Congratulations on reaching 34 weeks pregnant! This is an exciting time as you near the end of your pregnancy and prepare for the arrival of your new baby. At 34 weeks, your baby is continuing to grow and develop, and you may be experiencing a variety of pregnancy symptoms.
Your Baby is the Size of a Regulation Soccer Ball
Head to Toe
Highlights of the Week
- Your baby is growing rapidly, about the size of a Rubik’s Cube, with developing facial features and distinct fingers and toes.
- You’ve entered the second trimester, often referred to as the “honeymoon phase” of pregnancy, known for reduced morning sickness and increased energy.
- While you can’t feel them yet, your baby is moving and practicing reflexes in the womb.
- If you choose, this may be the time for a gender reveal ultrasound to find out the sex of your baby.
- You might start noticing changes in your body shape, prompting you to consider maternity clothing for comfort and style.
- Some women experience improvements in their skin, with a pregnancy “glow” and reduced acne.
- Many women feel a boost in mood and energy as morning sickness subsides.
- Begin bonding with your baby through talking, reading, or playing music to your belly.
- Measuring fundal height: At 34 weeks pregnant, your healthcare provider will measure the distance from the top of your uterus to your pubic bone, known as the fundal height, to check the baby’s growth and development.
- Tired of being pregnant: Many women at 34 weeks pregnant may be feeling tired and ready for delivery.
- Preparing for maternity leave: 34 weeks is a good time to start thinking about your maternity leave and making arrangements for your work or responsibilities during that time.
- No longer preterm: At 34 weeks, the baby is considered no longer preterm, and has a high chance of survival if born at this stage, but is still considered as early term.
- Baby has a sleep schedule: The baby has a sleep schedule and is practicing breathing, making facial expressions, and even dreaming.
- Baby sex differences: At 34 weeks, the baby’s genitals are fully developed, and it’s possible to determine the baby’s sex through ultrasound.
Pregnancy Symptoms in Week 34
As you near the end of your pregnancy, you may be experiencing a variety of symptoms. These may include:
Braxton Hicks contractions:
Braxton Hicks contractions are also known as “false labor” and are common in the later stages of pregnancy. These contractions may feel like a tightening or squeezing sensation in the abdomen, but they are generally not as strong or regular as true labor contractions. They are considered to be the body’s way of preparing for labor and delivery.
Fatigue is a common symptom in the later stages of pregnancy as the body works to support the growing baby. Many women experience increased tiredness and may need to take frequent naps or rest breaks throughout the day.
Shortness of breath:
As the uterus expands, it can put pressure on the diaphragm, making it harder to breathe. Many women also experience breathlessness as their baby’s head engages in the pelvis.
Back pain is common in pregnancy due to the weight of the baby, changes in the center of gravity, and hormonal changes that can cause the ligaments and joints in the pelvis to relax.
Swelling, also known as edema, is common in the later stages of pregnancy as the body retains more fluid. It is important to keep the feet elevated and to avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time.
Constipation is another common symptom of pregnancy as hormonal changes can slow down the digestive system. Eating high-fiber foods and staying hydrated can help alleviate constipation.
Vaginal discharge is normal during pregnancy, but it is important to keep an eye out for any changes in color, consistency, or odor, which could indicate an infection.
Leaking breasts are common in the last trimester of pregnancy as the body starts to produce colostrum. It is normal for women to have colostrum leakage, but if there is any pain or redness, it should be reported to your doctor.
34 Week Pregnancy Checklist
As you reach the 34th week of pregnancy, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
Keep monitoring your baby’s movements:
As the due date approaches, it’s important to keep an eye on your baby’s movements. Keeping a daily record of your baby’s kicks and movements can help you identify any potential problems and alert your healthcare provider if there are any changes.
Attend any remaining prenatal appointments:
At 34 weeks pregnant, there are likely only a few prenatal appointments remaining before delivery. It’s important to attend these appointments so that your healthcare provider can check on the baby’s growth and development, as well as monitor your own health and well-being.
Pack your hospital bag:
As the due date gets closer, it’s a good idea to start packing your hospital bag. This should include essentials like comfortable clothes, personal hygiene items, and any medications you may need. Don’t forget to pack a going home outfit for your baby too.
Review your birth plan:
A birth plan is a document that outlines your preferences for labor and delivery, such as pain management options, positions for delivery, and who you want to be present during the birth. Reviewing your birth plan with your healthcare provider can help ensure that your preferences are taken into account during labor and delivery.
Consider finding a doula:
A doula is a trained professional who provides emotional and physical support to women during labor and delivery. They can help you navigate the birthing process, advocate for your wishes, and provide emotional support.
Go shoe shopping:
As your due date approaches, your feet may start to swell, which can make it difficult to find comfortable shoes. It’s a good idea to go shoe shopping to find a comfortable pair of shoes that will fit your feet as they continue to grow.
