Okay ladies. Welcome to week thirty-three. We promised you a newsletter about pain relief and not just the “hee-hee-hoo” kind. This week’s newsletter is for all you girls that just don’t like pain or don’t want to commit to doing things naturally. We are going to tell you about all your options, and when we are done, we expect you to talk them over with your doctor or midwife. She can tell you what is available at your hospital or birthing center and help you decide which options are best for you. Epidurals are probably the most asked about pain relief option. You may be hearing all kinds of things about epidurals and, well, you might be feeling a little apprehensive about having one. We are going to try to put your mind at ease and answer your questions about epidurals and other pain relief options you may have heard about.
Your Baby’s Development
At this week of pregnancy, the baby should weigh about 5 pounds and measure in at 15 to 17 inches in length. The baby fat will continue to grow and settle under the baby’s skin. The baby’s bones are now hardened but the skull is still soft in some spots. There is no reason to panic; the skull has to be soft and flexible for birth. The pressure of childbirth is very powerful and that takes a toll on the baby’s head and that is why some kids are born with misshapen heads but they form throughout the child’s early years.
The baby’s lungs are almost mature now but if the baby was born now, they could survive in an incubator. Multiple births are usually born at this week in time. Baby’s settle into a special spot in the uterus until they are ready for birth. At this time, the baby is cephalic which is the head down position. If the baby has not yet reached this position, there is still time to turn the baby. You should not be worried about breach births or any other problems that you are scared of.
Changes In Your Body
Your uterus should be just over 5 inches above your belly button by now. Many women will gain between 28 and 33 pounds by33 weeks pregnant. Most women put on a lot of their pregnancy weight during the final weeks of their pregnancy. Keep in mind your baby is growing from 3 or 4 pounds to over 8 in some cases!
You are probably starting to get excited about the prospect of delivering your baby. As well you should. Now is a good time to think about pre-registering at your local hospital if you plan to deliver there. I always pre-registered between 33 and 36 weeks, just in case I ended up delivering early. This will save you a lot of time and hassle if you end up in the delivery room at 3 in the morning!
I found I started retaining the most fluid during the last trimester of pregnancy. While there are many things you can do to limit swelling and bloating (like exercising and drinking water) you will retain some fluid no matter what you do. This is especially true if you are having your baby in the summer months when it is hot and your body retains water naturally anyway.
If you do not own a pregnancy full body pillow yet, consider investing in a Snoozer Full Body Pregnancy Pillow now, especially when you feel bloated and uncomfortable. Do not think for a moment you will not get your money’s worth from these pillows, quite the opposite is true. In fact, this remarkable pregnancy pillow should be called a “dreamers” pillow. Not only does it help relieve unwanted swelling throughout pregnancy, it helps you rest comfortable for years on end, even after you’ve had babies.
Many couples buy two pillows; some even buy three pregnancy pillows. There is one for dad, one for mom and one for baby while nursing and playing. Imagine that! You can even take your pregnancy pillow with you to the delivery center so your partner and you can rest comfortably while you wait for baby.
By around 33 weeks pregnant many women may start experiencing pain or tingling in their fingers and wrists, especially if they work an office job. This is common because the tissues supporting and surrounding your wrists and fingers swell during pregnancy. This compresses the nerves running through the carpal in the wrists, causing pain and discomfort.
This pregnancy induced form of carpal tunnel syndrome is usually temporary, and sometimes relieved by simple wrist exercises or use of a wrist brace during pregnancy. If you are experiencing significant discomfort, be sure to let your doctor know so they can recommend an appropriate treatment.
Pain Relief During Labor
There are two different types of drugs that you can choose from to relieve pain during labor.One type of drug is called an analgesic. Analgesics, like Stadol or Demoral, relieve pain but they don’t cause you to lose feelings or not be able to move parts of your body. Anesthesia, on the other hand, blocks all of the feelings in the area where it is administered. This results in you not feeling pain. When you think of anesthesia you may think about being put to sleep. This type of anesthesia is called general anesthesia and you will most likely not need this type of labor during a typical labor and birth. We are going to give you the basics on analgesics and anesthesia and also try to answer the most common questions moms have about pain relief during labor.
Types of Pain Relief
You may want to use analgesics for your pain relief if you don’t like the idea of not being able to feel parts of your body or want to use something less invasive. Analgesics are generally avoided if you are close to delivering as they can slow down babies breathing and reflexes.
Epidurals are a type of local anesthesia that causes you to lose feeling in the lower half of your body. An epidural is a very effective pain relief option for labor; however, it is more invasive and requires you to have a needle inserted into a small area of your lower back called the epidural space. It may take up to twenty minutes for your epidural to take affect and you may still feel your contractions even after getting your epidural. There are some side effects and risks including the potential to cause low blood pressure and spinal headaches. Serious complications are rare.
A spinal block is similar to an epidural and also requires a needle to be inserted in the lower back. It is inserted into the spinal fluid rather than epidural space. A spinal block works quicker than an epidural but only lasts for an hour or two. It is often used for csections as it works very quickly. It is generally only used once during labor so it is best to use when mom is very close to delivering.
A walking epidural is a combination of spinal and epidural block. Medicine is injected into both the spinal fluid and the epidural space. To explain this simply, the spinal fluid is a little deeper than the epidural space. The spinal needle is inserted through the epidural needle so that medication can be delivered to both areas. The reason this is called a walking epidural is because moms can move around around with this type of epidural (although most hospitals will not allow you to walk around) and then if the spinal medication loses effect more medication can be inserted through the epidural space.
General anesthesia makes you lose consciousness. This is not ordinarily used during a vaginal birth but may be used in emergency situations or sometimes for cesarean births.
By now, you should already know that you know your body better than anyone. If something doesn’t seem right, call your doctor. Now is the time when you should be deciding on when to go on maternity leave. You should have received admitting paperwork from the hospital for when you give birth. If you have any questions about your method of childbirth, don’t hesitate to ask.
You should have everything almost ready, the nursery and the diapers, wipes, crib and clothing all ready for when the baby comes home. If you are still undecided on the baby’s name, you should start narrowing it down. He or she will be here before you know it.