices moving around, stretching his or her legs it can take quite a tole on your belly! For the last 10 weeks it is normal to gain at least 1 pound. Don't worry you will lose some of it as soon as the baby is born. Because your baby is weighing so heavy some doctors recommend you do Kegel Exercises.
What are Kegel Exercises?
Kegel Exercises will help you strengthen the muscles you use to urinate, this will also help you have a more manageable labor
Three step guide on Kegel Exercises:
- . To help you find the muscles you need to strengthen try stopping the flow of urine as you urinate.
- Contract these muscles by holding them for 5 seconds and then releasing for 10. Repeat these 10 times.
- While doing these you must remember to breathe as normally as possible and do 3-4 sets a day.
Doing Kegel Exercises after pregnancy will also help your body set everything back into it's place, since giving birth naturally can weaken your muscles it is important to strengthen them back up, if you don't then there is a possibility of your body not being able to hold urine for as long as you usually could and can result in embarrassing moments.
Group B Streptococcus (GBS)
At week 35 you will be offered the Group B Streptococcus test, although this is harmless to you it can be deadly for your baby during birth. Many women are unaware that they carry this infection because it usually causes no symptoms. With proper testing and treatment the overall risk is low. The test is performed by simply swabbing the lower end of the vagina and rectum, this will then be sent off to the lab for testing.
What if my test results come back positive?
Simple antibiotics are available like Penicillin, they will be given to you as soon as they find out that you have been tested positive. You may experience symptoms such as a small rash but this will go with time.
Getting ready for the new arrival.
By now you are getting very excited to see your baby. It is important that you check to see if there is anything you will need to do such as setting up the cot and see if there are any dangers surrounding your baby's environment. Here are a few checklists to complete to ensure that your baby is safe.
- Heaters: Do not bring heaters close to your baby's crib, this is because babies can't control their heat therefore can overheat very quickly. This can be potentially fatal for your baby and this can be very devastating. So ensure that there are no heaters in direct contact with your newborn.
- Carpet: You need to make sure that your carpet is secure to the floor, this is because that if you are carrying your baby you can trip and fall over the carpet. So make sure that the carpets are flat and secure to the floor.
- Baby Care Books: Books are great for any new mother. These can help guide you if you are stuck on what to do, for instance if you are unsure how to breast feed then you will have the book to take guidance off.
- Clothes: Clothes are very important, but make sure you don't just buy one sizes clothing, it is recommended you buy sizes for a baby at least 6 months of age too.
- Labor Bag: This will contain everything you will need for your new arrival, this can include:
- Dressing gown
- Money (For parking and drinks)
- Toiletries such as a wash cloth, tooth brush and baby wipes
- Something you love (This can be your favorite pillow, but make sure it is not white so it don;t get confused with the hospital pillows).
Labor Signs and Stages.
As you get closer to giving birth your body will give you some signs and tell you when it is ready to give birth. These are some of the symptoms you may experience as you get closer to your delivery date:
- The baby drops down into the birth canal: If this is your first pregnancy then this may seem a little scary, but this is your baby dropping down into the birth canal and is engaging ready for it's arrival.
- Braxton Hicks: These are often known as "Practice Labor" As the name suggests your body goes through small labor pains to prepare you for the real thing, Most women would describe these as menstrual type pains.
- Passing the mucus plug: The mucus plug came from the cervix to help protect your baby from any harm, once this comes away your baby will be ready to be born. The mucus plug differs in size and look, but will often look like green, stringy with little bits of blood on it, don't be alarmed, this is completely normal, The doctors suggest that the closer you get to your due date the more lightly you are to wear pads, It is recommended that you wear pads for the last few weeks of your pregnancy just in case the plug passes whilst you're out shopping.
- Your water breaks: This can either gush out very rapidly or trickle for long a long time, either way this is a true sign that your baby is coming, the fluid is usually cloudy in color, has no smell but can be very sudden so it is very important not to be alarmed by this.
The three stages of labor!
Now that you're in labor there are three stages, Contractions, Pushing the baby out and Delivery of the Placenta.
- Contractions: Just like practice labor these contractions can be much more intense than the last ones, these will often increase in severity as your labor progresses. This is when the muscles in your uterus begin to contract, tighten and relax, this means that your body is pushing the baby towards the vagina. The beginning of the contractions can last anywhere from 40-60 seconds and often come every 10 minutes. But as your labor progresses it reduces in time. By the time you are ready to give birth the contractions should come every 2 minutes.
- Pushing the baby out: By the time you have reached this stage you have already dilated to 10cm! Now your baby is ready to be born, This is the most difficult part of labor because your baby's head needs to come out. This process can last anywhere from 1 hour to 4. The urge to push will become your instinct and there will be nothing you can do to stop yourself from pushing. When the baby's head becomes visible to the midwife she will ask you to pant. This is the most important part because it slows the process down and will reduce your chances of taring down there.
- Delivery of the Placenta: Once you have given birth to your baby the midwife will suggest that you receive an injection to help your placenta come away from the uterus wall and come out of the vagina. This can take anywhere from 5-15 minutes depending on the woman. You will still experience mild contractions and once delivered, the midwife will then check to see if the placenta has been fully expelled and that there are no tissue still inside the womb.
Pain relief during labor.
It is not uncommon for a woman to request pain relief during labor.Others just want to scream the pain out, this is not recommended because you are not breathing as much, this can be dangerous for your baby so it is suggested that if you feel as though the pain is too much, to take pain relief.
- Self help: This is a form of pain relief that some women cheese, it means that they are in a state of mind that they simply do not care about the pain, this in return can make her feel less pain and have a more easier labor.
- Gas and Air: This method is mostly used. This is also known as laughing gas. This will make you feel slightly drunk and disorientated but will cancel out almost all of the pain. There are also side effects that come with this method, these include:
- Feeling drunk
- Feeling high (Not caring)
- Feeling drowsy
- Epidural: This is commonly used as a last resort, if none of the other pain reliefs work then this is the only option. This is done by sticking a needle in your spine to cancel our the receptors and signals being sent to your brain. Even though this is the most effective way of relieving pain it doesn't come without risks:
- You may experience shivering
- You can't feel anything below your hips so you may urinate without knowing
- May develop itching or a fever
- Nerve damage: This effects 1-300,00 women, so the chances are you won't have it, this only happens when the woman moves as the needle is being inserted into the spine, this is why they tell you to be as still as possible.
Your baby is born!
Congratulations! Your baby has arrived into the big wide world, now you have a new challenge, to be a mother! Bonding is the most important part of becoming a mother, but the first 24 hours are crucial, now you have a whole new journey ahead of you, enjoy it, embrace it and do the best you can!