An Indian Civilizational Perspective

What to do when—Life After 36 Weeks

Pregnancy in general, forms a pattern. Apprehension-ease-discomfort. It’s at its speedy best after 36 weeks when you’re approaching full-term (Full-term is 37-42 weeks). You’ve come a long way with the emotional-physical-spiritual upheaval at the thought of giving birth. The mind, along with the body has reached a level of understanding with the new found status. You have felt the change. Made amends to your lifestyle. You’ve started looking at yourself and your partner in a new light. You have self-imposed a degree of calm and composure to your approach. Yet, your cycle of routine-realization piles on your pulse. Faster and more of apprehension-ease-discomfort!

Of course it’s natural. Peace and panic, synthesis antithesis all comes hand in hand. When was human comfortable with the idea of unknown? Nevertheless we dived into it time and again, in the process of unfolding the wonders of nature. And we did emerge victorious more often than we realized.

So back to 36 weeks. The art of easy embarkment in an adventure lies in wholesome preparation.

These are the aspects that are top of my mind:

1. Soothe your anxious mind.
Take a routine walk in the evenings, preferably in a park. Feel the breeze in your skin. Look at the children playing. Listen to some soft, soulful music in dim light. Do things that make you happy. Eat, shop, chat, sleep whatever.

2. Pamper your body.
Drink a lot of water. At least 10 glasses a day. Rub your feet in a circular motion over a ball (like on a tennis ball). Always sit in a comfortable position, maybe in erect chairs with a cushion at the back. Try not to overwork yourself, be it office work or household.

3. Take care of your baby.
Cut down on any aggressive movement. Like fast driving, quick turnings or bending downs. Say no to soda. Caffeine, besides being harmful to your baby also plays with your mind. Try to sleep on your left side as much as possible so that your baby can breathe easy. Your baby would try to move down from this point on so don’t wear something tight around your waist or below. Don’t watch violent movies or hear loud music that can disturb your sense of peace, consequently disturbing your baby.

4. Be prepared for your trip to the hospital
Check with the paper works. Keep the emergency/after hours numbers of the hospital, your OB-Gyn handy. Stay within 1 hour drive of your hospital range. Get that bag ready, the one you’d carry during the delivery process. For people giving birth in US, your hospital would pretty much provide everything you’d need. All you’d need to take is a receiving blanket and a newborn dress for your baby (heavy blanket, if its cold outside). And a car seat of course, which your partner can bring at the time of release as well. But you might take your belongings if you think you would feel comfy with them around you. Like a robe, glasses etc. From my experience, you wouldn’t get much time to ponder on your own stuff. So keep it simple and take it easy.

The hospital in which I gave birth-El Camino Hospital-gifted me a diaper bag filled with miniature diaper rash cream, baby body wash, moisturizer, formula, wipes and booklets. Also let me bring home sanitary pads, Lansinoh nipple cream, ointments etc.

Signs to look for during this time:

  1. If you are spotting, bleeding
  2. If you’re having labor pain that lasts more than 10 minutes and keep aggravating.
  3. If there’s been a water-break. It typically feels like urination, only that there will be a lot more water! Water would gush out every few minutes wetting underwear, pads, clothes..it’d help to change pads frequently and then head for the hospital, even if the labor pain doesn’t start, as its not healthy for the baby to stay in that water for too long.

Finally, I would say that it always helps not to take one too seriously as this process of baby-making and child birth is being happening for ages and were going on fine even when men/women didn’t start shaping things around. It is perhaps one of the most natural processes in life. So, stay calm.
PS: The pictures are of my parents with me at 36+ weeks.

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