Month 9: Weeks 33-Delivery

Doctor visits

As your due date approaches, you will be seeing your doctor every week, and your prenatal visits may include pelvic exams. These exams help your doctor check the baby’s position and evaluate your cervix for dilation and thinning.

Your baby should be positioned head down. If your baby is positioned bottom first or feet first, this is called breech. If your baby remains in a breech position, you may need a C-section delivery.

Your doctor will screen you for group B streptococcus, or GBS. GBS can be life threatening in newborns. If you test positive, you’ll receive antibiotics during labor and delivery.

Month 9 BabyYour baby 

Your baby is experiencing his most rapid period of weight gain during this month. Your baby is now about 16 inches long, weighing 6 to 6½ pounds. His lungs have matured completely by week 35. He can suck his thumb and has the ability to cry. At 40 weeks of pregnancy, your baby will be “full term,” having gone through the full length of pregnancy. He will be 19 to 21 inches long and weigh 6 to 9 pounds. 

Overdue pregnancy 

Most babies don’t arrive on their due date. In fact, your pregnancy must continue two weeks past your due date to earn the official label of overdue pregnancy or post-term pregnancy.

You may be more likely to have an overdue pregnancy if:

  • The exact date of the start of your last menstrual period isn’t accurate.
  • This is your first pregnancy, you’ve had prior overdue pregnancies or they run in your family.

After two weeks past your due date, the size of your baby (who continues to grow) could complicate a vaginal delivery. You and your doctor may decide to begin your labor, particularly if your doctor is concerned about your health or your baby’s.

Cesarean birth (C-Section)

This a surgical procedure used to deliver a baby through an incision in the mother’s abdomen and a second incision in the mother’s uterus. Most C-sections happen unexpectedly, so you should learn what you can to be prepared in case your doctor decides to deliver your baby by C-section. There are risks associated with cesarean deliveries, so the decision should always be based on medical necessity. 

Your doctor may decide to deliver your baby by C-section because:

  • Your labor is progressing too slowly or has stopped completely.
  • Your baby’s heart rate is abnormal, suggesting he is not getting enough oxygen.
  • Your baby is in breech position going into the birth canal. 
  • You or your baby has a serious health problem. 
  • Your baby’s head is in the wrong position.
  • You are delivering twins, triplets or other multiples.
  • There are problems with your placenta or umbilical cord.
  • Your baby is too big to safely deliver vaginally.
  • You’ve had previous cesarean births.

Unless you’re having twins or triplets, or there’s a medically indicated reason to deliver early, it is not healthy to induce labor or deliver by C-section before you reach 39 weeks of your pregnancy. See Month 7: Weeks 25-28 for more information.

Resource

Protect your baby from hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a very serious disease of the liver. It is caused by a virus that can grow in blood, semen and vaginal fluids. Babies can get hepatitis B from their mothers during pregnancy and delivery. The hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for all babies so that they will be protected from this serious but preventable disease. 

Hepatitis vaccination schedule:

  • Infants should receive the hepatitis B vaccine in the first 12 hours after birth.
  • The second dose must be given at least one month after the first dose.
  • The third dose must be given at least two months after the second dose and at least four months after the first. 
  • The third dose should not be given to infants younger than 6 months of age.

If you have hepatitis B: 

  1. Tell hospital staff and your baby’s pediatrician that you tested positive for hepatitis B. 
  2. You should not breastfeed your baby, because hepatitis B can be passed along in breast milk.
  3. Make sure your baby receives the second and third doses of vaccine on time.
  4. Take your baby for a blood test three months after the third shot to be sure the vaccine worked.

For more information on hepatitis and its effects on children, go to www.uamshealth.com/HealthLibrary/Default.aspx?ContentTypeId=90&ContentId....

UAMS ANGELS program 

The UAMS ANGELS Pregnancy Call Center operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week to serve as a statewide resource for women in Arkansas who have high-risk pregnancies and for doctors outside of the UAMS system who want to consult a maternal-fetal medicine specialist about a patient. 

The call center is staffed by registered nurses, and a Spanish interpreter is available to aid callers on most evenings and weekends. If a pregnant woman requires immediate medical treatment, the call-center nurse arranges for emergency transport or facilitates transport to a high-risk OB facility for expert care. The UAMS Pregnancy Call Center is a unique service for pregnant women and their doctors who need education, information or guidance for prenatal care. You can contact the UAMS ANGELS Pregnancy Call Center at 1-866-273-3835.

 

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