Category Archives: pregnancy

Week 32: Know your contractions

Contractions feel like a cramping or tightening sensation that starts in the lower back and moves around the front.  As these tend to be universal signs of labor, most first timers (like hubby and I) easily confuse Braxton Hicks with true labor contractions — and get alarmed when these suddenly occur.  The main difference between them is the frequency, duration and severity of the contractions.

TRUE labor contractions continue no matter what you do. They come at regular intervals and get closer together, longer and more painful as time passes.  Hence the popularity of epidurals these days!

FALSE labor contractions are named after Braxton Hicks, the doc who discovered that some pregnant women actually felt contractions way before actual delivery. These are thought to be an aid to the body in its preparation for birth and tend to be unpredictable and uncomfortable. They can be managed by:

  1. Drinking up
  2. Breathing rhythmically
  3. Lying on your left side
  4. Changing positions or moving around
  5. Emptying that bladder – make that effort for the 1tsp of pee. Again.

Week 32: Chubby monkey

Little guy’s on track to be a chubby one when he pops!  Based on last week’s growth scan, doc predicts his EDD weight between 3.5-4 kg.  Yikes. We’ll track his growth weekly and review any “actions” once I’m full term, i.e. epidural (if I had doubts before, this looks more likely now), early induction and/or assisted delivery. Why this growth spurt?  Since my own weight gain’s on par (12 kg at that time), doc joked that I just have an efficient placenta. Heh 🙂

Meanwhile, better set up our nursery, pack that hospital bag and review those labor and contraction notes sooner than I planned!

Week 31: Exhausted

The work week was exhausting.  Saturday ended up being rather stressful.  This Sunday, I tried to regain some sanity by listing out what needs to be then when for the next few weeks before full term (week 37 onwards) and put this digital post-it on my laptop homescreen. If little guy decides to show up early, then it’s HMG mode — Help me, God!

Being pregnant IS a joy and a blessing.  I wouldn’t change this no matter how overwhelmed or frustrated I’ve been lately.  I suspect the hubby might think differently though – he just read a book called “Pregnancy Sucks – For Men” 😉

Week 30: Hive of activity!

It’s tough to sleep comfortably through the night, though baby and I are enjoying hubby’s daily massage before bed. Work is also chugging along – with 7 weeks to go before my maternity leave, I’m inundated by stuff to settle and transition with my team and bosses. At least this weekend, we snuck in some pre-baby “us” time in between family dinners, baby shopping and more domestic helper interviews.

Despite all the hectic-ness outside, the best is still what’s developing inside. Month 7 check up went well, baby’s in the right spot (head down, bump front).  His head won’t engage till a few more weeks but doc predicts a normal delivery for us. We’re scheduling a growth scan and Glucose Tolerance Test in 2 weeks – the latter at my prompting b/c the baby seems quite large, even though there’s no major weight gain, diabetic history or symptoms on my end.

He seems so shy, peaceful and angelic when we do our ultrasound scans.  However, when the little guy’s awake, I swear he’s practicing kungfu!

Week 29: 2 Months to go

Parents left for a few weeks and alas, hubby’s eye injury took a turn for the worse so he’s back on MC and stuck at home alone.  Spent the week juggling work, errands and babysitting my two guys – the hubby and little one.  With 8 weeks to go before my maternity leave, there’s suddenly so much to sort out beforehand.  If this even hints at a full-time mom’s life, I could definitely use help at home!

My weekend routine lately: Quiet time over breakfast, catch up on reading, et al. Saturday: Prenatal pilates class, our hospital antenatal course (today’s topic is breastfeeding!) and family dinner.  Sunday: Church and if there’s time (or energy left), interview potential domestic helpers and shop for baby stuff – next up: Baby proof furniture as most of our stuff will be moved to my parent’s place nearby.

Week 28: Cramps and dreams

Tossing and turning, lower back aches, hyperactive baby in belly, sudden leg cramps … and dreams!

Best dream to date: I was having a really short labour, our baby boy came out and started speaking to us.  Heh. This beats my giving-birth-to-aliens dream hands down. I also found some hillarious illustrations on expecting fathers’ dreams — see right 🙂

Meanwhile, some tips for those nasty leg cramps:

  • Avoid standing or sitting with your legs crossed for too long
  • Stretch calf muscles regularly – upon waking, daytime, before sleep
  • Rotate ankles, wiggle toes when you sit, eat, be a “couch potato”
  • Take a walk every day, unless you’re on bed rest
  • Avoid getting too tired. Lie down on your left side to improve circulation to and from your legs. However, if baby feels cramped on the left (and kicks/punches you!), switch sides as needed
  • Stay hydrated during the day by drinking water regularly
  • Try a warm bath or massage before bed to relax your muscles

Week 27: Old wives tales

Evidently, they’re right so far about me and the little one!  Then again, it’s a 50/50 probability, eh?

