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Week 39 of Your Pregnancy: Care Instructions

Fetal development at the 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 or nurse call line 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 professional recommends it, keep taking your prenatal vitamins.
  • Talk to your doctor before you take any medicine or natural health products. That's because 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.
  • Your newborn will need to be fed about every 1 to 3 hours.

Choose the right birth control after your baby is born

  • Women who are breastfeeding 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 having 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. They are safe to use while you are breastfeeding.
  • Depo-Provera can be used while you are breastfeeding. It is 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 giving 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?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your 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.