We don’t have to tell you that it’s almost time. Your baby is now approximately twenty inches long and potentially seven to seven and a half pounds. The outer layers of skin are sloughing off as new skin grows underneath. Your baby is so big now that the knees and elbows are always bent, but movements continue despite the limited space. Some newborns like to be swaddled or bundled snugly in a blanket—this may remind them of the security of being in the womb.
To some pregnant women, this is the most difficult part of pregnancy. The last few weeks of waiting can feel like an eternity. Fears can certainly creep up and overwhelm you. Perhaps you are worried about leaving work and whether your replacement will do a good job (or too good a job)? Perhaps you want to leave work and don’t know if you can swing it? Perhaps you are also afraid about your baby’s safety or the pain of childbirth? Talking with friends and writing about your fears can help. (Here are two stories from women describing how they worked through their fears: “Courage and Mother-Love” and “Real Girl For Hire.”)
Try to also take time for yourself before the baby is born. Enjoy the last few weeks before your baby arrives, especially if this is your first child. Read a book, get a manicure/pedicure, or catch the latest movie because you may not be able to do these things as easily once the baby is born.
Fast Fact: Only five percent of babies are born on their scheduled due date.
A Mom’s Suggestion: Packing two bags
You may want to consider having two bags packed for the hospital—one in your car and one in your partner’s car (or if a single mom, whoever you’ve asked to assist you).This way, if you have to take a cab from work, or if the two of you are in your partner’s car rushing to the hospital, you won’t suddenly panic, realizing your packed bag is in the other car. Now is the time to do a test run with your husband, or the person you have recruited to drive you to the hospital. One woman actually said when she called her husband from a taxi to tell him she was on her way to the hospital, just before her cell phone died, she heard her husband say, “Which hospital?” Go over all the details with your husband, including the address and directions to the hospital.
Q&A: Sarah Maddison, MD, an experienced obstetrician from Raleigh, North Carolina, answers top questions from readers.
Q: Should people stop pesticide use in their homes when pregnant?
A: No, but if you do a big bomb type thing, I would stay away for twelve to twenty-four hours just in case.
Eating for Two: Dinner
This roast can be prepared ahead of time and cooked in a crockery cooker (crock pot), so a delicious meal will be waiting for you at dinner time.
Shirley’s Fennel Pork Roast and Vegetables
- One 2-pound boneless pork shoulder roast
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound small red potatoes, halved
- One large fennel bulb, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1-1/2 cups water
- 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- Salt and pepper
1. Trim fat from meat. In a small bowl, combine crushed fennel seed, garlic powder, oregano, and pepper and then rub 1 teaspoon of it over roast. Rub a large skillet or Dutch oven with olive oil; place meat in pan, and brown meat on all sides.
2. Place potatoes and fennel in bottom of a three to four quart crockery cooker. Sprinkle with remaining spice combination. Stir together the 1-1/2 cups water and bouillon—add to cooker. If necessary, cut meat to fit into the crockery cooker, placing roast on top of vegetables.
3. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for eight to ten hours or on high-heat setting for four to five hours.
4. If gravy is desired, skim fat from juices. Measure 1-1/2 cups juice into medium saucepan and stir the 1/2 cup cold water into the flour; stir into reserved juices in saucepan. Cook and stir for one minute. Makes six to eight servings.
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