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PHOENIX
1661 E Camelback Rd
Suite 160
Phoenix, AZ 85016
602-241-1671

AHWATUKEE
4530 E. Ray Rd
Suite 125
Phoenix, AZ 85044
480-759-9191

Weeks 37 to 40 of Your Pregnancy

Your Care Instructions

You are near the end of your pregnancy-and you're probably pretty uncomfortable. It may be harder to walk around. Lying down probably isn't comfortable either. You may have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep.

Most women deliver their babies between 37 and 42 weeks. This is a good time to think about packing a bag for the hospital with items you'll need. Then you'll be ready when labor starts.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Learn about breastfeeding

  • Breastfeeding is best for your baby and good for you. Breast milk has antibodies to help your baby fight infections.
  • Mothers who breastfeed often lose weight faster, because making milk burns calories. Learning the best ways to hold your baby will make breastfeeding easier.
  • Let your partner bathe and diaper the baby to keep your partner from feeling left out. Snuggle together when you breastfeed.
  • You may want to learn how to use a breast pump and store your milk.
  • If you choose to bottle feed, make the feeding feel like breastfeeding so you can bond with your baby. Always hold your baby and the bottle. Do not prop bottles or let your baby fall asleep with a bottle.

Learn about crying

  • It is common for babies to cry for 1 to 3 hours a day. Some cry more, some cry less. Babies don't cry to make you upset or because you are a bad parent.
  • Crying is how your baby communicates. Your baby may be hungry; have gas; need a diaper change; or feel cold, warm, tired, lonely, or tense. Sometimes babies cry for unknown reasons.
  • If you respond to your baby's needs, he or she will learn to trust you.
  • Try to stay calm when your baby cries. Your baby may get more upset if he or she senses that you are upset.

Know how to care for your newborn

Your baby's umbilical cord stump will drop off on its own, usually between 1 and 2 weeks. To care for your baby's umbilical cord area:

  • Clean the area at the bottom of the cord 2 or 3 times a day.
  • Pay special attention to the area where the cord attaches to the skin. Keep the diaper folded below the cord.
  • Use a damp washcloth or cotton ball to sponge bathe your baby until the stump has come off.
  • Your baby's first dark stool is called meconium. After the meconium is passed, your baby will develop his or her own bowel pattern.
  • Some babies, especially breastfed babies, have several bowel movements a day. Others have one or two a day, or one every 2 to 3 days.
  • Breastfed babies often have loose, yellow stools. Formula-fed babies have more formed stools.
  • If your baby's stools look like little pellets, he or she is constipated. After 2 days of constipation, call your baby's doctor.

If your baby will be circumcised, you can care for him at home.

  • Gently rinse his penis with warm water after every diaper change. Do not try to remove the film that forms on the penis. This film will go away on its own. Pat dry.
  • Put petroleum ointment, such as Vaseline, on the area of the diaper that will touch your baby's penis. This will keep the diaper from sticking to your baby.
  • Ask the doctor about giving your baby acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain.

Learn about cesarean birth

Most C-sections are unplanned. They are done because of problems that occur during labor. These problems might include:

  • Labor that slows or stops.
  • High blood pressure or other problems for the mother.
  • Signs of distress in the baby. These signs may include a very fast or slow heart rate.

Although most mothers and babies do well after C-section, it is major surgery. It has more risks than a vaginal delivery.

In some cases, a planned C-section may be safer than a vaginal delivery. This may be the case if:

  • The mother has a health problem, such as a heart condition.
  • The baby isn't in a head-down position for delivery. This is called a breech position.
  • The uterus has scars from past surgeries. This could increase the chance of a tear in the uterus. There is a problem with the placenta.
  • The mother has an infection, such as genital herpes, that could be spread to the baby. The mother is having twins or more.
  • The baby weighs 9 to 10 pounds or more.

Because of the risks of C-section, planned C-sections generally should be done only for medical reasons. And a planned C-section should be done at 39 weeks or later unless there is a medical reason to do it sooner.

Know what to expect after delivery, and plan for the first few weeks at home

  • You, your baby, and your partner or coach will get identification bands. Only people with matching bands can pick up the baby from the nursery.
  • You will learn how to feed, diaper, and bathe your baby. And you will learn how to care for the umbilical cord stump. If your baby will be circumcised, you will also learn how to care for that.
  • Ask people to wait to visit you until you are at home. And ask them to wash their hands before they touch your baby. Make sure you have another adult in your home for at least 2 or 3 days after the birth.
  • During the first 2 weeks, limit when friends and family can visit.
  • Do not allow visitors who have colds or infections. Make sure all visitors are up to date with their vaccinations.
  • Try to nap when the baby naps.

Be aware of postpartum depression

  • "Baby blues" are common for the first 1 to 2 weeks after birth. You may cry or feel sad or irritable for no reason. For some women, these feelings last longer and are more intense. This is called postpartum depression.
  • If your symptoms last for more than a few weeks or you feel very depressed, ask your doctor for help.
  • Postpartum depression can be treated. Support groups and counseling can help. Sometimes medicine can also help.
Care instructions adapted under license by Az Obgyn Affiliates. This care instruction is for use with your licensed healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.

Phoenix Office

602-241-1671
602-230-7982

1661 E Camelback Rd
Suite 160
Phoenix, AZ 85016

Ahwatukee Office

480-759-9191
480-759-9105

4530 E Ray Rd
Suite 125
Phoenix, AZ 85044

Hospital Affiliation

         Main 602-839-2000
OB Triage 602-839-6700

Banner University
Medical Center Phoenix

1111 E McDowell Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85006