At 34 weeks pregnant, your baby is almost ready to be born. Your goal right now is to make yourself as comfortable as possible. It's easy to say but not that easy to do. Hang in there, and try to enjoy your pregnancy as much as you can — you may actually miss this adventure once it's over.
Pregnancy signs Week 34
Your weight gain should not be too drastic now as your appetite may have waned a bit. That's a good thing because you probably can't even see your feet with your huge baby bump blocking your view. Continue doing pregnancy exercises as much as you can to help your body prepare for birth.
If you're still gaining a bit of weight, it will likely go straight to your baby than your thighs. Your amniotic fluid is at an all-time high between 34 and 36 weeks of pregnancy so you might feel like your baby bump is not growing bigger anymore (hooray!). But your baby will continue to grow, and your amniotic fluid levels will start decrease to accommodate his growth and give him some room to move around.
It will also help your growing baby to move and settle into the optimal birth position, which is head down towards your cervix. You'll know when this happens when your baby bump drops from near your ribs to your pelvis. Some babies don't do this until labor is about to start.
You may notice your baby bump moving as your baby kicks and punches! Your belly may even look slightly misshapen depending on his position inside. Continue to count kicks during your baby's waking hours. It's even more crucial to report to your doctor any notable changes in your baby's movement.
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Pregnancy symptoms Week 34
Some pregnancy symptoms that you've experienced during your first trimester may re-appear such as nausea and dizziness. The third-trimester symptoms that cause you much discomfort can get worse at this point.
If you notice symptoms such as contractions that are getting stronger or longer, bleeding, clear watery discharge, lower back and pelvic pain at 34 weeks, alert your doctor and head to the hospital at once. These could be signs of pre-term labor or pregnancy complications that warrant immediate medical attention.
Abdominal pressure, frequent urination
Your baby is already getting into head-down position towards your birth canal. As he settles near your pelvis, you might feel pressure in your vaginal area. Your baby will press on your bladder, so you need to empty them more often.
Braxton Hicks contractions
Belly tightening can sometimes feel like you're having a contraction. These are Braxton Hicks or false labor contractions, which are mild and irregular and don't increase in intensity or frequency. They go away usually when you shift positions. If the contractions are getting stronger, longer, or more regular, call your doctor immediately.
You've been carrying extra weight for quite some time now, so even accomplishing daily tasks can be exhausting. Your enlarged uterus is crowding all the organs in your abdomen, including your lungs, which is why you often feel out of breath.
It does not help that you feel achy all over and you may even get woken up by leg cramps at night. Your baby bump will have you sleep on your side during your third trimester. Use a pregnancy pillow to help you get more shut-eye.
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Constipation, bloating, and gas
Your baby's growth also means more pressure on your whole digestive tract, which may affect your bowels and make you bloated and gassy. Drink lots of water and eat fiber-rich but not gassy food to get them moving. Try not to strain too much when you poop to prevent developing hemorrhoids.
Lathering up with moisturizers should help ease mild itching of the skin and prevent or manage rashes and stretch marks. If it prevents you from getting on with your daily activities, have it checked by your doctor. The skin discolorations should clear up soon after you give birth.
Increased vaginal discharge
Increased vaginal discharge help prevents infection and preps your body for labor. If you notice a "bloody show," or a red-tinged, sticky, and a gelatin-like substance on your undies, it could be your mucus plug, which is a sign that you're about to go into labor.
It's a typical pregnancy symptom due to increased blood flow in the veins. But if you're experiencing blurry vision accompanied by headache, and sudden weight gain or swelling, it could be a sign of preeclampsia, so tell your doctor right away.
At 34 weeks pregnant, your baby is as big as a pineapple, measuring close to 18 inches and weighing nearly five pounds. Your little one is still expected to gain about a pound (but it can vary) each week until it's time for delivery.
In just about six weeks, you will meet your little one. Your growing baby is practicing his skills, such as closing and opening his eyes, breathing, moving his limbs, grasping, and more.
The waxy, cheesy coating on your baby’s skin, called vernix caseosa, will begin to thicken this week to continue to protect his skin. It will start to shed shortly before birth, just like the tiny, velvety hairs, called lanugo, on his skin that kept him warm when he had less fat under it.
Since all his body systems are fully functional now, yes, even his lungs, which are taking in or "breathing" amniotic fluid, his digestive system is ready to release its first poop. Your little one's first poo, called meconium, will pass once he is born. Don't be surprised; it's going to be black and thick.
Your to-do list on Week 34 of your pregnancy
Stay on top of your every other week check-ups. Your doctor may have scheduled you for an ultrasound scan at 34 weeks. After your next prenatal checkup after two weeks, starting your 36th week, you'll be seeing your doctor every week.
You may have your first BPP test.
Some doctors order their patients to have their first biophysical profile (BPP). It measures your baby's heart rate, muscle tone, movement, breathing, and the amount of amniotic fluid around your baby. You BPP includes a non-stress test (NST), electronic fetal monitoring, and a typical ultrasound.
You may want to wait until your delivery date to start your maternity leave, but as early as now, begin turning over your work tasks. That also goes for your home chores and errands. Hopefully, you've arranged for extra hands at home. You can barely even move now, so it's time to delegate!
When you check your hospital baby bag, get a rundown of the newborn essentials you will need at least for the first three months. It's also a good time to finalize setting up your little one's nursery. Have your house scheduled for cleaning as well, so when you bring home your baby, you don't have to worry about it.
Chill and relax
You're going to be giving birth in a month or so, and you may start feeling nostalgic — and anxious. Writing a journal or even a letter to your unborn baby telling him about the time he's in your womb may help ease your worries as you wait for D-day. Try to focus on enjoying the remaining weeks of the pregnancy!