You are 34 Weeks and 2 Days 40 days to go…

Your baby is blinking and learning to focus, and his pupils will dilate in response to light filtering through the uterus.

Your baby today

At the back of your baby’s eye, nerve cells that identify either black and white or color are maturing. The cells that respond to color signals are the last to develop but will eventually process more than half of the information that the eyes receive.

Your baby’s eyes first began to develop two weeks after conception and then all of the major eye structures are formed over the following four weeks. The eye, however, keeps growing during the pregnancy and the optic nerve continues to develop after birth.

The eyes have been opening since 26 weeks of pregnancy but, until now, eye movements have been poorly coordinated. Eye movements are first seen at 18 weeks but they are random and infrequent. Movements become more frequent from 26 weeks and now, in the final few weeks, movements settle into a cycle of rest alternating with rapid eye movements (REM).

Some light does get through into the uterus and your baby is now much more responsive to strong lights.

… Mom
Q: I’m concerned my maternity leave substitute will do a better job than me. Are these fears normal?
A: Yes, completely normal. I remember being worried that the man filling in for me would outshine me. The amazing thing was that once my baby was born, anything work related was eclipsed by my new role. Far from losing skills, I think I became an efficient multitasker and when I returned to work, found the job easier than taking care of a baby.

Try not to worry. Not only do you have legal rights regarding the safety of your job (see Your Rights and Benefits), but you will have your chance to shine once again when your baby has settled into child care. In the meantime, enjoy your leave. It goes quickly, but also presents you with an opportunity to hone some important life skills.

Getting out and about

In most cases, it’s perfectly safe to drive in the months leading up to the end of your pregnancy. However, if you feel that you’re not able to concentrate at the wheel, or driving makes you uncomfortable, then give it a pass. When driving, it’s very important that you position your lap belt directly under your belly , to ensure that there is no danger to your baby if you are involved in an accident.

Traveling by public transportation is fine, too, but make sure you take full advantage of your condition to pointedly request a seat. Being jolted around on a train or bus is not ideal—not because it will damage your baby, but because your center of gravity has changed and you are more likely to fall or experience embarrassment and discomfort. Long periods of standing can also cause your ankles and feet to swell.

If you’re feeling uncomfortable or dizzy, get off the train or bus and sit down in a cooler environment, preferably with your feet up, for about 20 minutes. Always carry water with you when you’re out.

Driving is still an option in late pregnancy, but you may find it uncomfortable to be in the car for long periods.

You are 34 Weeks and 3 Days 39 days to go…

As maternity leave approaches, you might be looking for ways to save money, so here are ways to find baby clothes on a budget.

Your baby today

Your baby will often stick his tongue out, as part of the development of the reflexes needed to feed. The rooting reflex enables your baby to find the nipple, then the strong suckling reflexes take over to coordinate breathing, feeding, and swallowing.

Dressing your newborn baby doesn’t have to be expensive. Don’t be shy about asking friends and family members for hand-me-downs. Those who aren’t planning any more children will probably be glad to get rid of them. Get together with your women in your prenatal class, and arrange a swap session—many moms may have older children of a different sex than the new baby, and have no need for pink T-shirts, or polo shirts! While the idea of your baby wearing “used” clothing may take some getting used to, rest assured that most babywear is hardly worn.

Look on the internet for end-of-season sales, and even on some of the auction sites, where you can often pick up designer goodies for a fraction of the original price. Visit your yard sales or garage sales. Shop around; you don’t have to pay a lot for items such as sleep sacks and will find inexpensive prices in the supermarket. Make a purchase with your weekly grocery shopping and you won’t notice the cost as much.

Remember, too, that you will probably receive numerous gifts of clothing when your baby is born. If you know exactly what you’d like, you may like to create a gift registry from a favorite store or ask people for gift certificates for that store. When looking for more expensive items of clothing, head for the three- to six-month-old rack, so that your baby will get plenty of use out of them. It can be disappointing if your newborn only gets a couple of weeks’ wear out of an outfit you like.

Knitting your own baby clothes is a great way to save money, and it can be rewarding to see your newborn in your own creations.

… Dads
A little squeamish?

It’s quite normal to feel concerned about getting through labor on the day, and focusing on your partner and attending to her needs may help keep you distracted and reduce your anxiety. If possible, try to develop a good relationship in the coming weeks with your partner’s caregivers. This way you’ll feel more able to express any worries you’re having, and hopefully get the reassurance and information you need.

If you find yourself feeling woozy on the day, try to leave the room since the nurses and doctor will be focused on caring for your partner. If you don’t have time to leave the room to seek help when you feel faint, sit down immediately, with your head lower than your hips, or lie down with your feet raised. Try to stop yourself from panicking by taking slow, deep breaths. You’ll find that the feeling passes quickly.

A good tip is to ensure that you are not too hot and to eat and drink regularly to prevent your feeling faint due to low blood sugar.

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