You’ve already reached pregnancy week 34 and have just a few weeks until the big day! This is an exciting time as you prepare to meet your little one.
At this stage, your baby is continuing to grow and develop, and you may be experiencing some common symptoms like Braxton Hicks contractions, increased vaginal discharge, and back pain.
However, proper self-care and preparation can help ensure a healthy and smooth delivery.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about being 34 weeks pregnant, including common symptoms, self-care tips, and how to prepare for the birth of your baby.
So, grab a cozy blanket and settle in as we explore this exciting stage of pregnancy together!
How is the baby at 34 weeks pregnant?
Naturally, you want to know how your little one is doing at this late stage of pregnancy.
At 34 weeks, your baby has already grown a lot and still has some more growing and developing to do.
Size and Weight
At 34 weeks pregnant, your baby is typically about 17.7 inches (45 centimeters) long. Weight can vary, but at 34 weeks pregnant, the average unborn baby weighs around 4.7 pounds (2.1 kilograms).
Right now, your baby is about the size of a cantaloupe!
As your baby grows, the volume of amniotic fluid in the uterus decreases.
Your baby’s lungs and central nervous system continue to mature, and their bones are getting harder, but they are still flexible enough to pass through the birth canal.
Your baby’s eyes can now open and close, establishing a sleep and wake cycle.
They are also beginning to practice breathing movements, which helps to prepare their lungs for life outside of the womb.
Your baby’s immune system is also growing stronger by the day, which prepares them to tackle germs and infections in the outside world.
By this point in pregnancy, most babies are in a head-down position, known as the cephalic presentation, ready for birth.
Your symptoms at 34 weeks pregnant
Some common pregnancy symptoms at 34 weeks may include:
1. Braxton Hicks contractions
These mild, irregular contractions help prepare the uterus for labor.
To deal with this late pregnancy symptom:
- Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing or visualization to help ease discomfort.
- Change positions or take a walk to help alleviate contractions.
2. Increased vaginal discharge
As your body prepares for labor, you may notice an increase in vaginal discharge. This discharge should be clear or white, without a strong odor.
To deal with this temporary pregnancy symptom:
- Wear cotton underwear and avoid tight pants to help promote air circulation.
- Avoid douching or using scented products in the vaginal area, as they can disrupt the natural balance of bacteria.
You may feel more tired as your body works harder to support your growing baby.
To deal with fatigue:
- Take naps during the day to help combat fatigue.
- Stay hydrated and maintain a healthy diet to help boost energy levels.
4. Back pain
Your baby’s weight and your pregnant belly can put pressure on your lower back, causing discomfort.
To deal with back pain:
- Practice good posture.
- Use a heating pad or take a warm bath to help ease discomfort.
5. Shortness of breath
As your uterus expands, it can push against your diaphragm, making breathing more difficult.
To deal with this symptom:
- Avoid lying on your back to help alleviate shortness of breath.
- Practice breathing exercises to help strengthen your diaphragm and improve lung function.
You may notice swelling in your feet, ankles, and hands, especially toward the end of the day.
To deal with this symptom:
- Elevate your feet and legs whenever possible to help reduce swelling.
- Wear comfortable, supportive shoes and avoid standing for long periods.
Remember to talk to your healthcare provider about any symptoms you’re experiencing to ensure that everything is progressing normally and to address any concerns you may have.
Self-care at 34 weeks pregnant
There are many ways to take care of yourself during your third trimester.
Some of the simplest but most important self-care tips for pregnant women at 34 weeks include:
1. Get plenty of rest
You may feel tired as your body works harder to support the growing baby. Make sure to prioritize rest and aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
2. Stay hydrated
Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help maintain good hydration levels and avoid constipation.
3. Eat a balanced diet
Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. Talk to your healthcare provider about any dietary restrictions or recommendations.
4. Don’t sweat the small stuff
Beyond looking after your health with sleep and diet, it’s also important to practice effective stress management.
This may be an emotionally tumultuous time in your life with the excitement and anticipation of a new little one. Keep your stress levels low by practicing relaxation techniques and reaching out for support as much as you need.
In addition, it’s wise to be prepared for your baby’s arrival. Connect with your support system to help you prepare for D-day.
5. Pack your hospital bag
Make a list of what you’ll need for the hospital, and pack your bag. Include essentials like comfortable clothing, toiletries, and any items for the baby.
6. Choose a pediatrician
If you haven’t already, select a pediatrician for your baby and schedule a meet-and-greet with them.
7. Create a birth plan
Talk to your healthcare provider about your preferences for labor and delivery, and create a birth plan that outlines your wishes.
8. Attend childbirth classes
Childbirth classes can help you prepare for labor and delivery and teach you about newborn care and breastfeeding.
9. Install the car seat
Ensure you have a properly installed car seat for your baby, and practice securing it in your car.
