You are 34 Weeks and 6 Days 36 days to go…

It’s never too late to improve your fitness and whatever you do now will stand you in good stead for labor.

Your baby today

The placenta, shown in red above the baby’s green profile, is now receiving half a liter of blood each minute from your circulation. In order to accommodate this increase your blood volume expanded dramatically in the first few months of the pregnancy.

You might be in the final few weeks but you still need to stay active. Exercising regularly and consistently will enable you to reap the rewards of your efforts: increased fitness, higher self esteem, and much more energy.

Find activities that you enjoy: swimming and walking are often favored by pregnant women in this late stage. As well as helping improve fitness, both of these activities will help you relax and unwind.

It is difficult to put an exact figure on how long you should be exercising for, but bear in mind that this will be determined by how hard you exercise—the two are linked. Consider the difference between a sprint and a marathon—each will have their own energy needs, one is short and has a very intense need for energy, while the other needs slow and sustained energy.

Always listen to your body and stop if you’re in danger of overexerting yourself. It’s important to eat plenty if you’re exercising: choose snacks that will fuel your body, especially given that the third trimester is the most demanding in terms of your baby’s nutritional needs.

If you go for a daily walk you will feel energized and it will be good preparation for all those strolls you’ll be doing with your baby.

… Doctor
Q: Why are some babies born prematurely?
A: There are certain factors that may increase a woman’s likelihood of having a premature baby. These include a previous obstetric history of prematurity of either themselves or a mother or sister; illness during pregnancy; the state of a woman’s health prior to pregnancy; having a multiple pregnancy; fetal problems, such as reduced growth, which may be due to lifestyle factors such as smoking, and other fetal disorders.
Kangaroo care

If your premature baby goes into a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)  you may be able to take care of him using a method called kangaroo care. You will be asked to hold your baby on your chest between your breasts with his head turned so that his ear is next to your heart.

Developed in Bogota, Columbia, in response to a lack of incubators, kangaroo care is shown to have many benefits for NICU babies—mainly that their heart and breathing rates regularize quite quickly, allowing them to sleep for much longer periods. The baby’s temperature is regulated by the temperature fluctuations in your breasts, meaning he doesn’t have to expend energy keeping himself warm.

This, in addition to the extra sleep, preserves his energy for other vital functions, such as brain development and weight gain. Breast-feeding is also more successful and some kangarooed babies lose none of their birth weight.

You are 35 Weeks Exactly 35 days to go…

The reality of being a mother will begin to hit you in these final weeks, and you have everything to look forward to.

Your baby today

Your baby’s brain continues to mature. This ultrasound image shows that the folding pattern overlying the cerebral hemispheres has now developed giving rise to the familiar folds and grooves on the brain’s surface. The bright reflections are from the bony skull.

Before the birth, it can be difficult to imagine having a relationship with your baby, even though you may feel a close bond during pregnancy.

Fortunately, bonding is a chemical process in your brain when you give birth. Other people’s babies may leave you feeling cold, but it’s highly likely that your own baby will spark all kinds of feelings that you never even knew you could experience. It’s normal to worry about being a mother—coping with the responsibility, taking care of a helpless baby, being “good enough,” and making lifestyle changes. However, when your baby is born, your priorities will become abundantly clear, as will your affections—although bonding may not always be instant.

In some cases, postpartum depression, or even the short-term baby blues , can interrupt the natural progression of feelings a mother has for her newborn baby.

… Doctor
Q: Will I be able to breast-feed my twins?
A: Yes, but if possible, arrange for a lactation consultant with experience in feeding twins to be available after birth. If you get the positions correct and know how to latch on your babies at the outset, you’ll feel much more confident continuing on your own.

Many moms of twins find that feeding them simultaneously, using a specially designed breast-feeding pillow, is the easiest way to manage. This is something you may want to buy now. There is a variety of effective breast-feeding positions for twins that the consultant or a midwife can show you.

… Your body
Pamper yourself

You may not feel particularly lovely, but that’s all the more reason to pamper yourself. There’s unlikely to be time for beauty rituals once the baby is born.

If you’re keeping a photographic record of your belly, you’ll want it to look as good as possible. Gently exfoliating and moisturizing will ensure the skin is as smooth as possible. It won’t, unfortunately, prevent stretch marks but it will improve the appearance of the skin.

  • Treat yourself to a manicure, but don’t have nail extensions for when your baby is born—sharp implements and babies don’t mix.

  • Indulge in a facial: it will make you feel good and help you relax.

  • Have your hair cut since it may be some time before you get to the hairdresser again. It’s a good idea to opt for a style that will be easy to manage once your baby arrives.

  • If you have aches and pains, book a massage with someone who specializes in pregnancy.

  • Have a pedicure a week or two before the birth. You’ll be thrilled once your belly has gone and you’re able to see your feet again.

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