Week 34: What are the Signs of Labor?
There is no way out of the experience except through it, because it is not really your experience at all, but the baby’s. Your body is the child’s instrument of birth.
–Penelope Leach, Your Baby and Child
What’s Happening in Your Body?
Eating large meals begins to be a challenge for most women around this time. It may be better to eat several small meals throughout the day, rather than sticking to the traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner routine.
What’s Happening with Your Baby?
The baby weighs between four and six pounds and is between 16- to 18-inches long. She is quickly gaining needed fat stores under her skin.
What are the Signs of Labor?
You are, step by step, working your way up to labor, though you may not even realize it. You may feel quite different now. Perhaps it seems as though the baby’s head is pressing against your pelvic floor more than it did before. You might begin to have more frequent Braxton-Hicks contractions. Your midwife or doctor may tell you that your cervix is ripe, or even that it is slightly dilated. Learn the signs of the Early Stages of Labor.
Fish is another light and healthful meal that won’t leave you feeling heavy and uncomfortably full. Braised Mahi-mahi and Vegetables is a good choice. Serve this over rice or noodles and you will have a complete meal that doesn’t take long to prepare.
Your legs do extra duty during pregnancy. Take special care of them, especially during the last trimester, when you may be prone to edema, varicose veins, and other leg problems that are aggravated by increased blood volume, hormonal changes, and nutritional deficiencies.
Edema of the ankles and legs responds to lavender, geranium, and rosemary oils, all of which stimulate the lymphatic system to drain excess fluids from the body. Add 1 drop each of lavender, geranium, and rosemary essential oil to 1 teaspoon of grapeseed or sweet almond oil. Mix gently with your fingers. Using upward strokes, gently massage this blend of oils into your feet and ankles.
In addition, put 3 drops of lemon, mandarin, or other citrus oils in your bath for a mild diuretic effect.
Along with raspberry leaves, blue and black cohosh have been used in later pregnancy for hundreds of years to prepare women’s bodies for childbirth. They are not safe to use during early pregnancy, but can be safely consumed in tea form during the last four to six weeks of pregnancy.
I Wear My Stretchmarks Like Tattoos
I am a woman
whose belly has billowed
a mainsail on a pirate ship
on its way to treasure
a queen-size-bed topsheet
on a new clothesline in March
around my freckled navel
tiny river tributaries
from the cold spring of my joy
pattern rising to the touch
like fired-rice-grain china
the way the sunlight catches
above my hipline skirts
when the music births itself again
and I start moving I start
moving and with my daughter
Katharyn Howd Machan
Image by Durga Yael Bernhard