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Pregnancy at 36 Weeks

This is the last week for you to have the GBS test. Make sure you have it done so that you can be well prepared in the delivery room.
Your Baby’s Position

If you are planning a babymoon at this point, plan one that keeps you close to home and to the hospital or birth center. In any case, remember that most airlines will not allow you to fly after 36 weeks.

By this time, you should have a list of phone numbers that includes everyone from your doctor or midwife’s office to the person who will walk your dog or who will bring you to the hospital if your partner is unavailable. Do a practice drive to the hospital or birth center so that you know where you should go and where to park when the time comes. Your hospital bag should be packed and placed near your front door. Here’s a list of nine items you should pack in your hospital bag. It’s really happening: your baby will be here soon!

Your Body at 36 Weeks Pregnant
Your baby should have dropped a bit by now. As a result, there is more pressure on your pelvis, and you’ll notice that your trips to the bathroom to pee will be more frequent. The good news is that it will be easier to breathe and you'll probably notice less heartburn.

Your Baby at 36 Weeks Pregnant
Your health care provider should verify the position of your baby. If your baby is breech, your health care provider will offer you a choice of a cesarean section or an external cephalic version. In most cases, if a breech baby doesn’t turn, a cesarean section will enable him to be delivered most safely. Your baby continues to gain weight, and is the size of a durian fruit. Her lungs are often functional at this stage, and she can turn and lift its head. Most of the vernix and lanugo (fuzzy body hair) is now gone from her skin. Her hiccupping, however, is getting more frequent.

Checklist at 36 Weeks Pregnant
Group B Strep Test: At 35-36 weeks, your rectum and vaginal area will be swabbed with a special cotton swab to look for the presence of a common bacteria called Group B Strep (GBS). If you have this bacteria, you’ll be given intravenous antibiotics during labor to prevent the transmission to your newborn.

Perineal massage: If you’re choosing to do perineal massage, it’s time to begin.

Hospital Registration: It’s also time to register at the hospital or birth center where you will be delivering. Take a tour; you’ll feel more comfortable when you arrive on the big day.

Birth Plan: Finalize your birth plan and go over it with your health care provider. Remember that no birth goes exactly according to plan. The most important plan you can have is to be kind to yourself however your birth experience turns out. Because this birth is a joint venture between you and your baby, it will happen in a way that works for both of you. It isn’t a contest between you and anyone else. Being flexible now about the experience may help your recovery later, and every woman has her own story. Remember that you have grown a baby over the past nine or so months, and you are one amazing woman.

Pack Your Hospital Bag: Here are ideas from other moms. Don’t forget the champagne, bubbly cider or sparkling water!

Choose a Pediatrician: Your baby should have a pediatrician prior to delivery, so ask for recommendations and make sure that the pediatrician you choose is accepting new patients. Your pediatrician should not only be someone with great credentials, but someone you’ll feel comfortable talking to about your child in the years to come. For five things moms say to look for in a pediatrician, read our article, here.

More Shopping: Finish buying things for the baby (and for you): Check out our list of mom-recommended new baby essentials and what you may need in your nursery’s first-aid kit.

Install your infant car seat: Contact your local police station, fire station, or hospital to see if any of these locations can provide someone to check the installation of your infant car seat. The installation is harder than it seems and it’s worth a double check. Remember, the hospital won’t let you leave without an infant car seat for your baby.  

WIC: Sign up for the U.S. Government Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program if you’re planning to use it.  

Maternity Leave: If you’re working, it’s time to think about your maternity leave, if you haven’t already. Make sure to check in with your human resources department. Your health care provider will need to fill out some of the forms, so be sure to give her office plenty of time. Here’s advice from other moms about how to prepare for maternity leave gracefully as well as what to expect and plan for when you decide to go back to work.

Umbilical Cord Blood Storage: Now would be a good time to talk with your partner and your doctor about the option of umbilical cord blood storage.

Circumcision: If you’re having a boy, decide if you are going to have him circumcised and let your health care provider know. 

Tubal Ligation and Birth Control: If you’re planning to have a tubal ligation, let your health care provider know and sign the necessary forms. Otherwise, think about which type of birth control might be right for you after delivering. Here’s a list of safe birth control for nursing moms.

The preceding information was adapted from The Pregnancy Companion.
Source: iStockPhoto

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