Your Pregnancy: Week 24
If you’re having a hard time taking off your rings or squeezing into your shoes, don’t be surprised. Edema, where the hands, feet and ankles swell, is an extremely common issue that 75% of all expecting moms experience. Ankles and feet in particular swell because the excess fluid in your system has a hard time circulating and ends up where gravity takes it. To prevent edema, drink lots of water to flush the other fluids through your system and wear support stockings to keep the swelling at bay. Of course, check in with your doctor to rule out more serious complications.
Your baby – who is almost a foot long – now has hair starting to cover his/her scalp. And while defining characteristics like cowlicks will be visible, the hairs will be short and fine until closer to the birth. As of right now, the hairs don’t have pigment, but in the next several weeks you’ll have a brunette, blonde or carrot top growing in your tummy.
Start interviewing potential pediatricians. You’ll want to find one (in your insurance plan) with convenient hours, compatible philosophies and a good reputation – so don’t wait until the last minute. Ask around for recommendations.
After doing your research, make a birth plan including your requests and wishes during labor. For instance, do you plan on using pain-relieving medications? Specific music? What are your opinions on fetal-monitoring, labor-induction and the number of visitors allowed in the room? Keep in mind though, that your labor most likely won’t go exactly as planned, so be flexible and offer Plan B suggestions.
Eat smaller, more frequent meals more slowly than normal to avoid pregnancy heartburn.
Find out if you can pre-register at your hospital or birthing center and do so.
Advice from Dr. Shari E. Brasner
Backaches are one of the most common problems of pregnancy, and while there are specific adjustments you can make to minimize them (like stretching, taking warm baths and wearing smart shoes), I’m afraid that this affliction simply seems to come with the territory. I know I sound like your mother, but try to remember not to hunch your shoulders. Some of my patients claim to have been helped by the various lumbar-support products out on the market. These are sometimes called prenatal cradles and are essentially girdle-like contraptions that offer support. They are available at some maternity stores. I have never used one, so I can’t vouch for them personally.”
Babble recommends Dr. Brasner’s pregnancy book, Advice from a Pregnant Obstetrician.
Mom-To-Mom Advice: Everyone’s An Expert, But You’re The Authority on Yourself and Your Baby
Friends with babies can do a lot to smooth the transition to parenthood. They can commiserate, or lend you clothes and equipment, or at least know what you’re talking about when you ask whether the cheese is pasteurized. It can be a great relief to socialize with someone who knows the ropes and is accustomed to having conversations in 30-second chunks. But it can also be a little sad to lose the intensity of those pre-baby friendships. And then there’s the bigger stuff, like clashing ideas about raising kids. Ideally, you’ll be able to respect each other’s takes on things and ways of handling situations, but that doesn’t always come naturally. You may get a lot of “The pushing stage is the easy part!” or “Babies find bright colors over-stimulating” or other equally questionable proclamations. “This is how it is” usually means “This is how it was for us.” As always, take advice with a grain of salt, especially advice you don’t care for. And a truckload of understanding will help you forgive your friends for giving it to you (and maybe keep you from giving similarly inconsiderate advice to them). No matter how you choose to give birth or trick out the nursery, your friendships should stay in tact, but parenting choices can reveal fundamental conflicts that may not have been clear before you had kids. Many friendships survive – or even thrive on – debates and differences, but friends have broken up over less.
It’s not just friends who like to chime in. You’ve probably already realized that everyone you know (and even people you don’t) has some kind of opinion about what you should or absolutely should not do with yourself and your baby. But everyone’s experience and perspective is different. The way you deal with pregnancy, birth and your baby comes from who you are, where you’ve been, and what you believe in. So, while getting advice from friends, family and other “experts” can help you along the way, keep in mind that what worked for your sister, your mother, or your best friend will not necessarily work for you – and vice versa. Experts – be they professionals, “been-there done-that” moms, or strangers on the street – have ideas, but they may also have agendas. Take the advice that makes sense to you and let the rest go. The important thing is to be able to process what you hear through an understanding of what matters to you and your family.
Babble recommends From the Hips, by Rebecca Odes and Ceridwen Morris.