Baby Growth at 34 Weeks Pregnant
Whew, 34 weeks down and 6 to go. You’re more than half way through the third trimester and you’re crushing it mama! Coming up on that final stretch.
Your once-skinny babe is plumping up nicely now as fat continues to be deposited underneath their skin. Pretty soon those cheeks will be squishy and pinchable, just how you imagine your newborn’s face will look.
At week 34 your baby weighs in at a whopping 5.25 lbs and may be as long as 18 inches, or about the size of a pineapple!
As they keep growing, they have less and less space for all the cartwheels they were once doing, but frequent movement will continue. Your baby may already be in the head-down position in preparation for birth but they’re still going to wiggle, kick and stretch!
The thick, cheese-like waxy coating called vernix caseosa that has covered your baby up until now will start to shed from their body into the amniotic fluid. Vernix will be swallowed along with amniotic fluid while your baby practices breathing.
Do you know the sex of your baby yet? If you are having a little boy, his testicles will be dropping down into the scrotum if they haven’t already. Although, sometimes boys are born with one or both testicles undescended (meaning they have not dropped down into the scrotum quite yet). If this happens, don’t worry. Most of the time this will resolve on its own by the time your little boy reaches 6 months old.
A very exciting development this week too. Your baby is seeing color for the very first time! The cone cells for the color red develop first, because the inside of the uterus is red. Wild, right?
You and Your Body at Pregnancy 34 Weeks
Lets not forget about mama! The top of your uterus is now about 5 1/2 inches above your belly button now. At this point in pregnancy, you should have gained around 22-28 lbs, but of course this can vary and you should be following any advice about weight gain that you receive from your doctor.
Has your innie now become an outie? It’s not quite like a turkey timer, meaning you do still have a few more weeks left to cook your sweet babe. If it is poking out pretty far and is rubbing on your clothing and causing you discomfort, placing a piece of fabric athletic tape or bandaid over it can help.
The amount of amniotic fluid will peak between weeks 34 and 36. After that it will begin to decrease – by your body absorbing it – and this will give the baby a bit less room to move, which may be why you’re noticing a change in the way movements feel.
You may notice vision changes this week such as blurry vision or a change in near- or far-sightedness. Your eyes may also feel more irritated or dry. Don’t worry as these will be temporary, so don’t rush to get a new prescription, but in the meantime you can use over-the-counter lubricating drops to combat any dryness.
If you wear contact lenses, switching to glasses may be a bit more comfortable. After your baby arrives, vision will return to normal. Some vision changes could be a sign of preeclampsia so be sure you report any vision changes to your doctor.
As the weight of your uterus and baby are pressing on the main vein that returns blood to your heart, your blood pressure may be lower. Make sure you are taking care not to get up too quickly and if you do feel dizzy or lightheaded when you do, sit or lay back down.
Typical Symptoms at 34 Weeks Pregnant
That fatigue that subsided a bit during your second trimester? It’s unfortunately starting to return. This is understandable considering your growing belly is making it difficult to get comfortable when sleeping, plus the increased bathroom breaks you may be experiencing as your baby puts more pressure on your bladder.
As your breasts continue to prepare to nourish your baby, you may start to notice some leakage. This is called colostrum, which will be what the baby drinks in its first few days of life and is packed with nutrients. It shouldn’t be more than just a few drops that you notice, but if the leakage is uncomfortable – don’t hesitate to use nursing pads.
That’s not the only leakage that may be noticed at this stage. In between those frequent bathroom trips, you may leak urine. If you are leaking urine when you are laughing at bad jokes, sneezing, coughing, or during physical activity, this is considered stress incontinence. Don’t worry, this is common and affects about 41% of pregnant women!
Make sure you’re not drinking less fluids in an attempt to keep the leakage at bay; staying hydrated is as important now as it ever was. Instead, try these ideas: go pee more frequently, don’t hold it in - go when you need to go, lean forward when you are urinating to expel as much urine from your bladder as possible, wear a pantyliner if you need to, and work on those kegels! Pelvic floor exercises do wonders to help with this both now, and after the baby comes.
Other symptoms you may be experiencing this week:
- Braxton Hicks Contractions
- Swelling in your feet and ankles
- Bloating and gas
- Increased Vaginal Discharge
Pregnancy Week 34 Tips and Advice
Talk to your partner and your OB about birth plans. While anything can happen during labor and delivery, it’s important to list out any must-haves in addition to items that you can be flexible about. It’s your birth so you should be comfortable and prepared.
While in labor, it might be more difficult to make bigger decisions, so pain management is an important part to decide in advance if possible. You may want to opt for medical relief like an epidural, or non-medicated like massage, counterpressure, or focused breathing. Having a birth partner who knows your desires is important so they can advocate for you and help you make the best decisions for you and your baby.
Remember we talked about changes in your vision? If you’re going outside, wear sunglasses that have UVA/UVB protection to protect your sensitive eyes. Use eye drops if you are experiencing dryness and discomfort.
You and your partner are going to be so busy with your new little one, you may want to spend less time in the kitchen. You can prepare a couple of weeks of meals ahead of time and have them ready in the freezer. Crock pot meals and casseroles are super easy to prep and just heat up. With the world like it is nowadays, it’s also easy to have your groceries delivered or set up for curbside pick-up. If these are options where you live, you may want to start setting those up ahead of time to check off your to-do list!
If you have not yet, at your next prenatal visit you may be offered the whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine, also called Tdap. The CDC recommends this vaccine to be given in each pregnancy between 27 and 36 weeks.
Only 6 more weeks to go mama, you got this!