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34 Weeks Pregnant Concerns: All About The C-Section

34 Weeks Pregnant Concerns: All About The C-Section

You are now midway through your last trimester of your pregnancy. You will be experiencing some life-changing moments from here on. You have to be prepared, both physically and psychologically, for the outcomes that will follow from 34 weeks till the delivery. What will happen after the delivery is another thing for another article. But first, in brief, let me focus on your progress at 34 weeks of pregnancy.

Life at 34 Weeks Pregnant

A 34 weeks, pregnant woman will undergo exhaustion very easily. This is absolutely normal. You will want to pee frequently, and turning over while sleeping will be quite difficult. Again, all normal. The reason behind all this discomfort is that your baby now weighs around 4 and 3/4 pounds and is almost 18 inches long. They have fat layers all over their body — this will keep their body temperature in check once they’re born. Their lungs and nervous system are maturing, and their skin is smoother than before. In any case, if you do go into pre-term labor, do not get scared. Generally, if your baby is healthy and is born between 34 to 38 weeks, things will be just fine.

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Whether you go into pre-term or full-time labor is unpredictable. It entirely depends on your health and how soon your water breaks. Whatever the circumstance is, always be prepared. Preparation not only means packing your bags, it also means that you have to be mentally ready to undergo any sort of labor. Don’t be scared. Even though normal deliveries are the most common and the most preferred, a C-section is not an uncommon delivery. This delivery happens to about 30 per cent of women across the United States. One of the main reasons for doing it? To avoid unnecessary complications.

What is a C-Section?

A Caesarean Section, or more commonly known as C-Section, is a surgery through which the baby is born. An incision is made in the mother’s abdominal wall, as well as on the wall of the uterus. A C-Section can be either pre-planned or unplanned. This surgical procedure usually happens before the water breaks. A C-Section occurs if the mother has complications, or if she has had previous C-Section. A C-Section is not harmful or daunting. Sometimes, it is the safest way to deliver your baby.

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Why might you need a planned C-section?

There are many reasons why you should leave your midwife and visit an obstetrician. If you have any complications detected beforehand, your doctor will inform you about them. Some of the most common reasons for having a C-section are:

  • You have had a previous C-Section. Usually, during this type of case, the incision is vertical, rather than the normal horizontal one.
  • You may not be physically fit to go for a vaginal birth. This might be due to high blood pressure, high gestational diabetes, heart problem, or any sorts of infections that could pass on to your baby through normal delivery, such as genital herpes or HIV.
  • You have placenta previa, meaning your placenta is extremely low in the uterus, almost covering your cervix. In this case, the C-section is the safest option for you and your baby.
  • You are carrying two or more babies. Many times, if the mother’s overall condition is favorable and she is carrying twins, the doctor will prefer the vaginal delivery. Other times, the surgical procedure is performed. If the mother is carrying more than two, then a C-Section is definite.
  • Multiple babies means different positions of the babies in the womb. There are times when babies are in abnormal positions. This can happen to a single baby as well. Sometimes, the infant’s feet or buttocks enter the birth passage first, instead of the head. This position is called “breech.” Or at times, the baby lies sideways. This is called “transverse.”
  • Your baby is larger than usual. In a case like this, vaginal birth becomes impossible. Safest way to deliver is the surgery.
  • Another factor for doing C-Section is that your child is not getting enough oxygen inside you. Lack of oxygen and lack of movement for the baby are both concerns. Again, in this case, a C-Section would be the best option.

Reasons for an unplanned operation

Unplanned C-Sections usually are done in case of an emergency. This will include:

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  • Your contractions are not strong enough to continue the vaginal delivery.
  • Your baby is having difficulty cooperating in the birth process.
  • Your umbilical cord has fallen and has blocked the passage.
  • There’s been a sudden health deterioration. For example, high blood pressure may affect you and your child during labor.

The procedure: before & during the surgery

Before surgery, you will be asked to get your blood tested to see the level of haemoglobin. The result will determine whether you will need a transfusion during the surgery. Your obstetrician will also check if you are allergic to any sorts of medicines, especially the epidural. Your clothes will be changed and pubic hair cleaned. The nurse will start an IV and insert a catheter to void out your urine during the surgery. Once you are ready, you will be given an epidural or spinal block. This will numb the lower part of your body only. To prevent you and your partner from seeing the procedure, a screen will be put up before you.

