Pregnancy Week 34
With every passing week, your life is becoming tougher and tougher. Doing everyday errands seems to be quite daunting. You are feeling squeezed and squashed in your mid section. You just want to stretch out more to accommodate everything easier and comfortably but feel restricted.
People can’t ignore you now and various comments descend for your baby bump. Some will say, “You are too big”, while some others will feel pity for your baby bump to be too small. There will be others who would even say that “there will be two”. For all such comments we would say just smile and walk away. Listening to or reacting to what everybody say would solve no purpose. In fact, some of them may trigger your worries and concerns about the baby.
Growth and Development of Baby
Weighing around 4 ¾ pounds and measuring about 18 inches, your baby is continuously in a process of growth and maturation. The facial features are quite distinct by this week.
The fat layer is becoming thicker so that baby looks rounder and smoother. Apart from that, this layer also helps in regulating body temperature.
The central nervous system is quite mature by now. The muscles are developing and becoming stronger allowing him to move his head, kick his legs and stretch out his arms.
The lungs are showing tremendous development so as to prepare themselves to let your baby breathe in outside world. The adrenal glands on kidneys are producing more cortisol this week for the production of surfactant.
If it’s a boy, his testicles must have migrated to his scrotum from his abdomen. Some babies are born with undescended testicles but they will do so by their first birthday. Generally pregnancy hormones cause swelling in the genitals for some time. This is the reasons scrotum and vulva looks swollen at the time of birth in boys and girls respectively. However, they will get normal within few weeks.
The baby is now very well capable of closing and opening his eyes. Along with that, he or she can blink, screw or focus. If anytime your abdomen is exposed to some strong light, your baby will contract his pupils to limit the amount of light entering in his eyes. The eyes have not got any particular color yet. They still look blue only and actual color is decided when the eyes are exposed to light for some years.
Toenails and fingernails must have reached the top of the toes and fingers and are growing very fast. Be ready with a nail cutter or otherwise your baby is going to harm either himself or some other.
The soft hairy covering lanugo starts disappearing from this week while the waxy coating of vernix caseosa is still there. However, if baby is born now, one can easily notice that soft hair on his body especially on shoulders and back.
Due to the increasing size of the baby, the movement has become quite restricted now. However, now as when baby is right up against the wall of uterus, you can notice even the slightest movements. Moreover, you can also notice which body part is hitting you right now. The baby has also adopted regular sleeping cycles and sleeps for a good time in a day.
Set aside all your worries associated with preterm labor as babies born during 34-37 weeks generally do fine and catch up with full term babies in every sense very soon. There are no major health issues with them.
Some Important Things to do before Labor
Birth plan: Some women prefer to write a birth plan stating out the preferences on pain relief, labor positions, your thoughts on use of forceps or ventouse, etc. However, writing one does not mean that you have to follow this for sure. You can always change your mind once you are in labor.
The birth plan serves as a useful guide for your midwife and your partner as they will be the one handling and speaking to the medical team while you are in labor.
If you also want to write a birth plan, you must first talk to your friends and some relatives to get some ideas. Researching about medical facilities and types of pain relief will be really helpful for you. You may mention whether you yourself want to discover the baby’s gender or want it to be declared by the team of doctors. You want placenta cord to be cut by your partner or by the doctor himself. Mentioning all these in advance will prevent last minute confusions.
Make sure that you make multiple copies to distribute it among your birth partners or any other whom you want to be with you during labor.
Know the signs of labor: With only few weeks to go, it’s good if you know the signs of labor. Labor strikes every woman quite differently but the common symptoms include regular contractions at short intervals, lower back pain with menstrual cramps, waters break or bloody mucous discharge. All these symptoms indicate that cervix is dilating. These signs of labor may strike you anywhere near due date or days before that. Be careful and aware of all, and call your doctor immediately.
Save your memories: The pregnancy is a rare time in your life when you go through many emotional upheavals. There are thousands of thoughts, hopes and dreams for baby and pregnancy. But, once the baby will be there, your pregnancy will be a forgotten thing. So, why not save and record these memories to cherish forever. Write a letter mentioning all your thoughts and feelings, click your belly pictures, write how you felt during pregnancy (all good and bad things), recount the foods you craved and things you averted and also mention what crazy things you did for satisfying your cravings. Also, mention your first time shopping experience for baby products, arguments on baby’s name and discussions over the choice of colors in baby nursery. Share how you felt those first movements. In short, just open up your heart and seal this letter with your love and kiss for your future baby.
Changes in Mother’s Body
By this week, your uterus has reached 5 ½ inches above your navel and packing your abdomen like watermelon. It’s big enough to hold a cup and make you hands free. (Oh wow, baby is helping his moma!) Along with your baby, you are also gaining quick weight and must have gained around 21-27 pounds by now. It’s still rising.
- The amniotic fluid has already reached its max and there is no further increase, therefore, it will be less as compared to the baby’s size. This makes every movement of your baby more pronounced. There is lesser padding between baby and uterus wall.
- It is becoming difficult for your body to manage the extra blood volume circulating in your body, standing and sitting for long hours cause ankles, feet and hands to swell. However, if your face swells, you must see your doctor as this is the sign of high blood pressure which needs to be treated or handled immediately.
- Are you seeing things as clear as they were before? Probably not! This is because your eyes also become a victim of those pesky pregnancy hormones which makes your vision blurry. Apart from that, there is a decrease in tear productions which makes your eyes dry and irritated. Wearing contact lenses may worsen the situation. Besides this, there is fluid retention behind your eyes which results in shape changes of eyes. Thankfully, these changes are just temporary and will disappear with the birth of the baby. However, make sure that serious vision issues may be an indication of gestational diabetes or high blood pressure. Bring it to the notice of your doctor if you feel so.
- With baby being so high, your lungs and diaphragm are struggling for their position in abdomen. Indigestion, shortness of breath and heartburn are the results of the same. Though, soon, uterus will drop down in pelvis but right now it’s very crowded in your upper mid section.
- Your internal body temperature is several degrees higher than others and this makes you feel hot when everyone around you is shivering. In fact, you can feel the heat radiating out from your belly.
Some Important Tips to Consider
- Restless nights with tossing and turning around, rushing frequently to the bathroom for pee breaks, physical and mental strain will again bring the fatigue and exhaustion you felt during first trimester. So, it’s the time for you to take maximum rest and sleep.
- Some women get tired of being tired and get weary of being in discomforts. This causes them to kick start the labor by indulging in activities like sex, riding lawn mower, etc. It’s an advice to such women that though it’s being quite tough for you to be in this situation for so long, just know that still each and every single day, your baby is growing and maturing more and more. He will himself signal you when he will be ready to come out and breathe in the outer world of yours.
- Don’t get up from your bed too quickly after lying down for long as blood can suddenly drop in your legs causing a fall in blood pressure. This makes you dizzy. If you would act too fast, there are chances that you may fall down which is very dangerous at this stage.
- Keep preparing your labor muscles by doing kegal and pelvic tilt exercises.
Only a few weeks are left in the Delivery day, so, work on your ideas and plans you made for your baby. Try not to leave anything for last minute. Your baby will come as soon as he is ready no matter what the date is. Moreover, once the baby will be there, your whole time would be centered on him only. So, why not call an old buddy and do some chit chat while resting and relaxing. In short, we just want you to enjoy and relax.