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Before Birth and Beyond
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Week 38
(counting from first day of last menstrual period)
Around 36 Weeks After Conception

Please keep in mind that this information is approximate. Each pregnancy is different and growth rates vary. If you have any questions, please check with your care provider.

Fetal Development:
The baby may be gaining an ounce a day now. His/her intestines are accumulating lots of meconium (baby's first bowel movement). The circumference of the head and the baby's abdomen are about the same size.

Maternal Changes:
False labor contractions are irregular and can be very painful. These contractions may be felt in various parts of your body (back, lower abdomen, pelvis). True labor contractions start at the top of your uterus and then spread over the entire uterus, through your lower back and into the pelvis. True labor will become stronger and more painful and won't be alleviated by changing position.

9th month
Ideas for Dad:
You catch a glimpse of Mom's profile and see that big belly . . . and you feel instantly guilty. She's tired, cranky, sick of pregnancy, can't sleep because she has to get up every 30 minutes to go to the bathroom, has chronic heartburn and indigestion, and her mood is reflective of these late-pregnancy discomforts. You feel responsible, and you know what? You ARE responsible! smiley

But let's think about that for a minute. Mom can't conceive without Dad, and Dad can't without Mom. That makes pregnancy a team effort. It's true that you don't have to go through the physical discomforts of pregnancy, but you do have your share of worries and a myriad of conflicting thoughts ~ and you have to watch someone you love change before your very eyes.

What's a Dad to do? You know already and that's why you're reading this guide. Just be there for Mom. It's a big job, and you're the best one to do it! You can't bear the brunt of pregnancy physically, but you can help Mom lighten the load considerably. And what do you do when Mom screams at you that "this" is all YOUR fault? Calmly remind her that you couldn't have done it without her part . . . and then run for cover!

Inspirational Thoughts:
Birth is the sudden opening of a window through which you look out upon a stupendous project. ~William Dixon

Reading:

Your Amazing Newborn by Marshall H. Klaus and Phyllis H. Klaus, published by Perseus Books, 1998

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