Approved by the What’s Up Moms Medical Advisory Board
Baby is almost 14 inches long and nearly 2 lbs – about the length of a computer keyboard. This is a big week for lungs: the air sacs, called alveoli, are developing, and lungs are producing surfactant, a substance that keeps the tissue from sticking together. The hearing system is now completely formed and sound passes easily into your uterus – so, go on, talk to your baby! She’ll appreciate hearing about the latest movies and getting updates on who’s being considered for the next season of the Bachelor franchise. Fun fact: when baby is born, she will already recognize your voice. That’s deep.
If you haven’t already, this is a good time to start thinking about labor and delivery. For most first-time moms it’s hard to even conceptualize the Big Event: it’s normal to feel some anxiety around it. But the more you learn now, the calmer you’ll feel going in. Your childbirth class will be a great source of info on what to expect: the stages of labor, relaxation techniques, positions, and which pain relief options will be available to you and how they work. You’ll also get a handle on interventions like c-section and induction and when those might be used. Once you tour the hospital and see the maternity ward (pay attention to all those not-so-little details, like where to park and how to check in) you’ll feel more oriented.
Once you have a lay of the land, think about your own wishes and hopes for labor and delivery. Maybe you know you’re going to want all the drugs or are steadfast that you don’t. Maybe you know you’ll want to check into the hospital as early as they’ll possibly let you — or perhaps you know you’ll want to labor at home for as long as you can. Maybe for medical reasons or otherwise you know you’ll be induced. Or you’ve got your heart set on giving birth in a tub – at home or in the hospital. The spectrum is wide, so feel out your sweet spot.
You’ll hear talk of ‘birth plans,’ but whether you draw up a formal document or not is completely up to you. With your partner, just begin to envision your plan. And once you know what you want, be prepared to hold your ground – while also remaining flexible enough to go with the flow if plans need to change. Obviously when it comes to baby’s health, you do what you gotta do. That right there is the one plan you can set in stone.