Your baby this week
39 weeks pregnant

In the know

Fetal monitoring

There are two ways that your baby may be monitored during labor: external monitoring, where a wide belt with an ultrasound receiver is strapped to your belly to measure the baby's heartbeat(as seen at the right), or internal fetal monitoring, where a tiny electrode is placed on the baby's scalp (often piercing the baby's skin) through your vagina and cervix.

Both types of monitor are connected to a machine that records the baby's heartbeat. The internal monitor is usually more accurate, but is also more invasive.


TRUE OR FALSE?

A reader writes: "This is my first baby, and I'm wondering, what is the difference between false labor and the real thing? How will I really know when it's time?"

Our expert answers: "False labor is a troublesome phenomenon to deal with because it can be as painful as regular contractions. False labor is a variant of Braxton-Hicks contractions, which I often describe as 'warm-up' contractions. The uterus is composed of muscle (smooth muscle). When any muscle is stretched, as is seen with a pregnant uterus, its tendency is to contract. Through mechanisms we don't quite understand, the placenta decreases the frequency and intensity of these contractions."

Read on here to learn how to tell the difference between false labor and the real thing.


Here's a story...

Are you wondering what labor and delivery will be like? Talk to your caregiver and read up on everything, but then listen to the real experts: Moms who have been there. Find out here how birth stories can offer you much more than an interesting read!

"What is labor and delivery really like?" That question echoes in the minds of millions of women each year. Every mother-to-be has questions, some of which are of such a broad nature they are singularly indefinable. An expectant mother who asks her doctor what birth is like will most likely be told to read a book or to take childbirth preparation classes. Seldom do doctors or midwives have time to recount a complete tale of birth -- and even if they did, that tale would account for only one facet of a complex gem.

New mom and friend

Click here to get some views on why we love to hear -- and tell -- birth stories, and read some stories here!


Yum away the pain

Can your sense of taste help you get through labor? It's worked for some moms! Find out how in the article: Taste buds can help you relax during labor.


It's time to get ready for your little one, starting with our baby guide! Find out about caring for your newborn, diapering details, baby health answers, food facts, baby message boards and much more.