The baby is almost seventeen inches long and weighs close to four pounds. Your baby’s skin has become thicker and has taken on a slightly pinkish tone. Babies at this stage continue to have definite sleeping and waking cycles, with seventy to eighty percent of their time spent asleep. Ultrasounds have shown that by thirty-two to thirty-six weeks gestation, babies begin having cycles of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is when dreaming usually occurs.
If you have no complications (and are still in the mood), having sex is still safe for you at this point. Because of your growing uterus, you may have to find new positions. As long as you and your partner are comfortable (comfortable being a relative term at this point!) with it, sex can be a bonding experience you might not get to have as often as you’d like after the baby is born. If you don’t feel up to having sex, you can still spend time with each other touching and cuddling. Make sure you do not put anything in your vagina after your water has broken, because of risk of infection to the baby. You should ask your doctor for specifics, but most healthcare providers recommend that to ensure proper healing, you should not have sexual intercourse for four weeks after having a baby vaginally and for six weeks after delivering via a cesarean. (For more information and encouragement, read: “Post-Baby Sex: Yes, It’s Possible!”)
A Mom’s Suggestion: Make sure all of the layette items for your baby are washed and ready. Use a gentle soap or detergent for the clothes, as well as for the baby’s sheets and blankets, so they won’t irritate your newborn’s skin. There are gentle detergents made for baby items—you can also use one that is labeled hypoallergenic or good for sensitive skin. You may want to choose an outfit (or two) to pack for the hospital for the baby to wear when it is time to go home. Pick clothing that will be comfortable for the baby as well as easy for you to dress the baby in. (For suggestions, see: “Pregnancy Packing Simplified.”)
Q & A: Sarah Maddison, MD, an experienced obstetrician from Raleigh, North Carolina, answers our readers’ top questions.
Q: Can women take cold medicine or aspirin for headaches when pregnant? I know some who have suffered through migraines and week-long flu symptoms without taking anything for fear of hurting their baby. Is that the course to take, or should a woman immediately consult her doctor and go from there?
A: Tylenol and Benadryl are fine, but I would not take aspirin or Motrin-like medicines. Some doctors are if-y about Sudafed. It works by causing vascular constriction and could theoretically cause ischemia (lack of blood flow) to developing structures—so you should wait until after the first trimester. There are tons of people who take Sudafed even early in pregnancy and are fine, so people shouldn’t worry. Some birth defects are so rare; we don’t know exactly what caused them so it is hard to rule some things out. For severe headaches that don’t respond to Tylenol, we use the lowest amount of narcotics needed, but migraine medications such as Imitrex should be avoided. Definitely consult with your obstetrician about taking medications.
Eating For Two: Alternative Choices for Junk Food Cravings
When you feel like cheating and caving in to your junk food cravings, try some “healthier” alternatives instead:
- Instead of a fast food double cheeseburger, try lean ground turkey burger with low fat cheddar
- Instead of potato chips, try pretzels or pita chips
- Instead of fast food French fries, try baked potato fries
- Instead of a chocolate milk shake, try a frozen low fat chocolate milk slushie (put a cup of chocolate milk in the freezer, stirring every five minutes, until slushie, but not completely frozen)
- Instead of strawberry shortcake, try fresh strawberries with a few tablespoons of cold milk and a teaspoon of sugar
- Instead of a large one, try a mini chocolate bar
- Instead of ice cream, try sorbet or frozen juice bar
Amy’s Potato Fries
- Olive oil spray
- Four to five medium red potatoes, scrubbed, dried and cut into 1/4 inch “fries”
- Two egg whites
Seasoned salt mixture
- 1 teaspoon course grain salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- Dash of paprika
- Dash of garlic powder
- Dash of celery salt
- Dash of ground red pepper (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
2. Spray baking sheet with olive oil. Spread the potatoes in a single layer on the pan.
3. In a small bowl, whisk the egg whites with the seasoned salt mixture ingredients.
4. Brush the egg white mixture onto the potatoes.
5. Cook in the oven for thirty-forty minutes, turning every ten minutes, so the fries will brown evenly.
<<Read Week 31
Read Week 33 >>