YOUR CHANGING LIFE
From innie to outie and everything in between
Welcome to week 34 of your pregnancy. You're one week closer to meeting the little guy or gal who's been giving you so much to think about over the last few trimesters, and while you may feel like you know your baby pretty well at this point, the fact is, you're only just getting started!
Right now, your uterus is resting 5 ½ inches over your belly button – if you're normally an innie, you may have noticed this week that your belly button has popped (so to speak) into an outie! For some women, belly buttons can feel extremely sensitive during this period, and not in a good way. If yours is giving you trouble, consider putting a Band-Aid over that area. When you're at home, you can lift your shirt up so the fabric isn't irritating it.
Since your body is still being strongly affected by pregnancy hormones, it's no surprise if you start to notice other wacky things happening, and not just related to your belly or other baby hotspots.
Actually, during week 34, you may detect your vision getting duller and blurrier than usual. That's because those pregnancy hormones are acting all haywire again, and it's not uncommon for your eyes to become dryer or more prone to irritation – this is especially true for women who wear contact lenses.
Another occasional issue for women during week 34 is pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy. Known as PUPP for short, this condition is characterized by the breakout of red bumps or welts across the belly, thighs and buttocks. They can be itchy, and while this condition is completely normal, it can be uncomfortable for you, especially if you're already aching in the first place! Be sure to get in touch with your doctor about this issue as soon as possible, though, just so he or she can keep an eye on it.
YOUR BABY THIS WEEK
From pineapple to cantaloupe
Oh, mama! Last week your growing baby tipped the scales at a whopping 4 pounds, but this week, he or she is really packing on those pounds, and weighs close to 5 pounds – isn't that incredible?
This means that your baby weighs roughly the same weight as a cantaloupe. The next time you're in the market, try lifting up one of these fruits, and just imagine, this is what cradling your baby will feel like! (Sort of.)
This week, the vernix – or coating that's protecting your baby's skin – is getting thicker, which can help your baby's epidermis stay safe. If you're having a little boy, his testicles are starting to descend, and will eventually reach his scrotum. Don't worry if your baby boy's testicles have yet to lower down fully by delivery – about 3 to 4 percent of babies have this happen, and usually it's completely normal!
More light is making its way into the womb as your abdominal and uterine walls stretch out to accommodate the baby. He or she will be reacting more to the changes in light, so don't be surprised if you get kicked every once in a while for leaving the light on when he or she is trying to nap.
Make your delivery better
With your due date right around the corner, it's perfectly natural to be feeling a little anxious about the upcoming event and preparing for baby – after all, it's not every day you welcome a new little guy or gal into the world!
The birth of your baby can be a momentous occasion – it can also take a lot out of you, both physically and emotionally. In order to make the delivery easier and speed up your recovery time (you want to cherish all those early moments with the baby that you can!), you should plan ahead.
If you haven't already, now is an excellent time to get in touch with your healthcare provider and start asking questions about several birth-related issues, including signs to look out for, pain management options and where you'll be delivering the baby.
Many women undergo cesarean sections, which is when an incision is made in the abdominal wall and uterus, with the baby removed rather than delivered through the vagina. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that one in four women will likely have a C-section during delivery.
When it comes to coping with pain, some women opt to forgo medication and instead practice relaxation, water therapy or breathing techniques such as Lamaze to successfully overcome the discomfort. Others, especially those giving birth at home, may be more likely to move around the room in an effort to facilitate the delivery.
Pain medication like epidurals can be helpful for women who are having trouble getting through the aches and discomfort of giving birth. Variations of epidurals, such as those injected straight into the spine, may be administered if recommended by your doctor.