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Seventh Month

As this month brings a substantial gain in weight for your baby, it also brings a great growth spurt for your pregnant belly. This beginning of the final, heavyweight phase of pregnancy can be physically draining. It's often a real chore to carry so much weight, and by the end of this month your baby is taking a maximum of iron and many other nutrients from your body. The resurfacing of major moods from further hormone shifts can be pretty demanding as well. So if you experience these aspects of pregnancy, be kind to yourself. For some women who can tune into their babies, a strong sense of the presence of the child inside them helps balance things out.

This Month For Your Baby

This month begins your baby's final period of preparation to be born into the world. The two main and related things that he or she is doing now are putting on birth weight and developing the body fat needed for insulation against the temperature of the outside world.

By the end of this month, your baby is definitely "viable", with a slim but daily increasing chance of doing all right outside the womb. He or she would have to be kept in the warm environment of an incubator, and breathing would have to be helped along somewhat. But the nervous system is fully ready to direct life.

Your baby's brain has made tremendous strides by month's end, fully developing the centers for hearing, sight, smell, speech, walking, and other functions. Ten billion brain cells (neurons) are there and ready.

While the final weight your baby is gaining will make you more aware than ever before of her or his growing size, the really incredible growth — from two cells to billions upon billions — has already happened.

"Take the time to take good care of yourself and get a lot of rest. There's a lot happening to/in your body and it does take its toll on you. The better rested you are and physically fit, the faster you'll bounce back to your old self after your delivery. It will also make it easier to adjust to life with your gorgeous new baby! Good luck and above all, have fun and enjoy!"

The Nesting Urge

Sometime around now most pregnant women get a very strong "nesting" urge — that is, a powerful drive to have a very secure and comfortable environment for themselves and their baby. This seems to be both because of the mental knowledge that the supposed due-date is only two or three months away and even more because of some signal from the baby within, who at this time is actually "viable" — capable of surviving, with help, outside the womb.

When you feel this urge, one thing you may have to contend with is the simple fact that your partner, not feeling as you do, is just going on with life as usual. So communicate what's going on with you. And go about filling your needs in as relaxed a way as you can. If you go at it in good spirits, one step at a time without a sense of rushing, everything you do can be a very enjoyable, loving anticipation of the new person you are welcoming into your life. Have faith that everything will get done; focus, and it will come together.

If the nesting urge leads you to take on some re-decorating projects, be careful of the chemicals in house paints (particularly latex), paint removers, lacquer thinners, and formaldehyde (present in foam insulation and in new particle-board and plywood). Inhaling much in the way of fumes from any of these may harm your baby. Let your partner or some friends do the job for you — while you keep a safe distance. You can always do your part by fixing them some snacks.

Connecting With Your Baby

Lots of mothers-to-be have interior or out-loud conversations with the baby inside them. Some sing songs or hum to them. (That makes sense, particularly with all that's been learned recently about the baby's ability to see and hear in the womb.)

What takes more getting used to for a lot of women is the idea of the baby communicating back to them. If you've led a very matter-of-fact life, you may feel a tendency to ignore or suppress a barely felt communication from within. But it's real enough. And being open to it — to feeling whole ranges of things that are subtle and non-verbal — can help us all remember that verbal communication isn't necessarily the highest form of contact between people. One of the best preparations for birth for some women is the reception of a steady "I'm doing fine" message from the baby. And you may "hear" from the baby to your mutual advantage during labor itself.

"When I was starting to progress into heavier labor late at night, while the midwives were in another room and my husband was napping, the strong sense of my baby's presence I was feeling made her so 'there' with me that I felt her as the reassuring company I needed at that moment."

If You Haven't Been Drinking Raspberry Leaf Tea . . . is the time to start. As we said a few months back, this gentle, good-tasting herbal tea, which relaxes uterine muscles, has been associated with so many smooth births that it belongs on the "must" list. Two cups a day now will make up for what you've missed so far.

"About pregnancy — enjoy it and get lots of rest... make it a special time for setting up the nursery (or whatever) and do it far enough in advance so you can enjoy it and look forward to the birth with readiness."

Things To Have For The Baby (Part Two)

If you've already covered, or are on the way to covering, the basics described in Part One, you don't have to rush to get the accessories we're about to mention. But a few things are worth thinking about before the day of birth.

There's the matter of a bed, for instance. An increasing number of people are keeping their babies with them in their own bed for the first year or more after birth. They like the closeness and the convenience for nursing and changing, and they feel that it's better for the baby's overall well-being. But whether you go toward this "family bed" or the more conventional separate arrangement, a basic need is for a safe space in which the baby can sleep during the day while your attention is elsewhere. The most simple and flexible way to create this space is with a lightweight bassinet, port-a-bed, baby buggy, infant basket or some other mini-sleeping-place, rather than a heavy-duty crib. You can bring the baby along into another room or even outside with one of these if you want. And if you don't have the baby in your own bed, it's much easier to accommodate one of these in your room at night. (A separate room for a new baby is a needlessly tension-producing thing that very few people recommend anymore).

For most people, another important and useful accessory is some kind of inclined seat, that serves, once your baby is two or three months old, to prop him or her up nearby while you're doing something so he or she can watch and be a part of the family activity. The kind of incliner we (and a lot of babies we know) have come to like is what some people call a "bouncy seat". Made with a curved, light metal-rod frame that surrounds a fabric seat, it cradles the baby more comfortably than the usual incliner, and can be rocked gently (and enjoyably for the baby) by you or your baby's own movements.

Also coming into use in the early months after birth is a good infant car seat (of the kind that cradles the baby, in a lying rather than sitting position). Some car seats are designed to be easily carried out of the car, and can be useful around the house as well as in stores and other public places.

You may well also want some kind of baby carrier front-pack or (back-pack when the baby is a little bigger) so you can keep your baby with you and still do things with both hands. Some women manage to do lots of things, such as preparing dinner, with the baby in a front pack, but we haven't found it all that easy. It depends on you and your baby.

As for play-pens (and cribs for that matter), they seem to us a lot like jails for babies. We like the remark of the rural grandmother who said, when asked about a playpen to protect the baby from a hot woodstove: "Put the darn stove in the playpen, not the baby!"

Since babies outgrow all sorts of things in a very short time, second-hand accessories in good condition are easy to come by, and can be a good, economical investment.

"Have a midwife or doctor whom you trust and whose beliefs you also share.

Seventh Month

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All contents copyright © 1991 by Crystal Press. Used by permission of authors. Neither text nor illustrations may be reproduced in any form, in print or on the Intenet, without permission in writing from the authors, John Milder and Candie Snow, who may be e-mailed at You may also contact us at that address to purchase copies of Year of Birth.