Many babies will still have a good volume of amniotic fluid around them, but shadows from the placenta or side of the uterus, coupled with the curled up fetal position, will make imaging the baby harder and harder.
It’s worth making practical arrangements now for what might happen if you go into labour.
With only around four weeks to go, now is the time to make sure you have all your partner’s contact details and know exactly how to get hold of him in case you go into labour when he’s at work. He might want to take extra care to ensure he has his mobile phone switched on and to hand in these final few weeks, and that he’s not travelling too far away.
If you have other children or other dependants, or a pet, then you should arrange what will happen to them when you go into the hospital. You may want to explain to any older children what is going to happen so that they are prepared for when they go to stay with Grandma, or whoever will be looking after them.
If you’re having a Caesarean, you might also want your older children looked after once you’re home from hospital.
Reassure your children that you will be coming back and that you’re not sick, but that you have to go into hospital when the baby comes. Depending on the age of your children, you could go with them to buy a present for the baby or you could give them a special job such as opening all the new gifts. Presents from the newborn to her elder siblings is also a good gesture.
In the run-up to the birth, ensure your toddler spends time with any family members who will be looking after him while you’re in hospital. This will help him to settle and cope without you without getting upset.
In one study of women who anticipated that they would not need pain relief, 52 per cent actually used it.
According to recent research from NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence), women underestimate how much giving birth will hurt, and don’t find out about the pain-relief options available.
If my baby is premature and is in the special care baby unit, should I still express milk?
Yes, definitely. Breast milk helps to ensure that the mother’s natural immunity is passed on to her baby via her milk. As premature babies are more prone to infection, expressing your breast milk is a great way to help your baby if she is in the special care unit. Breast milk is much easier for a baby to digest: this is important for premature babies since their digestive tract may be less developed than a full-term baby’s.
This is also a great way for you to bond and develop a relationship with your baby. This situation could be a time of considerable stress for you and you may feel helpless, so knowing that you’re doing such a great thing to help your baby could help.
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