34 Weeks Pregnant

>> Thursday, October 22, 2009

Your Pregnancy: Week 34

The nursery is almost done. You've stocked up on diapers. You're ready. And you're waiting. And waiting. And hopefully, if all goes well, you'll be waiting for another six weeks. So don't drive yourself crazy, use this time to enjoy being alone, with friends and with your partner. Because soon it'll be all about baby for a couple of weeks (months, years, whatever), and you'll wish you had this downtime back.

What You're Thinking:

"It's a good thing there is a Starbucks every two blocks because that's how often I need to pee."

Your Body:

You are exhausted from hauling your bod around all day, so why can't you sleep at night? Is it because your bladder keeps crying out to be emptied every 30 minutes? Is it because you haven't been able to find a comfortable sleeping position since week 27? Is it because your mind can't stop making lists of things to do or replaying that shocking video you saw in your birthing classes? Yes, yes, and yes. It might comfort you to know you're not alone. Seventy-five percent of women in their third trimester have trouble sleeping.

Certain sleep positions will help you to be more comfortable and sleep better when you're pregnant. If lying on your back is making you dizzy or lightheaded try
sleeping on your side.

If you feel like bugs are crawling all over your legs in the middle of the night, get your partner to change the sheets. Just kidding. You might have restless leg syndrome, which commonly affects pregnant women. But it's still a good idea to have your mate do some laundry.

Your Baby:

Your baby kind of looks like she's coated in a layer of cream cheese these days. The thick, white substance that protects her skin from pruning in the amniotic fluid is called vernix. When she's born you'll probably see some vernix lingering in her "hard-to-reach" places like under her arms, behind her ears and around her va-jay-jay, if she's a she.. Other news from the womb this week:

The soft fur, lanugo, that covered your baby's body for much of her stay in the womb is now almost completely gone. Your baby begins to develop her own immune system, instead of relying solely on antibodies received through the placenta. This will come in handy when some grubby relative manhandles the baby without washing his hands first.

This week, your baby measures about 17¾ inches, as almost as long as an American Girl Doll (!) and weighs almost 5 pounds, as heavy as a bag of sugar, minus the cup you put in your decaf this morning.


31 Weeks Pregnant

>> Thursday, October 1, 2009

Your Pregnancy: Week 31

You've just entered the single-digit countdown (only nine more weeks to go!). Make a list of what you'd like to do in these final weeks: See the new Oscar-worthy movie, hear your favorite local band, have lunch with your BFF, go on a romantic date with your partner. Whatever it is, do it soon because baby is right around the corner!

What You're Thinking:

"I wonder if that pregnant woman wants to be my friend?"

Your Body:

Your mind may not be anywhere near ready for your baby to arrive but your body is already making preparations. One of the ways it's getting ready is by "practicing" for labor in the form of Braxton Hicks contractions. Luckily, these are generally painless, although somewhat annoying as they can occur frequently (the middle of the night, during an important meeting, while you're trying to focus on Access Hollywood, etc).

Braxton Hicks contractions feel like a sudden tightening of your uterus. This is just a little preview of what real contractions will feel like. They usually start to become noticeable around the eighth month and can become very strong by the end of your pregnancy.

While you can't get rid of Braxton Hicks contractions, there are some things you can do to make yourself more comfortable, like gentle exercise (such as walking) or taking a warm, relaxing bath. Calgon, take me away. ...

Your Baby:

From this week on, your baby will continue to gain around ½ pound a week until shortly before birth (even though it may feel like a whole lot more with every step you take). Other highlights this week:

Due to increasing space constraints, your baby's arms and legs stay drawn up close to the body now, known as the fetal position (oh, so that's where that name came from!). Plus, your baby can now process information from all five senses—so she'll be all set to smell the pureed peas, taste them, feel them as she mashes them into her hair, hear you crack up and then see the flash as you grab the camera to snap picture after picture.

By now, your baby's lungs are the only system not fully mature. And by mature, we're not saying that the rest of your baby's systems are mature enough to be out past 10 PM with the neighborhood hooligan, just that her lungs need a little bit more time to bake before they can kick it in the outside world.

Your baby weighs about 3½ pounds and measures a little over 16 inches, about the same length as that miniskirt you used to wear (and will again someday!).

Header image credit: adapted from sxc.hu by Celefinwe © Celefinwe 2009

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