The next steps are fairly straightforward. The doctor will cut your abdomen, layer after layer, cut your uterus, take your baby out, show you a glimpse of your newborn, and hand it over to the pediatrician. While your newborn is being examined, your obstetrician will stitch you up. Once you are ready and your surgery is complete, you’ll be taken to the recovery room, where the on-duty doctor will inspect you for few hours before releasing you to your room. Your baby will stay beside you, no matter where you go. Usually, you will stay in the hospital for up to 3 days after your C-Section delivery.

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The procedure: after the surgery

After the surgery, things are quite straightforward. You’ll be put on antibiotics for at least a week. You will attempt to breastfeed your baby from day 1 (if you choose to do so). During your stay at the hospital, your panel of doctors will check up on the stitches, your intake of fluid, your urination, your bowel movements, and how you’re doing in general. It is highly important to drink a maximum of 4 liters of fluid per day. You’ll be allowed to walk from day 2. By day 4 to 5, at home, you will notice the pain has subsided. Once you are home, you should take plenty of rest. No bending, no picking up heavy objects, no hefty jobs.

A C-Section is always an option that can be chosen if you want to avoid a vaginal birth. It is, of course, thoroughly recommended to go for a vaginal delivery, but then again, every situation will depend entirely on you and your baby. This is just to remind you that you should start thinking and mentally preparing yourself for all the alternatives.

Being 34 weeks pregnant, you and your partner are now planning out your future. My personal advise? Just enjoy, even if you don’t feel like it. I am a mum of two, so I know what you will go through. At 34 weeks, just try to stay calm, meditate, be positive, and relish in the moment!

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Published on September 21, 2018

11 Smart Pieces of Advice to Help You Thrive as a Single Mother

11 Smart Pieces of Advice to Help You Thrive as a Single Mother

Becoming a mother is one of the most difficult challenges a woman can take on in her life. Whether this happens the “natural” way, with the help of science, or through adoption, being in charge of nurturing another human being is a herculean task to take on.

Typically, when we think about parenthood, we imagine two parents sharing the responsibility and having each other to lean on. However, according to the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau, 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 are being raised by a single mother.[1] This is a significant portion of the population that often gets overlooked.

If you are one of these mothers raising your children on your own, you are undoubtedly aware of the additional challenges that motherhood has placed upon you, including the constant struggle to find sufficient time, energy, money, and support.

For single mothers who find themselves bogged down by their daily responsibilities and struggle to stay afloat, don’t be fooled by the belief that you have to do all. It is possible to thrive and live as a single mother if you take advantage of all available resources and adjust your priorities based on your situation.

1. Find your community and ask for help

As the sole caretaker of your kids, going through the successes and struggles of parenthood can feel isolating and lonely. You have probably developed a strong sense of independence because you’ve had to go at it alone.

Being self-reliant is necessary in many situations that you have to face, but do not fool yourself into thinking that you don’t need support from others. If you have family nearby, strengthen your relationship with them by visiting and talking more often. Find time to catch up with old friends or co-workers, and don’t assume they don’t want to hang out if they are not parents themselves.

Would you prefer finding mom friends[2] who have more in common with you? Use resources like apps, Facebook groups, and community events to meet local moms in your area.

After you have established a support group that you can depend on, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is NOT a sign of weakness or incompetency to admit you can’t do it all, and others are probably more willing to lend a hand than you think.

If you feel uncomfortable burdening others, suggest trading favors such as taking turns babysitting. Because after all, helping is each other is what community is all about.

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2. Make peace with the past

Before you can move forward, you must make peace with your past and not let it define you or rule your life. Whether your journey to single motherhood was through divorce, death, or never having a relationship the father, it is crucial that you leave behind the feelings of abandonment or betrayal you may be struggling with.

You cannot change the past and the hurt you had to endure, but you can use the strength that you gained from overcoming those obstacles to work towards making the best life for yourself and your child. Learn from the past but live in the present and look towards the future.

3. Make plans and set goals

The daily repetition of trying to balance work and home life can make you feel like you are on operating on autopilot. However, it is imperative to set goals for yourself and to keep working towards self-improvement.

In your personal life, you can set a fitness goal (train for a 5k), a reading goal (read 20 books in a year), or a travel goal (take a trip to Europe). At your job, you can set career goals such as gain leadership experience, get a promotion, or earn a degree or certificate.

Spend time creating a realistic plan to on how you can go about achieving these goals. Not only will working towards these goals make you a more well-rounded and successful person, they will bring more purpose and fulfillment to your life.

4. Look for role models

A great way to jump start your plans for the future is to find a role model or mentor who is further along in their life or career experience. This person can be a great resource when you need guidance on what types of goals to set for yourself and how to achieve them.

