What’s happening this week
- may notice darkening of the skin line down the centre of your abdomen (the linea nigra)
- may have an ache in your wrists and hands as the ‘carpal tunnel’ in your wrist swells during pregnancy and can pinch the nerves that run through it.
- measures about 23 cm from the top of his head to his bottom
- can respond to touch – remember that when you see the form of a little hand or foot poking out!
- makes breathing movements
- is sometimes active, sometimes quiet.
You may still be thinking about the sort of the birth you would like for your baby. If your pregnancy is progressing normally there are several options you could consider…
Home or Hospital?
If you are a first time mother you may have decided to have your baby in hospital. That also applies if you have health problems, or if you live in an area where medical services couldn’t reach you quickly in the event of an emergency. However, even if you are a first-timer, you may want to have your baby at home. Studies have shown that home birth is just as safe as hospital birth for healthy women.
Also, you are entitled by law to book a LMC to deliver your baby at home if that’s what you want. Talk to your LMC-ask her advice about any potential problems-and also consider how easy it would be to get to the hospital from home if there was an emergency. If you want to have your baby in a maternity unit visit the unit first. That way you will know exactly what you can expect in the way of care and pain relief, and how you will be looked after once your baby is born. A tour of the unit may be part of the series of antenatal classes or your unit may have regular open days.
Some women find that getting into a pool of warm water is a good way to relax in labour. Women who use pools tend to need less pain relief, and may have shorter labours. Babies born to women who use a birth pool have similar Apgar scores (the quick assessment that the LMC makes of babies just after they are born – see Week 32) and there is no increased risk of infection.
Pools are available in some maternity units, and you can arrange to hire a pool to use at home. If your unit has a birth pool, there will be guidelines about who can use it. Usually only women who have reached full term, and with a single baby whose head is head downwards, are allowed to use the pool. Talk to your LMC about what guidelines apply at your birthing unit.
If you plan to hire a birth pool to use at home, make sure you have an area where it can safely be put up. Pool hire companies can usually advise about the practical issues.Talk to your LMC about how the pool can be used. In some areas women labour and deliver in the pool. In others they labour in the pool but are asked to get out for the delivery.