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34 weeks pregnant

What to expect this week

What's happening in week 34

34 weeks pregnant

You're at week 34 and there's really not long left to go at all!

At a glance

  • Your baby is getting themselves ready for delivery
  • Your baby’s hearing will now be developed enough that they can hear you
  • Talk through your pain relief options with your midwife

How big is my baby at 34 weeks?

Your baby will now weigh close to 5lbs and measure up at about 45cm long. Their skin is increasingly smooth and rounded as they continue to gain weight and fill out with fat.

Your little one should continue to move normally throughout pregnancy and you should even continue to feel them while you are in labour. 

As they get bigger the movements feel different but they should still follow their usual pattern right up to the end. 

It is not true that babies ‘slow down’ as labour approaches, but they have less space to move in.

Your baby’s hearing will now be developed enough that they can hear you, so it’s a good idea to begin talking to your baby (they’re particularly receptive to high pitched tones). 

Their little lungs are also now almost fully developed so they will be ready to breathe independently after birth. Their tiny finger and toenails have now grown and if your baby is overdue they’ll likely need a trim.

If you are expecting a little boy, his testicles are starting to move down into his scrotum now.

You at 34 weeks pregnant

You'll have an antenatal appointment with your midwife this week, and she will no doubt have a chat with you to make sure you are happy with your birth plan and aware of all your pain relief options in labour. She will probably also run through what to do when your waters break, or if you start having contractions

She will also be paying particular attention to any swelling in your hands, ankles and face at this stage of pregnancy, as it could be an indicator of pre-eclampsia (although all pregnant women will endure puffy ankles to some degree). Do tell her if you have been suffering from headaches or blurred vision, too, as this can also be a sign.

If you are rhesus negative, you will have your second dose of anti-D around now, too.

What to think about in week 34

As your baby's arrival is now just weeks away, it could be worth doing one last check that you have everything you need in your hospital bag and in your nursery!

Think about back ups too – for example, if you have decided to use cloth nappies, it could be sensible to have a pack of disposables in the drawer as well, just in case. 

Making up a 'mobile' basket of nappy change and top and tail supplies to keep in whatever room you are in in the house might also prove useful, too – you won't necessarily want to take your baby to their nursery changing table for every nappy change or clean up.

If you’re thinking about childcare costs, the good news is that there is a new tax-free childcare scheme due to be introduced from 2017. It’s an alternative to claiming tax credits for help with childcare costs. Under this system, working families will get 20% of yearly childcare bill paid for by government.

The way it will work is as follows:
- You open an online account through GOV.UK and pay into it to cover your childcare costs
- The government then tops up your account with a 20% contribution (the same as the basic rate of tax), up to a maximum contribution of £2,000 a year per child

It’s going to be available to families with children under 12 where both parents are working (and working single parents) and are not already claiming tax credits to help with childcare costs. The new scheme doesn’t rely on employers offering the scheme. You can even use it if you’re self-employed. 

This scheme is designed to replace childcare vouchers, but until it comes in, find out if your employer offers childcare vouchers. Speak to your HR department now as you may be able to start accruing them during maternity leave. 

The amount you get depends on what level you pay tax at, but you could be looking at up to £243 a month, which can really help ease any stress when it comes to sorting childcare. Bear in mind these vouchers are a salary sacrifice, not extra money, but you will not be taxed on them. And if you are claiming tax credits, you’re most likely better off not taking childcare vouchers as it affects your entitlements. 

Read more information on understanding your childcare options.

Also...Don’t forget to start preparing for your Bounty Portrait session when you start thinking about what to pack in your hospital bag.

Bounty Portrait offers FREE in-hospital portrait sessions of your precious little one with no obligation to buy. You’ll also get a FREE portrait gift – choose from one of three different gifts and a FREE announcement service to share your first photos with loved ones

For that perfect Portrait session don’t forget to pack…

  • A soft cuddly toy – this makes a great photo prop
  • A blanket – whether it’s been knitted specially or bought. Adding this to a picture makes a great photo keepsake
  • A plain top for you if you want to be in the photos
  • That special ‘first’ baby outfit.

Although the choice is obvious for some, you may still be debating who you want with you when you give birth. It’s important the person you choose is someone you feel completely comfortable with and that they will give you the support and help you need.

Baby's father maybe the obvious choice, but some mums-to-be might decide someone else might be a great birth partner too. Often this can be their own mum, sister or a close friend who can also provide the extra emotional and practical support in labour.

Things to think about when choosing someone is are they calm? Will they respect your wishes? It’s also a help if they’re not squeamish! Being reliable is very important too.

If you or your partner have gone off a name you thought was a dead cert, or you can’t both agree, don’t fret, go back to the drawing board and maybe take some inspiration from something you love, and why not music? 

Music has often inspired parents’ choices of baby names. Without iconic bands like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, the names Lennon, Jude, Stone, and Jagger would probably never have been invented. Ringo may be a little far-fetched, but take a look at our list for names inspired by music and see if something grabs your fancy.

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At a glance

  • Your baby is getting themselves ready for delivery
  • Your baby’s hearing will now be developed enough that they can hear you
  • Talk through your pain relief options with your midwife

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