Your baby this week
39 weeks pregnant

Laughable labor

According to the Maternity Center Association in New York, laboring moms in Canada, England and other countries commonly are offered nitrous oxide combined with oxygen -- aka laughing gas --  to help them through the pain of birth. This inhaled gas, however, is available in only a few hospital labor and delivery units in America.

“Gas and air” (as it’s termed in Britain, also called entonox) offers many advantages --  including pain relief, ease of use and low cost. It also appears safe for mother and baby and does not seem to interfere with labor.

Startling news


Every healthy term baby is born with the startle (or Moro) reflex. When a baby hears a loud noise or loses his balance, he should react by arching and tensing his body, throwing his arms and legs out then inward (as if trying to grasp onto something). It's a primitive response -- but can make things tough when you're trying to gently put your newborn down for a nap! Find out how to deal with the moro reflex here.

All wet?

Baby’s arrived, and you’ve just started to get some sleep…and then you wake up to a soaking wet pillow and bed.

No, it’s not (just) your breasts leaking: Welcome to the world of night sweats, your body’s way of eliminating some of that fluid you stored during pregnancy (goodbye swollen ankles!).

To make nighttime more comfortable, cover your part of the bed with a soft cotton towel, and have a smaller towel on hand to dab your chest and back as needed throughout the night.

Fortunately, such profuse perspiration is short-lived: The worst should be over in about a week, and it’s all part of returning your body to its pre-pregnancy size and shape.

>> Night sweats after your baby is born

quinny bee strollerSomething borrowed

There are some items you need for your baby that you just don't want to borrow. A car seat for example, you should likely buy new, but toys -- heck, old toys or new toys, your kid will end up loving the laundry basket more anyway. Click here for a list of things you might want to borrow from friends or family members!

Birth around the world

Anthropologists like Carol Worthman of Emory University have been credited with giving birth to a new field of study in recent years -- ethnopediatrics (the study of childrearing practices in other cultures). According to those involved in this emerging field, other cultures have a great deal to teach Westerners about pregnancy, birth and babies.

For example, Mbuti pygmi women in Zaire remain secluded with the baby for three days after the birth. And in many other cultures, new parents are routinely given time to "babymoon" with the new arrival before they're expected to assume all their usual responsibilities. Read more examples of the things we can learn from parents in other parts of the world!

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