Photo: Mandy Milks, Erik Putz, Anthony Swaneveld. Felt: thefeltstore.com
There’s a reason why your belly is getting so cumbersome: By 30 weeks pregnant, that adorable little bean you saw on your first ultrasound is now the size of an eggplant and measures about 40 centimetres (15.7 inches) and nearly 1.4 kilograms (three pounds). Now that all of the major systems of the body are in place and functioning, Junior will pack on about 227 grams (1/2 pound) a week in preparation for birth (he needs a little chub to insulate that tiny body you’ve spent so much time growing!). The extra fat will also help regulate his body temperature once he has finally made an appearance.
Your baby is also developing cycles of sleep and wakefulness. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to tell where he is in his cycle at any point because every baby is different—even in utero—and it’s a bit of a mystery as to how light, noise and your daily routine and rhythms affect your little one. But one thing is for sure: He is sleeping about 90 percent of the time.Prostock-Studio / Getty Images
Now that you’re solidly in your third trimester, your body will start to get ready for birth.
It might seem like that due date circled on your calendar is still ages away, but it’s actually pretty soon in the big scheme of things—just 10 weeks to go (don’t freak out!). At this point, you may notice that your breasts are getting even fuller, potentially heavier and more tender in preparation for breastfeeding. They may look like a road map of darker veins, and the small glands on your areolas (fun fact: they’re called Montgomery’s tubercles) may become raised and more obvious.Artfoliophoto / Getty Images
If this hasn’t started happening to you already, we’ll warn you again: Don’t be surprised if you’re binge-watching Orange Is the New Black one night and your belly goes rock hard, prompting you to yell an expletive in response to the discomfort. Chances are, it’s just good ol’ Braxton Hicks contractions. These mild contractions (seriously, some women don’t feel them at all) are your body’s way of practising for the birth. Just pay attention to how often the contractions happen: They should be irregular, not progressive in terms of intensity and spaced relatively far apart. Try the strategies outlined here for relieving Braxton Hicks.Sorajack / Getty Images
Have you recently Googled “What’s an episiotomy?” Many first-time moms who’ve heard too many childbirth war stories worry about needing this procedure, where the doctor makes a surgical cut in a birthing mother’s perineum to allow more room for the baby’s head to emerge. But fear not: Doctors try not to do them anymore because they are difficult to fully heal. It’s more likely that birth will cause you to tear a little naturally (and somewhat unevenly) instead of a hard-to-heal, clean surgical cut. You may require a few stitches to close the injury, but they’ll numb the area before doing the stitches, much like at the dentist’s office. By then, you’ll be holding a snuggly little bundle, feeling the post-birth euphoria hormones, and a few stitches will seem like a walk in the park. (Don’t try to actually go for a walk in the park for a couple of weeks, though!) To avoid tearing altogether, you can try perineal massage in the weeks leading up to the birth to make the area more pliable but not until after the 34-week mark. Plus, watch this video to learn exactly how your cervix works and to see how big it gets as you dilate.
If you’re expecting a boy or waiting to find out the sex, your OB-GYN or midwife will ask you beforehand to give some thought to where you stand on circumcision. This preference often depends on culture, family traditions and religious background, but it’s also changing rapidly. Circumcision was quite popular for baby boys born in the 1970s and 1980s. However, the rates have been falling lately, especially since the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) issued a position statement back in 1996, advising that circumcision was not routinely recommended and that “the benefits and the harms were evenly balanced.” As of 2015, only about 32 percent of Canadian male newborns are circumcised (though it really varies by region). The procedure is also not covered automatically by your provincial health plan. It costs about $200 to $500, and you usually have to return to the hospital at a later date to have it done. Discuss it with your partner, and read up on the latest CPS guidelines on circumcision here.
