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Pregnancy Calendar – Week Thirty-Six

This week your baby is almost nineteen inches long with a weight approaching six pounds. The last prenatal growth spurt is about to end. The white vernix (a cheesy substance covering the newborn) is wearing off, although some may still be there at birth. The last organs to fully mature are the lungs and brain, and they will continue to develop throughout childhood. The baby’s head may have moved down to rest in the pelvic cavity in preparation for birth.

You may feel a change in the way you’re carrying your baby as you approach your due date.  The baby drops lower in your pelvis, a process called “engagement” or “lightening.” This is a sign that your body is getting ready for birth. The baby is not pressing on your lungs as much so you may feel like you can easily take a deep breath for the first time in months. On the other hand, now your uterus is resting on your bladder, so you will have to go to the bathroom more often.

Hot Topic: Car Seat Safety

Make sure you have an infant car seat to bring the baby home from the hospital. You might want to practice putting it in and taking it out of your car now, so you will know how it works. Sadly, almost 8 percent of child seats are installed incorrectly, so go to a fire or police station and have your seat inspected. Afterwards, leave it in the car so you won’t forget it when you are on your way to the hospital. (For more advice on car seat safety, read “This Valentine’s Day, Don’t Forget Your Loved Ones Snapped In Back.”)

Fast Fact: One in twenty-two American children have an unsafe blood lead level, according to the CDC. Many scientists and pediatricians, however, think this statistic is too conservative because many people don’t realize all the sources for lead in their homes. Not only can lead be found in drinking water, but it can also be released in the form of invisible lead dust from old window sills and old kitchen cabinets after opening and closing over a long period of time. Lead used to be in paint in the 1970s, so renovating old houses should be done with care. Lead is also found in many tiles and can be released as dust when dug up. Since lead can cross the placenta, move out of your house if you are renovating extensively and do not scrape paint while pregnant. When breathed by young children, or when it crosses over the placenta to the developing fetus, lead can cause brain damage at high levels and cause hyperactivity and aggression at low levels.

What’s the best way to avoid lead exposure?

  1. Hire a lead-certified contractor to over-see your renovation projects. This professional will know how to seal off the area correctly when working.
  2. Run cold tap water for fifteen seconds before drinking it. (For more information about lead, see: “The Toxic Truth Behind Lead Poisoning,” and “Vitamins: More Hazard than Health?)

Eating for Two: Meals to Freeze

When making meals, double the amount you cook and then freeze half to eat in the weeks after the baby is born.

Amy’s Swiss Enchiladas  

  • One medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • One clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 cups tomato puree
  • One 4-ounce can chopped green chilies
  • One to two jalapeno peppers, chopped (optional)
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • One dozen corn tortillas
  • Olive oil spray
  • 3 cups half and half
  • Six cubes chicken bullion
  • 1/2 pound grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • Twelve to sixteen cilantro sprigs
  • Sour cream
  • Salsa

Directions 

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.

2. Soften onion in oil for one to two minutes; add garlic, cilantro, tomato puree, green chilies, chicken, and jalapeno (optional). Simmer for ten minutes.

3. In the meantime, heat half and half in microwave so it is hot enough to dissolve the chicken bullion.

4. Spray each side of the tortillas with olive oil; cook over medium heat until lightly browned.

5. Fill each tortilla with the chicken mixture, roll, and place in nine by thirteen inch dish sprayed with olive oil.

6. Pour half and half/bullion mixture over the enchiladas and top with the cheese. 

7. Bake covered for forty minutes, then uncover and bake for ten more minutes. Let stand for five minutes before serving. Garnish with cilantro, sour cream, and salsa.

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