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With 34 weeks down, you”re cruising through month 8 of your pregnancy.
Your little bambino is now weighing in at about 5 pounds — the same as a standard bag of flour.
Meanwhile, your uterus keeps on growing (and growing) to accommodate the bigger bun in the oven.
Your Baby at Week 34
Want to get a real sense of your baby’s size right now? Head to your supermarket’s baking aisle and pick up a five-pound bag of flour. That’s about how much your little muffin weighs. Now, stack three bags of flour on top of each other — that’s how tall he is (well, if he could stand) — about 20 inches in length.
Have a boy bun in the oven? Then hooray for his testicles, which started out tucked up in his abdomen and are now migrating to their permanent home — his scrotum. In about three to four percent of boys, the testicles hang out upstairs a while longer, lingering until some lads turn a year old. So don’t worry if your son is born with undescended testicles…they’ll make an appearance in the near future.
Both boy and girl babies are producing lots of sex hormones now, which will explain why the genitals may appear large and swollen at birth… and in the case of a little man, why the scrotal skin may appear darkly pigmented in the first few weeks after birth.
In other news, with just a few weeks to the big day, vernix — the white waxy coating that protects baby’s skin from amniotic fluid and provides lubrication for delivery — is thickening right on prepping schedule. Also right on schedule is the maturation of your little one’s intestines, enabling them to fully digest mama’s delicious milk when the time comes!
Your eyes do not deceive you: Your uterus is still growing — and you thought there was no more room! — and, at 34 weeks pregnant, is around a whole 5 inches above your navel now.
But wait…are you seeing things? You likely aren”t seeing as well as usual. That”s because your eyes are yet another part of your body that can fall prey to those pesky pregnancy hormones — the same ones doing a number on your digestive tract and your ligaments.
Not only can your vision seem blurry these days, but a decrease in tear production can leave your eyes dry and irritated, especially if you wear contact lenses.
What”s more, an increase in fluid behind your eyes’ lenses can temporarily change their shape, making some women more nearsighted or farsighted than usual. You may find wearing glasses rather than contact lenses to be more comfortable.
Happily, these changes are all temporary. Things should clear up as your eyes return to normal after delivery, so there”s no need to change your prescription just yet. But do keep in mind that certain more serious vision problems can be a sign of preeclampsia, so be sure to mention any vision changes to your practitioner.
As your third trimester progresses, you may be getting gassier. Anxiety just makes those gassy feelings worse — you tend to swallow more air when you’re stressed — so try this tension-tamer: Breathe deeply through your nose and out through your mouth for a minute or two each day. Read More
Need to rev up those slow-moving bowels? Rough up your diet with some dried fruits, fresh fruits and veggies and whole grains. One thing you don’t want to do is take laxatives, even herbal ones. Get your practitioner on board before taking any medicine for constipation. Read More
As your pregnancy progresses, you could see an increase in vaginal discharge. Blame pregnancy hormones, especially estrogen, for this symptom — they increase blood flow to the pelvic area and stimulate the mucous membranes. Wearing undies with breathable cotton liners can keep you drier and curb odors. Read More
Constipation’s almost constant sidekick? Hemorrhoids. They can be kept to a minimum by doing Kegels, which can improve circulation to the area. Read More
Your shifting center of gravity from back to belly puts more pressure and pain on your lower back. There are many solutions to cure your aching back, so if one doesn’t work, another most certainly will. One to try: Take a break and stretch, stand or walk. Sitting too long can make your back hurt even more. Read More
Leg cramps are most common around now, when the three main culprits — pregnancy weight, swelling and fatigue — are at their peak. If you feel a spasm, try standing on a cold surface, which can sometimes stop one in its tracks. Read More
Stretch marks may show up as pink, red, purple, reddish-brown or dark brown streaks, depending on your skin tone. If your mom had stretch marks, then you have a genetic predisposition toward them, but you can try to keep these marks of maternity to a minimum by keeping your weight gain slow and steady. Read More
As you get bigger and your body tissues accumulate and retain fluids, you may experience swelling in your ankles, feet and fingers. Slipping into comfy slippers at the end of the day can help soothe your swollen tootsies. Read More
You knew your hair would grow faster and more lustrous while you were pregnant, but you probably didn’t know it would grow in places you weren’t expecting — like your cheeks, chin and back. Waxing is generally considered safe during pregnancy, but since skin is extra sensitive now, ask for a formula for sensitive skin. Read More
As your pregnant belly gets bigger, your lungs won’t be able to expand as fully, so you may feel winded, even after a trip to the bathroom. Sleeping propped on your left side can help at night. Read More
If you’re not worrying about delivery day, then leg cramps and trips to the bathroom are banishing any chance of shut-eye. Try lulling yourself to sleep with a warm bath and a cup of warm milk and read a book or listen to music instead of watching TV or going online, both of which activities can keep you awake. Read More
As your due date approaches and the third trimester wears on, your breasts may leak colostrum — yellowish pre-milk that will be your baby’s first drink. You won’t be leaking more than a few drops, but if you feel uncomfortable, try nursing pads. Read More
You bought the car seat, but have you installed it yet? A better question: Have you installed it correctly? Between 85 and 95 percent of new parents do it wrong.
