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Week #34 of Pregnancy

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Your Pregnancy: Week 34

By Erin Horner, edHelperBaby

  Your Baby
           This week your baby weighs in at almost 5 pounds and is approximately 19 inches long.  As your baby continues to grow, his skeleton will continue to harden this week while still remaining pliable enough for his upcoming trip through the birth canal.  If your little one is a "he," this week his testicles should descend, which your pediatrician will confirm once your baby is born.


Your Body
           With each day that passes, your body continues to prepare itself more and more for your baby's upcoming birthday.  This week, you may begin to notice that you are beginning to feel more Braxton Hicks contractions.  Hang tight!  These are just warm up contractions as your body gets ready for the real thing.  Braxton Hicks contractions are usually painless or only slightly uncomfortable and occur intermittently throughout the day.  They do not progress and become more painful, rhythmic, or frequent.  If you begin to notice a pattern to these contractions (more than four in one hour), sudden lower back pain, menstrual-like cramping, vaginal spotting or bleeding, or an increase in pelvic pressure, call your doctor.  He or she may want to evaluate you to determine whether or not these early contractions have turned into pre-term labor.


  You're Wondering. . .
           Why are my eyes suddenly very dry and irritated?

       Dry and irritated eyes are, unfortunately, another result of all of the wonderful hormones that you have surging through your body.  Believe it or not, the increase in your hormone levels actually decreases your body's ability to produce tears.  I know that your partner will disagree with me, as he has probably only noticed an increase in tear production over the past 34 weeks...but those are "emotional" tears which can also be blamed on your hormones.  The fluid build up in your body may also be causing you some eye discomfort.  This excess fluid can change the curvature of your eye, making it uncomfortable to wear contact lenses.  Don't worry, these changes are temporary and should return to normal once your baby is born, except for the emotional tears...those only increase with all of the joys of motherhood.


  Your "To-Do" List
           If you are currently working, take some time this week and begin to plan for your maternity leave.  Here are a few things to think about and do as you look towards the time that you will take off after your baby is born:
  1. Plan, Plan, Plan...Then be flexible!  Try to organize as many things as possible for the time that you will be gone.  Make sure that files are in place, contact names and numbers are organized, and create an easy to follow list of the many responsibilities that you have.  After doing all this, realize that no one else will be able to do your job exactly the way (or as well!) as you do it, so be flexible and realistic in your expectations of your replacement.
  2. Begin Training the New You.  If your boss has already hired your replacement, begin the process of training him or her.  If a "new you" has not yet been found, speak with your supervisor about the search process and offer your assistance in finding the right employee.  Your return to the office will be much easier if you have had a great employee filling your shoes while you were away.
  3. Get it in Writing.  Be sure to go over the details of your maternity leave with your Human Resources Department and get the agreement in writing.  This way, if you or your company need any reminders as to the terms that were mutually agreed upon, you will have a copy available for easy reference.


Your Homework: Preparing For Parenthood
           Take a Toy Store Tour.  This week, take some time to enjoy an outing to a local toy store.  If you have one in the area, visit a toy store that specializes in educational toys.  If not, any toy store will do.  As you peruse the aisles, what do you notice?  Make yourself aware of the wide assortment of toys available for little ones.  As you look at all of the different things available, ask yourself these questions:
  • Which of these toys will help develop my child's imagination?
  • Which of these toys will help to develop my child's intelligence?

       You may be surprised by what you find.  Many of today's toys can truly inspire children to become more creative and imaginative.  Take this time to begin to think about the kinds of toys that you want to have in your home and the hours of fun that you and your baby are going to soon have together.


  My Experience
           This experience was great fun for our family.  I found that touring a toy store not only exposed me to some really great toys that I didn't even know existed, but also inspired my sense of creativity in ways I never dreamed possible.  In an attempt to "Go Green" and creatively live on a budget, I found several toys that I could easily make replicas of at home using items that we already owned.  Many of these items turned into a day's worth of fun as we spent the morning making the toys and then the afternoon playing with them!


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