34 Weeks Pregnant

What’s happening this week

Your baby…

  • may weigh about 2kg
  • may measure about 46cm top to toe
  • able ot survive outside the womb without extensive medical treatment
  • vernix coating on the skin is becoming thicker whereas the lanugo hair is almost completely gone

You…

  • placenta is nearly 4 times as thick as it was 20 weeks ago and weighs about 570 grams
  • virtually the entire uterus is now occupied by the baby and its activity is becoming more restricted.

Preparing for labour can be a tricky balance between rest and exercise. You need to be fit for labour but not worn out! Still at work? We give you a check-list of things to do before your leave…

Getting ready for labour

The more you know about how your baby will be born, the calmer you are likely to feel about the whole event. It’s well worth doing antenatal classes. These usually cover what happens in labour, and teach you some breathing and relaxation. Practise the skills you learn at classes and make relaxation a part of your everyday life. Use breathing techniques to help you cope with difficult situations – at home, work, or at the clinic.

Relax and breathe out when the LMC checks the position of the baby. It will make it easier for her to feel the baby and you get the chance to practise staying relaxed.

Relaxation:

  • conserves energy during labour
  • makes contractions more efficient and less painful
  • helps you stay in control and enjoy the experience more!

Try to become aware of where the tension in your body accumulates. The neck, shoulders, forehead, and hands are common places leading to aches, pains and stiffness. Check your tension points regularly during the day. If you’re tensing up, take a deep breath and relax the muscles as you breathe out.

Are you sitting comfortably?

If you sit down for most of the day, at work or at home:

  • keep your spine well supported. Use cushions if necessary
  • get up and move around regularly
  • don’t cross your legs – it can make your feet and ankles swell
  • put your feet up whenever you can.

Maternity leave – last minute checklist

Have you done all you need to do before you leave work? Have you:

  • checked your maternity package to see what your company offers you?
  • talked to your line manager about who will be doing your job while you are away, and organise a handover with your replacement? You might feel a little reluctant to hand over ‘your’ job, but getting to know your cover should lessen your anxiety
  • stressed to your boss that you are keen to return? You can change your mind later if you need to
  • made some arrangements to meet friends in the first week of your leave so you don’t get lonely?
  • made arrangements to stay in touch with colleagues while away?(And promised to come in with the baby once it’s born!)

Expecting twins?

Twins often arrive a little bit early, so plan well ahead if you are expecting two bundles of joy. Make sure you have plenty of help at home, too, if you can organise it. Just changing and feeding two babies is hard work, so extra pairs of hands are useful.

Balancing act

Try to rest as much as possible during the last few weeks of pregnancy. But don’t give up on exercise – it helps you to feel properly tired when you go to bed and therefore, you’re more likely to sleep well.

Protein Puzzle:

Five ways to keep up your protein intake if you’re vegetarian:

  1. Eat beans and pulses – combining these provides a mix of essential amino acids.
  2. Nuts and seeds are excellent sources (but remember to avoid peanuts if you or someone in your family has allergies, to reduce the risk of your child developing a potentially life-threatening allergy to peanuts).
  3. Cereals and grains such as cracked wheat, rice and breakfast cereals are good sources – try to have some with every meal.
  4. Milk or soya milk, vegetarian cheeses and yoghurt or soya-based desserts are complete sources of protein.
  5. Add a little grated cheese to pasta, beans, vegetable stews and casseroles.