Check out what happened with your baby's development last week.
Got iron? It's very important to eat lots of iron-rich food in the third trimester. Your baby absorbs this crucial mineral from your body to build up iron stores in her own body, mostly in the form of red blood cells. The majority of the absorption takes place in the final months before delivery.
Heads or tails. "Should my head be up or down?" The head-down, or vertex, position is the ideal position for birth. Labor goes more smoothly when the baby's head, the largest body part, comes through the birth canal first. About 3 to 4 percent of babies haven't flipped to this position by 35 weeks. If something other than the head appears first, the delivery is called a breech birth. (To find out how providers treat a breech baby, click here.) Amazingly, despite the tight quarters in your uterus, your little acrobat may turn several more times before she's born.
Measuring up. Your baby's arms and legs are getting chubbier as she continues to gain weight. By the end of this week, she may weigh up to 5.5 pounds and measure around 16.8 to 18.5 inches long.
What you should know about Cesareans. No matter how much thought and preparation you put into it, childbirth (like parenthood) can be unpredictable. There's always a chance your doctor will decide that there is some risk to you or your baby and, as a result, will deliver your baby by Cesarean section. A Cesarean birth is one in which the baby is delivered through a surgical incision in the mother's uterus. Nearly one third of the births in the United States are Cesarean births. So even though the odds are that you won't have the procedure, learn about it now so you'll know what to expect if it's needed. Ask your doctor which circumstances he or she believes call for a Cesarean: Would he perform one if your baby were in a breech position, for example, or if your labor had stalled? Also ask your doctor to describe how he performs a Cesarean—the procedure can vary slightly from doctor to doctor.
The ABCs of GBS. Sometime between now and 37 weeks, your health care provider may test you for the Group B streptococcus (GBS) bacterium. About one third of pregnant women carry the bacterium, which is harmless to you but can cause an infection in your baby if he contracts it during delivery. The test is simple: Your doctor will take a swab from your vagina or rectum or will perform some tests on a urine sample. If you test positive for the GBS bacterium, you may receive antibiotics intravenously (through a vein in your arm) during labor and delivery.
From the experts. As you think ahead to labor, you may wonder what happens if the umbilical cord wraps around your baby's neck. "This condition, called nuchal cord, is fairly common and usually not harmful to the baby," says Margaret Comerford Freda, Ed.D., R.N. "No one knows why it happens, but it may have to do with the length of the cord."