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Pregnancy Week by Week
Week Thirty Eight


Mother:

You may begin to feel electrical buzzes down your legs and inside your vagina. This is caused from the baby hitting nerves as s/he settles into your pelvis.
A lot of time and effort has been spent educating mom about the process of labor, we are going to talk about a common fear for men this week: BEING IN THE BIRTH ROOM!
I highly encourage men to go in to watch the partners give birth. It is one of the most amazing experiences you will ever be able to have. As a doula, I am constantly in awe of birth, even though I see it on a routine basis.
Be assured that you will only have to watch or participate as much as you feel comfortable with. For some men this will be little more than holding your partners hand and gazing into her eyes. Let me assure you that this is a great thing to do! If you wish to take a more active role this may include labor support (breathing, massage, heat and cold packs, etc.), cutting to cord, helping to catch the baby. These are all fine, but should be discussed with your practitioner ahead of time, so that they know your preferences.
A note about cord cutting: The umbilical cord contains no nerves, so neither the mother nor the baby will feel the cut. The cord is also a tough, gristle-like substance (this protects the cord from compression inutero) so expect to give it some effort to cut it.
Children should also be encouraged to participate as you and they feel comfortable. Again, discuss this with your practitioner. There may be special classes for them to take, or you may have to do the preparation yourselves. It is very important that they are ready for whatever they may see or how you may look/act. It is also usually encouraged that you bring a separate support person for the child(ren) so that they may come and go during labor and you won't be concerned.

Baby:

The baby may be gaining as much as 1 ounce (about 28 grams) a day at this point! However, your weight gain has slowed or stopped. Hang in there! If you haven't written a letter to your baby, now would be a good time to do so.

Suggested Reading:

How Was I Born? by Lena Katrina Swanberg & Lennart Nilsson
A great book for explaining where babies come from, with wonderful pictures from Lennart Nilsson.

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