Baby's Growth and Development When You're 34 Weeks Pregnant
Between the 34th week of pregnancy and the 37th week of pregnancy, your baby continues to refine his systems and put on significant weight.
- He probably weighs about 5½ pounds and is about 12½ inches, about as long as a loaf of bread, from head to rump (plus an additional 5 inches or more in legs!).
- The white, waxy coating protecting your baby's skin (vernix) thickens this week.
- The soft downy hair (lanugo) that insulated your baby's skin so effectively for months is now almost gone.
- Your baby's fingernails have reached the tip of his fingers.
- Your baby might gain about a half a pound this week as his weight continues to build quickly.
Your Changing Body When You're 34 Weeks Pregnant
You soon might notice a difference in your pregnancy symptoms now or in the coming weeks, especially if your baby moves lower into your pelvis. Here’s what else is going on in your 34th week of pregnancy:
Look Who Dropped In!
- Your baby could drop or settle into your pelvis in preparation for birth as early as this week. This is called lightening.
- When your baby does drop into the pelvic area, he is considered engaged or in position for birth.
- Lightening can happen several weeks before your baby's birth, especially if this is your first pregnancy. Or, it could happen the day your labor begins.
- You might notice that your belly seems lower and more tilted forward when this happens.
- Lightening might bring relief from upper-body pregnancy symptoms, such as shortness of breath and heartburn; however, in exchange, you'll possibly feel increased pressure on your pelvis, hips, and bladder.
- This can cause discomforts, such as leaking or frequent urination, to increase.
- If you've experienced numbness or pain from pressure on your sciatic nerve, this also should stop if your baby drops now or in the next few weeks.
- You might continue to notice late-pregnancy swelling in your legs or ankles throughout this week. Your doctor will continue to watch this during checkups.
- Braxton-Hicks contractions might continue to prepare your body for childbirth.
Wellness and Nutrition When You're 34 Weeks Pregnant
Exercising Now for Labor Later!
During your 34th week of pregnancy, certain muscles in your body will get a significant workout during the birth of your baby. You can help these muscles prepare now.
- Kegel exercises strengthen your pelvic floor. They also can help with any immediate leaking urine and hemorrhoid problems.
- Pelvic tilt increases stomach muscles and flexibility for birth. It also can alleviate current back pain.
- Tailor sitting (sitting cross-legged) stretches and strengthens muscles in your back and thighs and makes the joints in your pelvis more flexible for an easier delivery. It also improves blood flow to your lower body. Try it:
- Sit on the floor with your back straight (or with your back against the wall, if you need extra support).
- With knees bent to the side, bring the soles of your feet together and pull your heels in toward your groin area.
- Let your knees slowly drop to each side until you feel a stretch in your inner thighs. Be sure you don't bounce.
Finding a pediatrician
If you already haven’t chosen a pediatrician, you might want to start interviewing possible choices. It’s important to try to select one before your baby's born so your pediatrician can be the first to examine the baby at the hospital. Considerations:
- Does the doctor accept your insurance plan?
- How large is the practice?
- Will your baby be seen by the same doctor?
- What are the office hours?
- What are the after-hours procedures?
- With what hospital does the doctor work?
Learn About Labor and Prepare Your Plan
When you’re 34 weeks pregnant, you might want to talk with your doctor about his or her usual practices during labor. You also can share your ideas and preferences.
During your 34th week of pregnancy, you might want to develop a birth plan as a guide for how you want to deliver your baby.
- This can serve as an excellent tool to discuss your preferences with your doctor.
- Plans often cover your preferences regarding labor, delivery, and postpartum care and can be as short or long as you'd like.
- This birth plan should function as a "flexible wish list" because things might need to change, depending on your doctor's policies, the hospital's policies, and how your labor progresses.
- Here are a few questions you might want to consider* as you develop your plan:
- At what point in labor do you want to come to the hospital?
- What comfort items from home do you want to bring?
- Whom do you want in the delivery room?
- What non-medication relief do you want?
- What medicated pain relief, such as epidural, if any, do you want, or would you like to consider options as labor progresses?
- What positions would you like to try during labor?
- Whom would you like to cut the cord?
- What would you like to happen right after birth? Do you want the baby handed to you immediately?
- Do you plan to breastfeed or bottle-feed?
- Do you want the baby to room-in with you?
- What's your preference about circumcision if you have a boy?
Making some of these decisions ahead of time during your 34th week of pregnancy might make you feel more at ease once the big day approaches.
* Source: Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy
Fill up on fluids during your 34th week of pregnancy
Do you know that you lose water when you sweat, go to the bathroom, and even breathe? Drinking water is more important than ever as dehydration can lead to Braxton-Hicks contractions. In addition to preventing contractions, water:
- Helps build important tissues
- Assists nutrients as they circulate in and out of your body
- Aids in digestion
- Helps you maintain the right amount of amniotic fluids
TIP: You can use other fluids, such as 100% fruit juices and milk, but try to keep water as your basis.