Today was my last flight during pregnancy. This weekend was a girls weekend with three of my oldest friends (we’ve known each other since 6th grade). We went to St Petersburg, Florida. It was a lovely weekend, but too short, as most vacations tend to be.
A few highlights from the trip, aside from great company and awesome girl time:
Overall, it was a great trip. It was also my second trip in a few weeks, so I’m happy to be done traveling a bit. I’m lucky enough to have TSA precheck/global entry and also I checked my bags so I didn’t have to deal with carry-ons in the overhead bin. I purchased the optional insurance too, just in case. My trips went smoothly and I’m happy I took them. But now I’m happy to stay more local and with Fred going forward.
Midwife note: Travel is considered safe in pregnancy for most women. I always discuss the nature of the trip with women before they travel, especially toward the end. Most airlines will not let pregnant women fly past 36-37 weeks. I usually recommend 32-34 weeks at max, depending on where someone is going and what they are doing. There is a huge difference between going to a resort somewhere where you know no one vs going to see family somewhere. Here is what I usually go through this list:
1. Is the trip necessary? Is it a work trip? Work trips are generally easier to get out of!
2. Where are you going? Is it near any friends/family? Or are you going to a place where you know no one?
3. If, God forbid, you needed a hospital when you were there, do you know where to go? It's never a bad idea to look, just in case!
4. If, God forbid, you were to deliver early while away (extremely rare, of course!!!), would you be in a place where you could stay for several weeks or even a month or two after? The risk of delivery is low,, but a preterm baby would need to be in the hospital weeks to a month or two after birth, depending.
5. I would recommend getting the optional trip insurance no matter what. This will help you if you did need to cancel last minute for any reason. It's very hard to get money back (even with a note from a medical provider) for trip cancellation.
6. Check your bags, especially if traveling alone, so you don’t have to worry about overhead bins.
Music and books
I like music, but I have never been one to always be listening to music at home or on the go.
Since around week 20, I think I’ve been listening to a lot more music. I’ve really been trying to mix it up and listen to a variety of things and albums I haven’t heard in years. Some favorites have been Michael Jackson (especially the Thriller album), the Wicked soundtrack, Rent soundtrack, Mamma Mia! Soundtrack (broadway cast), Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Beatles, 80’s music and 90’s alternative. Fred listens to the White Stripes a lot too so that’s been on a lot.
I really think this started because I wanted to expose Embers to as much music as possible. Embers is hearing everything around me.
Midwife note: The fetus can hear around weeks 16-18. By week 24, fetuses have been shown to turn their heads in response to sound.
Embers’ favorite song is “P.Y.T (Pretty Young Thing)” by Michael Jackson. It’s by far the song that has gotten the most response. Embers likes a lot of the Thriller album (mostly the upbeat songs), but P.Y.T seems to be the favorite.
I also feel like we get a good reaction from “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes. Fred plays this song pretty regularly and I like to tell Embers that it’s Daddy’s song.
Our new bedtime routine is to read a book or two to Embers and playing “Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight” by the Spaniels. This song was from Three Men and a Baby. I sometimes sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” too.
In the mornings, I often play “Good Morning” from Singing in the Rain. I also sing a Frelaine original song (yes, we make up songs and have many of them) that says good morning.
We think it’s really important to read to Embers, sing and play music and talk to Embers. I never thought I’d be so into these things and I’ve really surprised myself with it.
Midwife note: There is some evidence that a fetus can be positively stimulated by reading, talking and singing while in utero. It is believed by some that it can enhance intellectual development, but this is hard to prove. Some studies have shown that babies can recognize sounds, songs and voices when they are born. One study showed that fetuses could recognize their mothers’ favorite soap opera theme song when born (I can’t find this actual study but it’s cited a lot...Hepper PG (1998) 'Foetal 'soap' addiction' Lancet (June 11) 1347-1348).
Many people play music with speakers or special headphones on their bellies. I think this is not recommended, as water (amniotic fluid in this case) conducts sound and doing it this way is probably very loud for your baby. Playing music that you would hear is probably sufficient enough and I do not recommend the special speakers/headphones or playing anything too close.
There was also a study that showed that infants who were read “The Cat in the Hat” by their mothers during pregnancy sucked more after birth to hear their mother’s reading the book. Source
Some good summaries and articles I found:
Although some research is pretty inconclusive, there certainly seems no downside to exposing your unborn baby to reading, talking, music and singing. So we’ll continue to do all of those things until baby is born!
Little Alien in my Belly
This morning when I woke up, Embers also woke up. I noticed the movements were getting strong so I started watching my belly. After a few movements, I noticed it move! I was able to see Embers’ movements from the outside. I took a video to send to Fred. It was hard to see, but it was there!
Later in the evening, we tried to watch as Embers moved again after dinner. Penny, one of our cats, was also lying near me. Fred spoke to Embers and Embers reacted and I saw it, but Fred missed it because Penny kind of attacked him at the same moment. He was so disappointed. I couldn’t help but laugh, and knew we could try again later.
Within the next hour, we did try again and finally we could see it again. He was so happy again!
Another funny thing happened today. Fred was at work and talking to a coworker. He told him that I was flying alone and he was all worried about me. “You’re sending your pregnant wife on a plane?” he said. Fred’s awesome response was "She's pregnant; she doesn't have terminal cancer, nor does she have a flesh eating bacterium". Amazing!
A pregnant midwife living and working in New York City