34 weeks pregnant – Antenatal classes start this week
I had an appointment with the birth centre and received my new maternity notes. I found out that my due date is actually 12 December so they have given me an extra 3 days to prepare for Boxer. The midwives told me that scans actually predict the due date a few days early and that it’s better to work out your due date from the last day of your period if you have a regular period cycle. The midwife tested my urine again and this time I was completely clear, so it must have been a tampered sample last week.
Hubby and I started our antenatal classes this week. It was quite far away from home, so we had to take two buses to get to the destination. We were the first to arrive at the church where the classes were being held and so we sat down patiently in a large room filled with large chairs and cushions. One by one, the couples started to arrive. There were five couples in total, all about the same age as us and all looking equally as nervous. The NCT counsellor introduced herself and asked everyone to go around the room and introduce themselves to the rest of the group. I was quite nervous so I ended up telling everyone my name, where I was from, where I was giving birth and my family background. I may as well have given them my bra size judging by the looks on their faces as I fed them information overload! Hubby seemed just as uncomfortable as me and his introduction wasn’t much shorter than mine.
The counsellor then asked everyone to get into groups and write a list of what we wanted to learn and what we hoped to gain in the forthcoming weeks at the antenatal classes. Well, I wanted to learn more about what labour was going to be like and how painful it was actually going to be. I also wanted to learn more about breastfeeding too, as I heard that it’s pretty tough to get right the first time, and if you don’t get it completely right you can end up with sore, cracked nipples!
In our first session, we talked about labour and birth and how to cope at home in the early stages of labour. We went through an A to Z list of what we could do to alleviate the pain and relax during those early stages. I’ve created my own personal A to Z list of relaxation techniques that I’m going to try and cover to help with my labour. It was quite difficult to think of them all!
The second NCT session was all about breastfeeding. A breastfeeding counsellor taught us all about how breastfeeding works, i.e. supply and demand of milk – the baby demands the milk and the mother supplies the milk, and whether the baby is getting enough of the milk. We also learned about good positioning and attachment and watched a breastfeeding DVD that showed us how to get the baby to latch onto the breast properly, to prevent sore nipples. This is extremely important, as the baby can get the maximum amount of milk from the breast if they are positioned and latched onto the breast correctly, i.e. getting the hind milk as well as the
A fun fact – The baby weighs about 4.7 pounds and measures at around 18 inches long!
The science part
Your baby at 34 weeks
- Your baby is putting on yet more weight in the form of fat to help regulate their body temperature. The fat will also keep them warm after birth too.
- Their bones are still hardening, but your baby’s head will stay soft and separated so that they will be able to slide through the birth canal ready for the outside world
- Your baby’s immune system is still developing and will continue to develop after birth. Your body will deliver important antibodies including from your breast milk to support this development
Your pregnancy signs and symptoms
- Your uterus is still growing!
- Is your vision getting blurry? This is another pregnancy symptom and totally normal thanks to hormones
- There may be less tear production too, leaving your eyes dry and tired, especially if you wear contact lenses. You may find wearing glasses for the rest of the pregnancy more comfortable. Make sure to protect your eyes from the sun!
- If you’re worried about your change in vision, contact your midwife or GP ASAP as this can also be a sign of preeclampsia.
Your next steps
- Remember that what you eat now will shape your baby’s nutrition later. Get into good habits now and you’ll thank yourself later when your baby is here
- When packing your hospital bag, think about any snacks you’d like to include and whether you’d like any reading materials too to keep you entertained.
Note: These are just general ideas of how you and your baby are getting on. Don’t forget that every baby develops differently. If you are concerned about your baby’s development, please consult your doctor or midwife.
*Illustrations by Charlotte Watkins.
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