10. Get your home ready
Prepare a space for your baby in your home and stock up on essentials like diapers, wipes, and clothing.
There are so many things to think about before your baby arrives, so make sure you and your support system are in clear communication about everything that needs to be done.
Hopefully, your close loved ones will help with the house prep and let you focus on a healthy and successful delivery.
FAQs at 34 Weeks pregnant
What not to do at 34 weeks pregnant?
Some things you should not do at 34 weeks pregnant to secure the highest chance of a smooth and successful delivery include:
- Don’t skip prenatal appointments: Regular prenatal appointments are crucial to monitoring your and your baby’s health, so attending all scheduled appointments is important.
- Don’t smoke or drink alcohol: Smoking and drinking alcohol during pregnancy can have serious health consequences for your baby, so avoiding these substances is important.
- Don’t take certain medications: Some medications can harm your baby, so always check with your healthcare provider before taking any new medications or supplements.
- Don’t ignore signs of preterm labor: If you experience symptoms like contractions, cramping, or vaginal bleeding, seek medical attention immediately.
- Don’t lift heavy objects: Heavy lifting can strain your back and pelvic muscles, so it’s best to avoid lifting heavy objects at this stage of pregnancy.
- Don’t eat certain foods: Avoid eating raw or undercooked meats, fish, or eggs, as well as unpasteurized dairy products, which can increase the risk of foodborne illness.
- Don’t ignore your body’s signals: Listen to your body and rest when you need to. Avoid overexerting yourself and prioritize self-care to help ensure a healthy pregnancy.
Always consult your healthcare provider about any questions or concerns during pregnancy. They can provide personalized recommendations and guidance to help ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery.
What should I be feeling at 34 weeks pregnant?
You may be experiencing a range of physical and emotional changes as your body prepares for labor and delivery.
One common symptom you may experience is Braxton Hicks contractions, which are “practice” contractions becoming more frequent as your due date approaches. As your baby grows and your center of gravity shifts, you may also experience discomfort or pain in your lower back.
Additionally, you may notice an increase in vaginal discharge as your body prepares for labor.
It’s normal to feel more tired than usual and have difficulty sleeping as your body works to support the growth and development of your baby. You may also notice swelling in your feet, ankles, and hands as your body retains more fluid.
Finally, surging pregnancy hormones may lead to increased emotional sensitivity, causing you to feel more emotional or irritable than usual.
Regardless of pregnancy hormones, you may feel excitement, anticipation, and anxiety as you prepare to meet your baby.
You may feel more connected to your baby as their movements and kicks become stronger and more frequent. However, you may also feel overwhelmed by the physical demands of pregnancy and the impending changes that will come with having a new baby.
Is 34 weeks safe for delivery?
Thirty-four weeks is considered a “late preterm” gestational age, meaning if the baby is born between 34 and 36 weeks of pregnancy, it is generally regarded as safe for delivery.
At 34 weeks, your baby’s organs are developed enough to function outside the womb, although they may still need extra support, such as breathing or feeding support.
However, it’s important to note that every baby develops at their own pace and may have unique health considerations that could impact their readiness for delivery.
If you are considering or are faced with the possibility of early delivery, your healthcare provider will work with you to determine the safest plan of care for you and your baby.
If you do go into premature labor or have a medical need for early delivery, your healthcare team will take steps to ensure that your baby receives the necessary support and care to help them thrive.
This may include monitoring your baby’s breathing and heart rate, providing oxygen or other breathing assistance, and ensuring that your baby is getting the nutrition they need to grow and develop.
What is the most common week to go into labor?
The most common week to go into labor is between 39 and 40 weeks of pregnancy. This is considered full-term pregnancy, and the baby is fully developed and ready for delivery.
However, it’s important to remember that every pregnancy is different, and it’s normal for some women to go into labor earlier or later than others.
It’s also important to note that the due date is an estimate based on the date of your last menstrual period and may not be exact.
Most healthcare providers will closely monitor you and your baby in the weeks leading up to your due date to ensure that everything progresses normally.
How will I feel after childbirth?
Childbirth affects each woman differently, so it’s hard to predict precisely how you will feel in the days and weeks after you give birth.
Note that around 1 in 7 pregnant women suffer from depression and anxiety after childbirth, which can be challenging to deal with but eased by reaching out for support and being open about your feelings with loved ones and your healthcare provider.
At 34 weeks pregnant, you’re incredibly close to your due date.
It’s normal to feel extra fatigue these days as your body prepares for birth. You may notice pelvic pain as your body carries all that extra weight from your growing baby, but remember that you’re almost at the end of your journey.
You’ve been doing a fantastic job so far, so remember to congratulate yourself and stay positive as you prepare for childbirth and the following weeks and months.