At this point, your belly is mostly your almost 5-pound baby…so every time she moves, you really see it. Can you make out those tiny feet? They are probably near the top of your belly...as she settles into the normal head-down position, ready for delivery! (Breech babies—butt or feet first—are at only about 5% of births.) Her whole body is pretty much ready, babies born this week have a 99% survival rate.
She’s sleeping, sucking and slurping (drinking gulps of amniotic fluid flavored with whatever you just ate)! A thick, waxy layer of cream cheese-like vernix is smeared all over her body. She’ll shed most of that before the birth, but preemies often come out coated with it. This covering protects her skin—imagine if you were in a bathtub for 9 months! —and offers antimicrobial benefits after birth.
34 Weeks Pregnant: S’up with Your Bod?
You’re getting close to the finish line!
In 3 more weeks, your baby will be “at term” (no longer pre-term or premature). One sign your body is getting in gear may be some leakage of colostrum. This incredible fluid is the early rich milk made that is perfectly tailored for a brand new baby. It’s packed with carbs, protein, antibodies and other essential stuff. It has tons of infection-fighting white blood cells, no wonder they call it “white blood!” This concentrated, thick milk has so much Vitamin A, it’s actually yellow/orange colored…like a carrot.
Vaginal discharge tends to increase towards the end of pregnancy as well. Your cervix is responsible for that, creating more and more mucus, blocking bad bacteria from sneaking up to infect your baby. If the discharge is pink-tinged and jelly-like, you may be losing your mucus plug that seals the uterus during your pregnancy. It can slip out in one big clump, or bit by bit.
Passing the mucous plug is a sign that your cervix is softening and labor is coming…eventually.
Some moms lose this plug weeks before delivery and can even regrow it. However, a mucus plug tinged with blood (your doctor or midwife may call it the “bloody show”) is a sign you’ll meet your baby pretty soon. If the discharge is yellowish or greenish, call your care provider. This could mean a yeast or bacterial infection, both of which usually need to be treated.
This Week's To-Do List:
Print out several copies of your birth plan: You’ll want one for your doctor/midwife and for the different nurses on shift at the hospital. And, even if you are planning a vaginal birth, it’s smart to pen a separate birth plan for a C-section, just in case.
Stop flying: You will probably be advised to stop flying at 34 weeks (or earlier if you have a high-risk pregnancy). Airplane seats are super uncomfortable at this point, anyway! Some airlines will allow you to continue to fly with a doctor’s note, but do you really want to be far away from home if you go into premature labor??
- Make a chore list: Laundry? Cook? Walking the dog? Washing the dishes? Don’t be shy about arranging to get some help from your friends and family…for after the baby arrives. (You’ll return the favor over the next year or two!) A chore list makes this crystal clear, helping to focus on baby care and skip any forgotten priorities because of sleep-deprivation.
Prepare at least a week of freezer meals: No matter how smoothly your delivery goes, you’ll need time to rest and recover. Plus, you’ll be busier than you ever imagined with your new addition. So, make some comforting, easy-to-reheat meals (soups, stews, etc). And don’t be shy about asking friends and family to contribute!
Myth or Fact?
Heartburn means your baby will be born with a full head of hair.
This one sounds crazy, but scientific research suggests there’s truth to it! Turns out the same hormones that bring on heartburn also contribute to how much hair your baby will be born with!
Quote of the Week
“The most important thing she'd learned over the years was that there was no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.” -- Jill Churchill