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34 weeks pregnant - all you need to know

Your baby is now about the size of a large melon.

Week 34 infographic.

What does my baby look like in week 34?

Your baby's brain is fully developed and they might even be dreaming.

Your wee one is getting pretty snug in there – they're all curled up with their knees to their chest. They can still change position so you’ll still be feeling baby move. Can you work out where your baby’s bum is? What about their back?

If this is your first baby, they may have turned around by now to be head down and pressed deep into your pelvis ready for the birth. This is called ‘engaging’.

When your baby engages, or moves down into your pelvis, any breathlessness you’ve been feeling may ease. This is called ‘lightening’.

Your pregnancy symptoms in week 34

Your breasts

Your breasts will feel heavier and you may feel more comfortable if you wear a lightweight bra at night as well as a more supportive bra during the day.

Pelvic pain

As many as one in five women experience pelvic pain at some point in their pregnancy. The symptoms and pain varies from one woman to the next.

If you’re struggling to cope and Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) is affecting your daily life, there is support out there. Talk to your midwife about getting a referral.

Symptoms to look out for

There are some symptoms that you should know about because they could mean that something serious is wrong. Find out what these symptoms are here.

What to do in week 34

Go to sleep on your side if you're not already doing so

When you reach your third trimester, the advice is to go to sleep on your side because research has shown that going to sleep on your back is linked to an increased risk of stillbirth. This advice includes daytime napping and night sleeping. Read more about safe sleep positions in pregnancy

Nutrition for you and your baby

At this point in your pregnancy, you need an extra 200 calories a day to fuel you and your growing baby.

Read 5 easy breakfast ideas in pregnancy or 7 easy pregnancy lunch ideas for more inspiration.

Protect your joints

Because your pregnancy hormones relax your joints in preparation for the birth, it's important to take care when moving around. If you're still doing exercise classes, avoid any high-impact movements (jumping around!).

Make sure you bend your knees rather than your back when you pick things up, and try to avoid carrying anything too heavy.

Pregnancy and swimming

Swimming is a lovely activity all the way through pregnancy. You may want to wear goggles so you can swim with your head down – this keeps your body straighter, which is better for your back.

Try to avoid making too many strong twisting movements, as these could overwork your deep tummy muscles or strain your ligaments.

And avoid the breast stroke, as the kicking action can cause back pain if your spine is not aligned correctly, or pelvic pain if you have symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD).

What is active birth?

Hollywood often shows women in childbirth flat on their backs in a hospital bed. Active birth is the opposite. The idea with active birth is that you move freely and find labour positions to help manage pain and encourage your baby out. You can find out more from your midwife and antenatal classes.

“Do something to help you feel empowered going into labour, such as hypnobirthing or active birthing. Read up on labour and give yourself a 'tool' to help you feel in control.” Zoe, mum of one

Your antenatal care

Antenatal classes might start around now if they haven't already.

You might want to start looking into the early signs of labour so you know what to expect over the coming weeks.

Find out more about what happens during labour.

 

Sources

NHS Choices. You and your baby at 33–36 weeks pregnant. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/pregnancy-weeks-33-34-35-36.aspx (Page last reviewed: 31/03/2017 Next review due: 31/03/2020).

Heazell AEP, Li M et al (2017) Association between maternal sleep practices and late stillbirth – findings from a stillbirth case-control study. BJOG 2017; https://doi.org/10.1111/1471-0528.14967.

Stacey T, Thompson JM et al (2011) Association between maternal sleep practices and risk of late stillbirth: a case-control study. BMJ. 2011 Jun 14;342:d3403. doi: 10.1136/bmj.d3403.

Gordon A1, Raynes-Greenow C et al (2015) Sleep position, fetal growth restriction, and late-pregnancy stillbirth: the Sydney stillbirth study. Obstet Gynecol. 2015 Feb;125(2):347-55. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000000627.

Macdonald S, Magill-Cuerden J (2012) Mayes’ Midwifery, 14th edition, London, Ballière Tindall

ACPWH (2010) Aquanatal Guidelines: Guidance on antenatal and postnatal exercises in water, Bathgate, Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Women’s Health: http://www.csp.org.uk/sites/files/csp/secure/acpwh-aquanatal_copy.pdf

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    Last reviewed on June 29th, 2018. Next review date June 29th, 2021.

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    Comments

    Please note that these comments are monitored but not answered by Tommy’s. Please call your GP or maternity unit if you have concerns about your health or your baby’s health.
    • By Midwife @Tommys on 18 Sep 2017 - 10:27

      Hi - Thank you for your comment.
      Keeping hydrated is very important in pregnancy and helping to avoid urine infections.
      If you think you may have an infection, please contact your GP for further advice and treatment if its required.

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