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Mother and Baby

34 Weeks Pregnant – What to expect

34 weeks pregnant

This week, 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. She’s been growing steadily, and she’s rounder and cuter than ever thanks to her fat layers filling her out.

What’s my baby doing at 34 weeks?

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 her as long as she hasn't got any other health problems. She might have to stay for a short time in the neonatal nursery and may have a few health niggles, but generally she should end up as fighting fit as a full-termer. 

Oh, and right about now her first poo (meconium stool) is lurking in her intestines ready to be passed once she’s 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 at 34 weeks?

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. There’s no point worrying about insomnia, as it can’t hurt you or your baby, and once you start worrying about not sleeping, the insomnia can become a vicious cycle. If you’re 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. 

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.

Common symptoms to look out for:

  • Discharge: As you get closer to the birth, you might notice an increase in vaginal discharge. 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. 
  • 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.
  • Blurry 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.

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. Check our our list of essentials to pack in your hospital bag here. 

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 sleep suits 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. Take a look at our Mother & Baby award winning car seats below. 

Take me back to week 33

Take me to week 35

Read next: The Mother & Baby award winning car seats: 

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Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus Car Seat, £165, Amazon

This i-Size seat is suitable from birth until around 12 months and won a gold award in our Best Car Seat Group 0+ category in the Mother & Baby awards. It’s travel system compatible, can be fit with ISOFIX installation and is super easy to adjust. In addition to being compatible with Maxi-Cosi prams, this car seat can also be used with Quinny, Bugaboo and iCandy pushchairs, which is a super handy feature. You can read more reviews of the Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus Car Seat here. 
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Doona Simple Parenting by CuddleCo Infant Car Seat, £279.99, Babyandco

Winning silver in our 2017 awards as the Best Car Seat Group 0+, the first thing you'll notice about this clever little car seat is it's wheels, which allow the car seat to convert to a pram at the click of a button (literally). The Doona attaches best to an ISOFIX base, without which, inserting and removing the car seat can become niggly, yet the concept of this car seat is genius and our mums agreed. Read more real mum reviews of the Doona Simple Parenting Car Seat here. 
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CYBEX Cloud Q Plus, £240, Amazon

Winning bronze in our Best 0+ Car Seat category, CYBEX have spent a long time designing this car seat, with the help of doctors, midwives and safety experts, and it shows. With a flat lying angle between your baby’s head, neck and chest, the car seat is useful with small babies as it provides a secure and snug sleeping environment. Our mums really loved the recline feature, which is perfect for newborns. Read more reviews of the CYBEX Cloud Q Plus here. 
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Ickle Bubba Galaxy, £79, Kiddicare

Shortlisted in our Best Car Seat Group 0+ 2017 awards, the Ickle Bubba Galaxy is fitted with an Isofix Base and has double layered side impact protection and a five position, adjustable headrest that evolves with your baby. Our team of tester mums loved the newborn insert and found the seat to be super comfortable for their precious new arrival. The downside, our mums wished there was more padding to the main base. Read more reviews of the Ickle Bubba Galaxy here. 
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Joie i-Gemm Car Seat, £130, Kiddicare

Another car seat that was shortlisted in our 2017 Best Car Seat Group 0+ awards (having won bronze the year before), this car seat can be installed using a seat belt or used with an i-AnchorFIX or i-Base and is compatible with all Joie Pushchairs, plus other brands with Maxi Cosi adaptors. Our mums found the seat to be incredibly comfortable, but also easy to move in and out of the car - perfect if you're carrying a newborn baby! Read more reviews of the Joie i-Gemm Car Seat here. 
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Silver Cross Simplicity Car Seat, £150, Mothercare

Shortlisted in our 2017 awards for Best Car Seat Group 0+, this is a sturdy and practical car seat and has been designed with simplicity in mind. With colour coded indicators to help with fitting, it’s super comfortable for newborns’ as it comes with a comfort cushion, harness straps and a headrest. Our mums loved how easy to use this car seat was. Read more real mum reviews of the Silver Cross Simplicity Car Seat here. 
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Joie Every Stage, £199, Amazon

Winning gold in our Best Car Seat Group 1+ category, the Joie Every Stage can be used from birth, up to the age of around seven years old (or 36kg). Growing with your child, you can adjust this car seat in just about every way, this well designed car seat is a great investment. Our panel of mum testers loved how easy it was to fit in their cars (a great option if you're going to be moving the seat between cars) and how comfy their little one looked in the seat. Read more real mum reviews of the Joie Every Stage here. 
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Cybex Sirona Car Seat, £349, Amazon

Winning silver in the Best Car Seat Group 1+ category, this clever car seat not only rotates 360 degrees, but can be used until your little one turns four. The height adjustable headrest also allows you to keep your little one rear facing as long as possible, which is advised by many safety professionals. Our mums loved how easy the car seat was to install, and the recline angle for smaller babies, that said, a few of them found it pretty fiddly to get in and out of the car, so this might not be the best choice if you'll be moving it a lot. Read more real mum reviews of the Cybex Sirona Car Seat here. 
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Axkid Apollo High Back Booster, £115, Amazon

Winning bronze in our 2017 Best Car Seat Group 1+ awards, this car seat has been designed with side impact protection in mind. With seven different headrest heights and three seat reclines available, the car seat grows with yourr child, ensuring they are always in the safest position. Our mums loved how easy the seat was to use and comfortable their tots looked in it. They also loved the little extras, like the handy cup holder to avoid on the go spills. Read more reviews of the Axkid Apollo High Back Booster here. 

 
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Comments

  • Shay - 10/01/2016 12:36

    Planning to give birth reluctantly, anyone else been through giving birth alone? Due in 6 weeks

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