It’s also important to have people to turn to for encouragement during difficult seasons of life. Someone who has been through it before can provide the most genuine reassurance that tough times will get better and that staying positive is best approach.

5. Rethink your priorities

Single parents have twice as many responsibilities to take care of, so priorities and expectations must be adjusted accordingly.

Know that you are not superwoman and striving for a perfectly clean home, no dirty laundry, and home-cooked meals for your kids every day is not a reasonable expectation. It’s okay to take shortcuts sometimes, like serving your kids cereal for dinner or waiting until the next day to wash the dishes.

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Don’t compare yourself to anyone else and let go of the guilt that you feel for being the only parent that your kids can count on. Give yourself a break and don’t sweat the small stuff.

6. Make time for me time

Even though it can be difficult to find, making time for yourself is critical to maintaining your sanity and well-being. Without a built-in partner to take over, finding time to be away from the kids must be done intentionally and planned in advance.

If you are sharing custody, use the time away from your kids not only doing productive things but also making sure you are taking care of yourself. Sleep, exercise, and balanced diet are not things that can get pushed to the bottom of the priority list. Also make time for fun activities, such as hobbies and creative outlets.

Even though being a mother is the most important job you have, don’t let it be the only thing that defines you. Time for yourself is more difficult to find if you are the sole caretaker of your kids.

Use the resources that you have to devote time to self-care, and you and your kids will thank you for it in the long run.

7. Stay organized

With so many things to juggle, great organizational skills are an absolute must in order to keep everything moving smoothly. Use apps such as Mint for your finances, Mealime for meal planning, and Cozi as a family organizer for everything from appointments and shopping lists to after school activities.

Maintain constant contact if you are sharing custody so that it is clearly communicated who will be responsible for what when it comes to your kids. Follow consistent routines in the morning and nighttime so that your kids also know what to expect on a daily basis.

8. Be flexible (Don’t be a control freak)

Although it is important to be prepared and stay organized, things don’t always go according to plan.

When kids get sick and have to stay home or babysitters cancel at the last minute, allow for flexibility by having a contingency plan for childcare and with your employer.

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For example, make a list of people you can call when you need last minute childcare, or talk to your boss in advance about working from home when emergencies come up.

Most of all, don’t let unexpected changes stress you out and ruin your day.

9. Learn to say no (Don’t feel guilty)

Single mothers have limitations in time, energy and resources that families with two parents wouldn’t be able to understand. Because of these circumstances, it’s important you let go of feelings of guilt and stop trying to do everything and be everywhere.

You don’t have to say yes to every single birthday party your child is invited to. Your kids don’t have to be involved in sports and extracurricular activities every night of the week.

Limit the things you do to only the ones that are the most enjoyable and meaningful for you and your family. Doing more things does not make you a better mother; simply a more tired one.

10. Live within your means

When you have to raise your family on a single income, budgeting and spending within your means becomes more important than ever.

If you have outstanding debt that is accruing interest, make it a priority to pay those off as soon as possible. Outlining a budget is the best way to visualize how much money is being spent every month on various things and what is left over.

Find ways to save money on the necessities by looking for sales at the grocery store, buying some things secondhand, planning out meals.

After the necessary bills are paid, determine how much can be spent on luxury items such as eating out, vacations, and going to the movies.

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Don’t let finances be a source of anxiety for you and your family. Keep your bank account in good shape while teaching your kids how to spend money responsibly at the same time.

11. Spend quality time with your kids

The time you spend with your kids is so precious and much more limited as a single mother. Make the time that you spend with your kids count.

Rather than sitting in front of the TV, take them on fun and budget-friendly outings to the park, the playground, or a museum. Use meal times as the perfect excuse to ask them about what they are learning in school and the friends they spend time with.

When your kids ask you to play with them, look at it as a privilege and an opportunity to bond with them, rather than a distraction or waste of time. Be present when you are with them, with no work or multitasking on your mind. Your relationship with your kids will absolutely reap the benefits.

Final thoughts

Being a single mother is not an easy job. That’s why it’s important to use all the resources available to you in order to make this job a little bit easier.

Using technology, an organization system and a supportive community are just a few examples of things you should utilize to your benefit. It’s also important to shift your mindset and be more practical when it comes to things like priorities and finances.

Most of all, don’t forget about your own self care. Only when you take care of yourself can you best take care of the people you love.

Single mothers are some of the most hard-working people out there, and you deserve to have a happy and fulfilling life.

Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

Reference

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