Welcome To Week 35
Your Baby: The Final Touches
Nearing the ninth month, your baby weighs approximately 5 1/2 pounds (roughly 2495 g), and measures approximately 20 inches from head to toe. The baby will continue to grow, putting on about a half a pound per week until delivery.
Over the next few weeks, the organs (which are all present and formed) are just putting on the final touches before birth.
Your Body: Picking A Pediatrician
Now that you're in your last trimester with only a few weeks to spare, you should choose a medical caregiver for your baby-to-be (unless you go to a family physician who can provide care for your baby). If this is your first baby, you need to understand the importance of this decision. A good pediatrician is more than a person to call when your baby has a fever. It is someone who will chart your child's development, address your concerns, and answer your questions about your child's health. And it is someone you will see regularly for sick visits and for well checkups.
The best place to begin looking for a pediatrician is with your family physician, obstetrician, family, friends, and colleagues. Ask them for recommendations and start gathering a list of names. After you collect a few numbers, write up some questions and call to set up interviews. When you interview a physician, you should take into account:
- Professional qualifications (the American Academy of Pediatrics - AAP -- will provide you with a list of board-certified pediatricians if you ask for it).
- Health care viewpoints on various issues such as proactive/preventive medicine, nutrition etc.
- Office hours (weekend appointments, evenings, emergencies).
- Doctor cross-coverage (who are the other doctors covering when your doctor is unavailable?)
- Location -- more than one office?
- Office environment and general feel and personalities of doctors and staff.
- After hours -- answering service/returned phone calls
- Triage system -- who answers your calls when you have a question? Do you speak with a nurse or directly with your doctor?
- Health coverage issues/ HMO/PP -- how do you pay for visits?
On a Different Note: Passing Your Child's First Test
Immediately after you deliver your baby, your baby will be given a score, called the Apgar. A nurse or doctor will rate her color, heart rate, muscle tone, respiration, and reflexes at one minute and five minutes after birth. This score will assess whether she needs extra help making the transition to life outside your womb. To learn more about the Apgar, click here.
As you near the end of your pregnancy, you should pack your hospital bag and put it by the front door so that you're ready to go when labor begins -- carefree and calm. Aside from your personal items, make room for these must-haves: a video recorder or camera, toiletries, and an outfit to wear home for you and your baby. And don't forget food and drinks for Dad (or at least small change for the vending machines)!
Irina Burd, MD, PhD, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
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