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Your Pregnancy: Week 34

Your Baby

By the end of this week, your baby may weigh as much as four pounds and measure 16 inches. As the uterine and abdominal walls stretch and thin, more light reaches the womb, causing her to open and close her eyes in response. It also helps her know day from night so she can cycle between activity and rest.

Your Body

Think you are seeing a lot of your doctor now? In two weeks you will be asked to start coming in each week until you deliver. Your doc will keep an eye on your blood pressure to make sure it's not abnormally high, which may affect the placenta's ability to deliver blood and nutrients to the fetus. Also, your pelvic area may feel numb with tingling brought on by pressure from the growing baby.

Do's and Don'ts

Do pack your hospital bag with some reminders of home. Consider taking along T-shirt to wear during labor (instead of the standard-issue hospital gown), a headband or ponytail holder to keep your hair off your face, and extra pillows to make you more comfortable after delivery.

Health

In upcoming weeks, you will be screened for the Group B streptococcus (GBS) virus. If passed on to the baby, GBS can cause meningitis, pneumonia, or worse. Experts say one in four pregnant women is a carrier, but there's good news: GBS is easily treatable, requiring only that you be given antibiotics during delivery.

Mom to Mom

I wish I'd known that..."Not all labor is dramatic. The early signs were so subtle that I wasn't sure I was in labor." --Nancy Sciolina, Ione, CA

Shopping

Your shoes may feel tight on your feet since you're retaining water, so it's time to indulge in one of pregnancy's best perks: shoe shopping! Look for a pair that doesn't rub and is roomy enough to provide a finger's breadth between its tip and your big toe. Choose shoes with thick soles for stability, and straps or laces that you can loosen as your feet expand.

Exercise

Try this simple exercise to gear up for labor: Sit cross-legged on the floor or in a chair. Line your shoulders up with your hips and place one hand on your belly and the other hand on your back, just above your waist. Take a deep breath, expanding the belly as you inhale (a "belly breath"). Exhale while contracting your abs to pull your belly button in. Squeeze and hold, then release (but don't go all the way back to the expanded position). Repeat. Each squeeze-and-release counts as one contraction, so aim to do 25, five times a day.

Relationships

Share your worries about becoming a mom with your partner. This way, he'll know that you don't have all the answers and that you need his help to figure out your new role.

Siblings

Baby showers traditionally take place in the last four to six weeks of pregnancy. Bring your firstborn to your baby shower and have her sit in a special place next to you. She can participate in the games, regale the crowd with her songs and stories, and perform a fun and important big-sister task: unwrapping presents. So she doesn't feel left out, prepare a goody bag filled with little presents and treats for her to take home.

Twins

Start thinking about where you want to set up a nursing station. Breastfeeding two babies can take a long time, and you deserve a convenient area in your home to do it in. It should have enough space for everything you need, like a comfortable chair, food, beverages (nursing moms drink tons of water!), a telephone, and a remote control if a TV is within viewing distance.

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