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You're in week 30 of your pregnancy!
Ask women who have given birth naturally what helped them ease the pain of labor, and many will say it was the ability to move around and change positions. Movement in labor can help your baby find the best fit through the birth canal and reduce your perception of pain, among other benefits. Be sure to remember an important step that will help you feel more comfortable during the birth: walk, move and change positions in labor.
What's New with Baby
Your little one is now weighing in at about three pounds, or 1,300 grams, and is 15 and three-quarters inches or 39 cm long—about the size of a large cabbage. She is inching closer to her birth length. Her weight will continue to increase by about half a pound per week from now on. Your baby’s growing fat stores, along with new brain development, allow her to regulate her own body temperature much more effectively. Her ability to regulate temperature reduces your baby’s need for lanugo, and she has begun to shed the downy covering from her skin.
What's New with You
Your incredible body adapts so well to all the changes that a developing baby brings. The growing weight of your baby, together with pregnancy hormones, makes it hard for your veins to return all of the blood from your arms and legs to your heart. Your body compensates for this by letting some of the fluid flow from your veins into other tissues. This movement of fluid will help reduce the occurrence of varicose veins. However this fluid movement can also lead to swelling of hands and feet. Try some of these tips for easing the comfort of swollen hands and feet:
- Cucumbers, parsley and watermelons are natural diuretics, which mean they help return the fluid to your bloodstream. Eating them may help ease swelling.
- Listen to your body. Rest when you feel tired, but also be sure to stay active each day.
- Try swimming. It’s a great pregnancy exercise that gets your heart rate up and feels great thanks to the gentle support of the water. To maximize the benefits of water, swim in water that is at least as deep as your shoulders.
- Drink plenty of water. For a refreshing twist, try slicing up a cucumber and stirring a few slices into a pitcher of water.
- Rest with your feet elevated.
- Wear support hose (full leg, not knee-length hose).
- Lay cold cloths on any swollen areas while you’re resting.
Healthy Tip: Practice Brings Comfort
Have you thought about positions to use for labor? Changing positions regularly in labor can help your pelvis adjust and your baby to move through the birth canal. The positions women assume during labor tend to differ from those used in daily life. Practicing labor positions during pregnancy will increase your comfort with various positions, helping you feel confident when using them during labor.
An exercise ball, also called a “birth ball,” is flexible and can be used for various positions. Try kneeling on a bed while resting your arms and head atop the ball (you may want a pillow on top of the ball). Sitting or rocking on the ball can be very comfortable in late pregnancy, as it opens your hips and keeps your back straight.
Review the pros and cons of 11 common labor positions to help determine which ones may be most helpful in your birth.
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