Pregnancy Calendar – Week Thirty-Eight
You’ve almost made it! The baby is still around nineteen or twenty inches long and weighs six to seven and a half pounds. A baby born between thirty-eight and forty-two weeks is considered full term; your due date is an approximation and falls in the middle of this time period. The immune system is still immature, and the baby continues to get antibodies from the placenta. Your baby will also receive antibodies from your breast milk after birth.
Although not right for every woman, there are many advantages to breastfeeding. The main benefit is nutritional; a mom’s milk contains just the right amount of fatty acids, lactose, water, and amino acids for the baby’s digestion and development. In addition, human milk contains at least one hundred ingredients not found in formula. (For more information about breast milk, see: “Yes, Breast is Best: So Why Is It So Hard.”) Some women breast feed exclusively, but you may want to pump or supplement with formula, especially if you are going back to work. You can look into buying or renting a breast pump, and many hospitals will provide rentals and have lactation specialists on staff to show you how the breast pump works. (For more tips about pumping at the office, read: “Back to Work: Strategies to Pump from the Office.”)
Hot Topic: Tying Up Loose Ends
While you probably have another week or so before you deliver, use this time to put the finishing touches on your baby’s nursery or to take care of things you may not get around to for a while after your baby is born. Some things you might want to do:
- Write and send thank you notes for any shower or baby gifts you have received
- Fill your freezer with several meals and stock your pantry
- Check smoke detector batteries; install fire extinguishers (or if you already have them, inspect to make sure they are still working)
- Buy plenty of diapers, wipes, formula, and other essentials you’ll need immediately after you give birth
- Write a letter to your baby. Include any fears you may have, hopes for the future, what kind of mom you want to be, etc.
Fast Fact: Postpartum depression is more widespread than the medical community previously thought. At least 1.03 women per 1,000 births suffer a mental disorder requiring hospital admission, according to a Danish study. Now’s the time to educate your partner and/or support system about this in case you require further medical attention. (For more help, read: “Our Postpartum Pact” and “How Common is Postpartum Stress Disorder?”)
Eating For Two: Lunch
This is an easy, delicious soup that you can make in less than fifteen minutes.
Liz’s Tortellini Soup
- Two (14-1/2 ounce) cans chicken broth
- One nine ounce package refrigerated cheese tortellini
- One (14-1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 cup fresh chopped spinach or 5 ounces of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- Four green onions, chopped
- Two garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh basil, minced
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese for garnish
1. Bring broth to boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add next six ingredients.
2. Reduce heat and simmer ten minutes.
3. Serve hot; garnish with parmesan. Makes four servings.
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