Pregnancy week by week

Baby

Toddler

Week 34 of Pregnancy


This is the right time to join an antenatal class if you haven’t done so already! The more you know about how your baby will be born, the easier it will be for you to go through the birth process when the time comes. These classes usually cover what happens in labour, stages of labour and teach you some breathing and relaxation techniques to cope with labour pains.

Don’t give up on exercise-it helps you to feel properly tired when you go to bed and therefore, you are more likely to sleep well. Swimming is a good form of exercise right now because the water takes the extra weight off your joints.

The Braxton Hicks contraction may be getting more frequent and stronger. Fatigue is a common complaint of late pregnancy. You may have trouble sleeping, experience aches and pains and gain more weight. So, rest as much as you can and try to take naps, if possible.  Also read up on the signs of labour and stages of labour. The more prepared you are, the less anxiety you will feel.

 

Your body



You may wonder if you will be able to tell when your water breaks. This is the breaking of the fluid filled amniotic sac surrounding the baby. Sometimes the amniotic sac breaks or leaks before labour begins. This may just be a small trickle. If you think your membranes have ruptured, you should call your doctor. Let your doctor know if the fluid is clear or greenish or foul smelling, because this could be a sign of infection.  Your doctor would want to evaluate you and your baby as soon as the membranes rupture because of the risk of developing an infection. Your doctor may decide to induce labour.

You may notice your feet and ankles are swollen, especially towards the end of the day. Oedema is normal during pregnancy, but pitting that lasts more than few seconds can be a sign of preeclampsia. If your hands and face start to look puffy too, talk to your doctor to rule out pre-eclampsia.

Pre-eclampsia affects about one in ten first pregnancies worldwide. It can be very dangerous for both you and the baby if it’s allowed to progress. The cause is not fully understood, but it can affect your baby’s growth and your own health. Your doctor will be monitoring your blood pressure at each visit so that immediate steps can be taken once it is detected. Check out our section on complications of pregnancy to learn more about preeclampsia.

Watch out for these signs:
  • Sudden increase in swelling in your hands, feet or face
     
  • Dizziness

  • Blurred vision, or lights flashing in front of your eyes.

  • Severe headaches

  • Sever pain just below the ribs

  • Vomiting

  • High blood pressure



Your baby

Your baby may measure about 45 cm (crown-rump length is 30cm). He may weigh about 2.1 kg. The lungs and brain are one of the few organs that are not fully matured at this stage, and the other organs should be mature or close to it. Your baby’s adrenals are now producing hormones that stimulate lactation. The amount of amniotic fluid that surrounds and cushions the baby will begin to decrease. As a result, every movement your baby makes may feel more pronounced as the padding between the uterus and your baby’s elbows and knees diminishes. Remember, you should contact your doctor if you notice your baby is moving much less than usual. You may notice that your baby is still getting hiccups. . This is normal as babies have yet to master the breathing and swallowing technique .Your baby’s sucking reflex is getting better and it will be practicing on tiny fingers and thumbs whenever possible. As the fat accumulates continues, his arms and legs will plump up. Eyes open when awake and closed when sleeping. Your baby may have already turned to a head down position in preparation for birth. The vernix coating on the baby’s skin is becoming thicker while the lanugo hair is almost completely gone.

Babies born have a very good chance of survival with very little monitoring.  However, pre tem babies have little baby fat and a weaker immune system. Though, you would feel as if it has been a long time and would want to get over it, pre-term labour is not what one should wish for. Baby fat and a strong immune system are very important for your baby’s survival outside the womb.


Remember

By now you have probably gained 10-13 kg. If you don’t want to put any excess weight than what you should, you need to stick to a healthy diet. The food that you eat should be high in nutrients and not just calories. You should be eating fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables, lean chicken, fish, eggs, cereals, pulses, dairy products, and nuts. Foods to be avoided are junk foods, processed foods, and that are high in sugar. Choose whole grains refined flour so as to avoid getting constipated. It is also important to make sure you are getting enough calcium. Your baby gets all his calcium from your body to make and harden his bones. So if you are not getting enough calcium through your diet, your own bones and teeth will weaken. Check out our section
on pregnancy nutrition for advice on healthy, balanced diet.



FAQs

1) What danger signs should I look out for during my third trimester?

While most mothers experience an average pregnancy, there are certain conditions that can result in health complications for both you and your baby. Knowing the danger signs can lead to timely intervention thereby reducing the risk to you and your baby.

The danger signs to look for are blurred vision, spots, light flashes, sudden swelling of hands, feet, and face with headache. This can indicate preeclampsia (pregnancy induced hypertension). If you have a urinary tract infection, there may be pain or burning while urinating. Bleeding or spotting during vagina can be a serious problem. This can suggest preterm labour, placenta previa, or abruptio placenta, requiring urgent hospitalization or complete bed rest. Another complication to look out for is decreased foetal movements as this suggests foetal distress. Your doctor will advise you an urgent ultrasound and non stress test to check the health of your baby. Six or more uterine contractions in one hour before 36 weeks can be a sign of pre term labour. Continuous leaking of small amounts of fluid from the vagina can mean premature rupture of membranes that needs urgent admission. Your doctor may want to delay the onset of labour by putting you on medications.


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