By all estimates, I have reached full term (37+ weeks) today! I am mostly elated but also a wee bit daunted by this fact. On the one hand, a month and a half ago I felt it might be challenging to make it to 34 weeks, let alone full term. On the other, despite the fact that we WERE granted this time, it still feels like there are remaining baby items to buy/prep, more books to read and labour preparation exercises to go through! Guess one never feels 100% prepared - but I'd like to get to about 99.3% *nods*.
In terms of labour prep, one of the challenges is that I wasn't really able to exercise for a good 3-4+ weeks back when preterm labour was a real possibility. Once I got to about the 35 week mark, however, my OB had become quite optimistic and reassuring and I decided that the benefits of getting back into exercise outweighed any remaining risks at that point. On that note, Chris and I bought a "birth ball" and I've started doing some strengthening exercises on it. There are lots of good youtube vids demonstrating the different techniques, so I've been following some of these. I'm also working my way through Active Birth and it's terrific - very practical information on which exercises & positions are beneficial during pregnancy and each stage of labour, and why. The more I read, the further I'm convinced that a) (assuming we reach our goal of an unmedicated birth) I'm not about to be strapped down on my back to deliver our child and b) (related to the previous point) I would very much wish to forego the standard pitocin drip administered to help deliver the placenta. A quote from AB on the latter point:
"Administering pitocin to induce contractions of the uterus is rarely necessary if the mother has given birth in an upright position and her baby has not been separated from her. Pitocin may be needed to reduce the risk of postpartum hemorrhage when the morther has been lying down during labor, when she has had an anesthetic or other drug that reduces the ability of the uerus to contract spontaneously, or when she and the baby are separated at birth and the normal hormonal secretion is thus disturbed. When postpartum hemorrhage occurs, Pitocin is very useful in stopping it, but giving birth actively diminishes the chance of such an occurrence." 1
When I brought up this item on my birth plan several weeks back, my OB was quite adament about adhering to this particular standard (due to the risk of postpartum hemorhage), so I'm going to revisit it with her next week in conjunction with the above information to see if she's willing to reconsider.
1. Balaskas, Janet. Active Birth: The New Approach to Giving Birth Naturally. Boston: Harvard Common Press, 1992.