Your baby at 34 weeks is the size of a cantaloupe. They are roughly 44.2cm from the top of their head to their heel (crown-heel length) and they weigh approximately 2.3kg.
Even though your little one is getting close to what their birth weight will be, they’ve still got a bit more growing to do.
Your baby at 34 weeks
At 34 weeks gestation, your baby is nearly ready for life outside of the womb. They just have a few things to finalize. Here are the key developments from this week.
The amniotic fluid allows you to transfer nutrients to your baby, which adds to the development of their digestive system, lungs, bones, and muscles. During week 34 of pregnancy, this all-important liquid will hit its peak volume.
The thick, waxy, protective coating of vernix caseosa that has been covering your baby’s skin since week 20 is now slowly starting to come off. It will shed into the amniotic fluid, which scientists believe to be beneficial.
When your baby swallows it in the fluid it’s thought to help with their stomach and intestines development.
If you’re having a baby boy, 34 weeks is right around the time the testicles make their way from the abdomen to the scrotum. However, roughly 3 to 4 percent of babies born full-term will come out of the womb with undescended testicles. Also, approximately 30 percent of pre-term boys will be born with undescended testicles.
Not to worry if this is the case for your little fella, they should make their way down before their first birthday.
A 34-week fetus goes from being considered a “moderate preterm baby” to a “late pre-term baby.” Although they may resemble a full-term baby, they are not considered fully mature and could experience some health difficulties.
However, thanks to modern technology, they will often lead a normal and healthy life. Their survival rate is placed at greater than 99%.
Your body at 34 weeks pregnant
At 34 weeks pregnant, your reproductive system is kicking into overdrive. It’s not long now before your little one’s arrival. Here are some common symptoms you could experience this week.
- Increased vaginal discharge. The softening of the vaginal wall, as well as changes to the cervix, contribute to your body producing more vaginal discharge during pregnancy. This is a good thing, as it helps block infections from entering the vagina and traveling to the womb.
Towards the end of pregnancy, it’s common for the amount of discharge to increase.
- Insomnia. The closer you get to your due date, the more likely you are to suffer from insomnia. There are quite a few factors that can contribute to this: frequent bathroom breaks in the middle of the night, a large and uncomfortable baby bump, stress, fetal movement – and so on.
To help ensure a good night’s rest, avoid caffeine or an excessive liquid intake before bedtime, include physical activity in your daily routine, and do your best to create a calm atmosphere.
- Leaking colostrum. Women start to produce colostrum starting around week 16 of pregnancy. This yellow colored substance is often referred to as “early milk” and is packed with the essential nutrients your newborn will need immediately after birth.
Some expecting mothers leak colostrum from their breasts before their baby arrives, while others might not notice the first few drops until after giving birth. Both are normal.
- Stretch marks. Whether or not you get stretch marks during pregnancy is mostly down to genetics. However, gaining too much weight can also cause them.
And, did you know that even if you’ve escaped getting stretch marks during pregnancy, they can still pop up after giving birth? That’s right, losing weight too quickly can also spur on stretch marks. This is why it’s important to take care of your body after the baby arrives too.
Taking care of yourself when pregnant at 34 weeks
Pregnancy can be an uncertain time, especially if you’re about to give birth to your first child. Raging hormones, pregnancy symptoms, stress, anxiety, and societal pressures can do a number on your emotional state.
To help you feel more prepared, and hopefully more relaxed, here are some tips and things to focus on this week.
- Draw a bath. Your burgeoning baby belly might be causing you more back pain these days – which a bath can help soothe. The water will feel like a warm blanket and allow your sore muscles to relax. Light some candles, dim the lights and find a relaxing playlist on Spotify.
- Starting planning your hospital bag. You don’t know the exact date your little one will arrive, so it’s best to be prepared early. Starting thinking about all the different things you want inside your hospital bag.
Look into what the hospital you’ll be delivering at provides for mothers and newborns, and if they require you to bring anything specific. If you follow a specific diet, make sure the hospital is able to cater to you or plan out what food and snacks you need to bring yourself.
- Take it easy with the salt shaker. The recommended intake of sodium during pregnancy is the same as when you’re not pregnant. Adults only need about one gram per day but can consume about six grams a day safely – which is about one teaspoon of salt.
It’s important not to exceed this limit, as it can lead to water retention and the swelling of your legs, ankles, feet, and face. It can also cause preeclampsia.