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34 weeks pregnant - what's happening

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's happening

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

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

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 Anonymous (not verified) on 14 Nov 2017 - 13:31

    What is short structure

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 15 Nov 2017 - 12:13

    Hello, Thank You for your comment.

    It is difficult to answer your question without more details. Do you mean short stature? This means that someone is small in height.
    Or, do you mean short cervix? This is when the cervix starts to shorten in pregnancy and needs to be monitored as this can result in premature birth.

    I'm not sure if you mean either one of these explanations but if your need further advice then please email the Tommy's Midwives on [email protected] Hope this helps, take care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 20 Oct 2017 - 12:29

    Hello, I'm 34 weeks today. I went for a scan on Wednesday to check the location of the placenta which fortunately has moved well clear. But I was referred to the doctor afterwards as I have far too much fluid. Both the sonographer and doctor mentioned that baby has a very large tummy (it was on the 97th centile compared to about the 50th for head, femur etc). I wasn't expecting this so didn't ask any of the questions I now have. I'm hoping you might be able to help please? I had blood taken for a TORCH test which I understand is to rule out an infection and have the gestational diabetes test on Monday and a further scan and appointment with the consultant on Wednesday. With my three eldest my waters broke as the first sign/start of labour so I'm petrified that will happen and I won't be in hospital and the cord will prolapse. I was already very anxious this pregnancy as in the last year I have had two miscarriages. Is this cord prolapse common? Would I be offered an induction or a c-section? My eldest was born at 32 weeks and my other two 39 weeks (all labours started naturally with waters breaking and they were all relatively straight forward vaginal births). I'm a bit worried about baby having a blockage due to its big tummy but I understand that can be sorted once it is birn. My main concern is the cord prolapse and obviously loosing my baby. I feel like a ticking time bomb and a disaster waiting to happen. Advice much appreciated please.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 23 Oct 2017 - 11:06

    Hi and thank you for your question. Polyhydramnios is not usually a sign of anything serious and most women with the condition won't have any significant problems and will go on to have a healthy baby. It is good practice to test for infection and diabetes when Polyhydramnios is detected. Although there is a small increased risk of cord prolapse, the highest risk factors are position of the baby. If the head is well into the pelvis before your waters break this will reduce the risks of cord prolapse. Have you got any more planned scans? When will you have results of tests taken? You are welcome to call us on 0800 0147 800 if you want to discuss this further. Take care Tommy's midwives x

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 26 Oct 2017 - 10:03

    Hello, thanks for getting back to me. I had another scan yesterday and the fluid is a bit higher still but I don't have gestational diabetes or any of the infections they tested for in the TORCH test. The sonographer or the consultant didn't mention the Umbilical Artery PI which looks low. Does this mean my placenta of the umbilical cord arent functioning well? Is baby getting enough oxygen and nutrients?! It's never been a very active baby. It was 0.81 last week and 0.74 this week which is only just over the 5th centile. Please can you let me know what the Umbilical Artery PI is actually measuring? Thanks so much.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 26 Oct 2017 - 13:40

    Hi, Thank you for your comment.

    The questions you have are complex so if you can email us on [email protected] with these questions, then we can give you much more details answers to your questions. We look forward to hearing from you, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 26 Oct 2017 - 14:34

    Thanks so much. I have sent an email to you now.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 18 Oct 2017 - 11:07

    Hi i m 34 weeks pregnant and i gained just 2 ponds weight. i consult to my Dr. and she said it is fine. but i m very worried.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 19 Oct 2017 - 11:52

    Hi Thank you for your comment.

    Weight gain in pregnancy can be different for every woman. It is important that you are maintaining a health diet and keep exercising. If you have been to see your GP and they have examined you and they are not concerned then try not to worry. As long as you are having plenty of movements from baby and the baby is growing well and not small for this stage in your pregnancy, then it sounds like everything is going well. If you are a health weight before pregnancy then on average you can expect to put on 25-35 pounds during the pregnancy. If you are still worried then please contact your GP or midwife who will be able to give your further advice, they can examine you to check the growth of your baby and if you need an ultrasound scan to measure baby's growth then they can request this for you. Hope this helps, take care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • 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

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 15 Sep 2017 - 01:07

    My dear i hm 34 weeks pregnant too nd i have same problem just drink water and juices

  • 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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