What's happening in week 34 of your pregnancy
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
Just how big is my baby at 34 weeks?
Your baby will now weigh close to 5lbs and measure at about 45cm long. Their skin is increasingly smooth and rounded as they continue to gain weight and fill out with fat.
Your baby won’t grow much more in length now but will continue to put on weight. During weeks 36-40 your baby gains body fat at a rate of around 1-2lb per week.
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.
Your baby’s brain is fully developed at this stage and your little one may even be dreaming.
Facts to know about your baby in week 34
- Your baby will be doing lots of sucking movements ready to latch on for the first feed, and will be starting to move further down your pelvis ready for D-day
- As baby gets bigger the movements feel different but they should still follow their usual pattern right up to the end
You at 34 weeks pregnant
She will probably also run through what to do if you start having contractions or when your waters break. If your waters go with a gush, contact your midwife or hospital labour ward.
You may be asked to go in for a check-up. Remember to notice how much there was (an egg cup full or a coffee cup full?) and what colour it was. The Amniotic fluid is usually pale but if it’s green or has black bits in it maybe a sign that baby has opened their bowels and you must contact your midwife immediately.
If the waters trickle out and you’re not sure if it’s the waters or a bit of wee, pop a sanitary pad in. If it’s wet after an hour smell the pad; urine smells and amniotic fluid doesn’t. If you even suspect your waters have gone, regardless of other labour symptoms, call your midwife who can do a vaginal examination and test the fluid.
If your waters break but you’re not having contractions you should still let your midwife know. Some hospitals will suggest inducing you if your labour hasn’t started within 24-48 hours if there are complications like infection or GBS.
At your antenatal appointment your midwife will also be paying particular attention to any swelling in your hands, ankles and face, as at this stage of pregnancy it could be an indicator of pre-eclampsia (although all pregnant women will endure puffy ankles to some degree).
Do tell your midwife if you have been suffering from headaches or blurred vision, too, as this can also be a sign.
Facts to know about you in week 34
- Birth plans don't always go to plan but it is a good idea to have one
- Help get baby into position by moving around as much as you can
- Every minute of your pregnancy 1 pint of blood pumps into the uterus exchanging nutrients with your placenta
- Around 80% of babies are born between 38 and 42 weeks of pregnancy. This is often called 'at term'
- The combined length of the blood vessels in your placenta is 32 miles
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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 future childcare costs, the good news is that there was a tax-free childcare scheme introduced in 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 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.
Your baby’s arrival is only weeks away, so one last check that you have everything you need in your hospital bag is a good idea. Have you packed that gorgeous baby blanket and cuddly toy to make your free in-hospital photo shoot perfect? Bounty’s photographers visit maternity wards daily, and as well as capturing those precious first moments, you can choose one of the three lovely free gifts on offer. Don’t forget the service and free gifts are complimentary; there is no obligation to spend a penny!
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.
Some mums-to-be might decide someone less obvious 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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Signs and symptoms at 34 weeks pregnant
Bloating and wind
If you are finding yourself burping a lot, or passing wind, try to avoid fizzy and carbonated drinks and any foods or drinks that seem to repeat on you. Eating smaller meals more frequently or cutting out rich, spicy or 'windy' foods three hours before going to bed can really help too. It’s best not to eat if you are suffering with bloating and wind. Peppermint or chamomile tea may also help.
There is no medical research that suggest brains are altered during pregnancy but lots of women do complain of feeling more forgetful and a number of pregnancy factors can explain lapses in your memory. With pregnancy comes fatigue, hormone changes – that are bound to leave you feeling little muddled. You might think pregnancy ‘brain’ will simply disappear when baby arrives but ‘baby brain’ can go on for quite a while post-birth so be prepared to have some strange ‘mumnesia’ moments once baby arrives.
Watch our videos below:
Video 1: What can I do to mange pain during labour? (NHS content)