You and Your Baby at Week 34 of Your Pregnancy

(10 minute read)

You and Your Baby at Week 34 of Your Pregnancy

Week 34

As you enter week 34 of pregnancy, you are nearing the final stretch, so a congratulations is in order! This period is filled with anticipation, excitement, and some natural concerns about the changes your body and your baby are going through. Find out what is happening in week 34 of your pregnancy here.

How Big is Baby at 34 Weeks?

At 34 weeks, your baby is rapidly approaching his or her final birth size. While individual growth rates vary, most babies at this stage are about the size of a cantaloupe melon. They typically measure around 45cm from head to heel and weigh approximately 4.7 to 5.4 pounds, or 2.1 to 2.5kg.

The baby's physical development is almost complete. Their bones are hardening, except for the skull, which remains soft and flexible to make the journey through the birth canal easier. The baby's skin is becoming smoother, and a layer of fat is filling out their arms and legs, giving them a more rounded appearance.

The Week 34 Antenatal Appointment

Week 19 Fetus

This week, you will have an appointment with your doctor or midwife in which the following will happen:

  • You will be asked about your baby's movements.
  • You will be given advice about preparing for labour and birth, how to recognise the signs of labour, pain coping strategies and your birth plan.
  • There will be a discussion of screening test results from your last appointment.
  • The size of your uterus will be measured.
  • Your blood pressure will be taken.
  • They will test for protein in your urine (for detecting conditions like pre-eclampsia).
  • If you're rhesus negative, you'll be given your second anti-D injection so you don't have a reaction to the foetal blood cells.

 

Changes in Your Body

As your body prepares for birth, you might notice that some of your pregnancy symptoms have gone. This is because your baby will have moved down head first into your pelvis in a process called "engagement". So symptoms like breathlessness and heartburn which used to bother you before, will now be getting better.

 

Increased Uterine Size: Your uterus is now about 5 to 6 inches above your belly button, giving your belly a more pronounced shape.

Weight Gain: You might have gained between 24 to 29 pounds by now, though this varies greatly among individuals.

Braxton Hicks Contractions: These "practice" contractions might become more frequent. They are usually irregular and painless but can be uncomfortable.

Swelling: You may experience swelling in your feet, ankles, and hands due to increased fluid retention.

Breast Changes: Your breasts will probably be really large by now, and also more sensitive as they prepare for breastfeeding. Colostrum, the first form of milk, may begin to leak from your nipples.

 


Pregnancy Symptoms at Week 34

Each woman's pregnancy is unique, but some common symptoms during the 34th week include:

Fatigue: As the baby grows, your body works harder, often leading to increased fatigue. Make sure to rest and sleep adequately.

Backaches: The extra weight and the shifting of your centre of gravity can cause back pain. Prenatal yoga and good posture can help.

Difficulty Sleeping: Finding a comfortable sleeping position can be challenging. Using pregnancy pillows and sleeping on your side might provide some relief.

Nesting Instinct: Many women experience a burst of energy and an urge to prepare the home for the baby's arrival. While it's okay to give in to these nesting instincts, remember not to overdo it.

Emotional Changes: Hormonal fluctuations, combined with anticipation and anxiety about the impending birth, can cause mood swings. It's important to seek support from friends and family, or even a professional, and talk about your feelings.

Preparing for the Birth

This is an excellent time to start preparing for the birth. Consider the following:

Prenatal Classes: If you haven't already, attend prenatal classes to learn about labour, delivery, and early infant care.

Birth Plan: Discuss your birth plan with your healthcare provider. This plan should include your preferences for pain management and other birthing details.

Hospital Bag: Start packing your hospital bag with essentials like clothing for you and the baby, toiletries, etc.

 

When to Contact Your Doctor or Midwife

While most changes and symptoms are normal, some signs warrant immediate medical attention:

Severe or Persistent Pain: Any severe or persistent pain should be reported immediately.

Decreased Foetal Movement: If you notice a significant decrease in your baby's movements, contact your doctor or midwife.

Signs of Early Labour: These include regular contractions, pressure in the pelvis, lower back pain, and vaginal bleeding.

 

As you prepare for the final weeks of pregnancy and the exciting journey of parenthood that lies ahead, remember to continue taking care of yourself, attending regular prenatal check-ups, and enjoying this unique and special time in your life.

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