It's finally here! Now you're less than a month away from meeting your baby. The last month of pregnancy will definitely feel different to what you've experienced so far, as you are making the final preparations for the massive changes coming up. Here's what you need to know and what to do during the last month of pregnancy.
Part 1: What to Expect in Your Pregnancy Last Month
Muscles: Your little one is getting stronger than ever, and you're likely to feel this in your womb! However, although the kicks will be harder, they won't happen as often, as the baby has less room to move in the uterus.
Skin: The baby is losing the waxy whitish film over his or her skin, known as the vernix. This covering is believed to defend the baby's skin from the surrounding amniotic fluid, but it slowly sheds off before the birth.
Lungs and kidneys: The baby will now be producing enough surfactant in the lungs to be able to breathe in air. In addition, his or her kidneys are increasing their urine production into the amniotic fluid.
Bones development: The bones are further developed, although the skull bones are not yet completely fused together. After the birth, some babies may have overlapping skull bones and others elongated heads, but this is nothing serious to worry about.
Hair and fingernails: The baby's hair and fingernails are growing fast at this period. The baby will now have thicker hair and longer fingernails, which will be just about ready for their first postpartum mani and pedi.
You may get more aches due to the increasing weight of the baby in your womb.
Because of this, you may become easily fatigued. This is common as the baby is still growing and you have more weight to carry around.
Alternatively, many women become restless in the last month of pregnancy and have increased energy. You may feel a strong urge to clean and tidy the home to prepare for the birth. This behavior, known as nesting, is common and completely normal.
The growing fetus tends to push down on your bladder, making you need to go to the bathroom more often. The baby will also shift into a head-first position, in preparation for the birthing process. This further exacerbates the need for urination due to increased pressure in the pelvic area.
Part 2: What to Do During Last Month of Pregnancy
Arrange a Cleaning Service
When your baby arrives, most of your time will need to be devoted to your little one, and you don’t want to be worrying about having a clean house. That’s why it’s worthwhile getting a cleaner in, so you can deal with the more important things.
Stock Your Freezer with Easy-to-Prepare Meals
Likewise, you don't want to be spending your time cooking and preparing meals. However, you do need to maintain a healthy diet and avoid processed foods wherever possible. The best way to achieve this is to make big batches of meals ahead of time that can be divided into portions, frozen, and easily defrosted one by one when you need them.
Buy Lots of Big, Comfortable Knickers
After you give birth, you may experience heavy bleeding due to the sloughing off of the uterine lining – this is known as lochia and is completely normal. Most women need large pads to deal with this bleeding, so you'll need to get lots of large, boy-style underpants to securely hold these pads in place.
Get Some Wool Breast Pads
Avoid disposable breast pads, and go for the wool, washable versions. These are better at absorbing fluids, are naturally antibacterial, and are less likely to smell. What's more, they are easily washed and will save you money in the long-term.
Make an E-mail List Ready for Your Announcement
Think of all the family, friends, and colleagues you want to share your big news with, and make a list of all their names. Then, when the baby arrives, all you have to do is write a short message, together with a photo, and e-mail this to everyone on that list.
Get More Sleep
Studies have shown that women who got fewer than 6 hours' sleep in the pregnancy last month were more likely than women who slept for 7 hours or longer to have extended labor, lasting over 11 hours or require a Caesarian. Although it may be difficult, try to get as much sleep as possible at this critical stage; pillows, body recliners and co-operation from your partner will all help you to achieve this.
Strengthen Your Legs
Strengthen your legs in a stand-up pose may help with labor, but it requires strong legs. The best exercise for developing your legs is to do squats. Place an exercise ball between your lower back and a wall. Walk out your feet as far as possible, turn out your toes and hips, slowly squat, and then return to the starting position. Aim for three sets of 15 reps.