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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: 

Britax Römer ADVANSAFIX III SICT Expand Image Britax Römer ADVANSAFIX III SICT

ADVANSAFIX III SICT, Britax Römer, £475, Amazon

A high-quality car seat from a brand you can trust, this car seat will last your little one until they are 12-years-old. Our panel of mum testers loved the design, the Isofix fitting and the washable covers, but found it slightly annoying having to remove the seat to alter the height.
Joie Elevate 2 Expand Image Joie Elevate 2

Elevate 2, Joie, £89.95, Amazon

A brilliant car seat that grows with your child (until they are 12-years old), is simple to install and folds down flat when not in use. Our panel of mum testers loved everything about the Elevate 2, from the handy cup holder to the washable seat covers.
Joie Every Stage FX Expand Image Joie Every Stage FX

Every Stage FX, Joie, £250, Amazon

When it comes to great value for money, Joie have it covered with their Every Stage FX car seat – lasting from birth to 36kg. Light enough to transfer easily between cars and quick to adjust, making this clever car seat a great option if you want to easily alter one car seat for two children. 
Britax EVOLVA 1-2-3 SL SICT Expand Image Britax EVOLVA 1-2-3 SL SICT

EVOLVA 1-2-3 SL SICT, Britax Römer, £164, Amazon

A brilliant car seat from a brand you can trust, this clever car seat comes with a number of clever extras, such as auto-tension seat belts, a reclining seat and in-built cup holders. Suitable from nine-months to 12-years, with Isofix for peace of mind, rest assured your tot is safe in this high-quality car seat.  
Cosatto Skippa Fix Expand Image Cosatto Skippa Fix

Skippa Fix, Cosatto, £169.95, Amazon

A bright seat that will grab your little one’s attention and will last from 4-12. Our mums loved the design, how lightweight and easy the car seat was what to fit and how much their tots seemed to like sitting in it. The only downside our mums could find is the cup holder, which isn’t useable if you have other car seats or passengers in the back.
Peg Perego Viaggio 2-3 Flex Expand Image Peg Perego Viaggio 2-3 Flex

Viaggio 2-3 Flex, Peg Perego, £177.60, Amazon

The Viaggio 2-3 Flex car seat allows you to adapt your car seat to your child as they grow. Our mums love the wipe clean fabric and the cup holders, which slide back when not in use. One downside is that a few of our testers thought there needed to be some extra padding to make the seat comfier for younger children.
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BABY-SAFE-i-SIZE, Britax Römer, £265, UberKids

Our panel of mum testers loved how safe and comfortable the Britax Romer looked on the go – from the soft padded seat, to the Isofix base, this was a stand-out car seat. We love that the Britax comes with a newborn insert and an adjustable head rest, allowing it to grow with your baby.
Maxi Cosi Pebble Plus Expand Image Maxi Cosi Pebble Plus

Pebble Plus & 2wayFix Base, Maxi-Cosi, £150, Amazon

The Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus provided our panel of parent testers with the peace of mind necessary when driving baby. The seat is easy to click into the pace, with an innovative light and sound system informing you when it is in the right position.
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REBL™ plus, Nuna, £325, Mothercare

With various adjustable reclining positions, the Nuna REBL Plus is a long-lasting car seat that can be adapted with your baby as they grow. Our panel of mum testers loved the 360-degree swivel seat – a handy design that makes getting your baby in and out of the car much easier. It’s not the cheapest on the market and can be quite heavy and bulky to move between cars.
Joie Spin 360 Expand Image Joie Spin 360

Spin 360, Joie, £250, Amazon

We found the Joie Spin 360 to be excellent quality, with a fantastic range of recline options, allowing you to recline your baby when sleeping. Of course, the 360-degree swivel feature makes life easier, and the extended reward facing option gave our panel of mum testers extra peace of mind.
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Stages Isofix, Joie, £300, Amazon

The Joie Stages car seat is one that constantly tops our awards list – it’s durable and comfortable, lightweight enough to swap between cars and gives you peace of mind your tot is safe. That said, it’s not the smallest car seat, and recline positions need to be selected before you get the seat in the car.
Gb Vaya i-Size Expand Image Gb Vaya i-Size

Vaya i-Size, gb, £400, Mothercare

Our panel of mum testers loved the rotation features, which made life easier, especially for those recovering from a c-section, or who were pregnant and couldn’t bend and lift the car seat as easily. Durability was also a standout factor, as the seat can be used up to the age of four years, saving time and money in the long run. That said, the car seat is more expensive than others on the market and it cannot be used as part of a travel system.

 
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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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