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Shower Me With Love (& Onesies) WEEK 23

Approved by the What’s Up Moms Medical Advisory Board

Baby’s almost 11 ½ inches long – the size of a Pringles can but cuddlier. Blood vessels in her lungs are developing to prepare for breathing, and she’s really picking up sounds in the outside world – which means that after she’s born she’ll already be kinda used to your coffee grinder and yappy dog. Phew.

As you enter the final few months of pregnancy, your uterus might start “practicing” for labor with Braxton Hicks contractions — basically a feeling that your uterus is suddenly tightening and getting super hard (or “balling up”) for a few moments before relaxing back to normal again. Braxton Hicks are painless and don’t last long, and what differentiates them from real labor is just that: they are fleeting, irregular and usually stop if you change position or drink some water. (Real contractions increase in strength and regularity). Obvs if you have contractions that are painful or ongoing, ping your doc, but know that some women experience Braxton Hicks contractions throughout the entire latter half of pregnancy. Oh, and for the lucky few of you who are still enjoying sex these days: orgasms can also cause contractions that last for a few minutes. FYI.

Meanwhile, the swelling that may already be happening in your legs and feet will also likely hit your hands sooner or later. So another heads up: Before you puff up into marshmallow territory, take off your rings – or you could have a real situation on your hands. (Had to do it.)

In the next few weeks, your doc will have you come in and take the Glucose Challenge Screening Test to see whether you’re at risk for gestational diabetes. This consists of drinking a vat of sweet liquid called Glucola (like a syrupy-er version of orange soda) then waiting for an hour in a sugared-up, mildly grossed out state while reading People Magazine. Then they’ll draw your blood to see how your body has processed the sugar. Depending on the results, you’re either off the hook or you may need to take a second, longer test to receive a more definitive diagnosis.

Meanwhile, if a friend or family member has offered to throw a baby shower for you, now’s a good time to firm up plans. Traditionally, mothers-to-be did not throw their own showers, but we are a modern peoples and, let’s face it, anything goes! If you and your husband want to throw a last hurrah/welcome-for-the-baby party with a big co-ed group as a raucous evening party, great. If you want to go a more traditional route and let relatives or friends host a ladies-only luncheon or some such, also great. And everything in between. Just do it before week 36 or so. Your soiree will be more fun if you can comfortably stand and mingle; plus, you never know baby’s exact plan for arrival. She’s shifty that way.