Pregnancy
39 weeks and 6 days pregnant

It’s been wonderful to see your baby’s progress and facial features as each day of the pregnancy has passed by. 2D and 3D ultrasound images, as well as MRI, have all played a part in giving us a glimpse into the fascinating and complex world of life before birth.

Your newborn’s stomach will be fully developed, but low acid levels mean she can only be fed milk for the first few months.

Unlike an adult, your baby produces little gastric acid and keeps amniotic fluid in the stomach longer; it is this fluid that helps to keep the acid content of her stomach low. While your baby is in the uterus hiccupping, turning upside down, and trying to co-ordinate breathing with swallowing, not having much hydrochloric acid in the stomach is a good idea.

After birth the acid content of your baby’s stomach will increase quickly in the first 24 hours but not reach adult levels until three months. This is why solids aren’t introduced until a baby is at least four months old, although six months is the current advice on when to start weaning. Some studies show that breastfed babies given solid food before six months are more likely to get diarrhoea and chest infections, and may be more prone to developing allergies. There is less research on formula-fed babies, but there is no evidence that they need solid food any earlier.

Raspberry leaf tea has been proven to facilitate labourby helping the muscles to contract more efficiently. Studies have found that drinking this in the months prior to delivery (not before week 30) helps to shorten the second stage of labour by making the contractions more effective. It also appears to reduce the risk of having an assisted delivery, such as emergency Caesarean or ventouse.

Best of all, raspberry leaf tea is enormously nutritious, containing vitamins A, C, E, and B, and the minerals calcium, magnesium, and iron, all of which are required for a healthy pregnancy.

Drunk after the birth, this tea can help the uterus to contract back to its normal size, and encourage the flow of breast milk.

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What exactly is a “show”?

During pregnancy, a plug of jelly-like mucus seals the lower end of your cervix and this prevents infection getting into your uterus. This “plug” comes away towards the end of pregnancy – known as a “show” – and although this can mean that labour is going to start soon, it can also dislodge up to six weeks before your labour actually starts.

Getting to know your newborn can be difficult if there’s a constant stream of visitors bearing gifts and good wishes. Why not shut out the world and spend a few days home alone? Your newborn baby will sleep a lot, so take the opportunity to do the same. There will be plenty of time for people to meet the new member of your family.

Your hormones will be all over the place, so expect to experience lows as well as highs, especially when your milk comes in.

Your partner also needs time to bond with his baby, nurture you both, and get to grips with nappy changing.

So stick a message on the front door, switch on the answer phone, and snuggle up with your new family.

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