Pregnancy week 34 wellness guide

Your body

changes in the body
What to expect
You may feel that you are about to give birth any minute but it would take a few more weeks. Walking could feel more difficult and you may need to go to the bathroom more frequently. You may feel less breathless if your baby has moved downwards to ‘engage’. Also, symptoms such as heartburn and acidity could disappear. Don’t be surprised if all your pregnancy symptoms vanish overnight. It can happen!

Baby size

Pregnancy week 34 wellness guide
What to expect
Your baby is the size of a Pineapple (roughly 43 cms and 2 Kilos)

Your baby

Pregnancy weekly guide - baby size
What to expect
Baby is starting to ‘engage’, that is, moving head down in your pelvis. Baby is almost at birth length. He/She is shifting around and that makes the shape of your bump change. You may be able to make out your baby’s body part like a little hand or feet from outside! If baby is a boy, his testicles will descend into its sac this week.

Taking care

Pregnancy week 34 wellness guide
Tips
  • Attend antenatal appointments.
  • Be aware that you could have dry eyes and your vision may seem to have changed or be blurred. These are only temporary and will pass off after birth.
  • Keep the vaginal area dry and clean as you are likely to have increased vaginal discharge which is harmless. Keeping clean and dry will prevent bacterial infections.
  • Stop drinking water for at least an hour or two before you go to bed to prevent frequent trips to the bathroom.
  • Eat healthily, be kind to yourself and rest when you can.
  • Go for gentle walks. This will help you relax and sleep better.

Ask your doctor

Pregnancy weekly guide - ask your doctor
Questions to ask
  1. My vaginal discharge has turned thick and yellowish. It also has a smell. How can I stop it?
  2. Do I need to get a blood test (for Group B Streptococcus)?
  3. Do I need an ultrasound in the third trimester?
  4. I am getting severe back pain. Could it be because of the position of my baby?

Your to do list

Pregnancy week 34 wellness guide
Actions
  1. Count foetal kicks.
  2. Have folic acid supplement and prenatal vitamins.
  3. Book an antenatal appointment. 
  4. Make a list of things to pack for the hospital bag.

Questions you may have

“You're likely to feel more relaxed in labour and better placed to cope with the pain if you learn and know more about labour. This makes you feel more in control and less frightened. Learn how to relax, stay calm and take deep breaths. There are yoga breathing exercises which can help. Your position can make a difference – try kneeling, walking around or rocking back and forth.”

“Having a light skinned baby based on what you eat or do when you are pregnant is an old wives tale, a myth. Skin colouring or tone is down to genes. Type of food does not make any difference. Just eat healthy and take your prenatal vitamins. Coconut water can help with hydration!”

Pregnancy week 33 wellness guide

Your body

changes in the body
What to expect
You are expanding! You are also perhaps getting very very tired carrying nearly 2 extra Kgs! You could be feeling your baby’s pokes and kicks more sharply now. You may also be getting very little sleep.You could be anxious and thinking a lot about the upcoming birth – worrying what you need to do before baby comes. That's quite common.

Your baby

Pregnancy week 33 wellness guide
What to expect
Your baby is the size of a Small Pumpkin (about 42 cms long and 1.75 Kilos in weight).

Your baby

Pregnancy weekly guide - baby size
What to expect
By week 33, baby’s brain and nervous system are fully developed. Your baby can make out the difference between night and day. Baby’s bones other than the skull bone are also hardening up. Your baby is gaining weight rapidly, nearly half a pound a week. His or her own immune system is developing, which will help fight off infections.

Taking care

Pregnancy week 33 wellness guide
Tips
  • Make provision for extra space around you e.g. when sitting down at a table, getting into a car or public transport. This is because you are expanding all the time and it is difficult to judge how big you are!
  • Prepare for birth. Get your labour bag packed. Make sure you have all the important numbers stored in your phone e.g. hospital number, your doctors number and full hospital address.
  • Avoid exercising, eating or drinking too close to bedtime. Have a warm cup of milk before going to bed.
  • Have calcium rich foods like milk and yogurt.
  • Test for foetal movement twice a day.

Ask your doctor

Pregnancy weekly guide - ask your doctor
Questions to ask
  1. What position is my baby in? Is my baby okay?
  2. What are my options for pain relief during birth?
  3. I drink two mugs of tea a day. Is that okay?
  4. I don’t feel any contractions like other pregnant women. Is that normal?

Your to do list

Pregnancy week 33 wellness guide
Actions
  1. Make travel arrangements in advance to ensure to get to the hospital in time when in labour.
  2. Book an antenatal appointment with doctor.
  3. Discuss and prepare for labour and birth with husband or a family member.
  4. Telephone your mother or best friend to chat about how you feel and the emotions you are going through.

