You are getting into crunch time as you reach 34 weeks pregnant. Are you nervous? You have a big reason to be!
Your little one is almost knocking at the door in order to squeeze through your uterus and make his first appearance in the world. Despite being exhausted, this is not time to give up. Just think that it's a matter of 6 weeks or less before you can hold him in your arms. You've done a fantastic job so far and, as much as it's hard to make it through these days in your current physical condition (that huge 34 weeks pregnant bump isn't easy to handle), remember that the wait is nearly over.
If you want to keep every aspect of pregnancy week 34 under control, don't miss this special guide.
34 weeks pregnant: Your baby is... a bag of flour!
You may be a little tired (understatement?) after so many months of expecting a baby, yet he's full of energy. He doesn't stop growing and, by now, he weighs almost 5 pounds and he's between 18 to 20 inches long. To give yourself a clearer idea, try to imagine yourself holding a classic bag of flour at the grocery store. With all their differences aside, that flour container may feel as heavy as your future munchkin (at 34 weeks pregnant) in your arms! But he'll be a bit bigger by the time he gets here.
Besides the continuous growth, your baby is constantly showing off the additional abilities that he's now able to perform during pregnancy week 34. Take a look at the most interesting ones:
- Thickening of his vernix, the waxy substance that's been covering him until now and that he will get rid of within the next few weeks.
- His skin is getting smoother.
- Napping comes along with closing eyes, when falling asleep, and opening them when he wakes up.
- If he's a boy, his testicles may take the trip down to his scrotum. Some newborns can keep them in their abdomen until a few months after birth. If she's a girl, nothing exciting will happen here this week.
- His fingertips and toenails are fully formed.
34 weeks pregnant: Same old, same old...
By 34 weeks pregnant, you are an expert in unpleasant pregnancy symptoms. Most of the ones you're feeling right now are very familiar symptoms, including:
- Trouble sleeping
- Restless leg syndrome
- Swollen extremities
- Abdominal pain
- Shortness of breath
- Mood swings
- Breast tenderness
- Leaking colostrum
- Stretch marks and itchy skin
However, there could be a few new pesky problems to pay attention to this week. If you have been suffering from dry, itchy skin or eyes, you may begin to notice it worsening around pregnancy week 34, which is pretty normal. However, you could also start experiencing itchy, painful welts, boils, or bumps on your skin, usually around your buttocks, legs and tummy. This could be a condition call PUPPP (pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy). As intimidating as the name makes it sound, it's really nothing dangerous. It should only cause you discomfort, and it doesn't pose any risk to your baby. But, as with any new symptom, you should check with your doctor during your next visit just to make sure that everything is alright.
Itchy skin can be an awful nuisance during pregnancy, especially for those women who suffer from PUPPP. Luckily though, there are a few ways you can reduce the annoyance and pain. Many ladies swear by oatmeal baths, saying that their skin feels fresh, hydrated, and soothed afterwards. You should also be moisturizing daily, using a cream with vitamin E and aloe, which will also help with your stretch marks, that are most surely there by the time you are 34 weeks pregnant.
34 Weeks Pregnant: Your Antenatal Visit
Week 34 pregnancy brings with it another scheduled antenatal visit. During this time with your doctor will talk about several very important things. First, they will take all the typical measurements, including the size of your uterus, the protein levels of your urine and your blood pressure. Then they will give you another anti-D treatment if this is something that you need. They will also review the results of any tests that you haven't already talked about together.
This appointment is also the time for you and your doctor or midwife to have a serious conversation about delivery options and other parts of your birth plan. You may have already been taking birthing classes, but your medical professionals should also give you information about pain management and other techniques for labour. Additionally, they will tell you exactly what signs to look for when you go into labour.
Finally, your doctor or midwife will most likely bring up the topic of a caesarean. Even if this is something you want to avoid, it's a very important thing to discuss because you need to know what to expect in case something goes wrong and they have to perform one. This happens to about 25% of women, so it's definitely something to prepare for at 34 weeks pregnant!
Don't let topics like PUPPP and C-sections scare you, though. It's perfectly okay to be feeling anxiety, or even depression, which affects many women during pregnancy and after giving birth. If you are worried that your nerves, anxiety, or depressed feelings are problematic, talk about it with your doctor. And in the meantime, trust yourself—both the delivery and motherhood will probably come much more naturally than you think. You are 34 weeks pregnant and your new baby will be here soon, and you'll both be figuring it out together!