No matter the model of vehicle or car seat you have, you should always follow three important rules for installing an infant car seat:
1. The safest spot for your baby is always in the backseat — preferably in the middle spot, away from passenger-side air bags.
2. Face it backwards. Experts including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) urge parents to keep kids in the rear-facing position until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat.
3. Be sure the base is secured tightly.
A car seat shouldn’t wobble, pivot, slide or tip. If you”re not sure if you installed it correctly, get yours checked by a professional technician. Your local police or fire station may also be able to check your handiwork for free.
Youreyes may be feeling more dry and sensitive than usual, so keep your sunglasses and lubricating eye drops, known as “artificial tears,” handy.
Many are safe to use during pregnancy, but ask your doctor for a recommendation first. Your peepers will be filled with tears of joy soon enough.
Feeling blue? Between 10 and 15 percent of pregnant women suffer from depression during pregnancy. And it’s no wonder they’re even more susceptible to depression when they’re expecting: Surging hormones coupled with stress, anxiety and societal pressure to feel a certain way can do a number on their emotional state.
Some factors can put you at greater risk for depression, but it can strike anyone at any time — and there’s no shame in asking for help. Talk to your provider; some antidepressants are safe to use when pregnant.
Wondering ifcutting back on salt will help ease the puff? That depends on how much salt you”re eating in the first place. Doctors used to recommend a low-sodium diet during pregnancy — which made it hard to satisfy those pickles-and-ice-cream cravings — but thankfully they no longer do.
A moderate amount of salt — for example, addingiodized table salt to your meals and eating lightly salted foods— actually helps your body regulate fluids. Plus, dramatically cutting back on sodium isn”t good for the baby.
But before you polish off that pickle jar, keep in mind that too much salt isn”t healthy for anyone, pregnant or not, and can even pump up the puffing.
The bottom line? Salt, but don”t oversalt, your food. Give yourself a one- or two-pickle-per-sitting limit, skip the heavily salted snacks and get into the habit of tasting before sprinkling.
Looking for an energy lift now that you”ve cut down on those lattes? Believe it or not, you”ll find it in regular exercise. A brisk walk, jog or yoga session will increase blood flow and boost feel-good endorphins.
The result? A revitalizing burst of energy, one that actually lasts longer than the coffee-induced kind. Need more convincing? Unlike those lattes, physical activity helps you sleep better too, which will also stave off daytime fatigue.
Love a good soak in the tub? Then dive right in, darling. There”s no truth to the myth that dirty bath water can enter the cervix and cause an infection. Do check that the temperature is right though: It should be warm, not hot.
And just be careful when you climb inside — at 34 weeks pregnant, your bigger belly may affect your sense of balance, and not being able to see your feet can make you even more prone to spills. Make sure your tub has a non-skid surface, and take your time getting in and out.
Make sure you talk to your doctor about what to do when you think you”re in labor. It will help to get clear instructions on when to call your practitioner about contractions, what to do if your water breaks, and if or when to go to the hospital directly. That way, you’ll know what to expect and won’t be confused in the heat of the moment.
From the What to Expect editorial team andHeidi Murkoff,author ofWhat to Expect When You”re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading ourmedical review and editorial policy.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting, 5th edition, Heidi Murkoff.What to Expect the First Year, 3rd edition, Heidi Murkoff.
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