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    Questions? Ask Henci!


    Find out what other moms-to-be are asking. Join in the discussion with Henci Goer, whose expertise is determining what the research tells us best promotes safe, healthy birth. If you would like to contact Henci outside of the Ask Henci forum, send an email to Goersitemail@aol.com.

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    Archived User

    I am 37 weeks pregnant with my first baby.  At my last Dr.s apt my bloodpressure was high so I have been ordered to save urine for 24 hrs for testing.  They said they needed to test for protien.  Why?

      I have had many contractions over the last month but nothing that I beleive resembles labor.  I have been getting increasingly depressed the farther along I get.  I cant stand having gained all this weight(60 pounds)!!!!  I am embarrassed of my body to the point that I would rather not leave my house or be in public at all.  It is getting harder and harder for me to breath, my hands and feet are swollen.  How do I know when I am really in labor?  Im having little contractions right now but have not lost my water or mucus plug yet.  All I have as a refrense is what I have seen on TV and in the movies.  I am afraid I wont know that I am in labor. 

    Henci Goer

    I am sorry the end of pregnancy is proving to be so difficult for you. Let me take one thing at a time.

    Your dr wants to test your urine for protein because whether you have protein in your urine and how much will help your dr decide how much concern there should be over your high blood pressure. Protein in the urine is an indicator that kidneys are not working as well as they should. Spilling a little protein is common because pregnancy--especially at the end--pretty much stresses every organ, but having high blood pressure and more than a little protein is a more worrisome combination than high blood pressure alone. Of course, how high your blood pressure is also enters into the equation.

    I hear your distress over your weight gain and appearance. Soon you will have the baby. Until that time, eat sensibly, get moderate exercise if your dr says it's ok with the high BP, and know that once the baby is born, you can begin a sensible weight-loss diet. (I believe there are safe weight-loss programs for breastfeeding mothers, but I don't know where to direct you for those. Anybody out there want to chime in?)

    Unless there are medical reasons to end the pregnancy, impatience is your enemy. Your best chance for a safe, healthy birth for you and your baby is to allow labor to begin when the baby is ready. The fact that you're having lots of little contractions is a good thing. It is your body warming up for the big event, but if this is your first baby, that will probably mean waiting a few more weeks. If this is your first baby, the median length of pregnancy (half the population gives birth before this time, half after) in women who reach full term (37 weeks) is 41 weeks 1 day.

    Finally, here is an article on how to tell when you're in labor.

    It sounds like a good all-around pregnancy book might be helpful. You cannot do better than The Official Lamaze Guide: Giving Birth with Confidence by Lothian and Devries.

    -- Henci    


    All Times America/New_York

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