Week 39 of Your Pregnancy: Care Instructions

Fetus in uterus, with detail of development at 32nd week and 40th week

Your Care Instructions

During these final weeks, you may feel anxious to see your new baby. Newborn babies often look different from what you see in pictures or movies. Right after birth, their heads may have a strange shape. Their eyes may be puffy. And their genitals may be swollen. They may also have very dry skin, or red marks on the eyelids, nose, or neck. Still, most parents think their babies are beautiful.

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?

Prepare to breastfeed

  • If you are breastfeeding, continue to eat healthy foods.
  • If your health care provider recommends it, keep taking your prenatal vitamins.
  • Talk to your doctor before you take any medicine or supplement. Some medicines can affect your breast milk.
  • You can help prevent sore nipples if you feed your baby in the correct position. Nurses will help you learn to do this.

Choose the right birth control after your baby is born

  • If you are breastfeeding, you can still get pregnant. Use birth control if you don't want to get pregnant.
  • Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are very effective at preventing pregnancy and can provide birth control for 3 to 10 years, depending on the type. If you talk with your doctor before you have your baby, the IUD can be placed right after you give birth. If you decide you want to get pregnant later, you can have it removed. IUDs are safe to use while you are breastfeeding.
  • A hormonal implant is also very effective at preventing pregnancy. It is placed under the skin of the arm. This can be done right after you give birth. It releases the hormone progestin and prevents pregnancy for about 3 years. This can also be removed by a doctor at any time. It is safe to use while you are breastfeeding.
  • Depo-Provera can be used while you are breastfeeding. It's a shot you get every 3 months.
  • Birth control pills work well. But you need a different kind of pill for the first few weeks after you give birth. And when you start taking these pills, you need to make sure to use another type of birth control for 7 days after you start your pack.
  • Diaphragms, cervical caps, and condoms with spermicide work less well after birth. If you have a diaphragm or cervical cap, talk to your doctor to see if you need a different size.
  • Tubal ligation (tying your tubes) and vasectomy are both permanent. These are good options if you are sure you are done having children.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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