If you choose not to circumcise but aren’t sure about how to care for your baby boy’s business, this story is for you.Gumpanat / Getty Images
If you’re expecting a summer baby, consider choosing one of these seasonally appropriate baby names.Isabel Pavia / Getty Images
It’s time to get the baby gear assembled. You’re only nine weeks from full term (39 weeks is considered full term), and it may take a few Saturdays to get the nursery completely finished. Plus, you’re probably going to slow down a bit soon—even the most active moms-to-be will be affected by carrying around 20 or more extra pounds. You’re going to want to take it easy in the home stretch. Have you finished your registry in advance of your baby shower? Here’s a registry checklist, plus some eye-candy baby product inspiration for your next shopping trip. And we've rounded the 10 most dangerous baby products.Larysa Vasylenko / Getty Images
Swings don't meet the criteria for safe sleep, which state that baby should sleep on a firm, flat surface without any loose bedding near them, says Ben Hoffman, a paediatrician and the chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention. “Using a swing when the baby is awake and supervised is OK, but once a baby falls asleep in the swing, it becomes dangerous,” he explains. When a baby is sleeping in a swing, a big concern is that their head can flop forward and make it hard for them to breathe, says Hoffman. This obstruction of the airway is called positional asphyxiation. The same risk is present in a car seat and an inclined bouncer (which is why babies should not sleep in their bucket seats once they're removed from the vehicle, where the seat's position and safety straps outweigh the risk). With swings, other concerns are that your baby could become entangled in the straps, turn their head and suffocate against the soft padding or roll over in the swing, which can happen even if parents use the straps properly.Photo: Getty Images
Fisher-Price's popular US product, the Rock ‘n Play Sleeper, was recalled on April 12, 2019 after an investigation by Consumer Reports linked the inclined sleeper to 32 deaths, but it wasn't initially recalled in Canada, all because of labelling. Health Canada says the Canadian version of the product, the Rock ‘n Play Soothing Seat, was still available because it was never marketed as a sleeper here. “Health Canada is aware of the Fisher Price Rock ’n Play Soothing Seat,” a spokesperson said in an email. “Since this seat is not intended for sleep, it is not subject to the Cribs, Cradles and Bassinets Regulations.” On January 29, 2020, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) also announced voluntary recalls of four additional baby seat brands, which look quite similar to the Rock ‘n Play: the Graco Little Lounger Rocking Seat, the Summer Infant Swaddleme By Your Bed Inclined Sleeper, the Evenflo Pillo Portable Napper, and the Delta Children Beautyrest Beginnings Incline Sleeper. Any bassinet, sleeper or seat at an angle of more than 10 degrees puts your baby at risk for suffocation and positional asphyxiation.
Paediatrician Michael Dickinson, speaking on behalf of the Canadian Paediatric Society, says it’s “crazy” that seats like these are still available as hand-me-downs and being used by Canadian parents. “We know that babies in the United States are identical to the babies here in Canada. We know that Canadian parents are probably going to use the device similarly to how it was used in the United States. It makes no sense that a device that has already been recognized as potentially harmful, lethal to babies is allowed to be sold and distributed in Canada.”Photo: Walmart.ca
We know, the crib looks bare without them and the catalogues and design sites always set up nurseries with cute matching crib sets—bumper pads included. But there’s strong evidence that bumper pads increase the risk of death because babies can press their faces into them, get caught in the ties and use them to climb out of cribs once they’re older and more mobile. Both the Canadian Paediatric Society and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend not using crib bumpers (in fact, they are banned in some parts of the US, including Chicago and Maryland), and a major US study published in 2007 clearly attributed infant deaths to crib bumpers. “They are fashion accessories,” says Cyr. “They have no use, and they are potentially dangerous.” Parents commonly ignore the guidelines and choose crib bumpers because they’re worried that their babies will stick their arms or legs out of their cribs or bump their heads while rolling in their sleep. But babies aren’t really strong enough to seriously injure themselves in this way, so crib bumpers aren’t necessary and can cause way more harm than good. Mesh bumper pads (which are sometimes marketed as a more breathable option) are also not recommended by experts.Photo: iStockphoto