  1. Linea Nigra (belly line pigmentation due to hormones):  Pubic to belly button only – Girl. Pubic all the way to lower rib – Boy.  Verdict:  Boy
  2. Carrying position (own body, baby’s position):  High, sideways (weight around hip and bum) – Girl. Low, front – Boy.  Verdict: Boy
  3. Mom’s skin: Soft – Girl. Dry – Boy.  Verdict: Boy
  4. Mom’s hair: Thin/Dull – Girl.  Full/glossy – Boy.  Verdict: Boy (but my hair’s always like this!)
  5. Food craving: Sweet – Girl. Sour/Salty/Proteins – Boy. Verdict: Boy (again though, that’s my preference too)
  6. Early morning sickness:  Yes/Bad – Girl. No/OK – Boy. Verdict: Boy
  7. Feet vs pre-pregnancy:  Same – Girl.  Colder – Boy.  Verdict: Boy 
  8. Baby’s heartrate (changes by baby’s age and movement): Above 140 bpm – Girl.  Below 140 bpm – Boy. Verdict: N/A. (Between 120-160 bpm is good)
  9. Math: Time of conception + Number of month conceived: Odd – Girl. Even – Boy. Verdict: ?!
  10. Movement of (dangled) wedding ring over belly: Pendulum – Girl. Circles – Boy. Verdict: ?!

Week 27: Down to the last trimester

Yikes! Third trimester is here. Where has all the time gone?!

We’re making good progress towards relocating my parents here.  That said, some logistics can only be sorted out in order: Making room for our live-in helper, shifting some of our furniture to my parents’ new place nearby and setting up the baby nursery. Maybe we’ll do an IKEA run next week?

I officially applied for maternity leave from work – 3 months off followed by a 3 day flexi-work week for 2 months.  One colleague gave me a new baby bottle steriliser once I start mixing breast and bottle feeding upon my return to work. Thank God for a supportive work-life environment, friends and family! 

From now on, I should gain a pound or ~500g a week which puts my final estimated weight gain at 13-14 kg – on par for most Asian pregnancies.  I haven’t done a glucose screening test yet (supposedly done between weeks 24-28) as my regular urine tests have been normal so far. Will check with the doc on that.

Week 26: Checking out the checklists

The maternity checklists available these days give me a (temporary?) sense of sanity and progress about our baby/parent preparations, esp. with the pending 3rd trimester.  Time flies!  This week, I discovered a comprehensive pregnancy checklist from The Bump — part of the same umbrella site we used for our wedding 6+ years ago, The Knot. Pretty cool.

Notable checks for this week:

  1. Long term visit pass for parents – Application sent and under review.
  2. Accomodation for parents – Rental bid accepted. Letter of Intent received.
  3. Baby crib and mattress – Thanks, Kenny!
  4. Newborn suits/hats/mits/booties/bibs/sleeping bags/blankets – Yay for friends, Mothercare and Kiddy Palace
  5. Upsized exercise tops, dresses and work pants – Sales at Vivocity, Novena and Marina Square 🙂
  6. Little one is ACTIVE.  Hmm… many sleepless nights and days ahead?

Our hospital antenatal class just finished part 1 of physiotherapy with the highlight being the massage section. Hubby now knows how to give great back massages. No more excuses 😉  Also, I have somehow developed the biggest bump in my prenatal pilates class.  How did this happen?!

Week 25: Rash :(

Uck. So that itchy belly has transformed into a nasty body rash…. I seem to have an onset of PUPPP or AEP.  May need stronger anti-itch lotions soon!

  • PUPPP affects first pregnancies in the 3rd trimester, ~1% of women
  • AEP affects women with a prior history of topical excema
  • Starts out in the abdomen, i.e. close to where stretch marks would be
  • Doesn’t involve the belly button
  • Spreads to thighs, butt, breasts, arms, necks, limb joints
  • Harmless to mom and babe – just ridiculously annoying!  
  • Most severe itching lasts < 1 week (please….)
  • Resolves 1 to 2 weeks after delivery (sob!)
  • Cause unknown.  Likely due to inflammation from damaged tissue from the expanding abdomen. One study suggests that male fetal DNA acts as a skin irritant (aiya, my baby boy!)
  • Treat with steroids – creams/ointments/oral
  • Antihistamines are not as effective but help with sleep
  • Avoid things that normally make you itch (e.g. no seafood)
  • Avoid hot showers and baths, rinse off well, towel off lightly
  • Apply mild soap, unscented moisturiser – preferably oatmeal based
  • Wear loose cotton clothing
  • Avoid going out when it’s hot (er, that’s like everyday in Singapore)