Clearly, you could have your baby any day now. Right now, your baby may be over twenty inches long and possibly weigh between seven and a half to eight pounds. Although you may feel like a beached whale, keep your sugar-intake low and remember that you only need an extra 300 calories a day—this is the equivalent to a cup of yogurt and an apple. Some studies indicate that high sugar in the diet can increase the baby’s weight, and at this point, that surely isn’t your goal! It is difficult to predict how big a baby will be at birth, but the baby will continue to grow every day, including the hair and nails. Most of the vernix has worn away. The baby’s lungs are maturing and the vocal chords are fully developed, so you’ll hear a healthy cry once air can pass over those vocal chords.
You and the baby are probably both ready for birth, and waiting for the process to start can be frustrating. You may have periods of energy (sometimes called “nesting”) and want to accomplish a lot, but be careful not to take on too much. You will need to save some energy because you could go into labor at any time now. Continue to eat healthy meals and drink plenty of water; also try taking a short walk if you feel restless. Review what you learned in your childbirth class and practice your breathing.
Hot Topic: Apgar Score
Your newborn will be tested twice in the first five minutes after birth in the following areas: muscle tone, heart rate, reflexes, color, and respiration. This test is called the Apgar (named after its creator, an anesthesiologist named Virginia Apgar, in 1952). APGAR has also been designated as an acronym for: Activity, Pulse, Grimace, Appearance, and Respiration. Each area can receive zero to two points, and the total score ranges from zero to ten. The test was designed to quickly evaluate a newborn’s physical condition after delivery and to ascertain any immediate need for extra medical care.
A Mother’s Suggestion: If you haven’t already, recruit a few back-up drivers. Assign a few friends, neighbors, or family members to take you to the hospital if you are in labor and your primary support person is not home. One woman lamented that just after her husband left to go to the store, her water broke. She couldn’t reach him on his cell phone and no neighbors were home. Luckily, he returned in an hour, but that was probably a very long hour to wait.
Eating For Two: Easy Breakfast
Eat smaller meals to avoid indigestion, and also because you don’t want to be overly full when labor starts. Here’s a quick breakfast. You can just mix all the ingredients together if you are in a hurry, but this looks scrumptious in a tall parfait glass.
Lisa’s Yogurt Parfait
- 6 ounces low-fat plain or vanilla yogurt (or your favorite flavor)
- 1/2 cup fresh fruit (strawberries, bananas, peaches, blueberries) cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup whole grain cereal (grape-nuts or granola-mix cereals work best)
- 2 teaspoons walnut pieces
1. In a parfait glass (or any tall glass), layer each ingredient. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the fruit, then 3 ounces of the yogurt, then half of the cereal; repeat with remaining ingredients.
2. Top with the walnuts.
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