Questions you may have

“I put in quite a few items, which came handy.

    1. My doctor’s notes, medical records and prescriptions.
    2. Clothes and nappies for the baby
    3. Something loose and comfortable to wear during labour
    4. Spare clothes and underwear
    5. Nightclothes
    6. Super absorbent sanitary pads
    7. Toiletries and towels
    8. Healthy snacks
    9. My medications”

“The majority of women don't have an episiotomy. In the early days it was quite common practice to help make delivery easier or to prevent tearing during delivery. Episiotomies may be necessary only in some situations, such as, if your baby's heart rate drops and delivery needs to be hurried. "

Pregnancy week 32 wellness guide

My body

changes in the body
What to expect
You are gaining a lot of weight now – about 400 gm a week. You will be waddling like a duck or penguin. You may be experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions – uterus tightening and hardening from time to time. They stop when you change position. You may develop pelvic pain, which can be quite severe. It is not about harm to your baby. You will be having many vivid and strange dreams and daydreams!

Your baby

Pregnancy week 32 wellness guide
What to expect
Your baby is the size of a Tender Coconut (roughly 40 cms long and nearly 1.5 Kg in weight).

Your baby

Pregnancy weekly guide - baby size
What to expect
Baby’s major organs except for lungs are fully formed. Baby has a functioning urinary system and is passing out urine. He/she is practising a lot on how to survive in the outside world – swallowing, breathing, kicking and sucking.  Baby lays head pointing downwards (cephalic presentation). If not, not to worry, there is still time for your baby to turn.

Taking care

Pregnancy week 32 wellness guide
Tips
  • Take frequent rests. It will help you with your tiredness.
  • You may lose your appetite. Be extra vigilant and make sure you have frequent small meals to keep up nutrition levels.
  • Learn the signs of early labour. You will be relieved that all babies born at this stage or later survive and go on to have very healthy, normal lives when attended to.
  • Be aware of signs of premature labour – bleeding, cramping, contractions and leaking of fluid.
  • Consider how you might feel after birth and prepare yourself
      • about stitches you may need as the result of a surgical cut,
      • going to the toilet,
      • bladder control or
      • bleeding that could take place.

Ask your doctor

Pregnancy weekly guide - ask your doctor
Questions to ask
  1. What are the signs of early labour?
  2. Is my baby in the right position?
  3. Do I need to have a Vitamin K injection just after giving birth?
  4. I get contractions. Am I going into labour?
  5. What are my options for pain relief during pregnancy?

Your to do list

Pregnancy week 32 wellness guide
Actions
  1. Have your iron supplement and prenatal vitamins.
  2. Attend your antenatal appointment.
  3. Make a list of questions to ask your doctor.
  4. Find out about which signs you should act upon immediately.
  5. Have your hospital bag ready.

Questions you may have

“Baby will try to settle head down and bottom up position in preparation for birth because it is easier for baby to come out head first during birth. Turning into position can take place right in the end! At week 36 when my little one hadn’t taken position my doctor tried to encourage my baby to take position! Sometimes babies come out bottom first or breech.”

“Contact your doctor immediately, 

      • In case there is pain, swelling or redness appears in the calf muscle of one leg
      • If you have pain in your chest and there is difficulty in breathing
      • There is sudden or very heavy blood loss from your vagina, you feel faint and your heart beat is very rapid
      • You have fever, sore and a tender tummy
      • There is headache, changes in your vision and vomiting

Pregnancy week 31 wellness guide

My body

changes in the body
What to expect
You will have thorough antenatal check-ups like regular measuring of your BP and measuring up your stomach. Your doctor will feel your pregnant belly to work out which way up your baby is positioned. You may have felt your baby move and your belly bump shift downwards – that is baby is getting into position! You can keep enjoying your sex life. The end is in sight now! In two weeks you and your baby will go through a final growth spurt.

Your baby

Baby size week 31
What to expect
Your baby is as big as a Coconut (roughly 40 cm long and 1.4 Kilos in weight).

Your baby

Pregnancy weekly guide - baby size
What. to expect
Baby is processing information from all five senses – sight, touch, feel, taste and hearing. He/she is very active, moving around, sucking their fingers, and doing the odd somersault. But baby is also sleeping more. Physically, baby is getting plumper and looks less wrinkled.

Taking care

Pregnancy week 31 wellness guide
Tips
  • Learn about Braxton Hicks contractions. These are fake contractions that you may be getting. Your belly contracts and tightens up for 20-30 seconds and relaxes again. These are perfectly normal and harmless ‘practice contractions’.
  • Eat well – your baby needs to gain roughly 200 grams a week.
  • Do some simple stretches – this will help take away pain in your neck region.
  • You may be getting all kinds of advice from family and strangers alike – some good and some misinformation. Don’t let these comments worry you or change your mind. Make sure you get correct information from the right sources.

