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This is your Pea in the Podcast for week 32 of your pregnancy. I’m Bonnie Petrie joined by Dr. Laurie Swaim, an obstetrician with Houston Women’s Care Associates in Houston, Texas.
This week your baby may still be bottom down in the breech position but that’s okay unless they’re born now. “The most common cause of breech is prematurity and that’s going to be the room flipping around and their amniotic fluid volume is still pretty big with respect to the size of the baby. I think it’s the greatest at 34 weeks, the ratio of fluid to baby. So we don’t worry about baby being malpositioned until about 36 weeks.” Still some moms-to-be worry if their baby is still breech they will be breech at birth and they try to do some things to encourage them to turn. Dr. Swaim says that’s fine but she thinks that it might be, right now anyway, a waste of time. “I have no problem with people going to chiropractors if they have back problems or whatever, have at it, but all that kind of stuff if they want to do it. First of all, I don’t know if it works at all but in the event that it’s going to, it makes more sense to do it later in pregnancy.” She says later is better because as she mentioned there is still plenty of room for your baby to flip and flip back.
Now if your little one is still breech in a couple of weeks you may consider a couple of different things. Dr. Swaim mentioned chiropractic; chiropractors use a technique called the Webster breech technique which they say releases stress on your pelvis which they claim relaxes the uterus and surrounding ligaments so the baby can sort of turn naturally. You can give that a shot. Now some moms swear that they have gotten their babies to turn by playing music for them. The idea is that if you put your headphones on your lower abdomen or play the music somewhere down low, they will turn toward the music. Natural practitioners have many suggestions with regard to turning a breech from doing something called the breech tilt every day, putting an ice pack on the top of your tummy, to swimming, to massage, to standing on your head. Later in pregnancy your doctor may offer a procedure called an external cephalic version, we’ll talk about that in a couple of weeks. Regardless though, most breech babies will turn on their own before their due date. One source says by 38 weeks 97% of breech babies have turned head down all by themselves.
Now at this point, as we count down the weeks to labor steadily, you may be starting to feel some real anxiety about what’s to come. Dr. Swaim says there are a couple of things you can do to ease your mind. “I think preparation and education, and that’s where the child birth education classes really help. I think knowing what to expect and keeping in mind that no one has control over this. The mom can’t control it, the dad can’t control it and I can’t control it really. There’s very little that I can do to change the outcome of your labor and you get the prize in the end. I actually find most women to be okay, they are nervous more than it is going to hurt. They may be nervous that things aren’t necessarily going to go well but I think they’re just mostly nervous about how soon can they get their epidural.”
Ah, pain management! One of the many things your hospitals or birthing centers, child birth education classes, will teach you about. Of course there are Bradley classes, and Lamaze classes and Birthing from Within classes, really all kinds of classes you can take to learn about what’s to come and ease your mind. Ideally you’ll be looking for a smaller class when you sign up with no more than 10 couples. A good class will be no shorter than six weeks. You can also buy books and you can talk to your mother and friends about their labors and deliveries although you may find your friends and even strangers who want to regale you with birth horror stories. I do not know why some moms like to do that to women who are about to have their first child but they do. You’re advised to take those horror stories with a grain of salt, okay? Some women also find visualizing a positive birth experience helps keep them calm and you could certainly talk through your expectations with your partner.
So are you waddling like a duck yet, mom? Your body is now producing a hormone called relaxant; it loosens your joints and ligaments so that your pelvis can widen to accommodate a baby passing through. Now this pelvic spread and your still growing belly, well that will cause you to waddle a little bit like a duck. This week your uterus is measuring about five inches above your belly button and is pushing your organs every which way so of course still heartburn, constipation, indigestion and breathlessness are probably a way of life for you. Now if you weren’t swollen before, you may notice some swelling starting to happen by pregnancy 32 weeks. Your total blood volume circulating in your body is about 40% to 50% higher than it was before you got pregnant and you’re probably still gaining about a pound a week. Oh and if you’re having multiples you are right now as big as a singleton mommy will be when she goes into labor. You can ease some of your discomfort by signing up for a pregnancy massage or having your partner giving you regular massages.
How about your baby? Well this week your little chunk weighs in at about four pounds and is almost 19 inches long, your babies head is now in proportion with the rest of its body while its skull is a series of bones joined together by a flexible material called sutures that will allow the head to mold and fit through the birth canal. All of its five senses are functioning now but their sleeping about 90% to 95% of the time, unfortunately they’re usually awake and rolling around when you’re trying to sleep. You’re 32 weeks pregnant momma and you have eight weeks to go until week 40.
That’s your Pea in the Podcast for week 32 of your pregnancy. Dr. Swaim and I look forward to talking to you again next week. Enjoy this week. For a transcript of any of our Pea in the Podcasts go to our website peainthepodcast.com. For Pea in the Podcast, I’m Bonnie Petrie, thanks for listening.