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34 WEEKS, 1 DAY

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ultrasound of human fetus at 34 weeks and 1 day

Your baby today

This profile of the baby shows the tip of the nose touching the placenta. Your placenta will not be growing any more and now thins slightly. Within, the placenta continues to mature and it remains a highly efficient means of supplying your baby's energy needs.

As your size begins to have an impact on your daily activities, you'll find that a few practical adjustments are necessary.

Your posture will change as your belly continues to grow. To compensate for the heavy weight you're carrying, you might find that you lean back slightly, especially when you're walking downhill. You might also waddle when you walk as you shift your weight from side to side. In a few weeks' time, when the baby begins to engage into the pelvis (see When your baby drops), you may find that you waddle even more.

It's normal at this late stage of pregnancy to move more slowly than normal. You may find yourself struggling to get out of bed or out of a chair, and picking something up off the floor can be more difficult than usual. Tasks such as tying your shoelaces or painting your toenails can seem impossible. You can overcome tasks such as these; for example by putting your feet on a stool to tie your shoelaces so you don't have to bend down so far. If you need help, there's no shame in asking. It can be difficult to be reliant on others but remember it's only temporary.

Ask A... Doctor

Can I have a water birth in the hospital?

This depends on the maternity unit: some have birthing pools; others have facilities for you to rent a pool. More hospitals and birthing centers are offering this birthing option, so ask about renting a pool and bringing it in, but realize that just might not be an option. Some hospitals only allow you to labor in a pool, but not to deliver.

If your maternity unit does have a birthing pool, bear in mind that it may already be in use when you go into labor.

Focus On... Your health

A diabetic pregnancy

Whether you develop diabetes in pregnancy (known as gestational diabetes-see Gestational diabetes), or have preexisting diabetes, you'll require special care from your doctor. She will work out a plan for you, since diabetes poses risk in pregnancy.

In the mother, risks include high blood pressure, blood clots, preeclampsia, diabetic kidney disease, and diabetic retinopathy, a condition that affects the retina in the eye. For the baby, there is an increased risk of congenital abnormalities and growth may be too fast or too slow.

The key to a healthy pregnancy and baby when you have diabetes is good blood-sugar control since your insulin requirements will change throughout pregnancy. Controlling blood-sugar levels reduces the risk of birth defects and stillbirth, or of you having a larger than expected baby, which can lead to problems during the birth.

If you have gestational diabetes, you will need to adapt your diet to include carbohydrates and fiber and reduce your intake of fats and sugar. You may also need insulin injections to help control your blood-sugar levels.

Insulin injection in leg

excerpted from:

Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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