Ask your doctor

Pregnancy weekly guide - ask your doctor
Questions to ask
  1. I am getting contractions that are painful and coming regularly. Do I need to go to the hospital
  2. My face has swollen up suddenly. I am also getting headaches. Should I be worried?
  3. When should I go to the hospital?
  4. Is my baby’s position okay?

Your to do list

Pregnancy week 31 wellness guide
Actions
  1. Get my weight checked and assessed.
  2. Have folic acid supplement and prenatal vitamins.
  3. Monitor facial swelling.
  4. Book an antenatal appointment.
  5. Ask what to do the first few days to help with breast feeding.

Questions you may have

“You can still enjoy a healthy sex life and strong connection with your husband. Sex is safe. Try to find a position for sex that is comfortable and satisfying for you and your husband. Lying on your side is often the most comfortable. If you feel pressure on your low back, try tucking a pillow between your knees.”

“A caesarean is a major operation that carries a number of risks, so it should only be done if it's the safest option for you and your baby. Caesareans are either planned or done in case of emergencies. I was anxious about giving birth, so I discussed that with my doctor and he gave me suggestions on how to get support during my pregnancy and labour.”

Pregnancy week 30 wellness guide

Your Body

changes in the body
What to expect
You may feel like you are ready to go into deliver! You are having to go to the bathroom very often. But it’s not time yet – baby has some more growing to do. You could be getting vivid and disturbing dreams. You might be worrying – giving birth in a shop or a public place – these might appear in your dreams and can be frightening. Remember - these are only dreams! Physically, you are quite itchy which can be annoying. For information on COVID and pregnancy please click here.

Baby size

Pregnancy week 30 wellness guide
What to expect
Your baby is the size of a large Broccoli (roughly 38 cms and 1.2 Kilos).

Your Baby

Pregnancy weekly guide - baby size
What to expect
Your baby is growing plumper, and his/her skin begins to look less wrinkled and much smoother. He/she can suck its thumb or fingers as the hands are now fully formed. Fingernails have started growing too. Your baby's eyes can focus and his/her vision will continue to develop inside and outside your womb.

Taking care

Pregnancy week 30 wellness guide
Tips
  • Have less fatty, spicy and fried dishes to prevent distressing heartburn. Prevent reflux by not lying down straight after a meal.
  • Keep check on foetal movements and ask your doctor if all is okay.
  • Don’t buy expensive creams for stretch marks! There are no miracle cures for it. Stretch marks fade over time. However, use creams and lotions if you are itchy or scratchy.
  • Ask your husband to tap on your belly and your baby may kick or poke back at that same spot! It’s a nice game to play with your baby.

Ask your doctor

Pregnancy weekly guide - ask your doctor
Questions
  1. I can’t feel my baby’s movements often. Is that normal?
  2. What are the signs of premature labour?
  3. What are the things I should do to reduce pain during labour?
  4. I keep feeling I will go into labour any minute! Is that normal?
  5. I get frequent vivid and scary dreams, which make me anxious. What should I do?

Your to do list

Pregnancy week 30 wellness guide
Action points
  1. Count foetal kicks.
  2. Have your folic acid supplement and prenatal vitamins.
  3. Book antenatal appointment with your doctor.
  4. Make a list of things to pack for your hospital bag.

Questions you may have

“When you get to know and are aware of what happens at labour you are likely to feel more relaxed and better placed to cope with pain. That is because it helps you feel more in control and less frightened. Learn how to relax, stay calm and take deep breaths. There are breathing exercises in yoga which can help. Your position can make a difference too – try kneeling, walking around or rocking back and forth.”

“It's a myth! It's not true that a light skinned baby results from what you eat or do when you are pregnant. That's an old wives tale. Skin colouring or tone is down to genes. Type of food does not make any difference. Just eat healthy and take your prenatal vitamins. Coconut water helps with hydration!”

Maternal health in India

Maternal health in India

Maternity is joy. However, pregnancy comes with risks. Physical, mental and emotional issues in addition to weak health systems can take a toll on expectant mothers. The journey of pregnancy until childbirth is beset with barriers that women face. Maternal health in India may have improved in the last two decades, but there is a long way to go. Studies show that 74% of mothers have experienced pregnancy specific anxiety (British Medical Journal) and 25% of pregnant women suffer from prenatal depression, mostly between 18-32 weeks of pregnancy (The Lancet). Women can be unaware of what to expect, and usually are not told about danger signs to look out for or precautions to take.

A woman's health and wellbeing affects her unborn baby too. In fact, most of the issues that newborns are affected by can be prevented by adopting often simple measures during pregnancy. By raising awareness and supporting women to take measures for their health and wellbeing  during pregnancy, neonatal morbidity and mortality can be reduced.

