With just six weeks to go until your due date, here's what's going on now that you're 34 weeks pregnant and halfway through your third trimester. Not long to go now!
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What’s happening at 34 weeks?
Here are the key things you can expect from your pregnancy at this stage:
- Your baby is gaining body fat.
- Your 34 week antenatal appointment is due.
- Be prepared in case you need a C-section.
- Now's a good time to research childcare options.
How big is your baby?
This week, your baby will weigh around the same as a 2kg jar of pick 'n' mix, and and will measure around 45cm.
Your little one is busy in there, too! They're already practising sucking – ready for when they latch on for a first feed – as well as breathing, ready to take in that first gasp of air after the birth.
If your baby were to be born now, they'd most likely thrive, providing there were no other complications.
Your baby's body is filling out nicely too; as well as helping your baby to thrive, those layers of body fat will help to regulate their body temperature after the birth.
Keep singing and talking to your baby as they can certainly hear you by now! It can help kickstart the bonding process, weeks before you've even had that first skin-to-skin experience.
It's incredible to think that you're now just weeks away from meeting your baby! Remember that your due date is just a guide; most pregnant women go into labour within a week or two either side of their due date.
What's going on with your body?
Feel like you can’t get much bigger? Belly button popped out yet?
Your bump may feel unwieldy by now and you’ll be constantly knocking into things. This is partly due to being much bigger than you’re used to, but also because pregnancy has shifted your centre of gravity, and the ligaments and tendons that loosen in preparation for birth can make you a little more clumsy .
If your baby's dropped, you may also find yourself sporting that oh-so-glamorous pregnancy waddle round about now. A great excuse to put your feet up and take care of yourself!
Clear an obstacle-free path to the toilet and at least you’ll make all those night-time trips to the loo, for yet another wee, a little easier.
If you're struggling at work, have a word with your HR department. They may be able to offer you different tasks that don't involve so much moving around for the rest of your pregnancy.
Getting some gentle exercise may help to reduce any clumsiness. Building muscle strength can make it easier for you to stay on your feet in late pregnancy, and pregnancy yoga is great for helping you learn how to balance with your new centre of gravity.
If you do actually fall over or knock your bump, try not to panic. Your baby is well cushioned by your tummy and the amniotic fluid that surrounds them. But it's still a good idea to get in touch with your midwife and let them know about your fall, just in case they want to check you out to make sure everything's OK.
And of course, if you experience any pain or bleeding after a fall – or indeed any unexplained pain or bleeding at any point in your pregnancy – do get checked out straight away.
If you're really uncomfortable at night, you can get full-length pregnancy pillows for getting comfy in bed: you cuddle up to it and throw one leg over to bring some relief to your lower back.
What to expect this week: your 34 week antenatal appointment
With just six weeks to go until your due date, this appointment is key to start talking in more detail about your labour and birth.
Your midwife should talk to you about:
- how to know you're in labour
- preparing for labour and birth
- pain relief
- your birth plan
Don't forget your pot of wee (if requested) and your antenatal notes!. During this appointment, your midwife should also:
- review, discuss and record the results of any screening tests from the last appointment
- use a tape measure to measure the size of your bump (at this stage it should be about 34cm, give or take 2cm)
- measure your blood pressure
- test your urine for protein
- offer your second anti-D treatment if you are rhesus negative blood type.
Even if you're not planning a C-section delivery, your midwife should give you information about what having a caesarean entails.
Around one in four pregnant women will have a C-section, and more than half of these will be unplanned. So it's a good idea for every pregnant women to know what to expect, just in case.
Learn more about what to expect from a C-section - or if you're feeling brave, check out these incredible C-section pics .
This week, also take time to check in with yourself emotionally . The final weeks of pregnancy can be a whirlwind of baby prep and reading up on labour and birth, and it's easy to forget to take care of yourself.
If you're feeling low or anxious, do bring it up to your midwife. Even if you think there's nothing anyone can do to help, just talking about your worries can often be a surprisingly big relief.
Pay a visit to your due date club too, where you can chat to other pregnant women due at the same time as you, who probably have many of the same questions and concerns around giving birth. And the same excitement about finally meeting your baby!
And generally take the time to give yourself some TLC. Some spas offer special pregnancy care packages to help relieve aches and pains and soothe your soul. But even just taking five minutes to sit quietly and focus on your breathing can help give you space to calm down and feel better. Give it a go every day this week.
What to do this week: perineal massage
Sadly we're not talking fluffy-robes-spa-day massage here, but massaging your perineum (the stretch of skin between your vagina and anus) is something all pregnant women need to know about.
Why? Because massaging it daily in late pregnancy, using a special technique, may help to soften and stretch the tissue. This can make it more supple and less likely to tear during the birth. It reduces the risk of needing an episiotomy too, especially if this is your first baby.
There's even research to back this up, so it's worth trying now that your due date is approaching. Experts advise that this week (34 weeks of pregnancy) is the ideal time to start doing perineal massage, and you can continue it for the rest of your pregnancy.
The technique involves inserting a couple of fingers or thumbs into your vagina, then firmly massaging the back wall, towards your bum.
Try to spend 2-3 minutes each day doing this – ideally after a warm bath or shower, as the skin will be softer – and you'll be more relaxed, too.
It is possible to do perineal massage yourself, but it can be tricky when there's a massive baby bump in the way! If you have a partner, ask them to do it for you; after all, you're growing an entire human, so a bit of massage is really the least they can do!
Find out exactly how to do perineal massage here .
Did you know? The first three months after your baby's born are sometimes known as the fourth trimester . During this time, your baby will be adjusting to life in the big, wide world, and you'll be adjusting to life as a new parent. It can be a lovely and emotional time of bonding with your baby, but be prepared that life won't exactly be 'back to normal' straight after the birth!
Your 34 week to-do list
1 Write your birth plan (or 'birth wishlist') this week, if you haven't already done so. Find tips and things to think about here .
2 Budgeting for childcare after the birth? Lean what financial help is available here .
3 Buy any last-minute bits you still need for your hospital bag . It'll be time to pack it next week!
4 Still looking for that perfect baby name? Get inspired here .
5 Put a date in to go and get measured for nursing bras. You'll want to leave it as late as possible, so aim to pop to the shops in the next week or two. Some stores require you to book an appointment, so call up and check.
What to watch this week...
Get expert tips on what to expect at 34 weeks pregnant from our midwife.
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