34 weeks pregnant
What to expect of a pregnancy, 34 weeks in
During the 34th week of pregnancy, you may have difficulty sleeping. You may also be feeling anxious about going into labour and caring for a newborn. Aches and pains are commonplace at this stage. Given all of this, it’s not surprising that fatigue is often reported among women in NZ during the third trimester. It’s important to take things easy during this time and rest as much as you can. Overreliance on caffeine to perk you up can have a negative effect on your baby.
When you’re 34 weeks pregnant, symptoms include:
Pregnancy hormones can affect your vision, making it slightly blurry. They can also affect tear production, so your eyes may feel dry and irritated, especially if you use contacts. It may be more comfortable to switch to glasses for a while. The natural lenses in your eyes could temporarily change their shape due to additional fluid retention. This should go back to normal after delivery.
Discomfort, bloating and gas
At 34 weeks, you will feel a ‘lightening’ as your baby’s head is likely to be moving into your pelvis. This is just to get into position for the birth. If your baby remains in the breech position, your obstetrician will prepare for that. This position should give you some relief from breathlessness and heartburn since the baby will not be pressing your digestive system as much. However, the baby’s head is now pressing on your bladder, so you may find you have to make more frequent trips to the loo. It is also common to feel gassier and bloated at this stage. The anxiety makes this worse as you tend to swallow more air when you’re anxious. Try breathing exercises to relieve some tension.
Braxton Hicks contractions
As your body gets ready for labour and birth, you may start to feel irregular Braxton Hicks contractions. Typically, these begin in the third trimester.
You may notice increased vaginal discharge. This is normal: just keep the area clean and wear breathable, comfortable underwear. Take note if the discharge turns greenish, yellowy or thick, with a cottage cheese-like consistency, if there’s a fishy odour or you experience any burning or itchy sensations (especially when you urinate). If this happens, speak to your doctor.
Remember to take your nutrition seriously
Your baby draws calcium from your body to form and strengthen the skeletal system, so maternal calcium levels are crucial. If you don’t receive enough calcium, not only could it affect the baby but it will weaken your own bones and teeth.
Exercises to prepare for labour
As your baby gets ready for the birth, you should too. Specific muscles will play a huge part during labour and you can help prepare them for what’s coming with the right exercises. Speak to your obstetrician about safe exercises for your pregnancy. Kegel exercises aid in strengthening the pelvic floor and a pelvic tilt is said to improve flexibility during birth as well as help alleviate back aches.
At 34 weeks pregnant, symptoms NOT to ignore are:
- Serious changes in vision, which could indicate preeclampsia. Don’t forget to mention any change to your doctor.
- A fever, especially if you have a temperature of 38 degree centigrade or higher.
- Backaches that refuse to let up and are accompanied by symptoms like fever, chills and pain with urination.
- Spotting that doesn’t go away in a day or moderate to high bleeding that saturates one pad in an hour or less.
- Severe pain in the abdomen or pelvic area, especially if it’s accompanied by nausea/ vomiting, bleeding or diarrhoea.
Is baby fully developed at 34 weeks?
A 34-week baby is almost at the birth length. The adrenal glands are developed and producing hormones that will stimulate lactation. The coating of vernix on your baby’s skin is thickening and the lanugo hair has almost complete disappeared.
Your baby’s lungs and central nervous system will continue to mature. The bones will be hardening, but the scalp will remain relatively soft to make it easier to pass through the birth canal. The two plates in the head cross over to enable this and go back to their regular position once the baby emerges. The soft spot that’s left behind is called the ‘fontanelle’ and will close over in a few months.
By this time, your baby will be opening and closing his or her eyes when awake or asleep in the womb. This should prepare the baby for sleep cycles after birth. You may sometimes feel feet or hands pressing against your belly and may be able to see them as well. Also, the baby’s tiny fingernails will have grown enough to reach the fingertips.
How many months is 34 weeks pregnant? Is it safe to deliver at 34 weeks?
At 34 weeks, you are in the 8th month of your pregnancy. Thanks to medical advancements, even extremely preterm babies have the chance to develop healthily and live normal lives. Babies born between 32 and 34 weeks are categorised as ‘moderate preterm babies.’ They usually have a fairly well-developed set of lungs and, on average, weigh about 2.3kg.
The baby’s length could be between 38-44 centimetres. At this stage of development, babies are able to survive outside the womb without intensive medical assistance. Sometimes, they may need help breathing and, quite often, they need help feeding. The sucking reflex develops toward the end of the 38 weeks, so moderate preemies may not have acquired it yet.
What should baby weigh at 34 weeks?
At 34 weeks, NZ babies are, on average, about 2.25 kg. The length could be up to 44 cm.
Will my belly get bigger after 34 weeks?
Yes, if you can believe it possible. At 34 weeks, your uterus is growing and will continue to grow as your baby develops. This is likely to continue up to week 40.
Can you lose your mucus plug at 34 weeks?
Typically, the mucus plug falls out as your body prepares for labour and is dislodged when the cervix experiences changes (like dilation). So generally, this happens after the 37th week and could take place hours or days before labour begins. If your mucus plug falls out during week 34, it could have been dislodged by a cervical examination, a natural cause or perhaps even intercourse. You should seek out your obstetrician to discuss the matter.
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