34 weeks pregnant : baby's development, the nesting instinct and protecting your joints

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

Your baby’s development this week

Your baby weighs about 2.5kg (5 1/2lb) now. Remember that your baby has all the room they need at this stage, but you should still be able to feel your baby’s movements.

Contact your midwife or maternity unit immediately if you think your baby’s movements have slowed down, stopped or changed.

Your pregnancy symptoms in week 34

Pelvic pain

You may experience pelvic pain at some point in your pregnancy, which is called Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP). This is not harmful to your baby, but it can be painful and make it hard for you to get around.

Talk to your midwife about this, especially if it is affecting your daily life. 

It’s a good idea to put that you have PGP in your birth plan. This will help the people supporting you during labour and birth to be aware of your condition. They can support you get into more comfortable labour and birth positions. 

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 about symptoms to look out for.

The nesting instinct 

Around this time, many parents-to-be start getting the urge to sort out everything in their home, ready for their new arrival. This is known as the nesting instinct.

There’s no harm in doing this, but don’t feel any pressure to get your home Instagram-ready. Your baby doesn’t need to have a perfectly decorated room with the latest nursery furniture. 

In fact, you don’t need a nursery yet at all. The safest place for your new baby to sleep is in their own cot, in the same room as you, whether it’s during the night or at nap time in the day for the first 6 months. Find out more about safe sleep for babies.

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.

We have put together 5 easy breakfast ideas in pregnancy and 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 such as 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.

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is pressure on a nerve in your wrist. It causes tingling, numbness and pain in your hand and fingers. CTS should get better by itself in a few months if you have it because you're pregnant.

Talk to your midwife if you think you have carpal tunnel syndrome.

Pregnancy and swimming

Swimming can be 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.

If you have pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain, try to avoid doing breaststroke as this could make the pain worse.

Giving birth

We’ve got everything you need to know about giving birth, including your choices about where to have your baby, c-sections, pain relief options, who can be with you and how to prepare. Find out more about giving birth.

Antenatal classes

Antenatal classes might start around now if they haven't already. Going to antenatal classes will help you learn how to stay healthy during pregnancy.

Ask your midwife, health visitor or GP about NHS classes locally, or find a National Childbirth Trust (NCT) course near you.

NHS antenatal classes are free of charge but the NCT may charge a fee. It's fine to go to more than one class if you want to.

1. Regan, Lesley (2019) Your pregnancy week by week, Penguin Random House, London

2. NHS. Pelvic pain in pregnancy. https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/related-conditions/common-symptoms/pelvic-pain/ (Page last reviewed: 1 August 2019 Next review due: 1 August 2022)

3. The Lullaby Trust. Sharing a room with your baby. https://www.lullabytrust.org.uk/safer-sleep-advice/room-sharing/

4. Heazell AEP, Li M, Budd J, Thompson JMD, Stacey T, Cronin RS, Martin B, Roberts D, Mitchell EA, McCowan LME. Association between maternal sleep practices and late stillbirth – findings from a stillbirth case-control study. BJOG2017; https://doi.org/10.1111/1471-0528.14967.

5. NICE (2010). Weight management before, during and after pregnancy. National Institute for health and care excellence https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ph27

6. NHS. Carpal tunnel syndrome. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/carpal-tunnel-syndrome/ (Page last reviewed: 16 February 2021 Next review due: 16 February 2024)

7. Pelvic Obstetric & Gynaecological Physiotherapy. Pelvic Girdle Pain and other common conditions in pregnancy. https://pogp.csp.org.uk/publications/pregnancy-related-pelvic-girdle-pain-mothers-be-new-mothers

Review dates
Reviewed: 11 July 2022
Next review: 11 July 2025