Prepare for childbirth

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Philippe Gloaguen
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Prepare for childbirth

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You are almost there: there are a few weeks left to the birth of your baby and it seems to you that time is flying by. You have already prepared the suitcase for the hospital, but there are still many things to do ....



THE MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS

The vaginal / rectal swab. It is not part of the routine tests, but by now almost all gynecologists prescribe it between the 34th and 36th week: it is used to identify the presence of Group B Beta-haemolytic Streptococcus, a bacteria that is harmless to the mother but which could infect the baby at the time of passage along the vaginal canal. Diagnosing it in time allows you to establish antibiotic therapy for the mother before giving birth.



“In addition to Streptococcus, with the swab it would be useful to look for Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma, two germs that could cause an early rupture of the membranes and therefore a premature birth” advises Monica Calcagni, gynecologist in the city and Frosinone.

"A rectal swab or a coproculture (fecal examination) should also be carried out for the search for Salmonella (a test also advisable for the father if he intends to attend the birth), to prevent an infection in the newborn: even in this case, if the test result is positive, just follow an antibiotic therapy before giving birth to rest assured ".

Blood tests. At the end of pregnancy, the last blood tests are also done: blood counts, HIV, hepatitis B and C. These should also be accompanied by a blood coagulation test, very useful if you had to resort to a caesarean or you want to do an epidural. "But even if the birth is natural, any coagulation defects can be corrected with ad hoc drugs to prevent postpartum thrombophlebitis," emphasizes the gynecologist.

Urinalysis and urine culture. "The urinalysis is used to identify and promptly treat any urinary tract infection, which, albeit rarely, could go up along the ureter (the channel that connects the bladder and kidney), causing pyelonephritis, or reach the fetus , causing a premature birth ”explains Monica Calcagni. "In addition, urine culture makes it possible to identify the bacterium responsible for the infection and the antibiotics capable of eradicating it"

THE PHYSICAL PREPARATION

Strengthens the perineum. The perineum is the area that most of all will be 'stressed' by the passage of the baby, so it is important to prepare it properly. "In addition to doing specific exercises to train the pelvic floor muscles, excellent for all nine months, in the last few weeks you perform a perineal massage every day" advises Calcagni.



 

“It's like this: get in a comfortable position, lying on the bed, sitting on the bidet or standing with one leg resting, for example on the edge of the tub; with the help of a little oil (if you find specific ones, otherwise sweet almond oil is fine too), gently insert your index finger into the vagina, then also the middle and finally the ring finger, and, Keeping your thumb towards the anus, perform U-shaped massages for about 5 minutes a day. The target? Make the perineal area as elastic as possible, in order to reduce the likelihood of undergoing an episiotomy or laceration ".

 

Prepare your breasts for breastfeeding. There is no need to resort to 'bloody' methods, such as massaging the nipple with a horsehair glove as was once recommended, but it is a good idea to soften the nipples every day with an oil or by trying to squeeze a little colostrum, a a particularly fatty substance that is secreted before the milk comes in and that often comes out spontaneously in the last weeks of gestation. Don't overdo the massages, however, as the stimulation of the nipples may cause contractions.

 

Fill up with energy. Childbirth is a great commitment for the body, which therefore must be at the top of its strength. So take advantage of these last few weeks to rest as much as possible: of course, with your belly getting bigger and more bulky it is not an easy task, but with the help of a few more pillows you will be able to find a comfortable position. Also follow a correct diet, enriching your diet with protein-type foods, which support muscle tone, and vitamins, which are rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, which strengthen the immune system.

 

USEFUL INFORMATION FOR BIRTH

THE PRACTICAL ORGANIZATION

Do the 'big cleaning'. Once back from the hospital with the baby, there will be no time (and desire!) To think about the house: why not take the opportunity now to clean up? Of course you don't have to do tiring or dangerous jobs, but this is the right time to tidy up the drawers, in order to find everything in its place (and to be able to give directions to those who will eventually assist you in the first days after the birth), to arrange well the baby's room and its layette and, why not, do a more thorough cleaning of the whole house, perhaps with help from your partner or with external help.

The shopping of the last month. Apart from a good supply of food of all kinds (so at least for a while you will not have the task of shopping), there are many things that will be convenient for you to find on your return home: baby diapers and sanitary pads in quantity. for you (lootations can last throughout the puerperium); a pair of pacifiers (to be used very sparingly, so as not to interfere with breastfeeding!) and a bottle (which, if you are breastfeeding, you will keep well hidden in the cupboard, so as not to be tempted to give the baby); a good supply of bibs, if after the feeding some excess regurgitation should escape; if you do not have a pram yet, choose one that is approved for cars, otherwise you will have to buy a car seat (naturally suitable for infants); you also need a changing table and baby bath tub, with ad hoc detergents and ointments. Finished? No, a big bow, pink or light blue, is missing to hang your partner in front of the door to announce the happy event!

Create a network. The first days 'as a mother' will be a bit complicated to manage, so knowing right now that you can count on help is important, even more so if you already have another child to care for (by the way, have you already thought about who leave it when you go to the hospital?): try to hear if grandparents and aunts are available to help you, at least to think about the housework - the kitchen, the washing machine, the shirts for him to iron - or to take a look at the baby while you take a shower in peace; ask around for info on a trusted babysitter, in order to get to know her in time (and know how much it costs you!): in addition to helping you with the care of the baby, she may be useful, perhaps a little further, to be able to grant you an evening out with your partner: resuming life as a couple is important, even when there are three of you.

Read also: The best hospitals where to give birth, The hospitals where the cord is given

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TAG:
  • give birth
  • exams
  • preparation course
  • perineum
  • umbilical cord
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