There’s still a little fat developing under your baby’s skin, preparing her to face the world after being all lovely and cozy inside her nest for so long. Almost at birth weight, she has next to no room at move around and can feel the difference. Everything is pretty much in perfect working order by this, the second to last week, and if your baby were to be born now, she would be just fine.
First-time mothers are particularly unsure about recognizing when labour has started. Let us reassure you – you will know! And very few babies are born so quickly that their mothers can’t get to the hospital in time. On the contrary, many parents-to-be are sent back home by the doctor at the hospital because they have come in too soon. You might feel a bit nauseous just before the birth or have a headache, and feel an almost leaden tiredness. Often some blood or mucus appears. This is a sign that the cervix has opened. If the contractions have started, then labour has begun! The difference between Braxton-Hicks contractions and real, first-stage contractions? With Braxton-Hicks, the belly tightens for a short time then relaxes, and they are irregular. “Genuine” contractions, on the other hand, get stronger. They come at regular intervals that get shorter and shorter. If they are less than ten minutes apart, then it is time to go to the hospital!
You have been eating so well for the past nine months, to promote good health for you and your baby. Those are great habits to keep and in general, are consistent with a healthy diet while breastfeeding. Breastfeeding can help you lose weight after pregnancy. Importantly though, you need to consume a healthy diet and get adequate physical activity too. While breastfeeding, you need to eat foods containing enough extra calories to support milk production, but consuming more than your body needs may stop you from losing weight or lead to weight gain.
Immediately after the birth, most midwives will lay the baby on your front, where he or she will feel comfortable despite the new surroundings because they can feel your warmth, smell your skin and recognise your voice and heartbeat! This is a great time to put your baby onto your naked skin and to your breast so they can feel you and suckle for the first time. Then you can finally hold your longed-for darling in your arms after all that hard work. What a fabulous pay-off!