Your baby this week
40 weeks pregnant

Words to know

What do they mean by "station"? This is the measure of how far the baby has traveled down the birth canal during labor. "Zero station" means he hasn't yet descended, while "fully engaged" means he is ready to be born.


The time is right

Stopwatch

One of the important jobs of the birth partner is to time contractions. Since changes in the length, strength, and frequency of contractions are the all-important hallmarks of true, progressing labor, it is a good idea for you to (1) know how to time correctly and (2) keep a written record. Then, when you call the mother's caregiver, you will have accurate and concrete information to provide.

Author, childbirth educator and doula trainer Penny Simkin offers some guidelines here to help ensure your timing is accurate.


The pregnancy stalkers

From Minsun's pregnancy diary, week 39 entry:

Now that I'm about to drop this prenatal load any minute now, the stalking has begun. Next to playing Pregnancy Police, I can't think of a more annoyingly popular pastime than becoming a Pregnancy Stalker. Seemingly stable friends and family members call me and email me with almost the same urgent frequency rivaling any spurned, foaming-at-the-mouth, ex-whatever.

And no self-respecting stalker ever comes right out and states their true purpose for calling. Oh no, there's usually some ridiculously transparent pretense or lame reason. Along those lines, my loved ones are way too savvy to blurt out, "Have you had the baby yet?" They leave messages like, "Oh, I'm just checking in on you, wondering how you're feeling." This is code for, "You'd better not have had that baby without telling me or else I'll never speak to you again."


Expert advice

A reader writes: This is my first pregnancy, and my baby hasn't dropped yet. I'm due in a week, so will my baby be late?

Baby on the way

Obstetrical Nurse Wanda Steele answers: Believe it or not, many people never experience the "dropping" of the baby or "lightening," as it is commonly referred. But to the ones who do, this is a major event. What "lightening" means is that the baby's head has settled deep into the pelvis and you suddenly have room to breathe, since the baby is no longer pressing up under your ribs quite as much.

Read on here!


1-800-labor

When labor begins, who are you going to call?

Mobile phoneDon't worry about digging through your address book at the last minute, because here's a handy way to organize and print off all of those essential phone numbers -- for your caregiver, the labor and delivery unit, a neighbor and others! Print and save a copy for your fridge, or use the small type option to make a card for your wallet. Simply check the boxes that apply, and enter the names and numbers into the blanks.

Go here to make your list right now!

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