Welcome to the amazing stage of 34 weeks pregnant! In your third and last trimester, the excitement of meeting your baby goes up considerably as you reach the last weeks of your pregnancy experience. At this time, your baby is maturing and preparing for life outside the womb. Throughout this journey, your body has undergone tremendous changes to love and protect your child. This article will go through:
what to expect at 34 weeks pregnant, from your baby's growth to physical and emotional changes.
valuable information about the final stages of foetal development and preparations for childbirth.
Prepare to embrace this wonderful stage as you get ready for the lovely chapter of parenthood that awaits you.
At 34 weeks pregnant, your baby's weight in kilogrammes is about 2 kg, or around 4 to 5 pounds, roughly the size of a pumpkin; and measures about 17.75 inches (45 centimetres) from head to toe.¹ Their senses are growing fast, and they can now identify familiar voices and sounds. Your child is also working on critical abilities like breathing, swallowing, and sucking. As they grow, their movements will become more robust, causing you to feel light kicks or rolls throughout the day. It's an amazing period of your baby's remarkable growth towards their great debut into the world. In addition to these exciting advancements, it is critical to take care of yourself, relax, and maintain contact with your healthcare professional to ensure a healthy and easy transition.
34 weeks pregnant: What to expect this week?
Your little one’s fingernails have grown so much that they almost reach the tip of the fingers¹. The fuzzy hair or lanugo that covered the body is now gone; and the skin is covered with a thick, waxy substance called vernix¹. This will protect your baby from any chafing in the womb.
Baby’s brain continues to make new and complex connections. Since your little one is working so hard, he or she is also spending a lot of time snoozing.
34 weeks pregnant: What’s happening?
You may not feel your baby move as much as before, but this is because he or she has now filled out your womb and just doesn’t have space for those acrobatics anymore³. Speak to your doctor if you are concerned about your baby in any way.
Your ankles, feet, and hands may start swelling in this last trimester due to fluid retention, which is due to blood flow in the lower part of the body being partially blocked as your growing uterus pushes on the pelvic veins². Use these tips to manage swelling for a comfortable pregnancy:
Talk to your doctor if there is sudden swelling in your face, hands, or around your eyes. These could be signs of something more serious.
Get off your feet. Do not stand for long periods of time. Try to elevate your feet whenever you can, and try not to cross your legs when you sit.
What can you do to support your pregnancy?
You have to be careful about your sodium intake in week 34 of your pregnancy, too much of it may cause you to retain water; which can contribute to swelling and bloating. Potassium-rich foods like raisins and bananas will help you tackle fluid retention.
To support your baby’s brain development, continue to eat a healthy, balanced diet rich in DHA and other essential nutrients like iron, zinc, copper, choline, and folate⁴. Every little bit helps when it comes to supporting your child’s IQ and EQ development (which both stem from the brain), to help prepare your child to become future-ready.
Mums-to-be, keep in mind that switching your body position can coax your growing baby out of any awkward poses that are giving you discomfort. A gentle rub over the aching area also helps.
It is best to avoid having your belly massaged when pregnant because pressure on that area might cause discomfort. However, as the mom-to-be, you can reassuringly caress and massage your baby while he or she is still in the womb to introduce them to human touch and to the world outside the womb. At the same time, you are encouraging your baby to respond to your loving touch, which helps to nurture his or her emotional development.
As you approach the final weeks of your pregnancy, it's essential to prepare both physically and emotionally for the upcoming birth. Take time to create a birth plan, discuss it with your healthcare provider, and gather any necessary supplies or items for the hospital or birthing centre. It's normal to experience a mix of excitement, anticipation, and even some apprehension as the due date draws near. Surround yourself with a support system of loved ones who can offer guidance and encouragement during this time. Remember to listen to your body, practise self-care, and trust in your body's innate ability to bring your baby into the world. Cherish these final moments of pregnancy and embrace the remarkable journey you and your baby are about to embark upon.
Here are some frequently asked questions from mothers to be on their 34th week pregnancy journey.
What are the typical foetal developments and sizes during the 34th week of pregnancy?
During the 34th week of pregnancy, the baby is fully developed, and the baby's organs, including the lungs, continue to mature.6
What position is the baby likely to be in at the 34th week of pregnancy?
By the 34th week, the baby is usually in a head-down position, preparing for delivery. This position, called cephalic presentation, is considered the most favourable for a vaginal birth.6
What common symptoms might a woman experience during the 34th week of pregnancy?
You may experience increased discomfort due to the baby's size and pressure on the organs and pelvis. Braxton Hicks contractions, which are irregular and often painless contractions, might also become more noticeable.3
What should I be doing to prepare for childbirth during the 34th week of pregnancy?
At this stage, it's important to finalise your birth plan, including discussing pain relief options with your healthcare provider. Consider attending childbirth education classes to learn breathing techniques and relaxation exercises.7
When should I contact my healthcare provider if I have concerns during the 34th week of pregnancy?
If you experience any sudden or severe symptoms such as vaginal bleeding, a decrease in foetal movement, intense or persistent abdominal pain, or the leaking of amniotic fluid, it's important to contact your healthcare provider immediately.8
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- Your baby's development in Week 35
- Your baby's development in Week 36
- Your baby's development in Week 37
- Preparing for Childbirth - Things no one tells you
Foetal development: The 3rd trimester. (2014, July 11). Retrieved April 10, 2017, http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-de….
The educational health content on What To Expect is reviewed by our medical review board and team of experts to be up-to-date and in line with the latest evidence-based medical information and accepted health guidelines, including the medically reviewed What to Expect books by Heidi Murkoff. c 2005-2023 https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/week-by-week/.
Is it true that baby movements slow down in late pregnancy? By Francesca Whiting | animated_fact_check Medically reviewed by Clare Herbert, Senior Midwife and Team Leader | October 2022. https://www.babycentre.co.uk/x25015787/is-it-true-that-baby-movements-slow-down-in-late-pregnancy.
Nutrition and the developing brain: nutrient priorities and measurement. Georgieff, M. K. (2007) American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 85(2): 614S-620S. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17284765/.
Can My Baby Feel When I Rub My Pregnant Belly? by Jennifer Kelly Geddes. Medically Reviewed by Rebecca Amaru, M.D. on January 24, 2022 https://www.whattoexpect.com/news/pregnancy/fetus-response-mother-rubbing-belly-study/.
Foetal Development. © 2023 Cleveland Clinic. Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/03/2023. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/7247-fetal-development-stages-of-growth.
Pregnancy, we're here for you. American Pregnancy Association. Copyright © 2023 American Pregnancy Association https://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/preparing-for-labor/.
Preterm Labor. Cleveland Clinic. Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/07/2022. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4498-premature-labor.