While the upright push toys that help babies learn to walk are fine to use, the ones that surround the baby with a tray and are used by babies to move themselves around (they sometimes look like ExerSaucers on wheels) have been illegal in Canada since 2004. Canadian manufacturers voluntarily stopped making this type of walker for more than a decade before that. Though the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that the US follow suit, these walkers continue to be available for sale south of the border. And we know Canadian parents are still acquiring them somehow because doctors report that they’re causing injuries here.Photo: iStockphoto
For the most part, drop-side cribs are already off the market. The movable sides can drop unexpectedly and cause injury and even death. As of December, it will be illegal in Canada to sell, import, manufacture and advertise them (they’re already illegal in the US). Parents should also avoid using cribs made before September 1986, when safety standards became more stringent.Photo: iStockphoto
These might be the next products we see banned, says Cyr. “The Canadian Paediatric Society is trying to remove bath seats from the marketplace because they are mostly dangerous,” he says. “They make parents feel like they can leave their babies unattended, but there is no safe way to leave a baby alone in the bathtub—even for a moment.” Infant deaths have occurred when the seats have tipped over or when babies have climbed out or slipped through the leg openings.Photo: amazon.ca
These foam positioners are used to keep infants propped up—billed as a solution to issues surrounding reflux—or on their backs while sleeping, but babies can roll over or slide down and suffocate on them. If you have a tummy sleeper (who is at least five months old and able to roll onto her stomach and back again), it’s OK to let your baby remain on her tummy—just make sure that you always put your baby down on her back to sleep.Photo: amazon.ca
Some co-sleeping and bed-sharing parents prefer to put their babies in a mini-bassinet that sits in the middle of the parents’ bed, such as the increasingly popular DockATot and Snuggle Nest-style products. But Cyr doesn’t recommend this type of sleeping environment, explaining that parents could still roll over onto their babies. Once infants learn to roll over, these products pose the same hazards as bumper pads: Babies can get their faces stuck against the sides and suffocate, even if they’re made of breathable materials. For nighttime sleep, when you are unable to keep an eye on your baby, it’s safer to put your baby beside the bed on a safe sleeping surface that has a firm mattress, like a bassinet or crib.Photo: amazon.ca
These crib-like products only have three sides, so they can nestle right up against your bed, often attached with a strap. That may be convenient, especially for reaching over and grabbing the baby for a middle-of-the-night nursing session, but it can be unsafe because the baby could get trapped in the gap between the mattresses, according to Health Canada. Even if it doesn’t look like there is a gap after you install a bedside co-sleeper, the weight of a parent getting on the bed can shift the mattress or sink it, creating a gap.Photo: amazon.ca
It’s nice to have baby at eye level, but baby seats like the Bumbo can be dangerous if you place them on high surfaces, like countertops and dinner tables, and your child falls. That was highlighted in a 2012 recall that resulted in added straps to the Bumbo, as well as a warning against putting the seats on anything but the floor. It’s also important to make sure that your baby is always supervised and not placed near anything dangerous, like electrical cords, says Cyr.Photo: amazon.ca
All carriers and slings aren’t inherently dangerous; it’s just that they’re often misused and the learning curve is steep for new parents. “Carriers are really good for a baby’s temperament and very practical,” says Cyr. But if the baby isn’t positioned properly, there’s a risk that they could fall out or suffocate. In 2013, Health Canada reminded parents to follow directions, make sure that their carriers are in good shape and ensure that babies are “visible and kissable” when they’re in soft carriers and slings. Unstructured pouch slings, ring slings and bag slings pose more of a suffocation risk for younger infants than Mei Tai, Moby, Boba and Baby K’tan fabric wraps. Ergobaby, Beco and BabyBjörn make popular structured carriers that some parents find easier to use (fewer tucks, folds and ties means less room for error).Photo: infantino.com
Warm-mist humidifiers can get dangerously hot to the touch (if you have a baby who can crawl or walk, he or she will be interested in touching the mist—trust us), so if you use one, make sure that both the humidifier and the cord are safely out of baby’s reach. Warm- and cool-mist humidifiers can also grow mould if they’re not cleaned properly. “If you have a problem with really dry air, I recommend filling a large plate with water and leaving it in your baby’s room,” says Cyr. “It’s as simple as that.”Photo: iStockphoto
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