Our pregnancy health and wellbeing guide aims to address and support women on wellbeing issues during pregnancy.

maternal health in India

The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a heavy toll on women's health and wellbeing during pregnancy. Read more here.

How to prevent bleeding gums in pregnancy

Good oral hygiene is a must during pregnancy for a healthy baby.

Bleeding gums during pregnancy

It is quite common to hear of bleeding gums in pregnancy. Pregnant women want to know how to prevent and avoid problems in relation to teeth and oral health.

In fact, nearly 60 - 75% of pregnant women have gingivitis, an early stage of periodontal disease (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, USA). Reports suggest that pregnant women are 7 times at higher risk. In gingivitis, the gums become red and swollen. Changing hormones during pregnancy are responsible for the condition but it gets worse as a result of poor dental hygiene practices that lead to plaque and debris. If untreated, the bone that supports teeth gets brittle and gums get infected. Though we do not know for certain the reasons for adverse pregnancy outcomes, periodontitis is associated with preterm birth and low birth weight.

Another complaint often heard is that of a small rounded tumour like growth in the gums between teeth. Commonly called pregnancy tumour, it can bleed when brushing teeth or eating. A pregnancy tumour usually disappears after the baby is born.If it persists after child birth you must visit a dentist.

Morning sickness especially when severe can erode the enamel in your teeth. That happens because of exposure of teeth to gastric juices and acids as a result of reflux. Increased exposure to acidity is a cause for tooth decay too.

To keep your teeth and gums healthy -

1. Brush your teeth twice day with a floured toothpaste.
2. If you have morning sickness, don't brush straight away after throwing up. Wait for an hour or so and then brush your teeth.
3. Daily salt rinse your mouth - 1 tsp of salt added to a cup of water. Swirl the wash a few times in your mouth and then spit it out. Avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol.
4. Floss once a day.

X-rays including dental x-rays should be avoided in pregnancy. If unavoidable, an LED apron with coat and neck collar must be worn to prevent radiation exposure to the abdominal region and thyroid glands. However, it is safe to get dental treatment during the second trimester of pregnancy.

Always consult your doctor when in doubt.

Sravani
Vijaywada
10 June 2020

To know more about our work, please click here.

Our family is growing!

We had a very busy start to the week!

56 pregnant women participated in two workshops on COViD-19 awareness and Kushal’s wellbeing programme in Vijaywada on Monday. Leela explained how to stay safe from COVID – 19, and all 56 women downloaded our app. The women also learnt in the workshop what to expect week by week, how their baby-to-be will grow, and received tips on wellbeing. Participants were given confidence to have a conversation with their doctors’ to address questions they had about their pregnancy.

It was an important day, and we proudly welcome Bharadwaj Hospital and Karuna Nursing Home (Hospital) to the Kushal family.

Dr Savitri, Gynecologist at Bharadwaj Nursing Home had to say, “The Kushal concept will be very useful for pregnant women. We will coordinate so that you can attend our OP (outpatient days) to help give knowledge about wellbeing to expecting mothers and help them to access your website and download the Kushal app.”

Dr Radha Madhavi, Gynecologist, Karuna Nursing Home reiterated “I am so impressed with the Kushal initiative. I and my health team will learn from Kushal and even on days the VMM team does not visit we will explain to pregnant women aspects of wellbeing on OP days.”

“Fight the virus, not people”

A call by 24 year old Robbie from Indonesia. It’s one of many calls voiced by young people globally to fight stigma and discrimination arising because of the COVID 19 epidemic.

Voices of Youth ( https://www.voicesofyouth.org/ ) is collating stories from
contributors around the world to spread kindness and support to not allow COVID-19 to serve as a vehicle for racism or xenophobia. The site has excellent illustrations, sparks and stories submitted by young people on the site and you can also share your messages of support, comics or poems against stigma and discrimination through the Voices of Youth website. Voices of Youth is UNICEF’s digital community FOR YOUTH, BY YOUTH.

On the same note I was heartened to see the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India ( MOHFW ) produce an awareness video to address stigma. Interviews with doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) highlight why stigma and discrimination as a result of COVID-19 is misplaced. I was heartened to see that stigma as an issue has featured early on in the Government of India’s efforts against the novel Coronavirus and not as an afterthought.

We at Kushal played our own part, albeit small but important. We stepped up our work with focus on COVID in March 2019. Little was known then. Yet, we thought responding with urgency despite our limitations was warranted. Other stakeholders in Vijaywada, Andhra Pradesh did the same and we joined hands to make as much information as possible available to pregnant women. It was despairing to see the anxiety.

Fight the virus, COVID-19 and pregnancy education session in hospital

Fight the virus, not people!