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34 weeks pregnant - what to expect

Anyone made any unhelpful comments recently about hiding a melon under your top? Well, it’s official, your baby is now about the size of a cantaloupe melon.

Week 34 infographic.

What does my baby look like?

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 symptoms - what to expect

Boobs

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.

Actions to take

Hunger strikes

It can be hungry work baking a baby. However, the whole ‘eating for two’ thing isn’t actually true.

At this point in your pregnancy, you only 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.

Swim time

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?

Ever noticed how Hollywood has a tendency to portray childbirth as a woman, pushing and straining, flat on her back in a hospital bed?

Well, this 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. Ask your midwife for more info.

“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

1. http://e.informationserviceforparents.nhs.uk/interface/external_view_email.php?AF10740674591340353&varId=

2. You and your baby at 33–36 weeks pregnant, NHS Choices: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/pregnancy-weeks-33-34-35-36.aspx [accessed 29 May 2015] (last reviewed: 11 February 2015; next review due: 11 February 2017). 

3. Macdonald S, Magill-Cuerden J (2012) Mayes’ Midwifery, 14th edition, London, Ballière Tindall, p. 414.

4. 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 April 1st, 2015. Next review date April 1st, 2018.

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Comments

  • By Tommy's on 29 Jun 2016 - 13:24

    If you would like to call our Tommy’s midwives on 0800 0147 800, then we will be able to give you more detailed advice.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 28 Jun 2016 - 12:40

    Hi I am 34 weeks pregnant and have a urine infection have medication but struggle with tablets do you know if I can get the medication in liquid form

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