Try perineal massage:
Perineal massage is a technique that can help to stretch the perineum, the area between the vagina and anus, in preparation for delivery. It can help to reduce the risk of tearing or the need for an episiotomy.
Know the signs of preeclampsia:
Preeclampsia is a serious complication of pregnancy that can occur after 20 weeks of pregnancy. It is characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine. It’s important to be aware of the signs of preeclampsia, such as severe headache, changes in vision, and swelling in the face or hands, and report them to your healthcare provider immediately.
Think about keepsake ultrasounds:
Many parents choose to have a keepsake ultrasound at 34 weeks pregnant, as this is a time when the baby is fully formed and can be seen in great detail. These ultrasound images can be used as a keepsake to remember the pregnancy and the baby’s growth during that time.
It is important to note that some experts consider keepsake ultrasounds as non-medical use of ultrasound, and it’s not recommended by some medical organizations. There are concerns that the prolonged and unnecessary use of ultrasound during pregnancy could potentially cause harm to the developing fetus.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) advises that ultrasound should only be used when there is a medical need and performed by properly trained personnel. There are no known risks to the mother, but the long-term effects of repeated exposure to ultrasound on the fetus are not known. Therefore, it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider before deciding to have a keepsake ultrasound and weigh the risks and benefits of the procedure.
Your 34 Week Pregnant Belly
At 34 weeks pregnant, the baby is fully formed and the uterus has grown to the size of a basketball. The belly will be large and round, with the baby’s head likely engaged in the pelvis. This means that the baby’s head has dropped down into the birth canal in preparation for delivery. As a result, many women will notice that their belly seems to “sit lower” at this stage of pregnancy. The weight of the baby and uterus can also cause discomfort such as back pain, and the added weight can put extra stress on the joints and ligaments.
As the belly continues to grow, it can be more difficult to find comfortable positions for sleeping and sitting. Many women find it helpful to use pillows to support the belly and back while sitting or sleeping. It’s also important to avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time, as this can cause swelling in the legs and feet.
To take care of the belly, it’s important to maintain good posture and engage in gentle exercise, such as prenatal yoga or walking. Staying hydrated and eating a balanced diet can also help to minimize discomfort and swelling. Wearing supportive and comfortable clothing can also help to alleviate discomfort, and it’s important to avoid clothing that is tight around the waist or that rubs against the belly.
It’s also important to continue to monitor the baby’s movements and report any changes to your healthcare provider. As the due date approaches, it’s also important to be aware of the signs of labor and to have a plan in place for when it’s time to head to the hospital.
Baby Development at 34 Weeks
At 34 weeks pregnant, the baby is fully formed and continues to grow and develop. The baby is now about 17.8 inches long and weighs around 5.25 pounds. The baby’s lungs and central nervous system continue to mature, and the baby is practicing breathing, making facial expressions, and even dreaming. The baby’s head is likely engaged in the pelvis, and the baby is preparing for delivery.
The baby’s skin is becoming smoother, and the hair and nails are continuing to grow. The baby’s eyes are starting to produce pigments, which will determine the color of the eyes after birth. The baby’s immune system is also developing, and the baby is starting to produce antibodies.
One of the most important things to note is that the baby is no longer considered preterm at 34 weeks, and has a high chance of survival if born at this stage. However, it is still considered as early term and would still require some medical attention and observation to ensure the baby’s proper development. The baby’s brain and lungs, although mature, still need some time to fully develop before delivery, which is why a 34 weeks pregnancy is still considered as early term.
It’s important to note that a baby born at 34 weeks may require additional medical attention, such as help with breathing, feeding and maintaining body temperature. They may also have a longer stay in the neonatal intensive care unit(NICU) for monitoring and observation. It’s also important to note that premature babies are more prone to certain health issues such as jaundice and infections.
It’s important to continue to attend prenatal appointments, monitor the baby’s movements, and follow the healthcare provider’s instructions in order to ensure the best possible outcome for the baby.
How Many Months is 34 Weeks Pregnant?
34 weeks pregnant is approximately 8 months pregnant.
In conclusion, 34 weeks pregnant is a very exciting and important stage in your pregnancy. You are one step closer to meeting your new baby. Remember to attend all your prenatal appointments, and make sure to have a birth plan in place. Take care of yourself and your growing baby.
Katie Reed is a passionate writer and mother of four vivacious boys from Salt Lake City, Utah. Drawing from her own journey through TTC, pregnancy, and the joys of raising children, she offers a wealth of insight into the world of motherhood. Beyond her heartfelt tales, Katie delights her readers with family-friendly recipes, engaging crafts, and a curated library of printables for both kids and adults. When she’s not penning her experiences, you’ll find her crafting memories with her husband and sons—Dexter, Daniel, Chester, and Wilder.