I'm happy to say things have slowly but steadily been improving. This is a relief because during my first and second trimesters of pregnancy, one particular symptom started to become particularly intense...
I had never experienced TMJ (temporomandibular joint) pain along my jaw before so when it started to creep into my life at 12 weeks, I wondered if it was related to my pregnancy. The pain I was experiencing would range from day to day, sometimes keeping me awake most of the night. During the day it would be difficult to focus and at it's worst, there were times when I wouldn't leave my bed. I missed both social and work-related functions because of it. There were times I would be in tears because the pain was so intense and absolutely nothing helped. Sometimes it felt like my jaw was being compressed and other times it felt like someone was hammering all the way up to my ear. Over time when I felt like I could no longer cope with the pain, I contacted some healthcare professionals in Limerick who told me my TMJ pain was completely unrelated to my pregnancy! Knowing what I do about the interconnectedness of the human body and the hormones that can affect all joints during pregnancy, I opted for a second and third opinion. When I saw two different local osteopaths, they both could not believe medical professionals would say my pain was completely unrelated to my pregnancy!
Last week was my fourth osteopathy appointment with a wonderful woman in Limerick City. Each session with her has been wonderful because not only has she made me feel incredibly comfortable, she's so knowledgeable! She answers all my questions and gives me detailed feedback. Most importantly, my TMJ pain is now almost non-existent! I went from being an anxious mess to feeling like I can actually function. My biggest fear was experiencing the TMJ pain while in labour! How awful would that be!? I'm happy I followed my instincts and reached out to an osteopath who has helped me immensely!
Other Pregnancy Excitement
I felt my baby have the hiccups for the first time! The very consistent, gentle movements in the same spot were a clear sign that's what I was feeling. It brought a smile to my face and made me wish my husband had been nearby so he could feel the movements as well. Not all of my baby's movements are gentle, though! I have reached a point where I'm being woken repeatedly at night and gasping sometimes during the day because the fetal movements are so sudden and uncomfortable! I recently described them to my husband by saying "it feels like a litter of puppies are trying to fight their way out of my uterus!" I don't remember the kicks of any of my other children being quite this intense!
As the end of my pregnancy nears, I find myself wanting to get all the things done! My nesting instinct has definitely kicked in, giving my left brain permission to go into overdrive. Although it's quite common to feel more fatigued at this stage of pregnancy, I often get sudden boosts of energy which motivate me to clean or organise something I've been meaning to. I've also created a "to do" list of the things I'd really like to get done before baby arrives. My husband has witnessed my nesting behaviours during previous pregnancies so he's being helpful where he can, even if I am being a bit more demanding!
I continue to enjoy my prenatal yoga class and I find it interesting to see how the class number is slowly starting to drop. More and more mums are having their babies and I will be meeting my own little one soon!
What's commonly Going on at 34 Weeks
It is common for babies to be approximately 18 inches long and weigh in at just shy of five lbs. this week. As pregnancy progresses, baby's fat layers will continue to increase making him/her rounder for birth and better able to regulate their body temperature. Late into pregnancy, the body releases hormones that help the baby's lungs continue to develop more rapidly until labour begins. You may start to feel more fatigued, which is common during the third trimester. Your body is beginning to carry around more weight and the uterus continues to expand and put more pressure on your other organs as the baby gains approximately half a lb per week. As a result, you may feel more aches and pains, acid reflux, mild shortness of breath, experience mild swelling, more frequent urination and more night awakenings. While it is very, very normal to start nesting and try to motivate yourself to get as much done as possible, but it's also important to rest often and take time out for yourself before baby arrives!
At 34 weeks your baby is approximately the size of a cantaloupe melon!