Mother and Baby

34 weeks pregnant: advice, symptoms and what to expect

34 weeks pregnant

At thirty-four weeks pregnant, there’s plenty of exciting things in store. Your baby is nearly ready to be born, and it’s time to start thinking practically, not only about your hospital bag essentials but about your birth plan!

Find out what else you need to know about your baby and your body at 34 weeks pregnant.

How big is my baby at 34 weeks?

Your baby is now the size of a cantaloupe, weighing in at five and a quarter pounds and measuring up to 18 inches.

They have been growing steadily and they are rounder and cuter than ever thanks to their fat layers filling them out.

Common symptoms to look out for:

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1) Itchy red bumps

If you’ve noticed itchy red bumps on your body, normally on your stomach, thighs and buttocks.

This might be a condition called pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy, or PUPPP, which is harmless but can be uncomfortable.

Consult your doctor to make sure it’s nothing more serious and to offer you treatment if necessary.
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2) Swollen feet or legs

Swollen feet and legs is an ongoing issue during pregnancy. Whenever you can, pop your feet up as that will hopefully reduce the swelling.
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3) Blurred vision

Pregnancy hormones are responsible for the blurry vision many women experience during pregnancy.

A decrease in tear production can leave your eyes irritated and dry, while your vision may seem blurrier than usual.

Thankfully, your eyesight should return to normal after you give birth, but bear in mind that for the next few weeks, it may be more comfortable to wear glasses than contact lenses.
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4) Discharge

We have already discussed that during pregnancy you will often find vaginal discharge increases and as you get closer to the birth, you might notice a further increase.

As with so many other delightful symptoms, this is due to pregnancy hormones, which increase blood flow to the pelvic area.

The discharge is harmless, but try wearing panty liners if they help you feel more comfortable.

Stay away from washes or wipes, as they could increase the risk of infection. 
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5) Constipation

It is very common to be constipated at this stage of pregnancy. Stay hydrated, eat foods with soluble fibre, go for a gentle walk to get things moving or eat a couple of prunes!
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6) Abdominal pain

As your baby begins to move lower in your abdomen in preparation for birth, you might feel more pressure in your pelvis.

This could lead to abdominal pain or (more) frequent urination.
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7) Insomnia and fatigue

Sleeping at the end of your pregnancy is often difficult. There’s no point worrying about insomnia, as it can’t hurt you or your baby, and once you start worrying about not sleeping, insomnia can become a vicious cycle.

If your persistent worries are keeping you up at night, talk about them with a friend, family member or partner, or ask your doctor or midwife for advice.

Try and relax as much as possible and avoid caffeine or even chocolate (sorry!).

If you are constantly woken up by needing the loo, try and drink less just before bed.

What’s my baby doing?

If your little one is impatient to arrive and pops out sooner than expected - for example, right about now!

It shouldn’t be too dangerous for them as long as they haven't got any other health problems.

They might have to stay for a short time in the neonatal nursery and may have a few health niggles, but generally, they should end up as fighting fit as a full-termer. 

Oh, and right about now their first poo (meconium stool) is lurking in their intestines ready to be passed once they are born. It’ll be thick, gooey and greenish-black.

If your baby is a boy, this week, his testicles will make the trip down from his abdomen to his scrotum.

A small number of babies are born with undescended testicles, but they usually make their way down before their first birthdays.

What is my body doing?

In this last stretch before childbirth, you’re probably feeling exhausted, though perhaps not as zombie-like as you may have felt during your first trimester.

It’s no surprise you’re tired, given your rapidly changing body, the constant toilet breaks during the night, and any worries you might have about the birth or about becoming a mother. 

Try to slow down from here on, and to take it easy to save your energy for the big day. 

Practically speaking, try to limit what you do before bed: avoid caffeine and chocolate, try not to drink too close to bedtime, and don’t exercise just before going to sleep to avoid that post-workout rush.

It’s also worth leaving the smartphone and iPad in another room to avoid the temptation of browsing the internet for cute baby clothes when you should really be trying to sleep.

What to do this week:

If you haven’t written your birth plan yet, now’s a good time to start.

Essentially, a birth plan gives your midwife an idea of what you would like during the labour, whether that’s pain relief, where you want to give birth, birthing companions and equipment you want to use, such as mats or beanbags. 

However, it’s good to remember that a baby won’t necessarily follow your plans, so keep your mind open and expect the unexpected.

It definitely helps if you’ve read up on all the possibilities beforehand, so you’re fully informed if your birth plan goes out the window.

It’s also worth making sure your baby bag is packed and ready, even if you’re planning a home birth, in case you end up being transferred to hospital.

Read more: essentials to pack in your hospital bag

Don’t forget to pack some things for your new arrival.

For you, we advise packing things like your birth plan and maternity notes, a dressing gown, some cosy socks (feet get cold in labour!), slippers, music on your phone or iPod, books and magazines (you might have to wait a while for the baby to show up!) snacks and energy drinks for labour, lots of maternity sanitary towels, a nursing bra and an old nightie or T-shirt to wear during labour.

Your baby will need sleepsuits and vests, nappies, blankets, wipes, booties, and a hat, plus, of course, a cute (but practical) leaving hospital outfit.

And be aware, some hospitals won’t let you leave unless you have a proper, EU approved car seat fitted properly.

Read more: Mother & Baby award-winning car seats.

Take me back to week 33

Take me to week 35

What did you notice at 34 weeks pregnant? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!