You are in the 34th week of your pregnancy, and there are just six weeks left for your due date. It is natural to be emotional at this time. Your moods may swing from happy to worried, or anxious. Your hormones may also be contributing to these mood changes. Try to stay positive and talk to your healthcare provider about how you feel.
Pregnancy week 34
At 34 weeks of your pregnancy, it is getting harder for you to do your daily activities. For some women (not all), their baby may drop lower in their abdomen this week and ease the pressure on the diaphragm. This process, known as lightening, helps to reduce symptoms like breathlessness and heartburn.
1. Increased vaginal discharge
You may experience increased discharge during the third trimester. Pregnancy hormones lead to an increase in the blood flow to the pelvic area and stimulate the mucous membranes. This discharge maintains a healthy balance of bacteria in the vagina and prevents infection.
Progesterone causes the muscles in the bowels to relax, which makes the waste move slower in the system. The increased pressure of your expanding uterus on your intestines can also lead to constipation. Eat a high-fiber diet, stay hydrated, and exercise to reduce constipation.
3. Swelling in hands and feet
During pregnancy, your body retains extra fluids to soften your body, which helps it to expand as your baby develops. The excess fluid also helps to prepare the pelvic joints for delivery. You can reduce swelling by eating foods rich in potassium and avoiding caffeine.
4. Blurry vision
Pregnancy hormones, lack of sleep, and fluid build-up can lead to blurry vision. This condition is temporary, and your vision will return to normal after delivery. Avoid wearing contact lenses during pregnancy. Sleep well to give rest to your eyes. You can also try some eye exercises to help your eyes focus better.
All the extra weight that you are carrying, lack of sleep, and frequent trips to the bathroom, can tire you out. Do some light exercises, eat regular nutritious meals, and follow a less physically straining routine.
As your baby settles down lower in your pelvis, you may notice a change in the shape of your abdomen. You will notice that your breathing has become more comfortable, and your heartburn has lessened. However, due to the increased pressure on your bladder, you may need to urinate more often.
7. Leaky breasts
Your body starts making colostrum by the third or the fourth month of pregnancy. You may notice your breasts leaking colostrum close to the end of pregnancy. This precursor to breast milk is rich in nutrients and antibodies.
8. Braxton Hick’s contractions
Braxton Hicks contractions are the contractions of your uterus as a preparation for giving birth. These practice contractions come and go irregularly and do not last more than 30 seconds. These contractions can be uncomfortable but are not painful.
Your body at week 34 of pregnancy
At week 34, your belly will feel lower than it did a few weeks ago. That’s because your baby may have descended into your pelvis. Some babies don’t descend into the pelvis till the day they are born. Your uterus is growing. Your amniotic fluid also peaks around 34 to 36 weeks, after which starts to reduce to make more room for your baby.
Your baby at week 34 of your pregnancy
By the end of week 34, your baby will weigh 5 ½ pounds and will be 17.5 inches long. The waxy white coating that covers your baby’s skin is thickening now. This coating, known as vernix, protects the baby’s skin from amniotic fluid and also helps to protect your baby’s immune system when he is born (1).
- The fine hair that covered your baby’s body is now disappearing.
- Your baby’s eyes can dilate and constrict in response to light.
- Your baby’s central nervous system is maturing.
- His lungs are continuing to grow and mature. Your baby is practicing breathing by inhaling amniotic fluid.
- His fingernails and toenails have grown.
- Your baby is putting on weight now.
Tips to be followed when you are 34 weeks pregnant
1. Pack your hospital bag
Don’t wait for the last week to pack your hospital bag. The last thing you should be worrying about when you go into labor is things to put into the bag. List out all the things that you and your baby may need and pack them properly.
2. Take rest
Pregnancy symptoms can be exhausting. Take rest and relax. Take a nap whenever you feel fatigued. When you get up from the bed, do it slowly. Getting up too quickly can make you lightheaded.
3. Protect your joints
Pregnancy hormones help to relax your joints in preparation for birth. You need to take care when you do your daily chores. Avoid any high impact movements. When trying to pick anything up, bend your knees rather than your back. Don’t carry anything too heavy.
4. Avoid too much salt in your food
Exessive amounts of salt in the diet can contribute to water retention and bloating. While a moderate amount of salt in your diet help to regulate body fluids, avoid oversalting your food.
Calcium is essential for the formation of your baby’s bones and teeth. So you must eat food that is rich in calcium. Milk, cheese, yogurt, leafy greens, and fortified juices are rich in calcium. Your prenatal vitamins may also contain calcium.
6. Prepare older siblings for the new arrival
The arrival of a baby can be hard for the older sibling. The newborn takes up too much attention, and this may lead to jealousy. Include your older child in the preparations for the arrival of the new baby. Talk to your child about the role he can play in taking care of the baby. Spend quality time with your older child to make them understand that he is a valued member of the family.
Your pregnancy week 34 doctor’s visit
During this week, you will have another one of your routine 15-minute appointment with the doctor just to ensure that all is well with you and your baby. Your doctor will take your weight and blood pressure. He will also have you provide a urine sample to check for protein and sugar. He will measure your uterus to check your baby’s size and check your baby’s heartbeat with fetal Doppler.
Your doctor will check to make sure that your baby has turned to the headfirst delivery position. If you’re carrying a breach, there is a very good chance that your baby will turn to the headfirst position by week 36 of pregnancy. While most breech babies are born by c section, vaginal deliveries of breech babies are also possible sometimes (2).
You should also ask your doctor to schedule your Group B streptococcus screening test this week. GBS is found in the vagina or the rectum and can be passed on from the mother to the baby at birth. It can lead to meningitis or pneumonia in the newborn.
Tips for the partner
It is useful for you to be aware of the signs of labor. You should look out for –
- Need to go to the toile
- The plug of mucous coming away from your partner’s cervix
- Her water breaking
Your doctor or midwife may advise your partner to stay at home until the contractions last 60 seconds, and they are five minutes apart.
When you are 34 weeks pregnant, your belly will feel lower than it did a few weeks ago. That’s because your baby may have descended into your pelvis. Your baby’s central nervous system is maturing. His lungs are continuing to grow and develop. Your baby is practicing breathing by inhaling amniotic fluid.
Pack your hospital bag, take rest, protect your joints, and eat food rich in calcium to ensure your baby remains healthy.