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Pregnancy At Week 34

Pregnancy At Week 34

What’s happening with your baby?

Pregnancy at week 34 is in the final stretch! Your baby is now about 4 1/2 pounds, which is about the size of a cantaloupe. I’m sure you can feel that melon weighing you down in the front! They are also almost 18 inches long. This little baby has come a long way from that tiny little bean you first saw on the ultrasound. As she grows her fat layers are building even more, making her rounder and making her skin even smoother. You little baby’s fingernails have most likely grown all the way to the end of their fingers by now. If you’re nervous about cutting your wee one’s nails for the first time, you should know that most moms bite their babies nails off for the first several months. Sounds crazy but their nails are so thin and soft that it’s easier and safer than using nail clippers when they’re so little!

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    Your baby’s lungs are continuing to develop and so is her central nervous system. If you are a worrier, now is the time to relax. Doctors have found that babies born between pregnancy at week 34 and 37 are most likely completely fine without other medical issues. If you go into preterm labor now, assuming that everything else is normal, then the worst you should expect is maybe an extra day or two in the hospital. And think of that as a blessing! You will miss all of those lovely nurses who help and that blessed nursery that allowed you a few hours of sleep at night!

    What’s happening with your body during pregnancy at week 34?

    With the end in sight, you’re probably gasping at your still growing uterus. Yep, you’re right. It’s still growing! Your uterus now reaches five inches above your belly button! But your bump isn’t the only thing changing. Pregnancy hormones affect nearly every part of your body-your eyes included! You vision might seem blurry and the hormones can actually decrease your tear production which can leave your eyes feeling tired, dry and itchy. Also, the changing levels of fluids in your eyes can actually change your glasses prescription if you have one. But don’t worry, these are all temporary changes. Everything should go back to normal when the baby is born.

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    As your third trimester progresses your body continues to be under a great amount of stress as the baby grows and your body prepares for labor. With ever increasing pressure on your intestinal tract you might be prone to be bloated and gassy. Stress can also make those gassy feelings even worse because you tend to swallow more air when you’re anxious. Try to relax and keep calm. Eat smaller and more frequent meals to help relieve some of the pressure from your digestive tract.

    Leg cramps, back aches, and hip pain are all normal during pregnancy at week 34. If you find yourself getting achy or tire more easily allow yourself to rest. Your body is doing some hard work to make a healthy baby-give it the rest it needs to succeed. Also, sitting on a rolly exercise ball and rolling your hips in circles and figure eights can help relieve hip pain.

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    Edema, or swollen ankles and feet, are very common during week 34 of pregnancy. A mix of hormones, pregnancy weight gain and retaining fluids can cause your feet and ankles to blow up like balloons. Reset when you need to and slip into some comfy slippers at the end of the day. Your feet deserve the pampering!

    What to do this week

    It’s time to start seriously preparing for labor. Making a labor plan is an important step for you and the birth team that will be helping you through the process. Writing down your goals and expectations will help you to mentally prepare for the trying task. Also, it’s time to do your research. Know your options with pain relief, pain management and laboring practices of the location where you will be delivering. It’s important to know your options, as well as the risk factors associated with those choices.

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    As much as you plan for a certain result, you might not get it. Nearly 30% of all births in America end in Cesarean Section. Being prepared for the possibility of complications, surgery and the recovery afterward will help ease your way if that does end up being your birth story. Many women bring their babies into the world this way. A healthy baby is a healthy baby-that is the ultimate goal of labor. It will help you to feel more empowered if you do end up with an emergency c-section if you understand the process before hand and know what to expect.

    Also, begin compiling a list of things you want to have with when you give birth and what needs to be done at home while you’re away. If you have other children, begin thinking about who will take care of them. Begin thinking about how you will introduce your older child to the new baby. This isn’t always the easiest introduction to make. You’re most likely still many weeks off from the big day, but don’t expect yourself to think of all of these things as your contractions begin! You’ll want to be prepared.

    Featured photo credit: Laura Flores via flickr.com

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    Emily Myrin

    Copywriter

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    Published on January 30, 2019

    How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

    How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

    In roughly 60 percent of two-parent households with children under the age of 18, both parents work full time. But who takes time off work when the kids are sick in your house? And if you are a manager, how do you react when a man says he needs time to take his baby to the pediatrician?

    The sad truth is, the default in many companies and families is to value the man’s work over the woman’s—even when there is no significant difference in their professional obligations or compensation. This translates into stereotypes in the workplace that women are the primary caregivers, which can negatively impact women’s success on the job and their upward mobility.

    According to a Pew Research Center analysis of long-term time-use data (1965–2011), fathers in dual-income couples devote significantly less time than mothers do to child care.[1] Dads are doing more than twice as much housework as they used to (from an average of about four hours per week to about 10 hours), but there is still a significant imbalance.

