Week 36: Pregnancy Week by Week

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Week 36: How to avoid medical interventions

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The more pregnancy is lived like an illness, the more it becomes in itself a cause of illness.

-Michel Odent, MD, Birth Reborn



What’s Happening in Your Body?

It is not uncommon to experience Braxton-Hicks contractions during this time. You will feel your abdomen tighten and then release when this happens. Some women feel them more commonly if they have been walking or moving around a lot. Don’t worry, these contractions are normal and are a way for the body to practice the contractions you will experience during labor. Visits to your caregiver will probably increase to once a week during this last month of pregnancy.

What’s Happening with Your Baby?

Your baby’s sucking reflex has matured, and his brain growth is accelerating rapidly. He has now lost most of the lunago, the downy hair that covered his body, and a thick, creamy protective coating called vernix now completely covers his skin.

Avoiding the Cascade of Medical Interventions

In our culture, there has been a tendency to turn pregnancy and childbirth into a medical experience. One intervention can lead to another in a cascading sequence of questionable procedures, many made necessary only because of a previous intervention. Learn how to head unnecessary medical intervention off at the pass.

Nourish Yourself

Fruity Brown Rice Salad is a quick, easy, nutritious, and delicious salad that is a great side dish to serve family and guests. Brown rice is a whole grain that adds plenty of fiber to your diet and doesn’t cause spikes in your blood sugar levels.

Body Wise

If your baby is in a breech position, the Breech Tilt can be effective in helping the baby to turn, sometimes within a single week. Be sure your birth attendant has confirmed that the baby is in a breech position and has not yet dropped too deeply into your pelvis. Once the baby has turned head-down, discontinue the breech tilt at once and begin walking frequently to help the baby snuggle down into your pelvis.

Natural Soothers

Belly Warming with Moxibustion: Moxa, or mugwort, is traditionally used to strengthen the mother’s overall system and tonify her uterus after birth. This hot-burning herb, commonly used as an accompaniment to acupuncture, can be purchased in stick form at health food stores. Buy it now to have ready for the hectic days following your baby’s birth. For directions on how to use it, read the full article.

Higher Ground

My Baby Knows
Remember that your due date is just an estimate. Nine months is an average. Each baby has her own length of gestation. Try to set a range rather than a date as the time to expect the baby. Instead of “The baby is due on December 20,” say, “The baby is due in late December.” Add a couple of weeks to your due date so you can relax and not be inundated by well-meaning phone calls toward the end of your pregnancy.

Here’s a visualization exercise you can use if you’re worried about your baby’s due date: Find a place where you can sit quietly for 15 to 30 minutes. Take a few deep breaths and bring your attention to your breathing. Place your hands on your abdomen as you slow your breathing by letting your breaths get longer and longer.

Begin to imagine your baby. Silently say to yourself:

  • My body has everything my baby needs.
  • My body knows how to give birth.
  • My baby knows when to be born.

Repeat these phrases a few times as you breathe deeply with our hands on your abdomen. Turn them into a song if you like. Finish with a few moments of silent breathing.


Image by Durga Yael Bernhard


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