You are 34 weeks pregnant and the moment that you have waited for so long is near. But there are still things you should know for everything to go smoothly until you`ll have you baby in your arms.
Most women experience breathing issues during this period due to the increased uterus which presses on the chest and other organs. Thus, the uterus presses on the diaphragm, preventing the lungs to extend at maximum capacity. Once the baby will position himself deeper into the pelvic area, the pressure on the lungs will slowly decrease. During sleep, you can lean with the upper side of your head on pillows to relieve the pressure against the lungs. If the breathing problems are too severe or if you experience asthmatic problems, it`s best to contact your doctor immediately.
Generally speaking, try to prevent a premature birth that appears before the week 34, because babies born prematurely might confront with certain severe health issues. A healthy lifestyle with regular visits to the doctor is very useful, as the doctor being able to detect a possible premature birth. On the other hand, a premature birth is hard to avoid, especially if the symptoms are accompanied by vaginal bleeding or if the water breaks.
Women in such situations should have plenty of rest and should be treated with medication or liquids during labor. On the other hand, if you felt healthy until now, you can postpone your maternity leave until the last week of pregnancy because this way you can continue your post natal leave.
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34 Week Fetus: The Baby`s Development
Although the weight and length during this stage varies from one baby to another, in all cases this is a period of accumulation of fat layers under the skin, layers that will regulate the body temperature immediately after birth. Until now, all the baby`s organs, besides the lungs, are fully developed. The lungs continue to exercise respiration using the amniotic liquid instead of air, reason for which the baby may have hiccups from time to time. The hair of his head grows fast, and the baby starts to learn how to blink. The little one already recognizes the voices around him, and it possible to have pretty strong reactions when he hears them.
It`s possible for the baby to become pretty irritated due to the strong light, so he may start to put his hands in front of his face. With the passing weeks, the little one becomes a bit fat, the fingers and nails are well developed, and his facial features are clear now.
Due to the proximity of birth, the little one should start to prepare by turning his head down. However, the doctor who supervises you will be very careful with this aspect because some babies don`t put themselves in the right position on their own. In this case, there`ll be recommended a C-section to avoid hurting the baby.
34 Weeks Pregnant: The Mother`s Body
The upper part of the uterus can be palpated now at around 14cm above the navel. It`s important to remember that the pregnancy of every woman is different, so the measurements may not be the same for each woman. The most important thing is that the uterus should increases at a constant rate.
Normally, the amniotic liquid increases along with the development of the fetus, reaching a maximum value at around 34 – 36 weeks of pregnancy, and then it reduces gradually until birth. In the 37 week of pregnancy, the amount of amniotic liquid starts to decreases to allow more space for the child. The amniotic liquid is reabsorbed by your body, which will increase the space which the baby has to move. You may start to feel the baby`s movements differently.
The navel became prominent and is extremely sensitive. In this case it may be helpful to cover it with a plaster.
What You Should Do?
For the week 33 we talked about episiotomy – the incision of the perineum (the tissue between the vagina and anus) and the posterior vaginal wall performed in the second stage of birth by the obstetrician with the purpose of widening the vaginal opening and facilitating the release of the baby.
Now the indications for episiotomy have been restricted as this procedure has been replaced for various techniques which help in preventing perineal tears. One of the best methods in avoiding episiotomy and prepare for birth is by massaging the perineum. Lots of doctors could recommend starting to practice this during the week 34 of pregnancy.
Start by thoroughly washing your hands with warm water and soup, and assuring that your nails are cut. Then introduce your thumb (upon which you placed lubricated) inside the vagina and put pressure for 1 – 2 minutes against the posterior wall and massage gently the lower part of the vagina. Repeat the massage twice a day for 10 minutes, until the moment of birth.
What to Expect?
The doctor will give you the info you need for labor. You may receive the same information during a prenatal course as well, if you followed such a course. Birth begins with the dilation of the cervix with 10cm. The woman needs to go to the hospital when the contractions appear at less than 5 minutes and have the tendency of increasing their intensity.
The second stage of labor is the actual birth, which also lasts the longest, and the third stage consists in the elimination of the placenta, which may last between 5 and 30 minutes. An episiotomy can be performed to widen the vaginal opening, which means a small surgical incision. An episiotomy is necessary when the birth becomes an emergency and the perineum doesn`t have enough time to widen sufficiently, if the baby`s head is too large for the vaginal opening or if there`s a complication during birth. Episiotomy is a safe surgery and is made under local anesthesia. On the other hand, the secondary effects shouldn`t be neglected: the appearance of an infection, swelling or bleeding in the affected area and obviously the extension of the healing period.
If you want to avoid such a surgery, you need to follow a healthy diet to help your skin stretch as much as possible. Also, warm compresses and techniques of perineal massage can be used to ease labor.
Advices for the Father
A helpful thing for your life partner would be to help her with the perineal massage. This type of massage helps stretch the muscles of the perineum, which will prevent the practice of episiotomy. The perineal massage isn`t a sexual act, but an exercise which will make labor easier. Ask the obstetrician to explain to you which are the specific instructions in practicing this massage efficiently and safely. Together with your partner, establish a specific moment of the day when you could do these exercises, a few times per week, until labor.