Last month of pregnancy, 8 things to know

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Philippe Gloaguen
@philippegloaguen
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Fonte: Panther Media GmbH / Alamy / IPA

In this article

  • when the birth arrives
  • the last checks to do
  • the fetus in the last month
  • the movements
  • the latest disturbances
  • hydration
  • the exits
  • the instinct of the nest

1. When the birth arrives

When does the last month of pregnancy begin and end

It's easy to say "last month of pregnancy", but when exactly does this last month begin and when does it end? "There is not a one-size-fits-all answer, given that I consider physiological pregnancies that come to term at 37/38 weeks, as well as at 42 weeks" he clarifies Laura Castellarin, midwife at the Castelli Hospital in Verbania, founder of the association Born together.





With the fact that the presumed date of birth is only very indicative and in physiological conditions it can fall at any time between 37/38 and 42 weeks (first we talk about preterm birth), there are women for whom the last month of pregnancy va from 34 to 38 weeks, others for which he goes from 38 to 42 weeks.

Read also: The 40 weeks of pregnancy

2. The final checks to be done

Depending on the regions, and on the individual Local Health Authorities, the situation of the final checks can be quite varied.



Third trimester ultrasound

We take the third trimester ultrasound: the latest essential levels of assistance, approved in 2022, say that if the pregnancy is physiological (ie there are no problems or risks of particular complications) it is not necessary. In fact, in some regions it is no longer routinely done, while in others it is still done.

Cardiotocographic monitoring

Ditto for cardiotocographic monitoring, the so-called track: in some birth points it is proposed by default at 40 weeks, in others it waits a few more days, in still others it is even anticipated.

Vaginal swab

Among the examinations certainly foreseen for the last month of pregnancy there is the vaginal swab, to be done at 36-37 weeks and some haematological and infectious tests. Obviously, if the pregnancy is at risk for any reason, the control framework will be different, personalized and more dense.

Read also: Pregnancy, all the exams you can do for free

3. What does the baby do in the belly


“The maturation of the various organs of the baby is completed around 34 weeks. From this moment on, his main 'commitment' is to grow, get big by putting on weight"Clarifies Castellarin. Also, he experiences the space inside the uterus by doing exercises for find the best position for labor and delivery.



“Attention: we are not talking so much about presentation methods - cephalic or breech - which is often already defined at around 32 weeks, but about rotation and position of the head. If during labor the face looks at the mother's back, delivery will tend to be a little easier and faster than when the face looks at the mother's belly ".

38 PHOTOS

How big is your baby in the belly? As small as a poppy seed or as big as a pumpkin

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How big is your baby in the belly? From poppy seed, sesame, to lentil. Then move on to lemon, apple, eggplant, coconut, pineapple and pumpkin! The babycenter.com website ...

4. Pay attention to his movements

There is a very widespread commonplace according to which in the last month of pregnancy babies move less, because they would have no more space to do it. This is not the case at all: maybe the type of movement changes - for example there are fewer somersaults and more kicks or "pushes" with hands, head, sitting while taking measurements with the mother's pelvis - but the baby moves all right, and pay attention to his behavior it is essential to keep the situation under control and prevent even important risks, such as stillbirth.

"It is not a question of alarming women - clarifies Castellarin - but of teaching them to learn how to know their child's temperament. Does it move a lot or a little? With what kind of movements? At what time of day or night? By putting all these observations together day by day, one learns to understand what is the usual 'normal' behavior of the child. If there are significant changes in this behavior, it is best to consult your gynecologist or go to the obstetric emergency room for a check-up. "In most cases, everything will be fine, but the movement abnormalities they could also be a sign of a dangerous situation that cannot be otherwise detected.

5. The latest disturbances

The Braxton-Hicks contractions

One thing you may notice is the intensification of Braxton-Hicks contractions, those test contractions that train the uterus to the real contractions of labor and invite the baby to find different positions, pushing it further and further down. You recognize them as strong stomach tensions, starting from the top and spreading downwards, and thankfully they are painless. (Also read what Braxton-Hicks contractions are)

other symptoms

Other typical "symptoms" of the last month:

  • heartburn,
  • swelling and weighting of the legs even in the absence of critical situations such as hypertension,
  • insomnia.

"Not being able to sleep can be very annoying - admits Castellarin - but often the insomnia of the last weeks of pregnancy is very quiet: women wake up and stay there fantasizing about their baby. Or they get up and start making some preparations. for his arrival ".

On the other hand, according to the midwife this insomnia is a physiological passage of the organism who is preparing to welcome the newborn, a training for what will happen next. "In this sense, I think it should also be respected, perhaps making up for lost sleep with some afternoon nap. Obviously if there is the possibility to do so, and there is no absolute need to rest for example because the mother still works or has other children. to look after ".

If, on the other hand, the woman absolutely needs to rest better, she can contact the obstetrician or gynecologist, who will be able to give her useful information for her case.

Read also: Insomnia in pregnancy, 9 tips to fight it

6. Remember to drink!


Maintaining a good level of hydration is essential to prevent many problems: give urinary tract infections, risk factor for the preterm birth, to the lowering of pressure (and if the pressure drops too much you risk fainting), up to the excessive reduction of the amniotic fluid.

"The correlation between hydration and amniotic fluid is minimal but there is: drink adequately, at least two liters of water a day, helps the body to work at its best, having the right amount of fluids available. And with an adequate volume of fluid, even the baby has less difficulty in finding its ideal position for delivery ”, Castellarin points out.

Read also: What to drink during pregnancy, all drinks allowed and prohibited

7. Green light to the latest releases, but only if you feel like it


For some, the last weeks of pregnancy are the perfect time for the latest outings with a partner, but also in a group with old friends, or with new friends from the pre-baby course. There is no problem in indulging this desire for sociability, if it is truly felt. At the same time, however, you shouldn't force yourself out if you don't feel like doing it.

“Many women in the last few weeks, and even more as the time of delivery approaches, feel the need to be quiet at home. If this is your desire, do not be afraid to postpone or cancel that already scheduled output: in these moments there are other priorities ”comments Castellarin.

8. Cleaning fanatic? All normal


There are those who do not rest until they have cleaned even the last corner of the house, those who clean the windows obsessively, those who iron mountains of clothes, those who spend their time folding and folding the baby's layette, those who he asks everyone to exhaustion about what this layette should be like, who checks the suitcase for the hospital ten times a day.

They are different manifestations of the so-called nest instinct: an innate need to take care of the environment that will welcome the little one on arrival. A normal, natural (and passing) instinct, which sometimes also takes men. “That maybe in the last weeks of pregnancy they start working more (to earn more, an indirect way to make their presence and their commitment felt) comments the midwife Castellarin. That she tells how among her assistants it is not uncommon to even move house just in the vicinity of the birth.

But do not worry if the instinct of the nest is not there: it does not mean that you will not take care of your baby!

Read also: House cleaning during pregnancy, should you stop doing it?

TAG:
  • ninth month of pregnancy
  • weeks 29 40
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