    This is not just an issue between spouses; it’s a workplace culture issue. In many offices, it is still taboo for dads to openly express that they have family obligations that need their attention. In contrast, the assumption that moms will be on the front lines of any family crisis is one that runs deep.

    Consider an example from my company. A few years back, one of our team members joined us for an off-site meeting soon after returning from maternity leave. Not even two hours into her trip, her husband called to say that the baby had been crying nonstop. While there was little our colleague could practically do to help with the situation, this call was clearly unsettling, and the result was that her attention was divided for the rest of an important business dinner.

    This was her first night away since the baby’s birth, and I know that her spouse had already been on several business trips before this event. Yet, I doubt she called him during his conferences to ask child-care questions. Like so many moms everywhere, she was expected to figure things out on her own.

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    The numbers show that this story is far from the exception. In another Pew survey, 47 percent of dual-income parents agreed that the moms take on more of the work when a child gets sick.[2] In addition, 39 percent of working mothers said they had taken a significant amount of time off from work to care for their child compared to just 24 percent of working fathers. Mothers are also more likely than fathers (27 percent to 10 percent) to say they had quit their job at some point for family reasons.

    Before any amazing stay-at-home-dads post an angry rebuttal comment, I want to be very clear that I am not judging how families choose to divide and conquer their personal and professional responsibilities; that’s 100 percent their prerogative. Rather, I am taking aim at the culture of inequity that persists even when spouses have similar or identical professional responsibilities. This is an important issue for all of us because we are leaving untapped business and human potential on the table.

    What’s more, I think my fellow men can do a lot about this. For those out there who still privately think that being a good dad just means helping out mom, it’s time to man up. Stop expecting working partners—who have similar professional responsibilities—to bear the majority of the child-care responsibilities as well.

    Consider these ways to support your working spouse:

    1. Have higher expectations for yourself as a father; you are a parent, not a babysitter.

    Know who your pediatrician is and how to reach him or her. Have a back-up plan for transportation and emergency coverage.

    Don’t simply expect your partner to manage all these invisible tasks on her own. Parenting takes effort and preparation for the unexpected.

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    As in other areas of life, the way to build confidence is to learn by doing. Moms aren’t born knowing how to do this stuff any more than dads are.

    2. Treat your partner the way you’d want to be treated.

    I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard a man on a business trip say to his wife on a call something to the effect of, “I am in the middle of a meeting. What do you want me to do about it?”

    However, when the tables are turned, men often make that same call at the first sign of trouble.

    Distractions like this make it difficult to focus and engage with work, which perpetuates the stereotype that working moms aren’t sufficiently committed.

    When you’re in charge of the kids, do what she would do: Figure it out.

    3. When you need to take care of your kids, don’t make an excuse that revolves around your partner’s availability.

    This implies that the children are her first priority and your second.

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    I admit I have been guilty in the past of telling clients, “I have the kids today because my wife had something she could not move.” What I should have said was, “I’m taking care of my kids today.”

    Why is it so hard for men to admit they have personal responsibilities? Remember that you are setting an example for your sons and daughters, and do the right thing.

    4. As a manager, be supportive of both your male and female colleagues when unexpected situations arise at home.

    No one likes or wants disruptions, but life happens, and everyone will face a day when the troubling phone call comes from his sitter, her school nurse, or even elderly parents.

    Accommodating personal needs is not a sign of weakness as a leader. Employees will be more likely to do great work if they know that you care about their personal obligations and family—and show them that you care about your own.

    5. Don’t keep score or track time.

    At home, it’s juvenile to get into debates about who last changed a diaper or did the dishes; everyone needs to contribute, but the big picture is what matters. Is everyone healthy and getting enough sleep? Are you enjoying each other’s company?

    In business, too, avoid the trap of punching a clock. The focus should be on outcomes and performance rather than effort and inputs. That’s the way to maintain momentum toward overall goals.

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    The Bottom Line

    To be clear, I recognize that a great many working dads are doing a terrific job both on the home front and in their professional lives. My concern is that these standouts often aren’t visible to their colleagues; they intentionally or inadvertently let their work as parents fly under the radar. Dads need to be open and honest about family responsibilities to change perceptions in the workplace.

    The question “How do you balance it all?” should not be something that’s just asked of women. Frankly, no one can answer that question. Juggling a career and parental responsibilities is tough. At times, really tough.

    But it’s something that more parents should be doing together, as a team. This can be a real bonus for the couple relationship as well, because nothing gets in the way of good partnership faster than feelings of inequity.

    On the plus side, I can tell you that parenting skills really do get better with practice—and that’s great for people of both sexes. I think our cultural expectations that women are the “nurturers” and men are the “providers” needs to evolve. Expanding these definitions will open the doors to richer contributions from everyone, because women can and should be both—and so should men.

    Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

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