Understanding your pregnancy: Week 34

Understanding your pregnancy: Week 34

A quick snapshot

It's getting harder to get around and maintain your usual activities at week 34. Your lungs can't inflate as much as they'd like to and there's a general sense of everything being squeezed and squashed into your mid-section. You'll want to stretch out whenever possible and wish you were just a few centimetres taller, especially in your trunk.

What’s changing in your body

  • The top of your uterus is about 14.5cm from your belly button this week. You can probably balance a cup on top of it when you are sitting down, which is handy if you are at a party.
  • You could be feeling short of breath. Your lungs and diaphragm are being compressed and your baby is sitting high in your belly. Your baby still hasn't "dropped" into your pelvis, so it's getting very cramped in your upper mid-section. You may find it more comfortable to sleep propped up on a couple of pillows. Remember to sit upright with your shoulders back, this does make a difference.
  • You might experience more heartburn, acid reflux and indigestion this week. Aim to have 6–7 small meals each day rather than big, infrequent ones. You're probably not feeling as hungry as you were and are satisfied with smaller portions anyway. Try not to limit the tastes and flavours of the food you are eating. Your baby will pick up the different tastes through the amniotic fluid and this will make them more willing to try different foods when they are old enough for solids.
  • When you have your prenatal checks, your baby is probably lying with their head down by now but don't worry if they aren’t, there is still time for them to move into the correct position before you are due to deliver.
  • Your legs could be showing evidence of varicose veins. If your mother had them or there is a family history, you are more likely to experience them as well. Aim to sit when you can and elevate your feet and legs up high. Help your legs in whatever way you can to return blood supply up to your trunk. Some women swear by supportive stockings and find that if they put them on first thing in the morning, they are most beneficial. Watch your weight gain. It won't help if your major blood vessels are being compressed by too much surrounding fat.
  • You are hot and even when everyone else if cold, your internal temperature is at least a couple of degrees higher. If you place your hand just above the skin on your tummy now, you'll feel a radiant heat coming off your body.
  • Even though your partner may find you and your body almost irresistible, the last thing on your mind is a little bedroom bonding. Just the thought of getting up close and exerting more energy in having sex may completely turn you off. Let him down gently by telling him you're not interested. He's bound to understand. After all, it is his baby too that you are working so hard on maturing.

How your emotions are affected

  • If indigestion isn't niggling away at your stomach, excitement probably is. In around six weeks, you will be seeing your baby and holding it in your arms. There will be times when you feel as if you can hardly wait, the time of your baby's birth still seems a lifetime away. Other times, it will feel as if your pregnancy has gone too fast and you'll have a sense that you need to treasure it as a special time.
  • You may worry that there might be something wrong with your baby and wonder how you and your partner will cope if there is a problem. Many women become very superstitious at this stage of their pregnancy and see signs, which they interpret as being proof there is something wrong. Speak with your doctor if you are worried.
  • Looking at the calendar and counting down the weeks could come as a shock to you. Try not to leave everything until the last minute. Babies have a tendency to come when they are ready, leaving their parents rushing about in a mad panic to get jobs done.

How your baby is growing

Third Trimester: Week 34Pregnant -lady -wk -34-closeup

  • If your baby is a boy, his testicles will be migrating their way down from his abdomen and into his scrotum.
  • Your baby is opening and closing their eyes easily now, blinking, screwing up their eyes and practicing how to focus. When strong light filters through your abdominal wall, your baby may pull away, close their eyes and their pupils may contract to limit the amount of light entering the eye.
  • The vernix caseosa covering your baby's skin is still protecting them. However, the lanugo - the soft, downy hair covering their skin, is starting to disappear this week.
  • More cortisol is being produced this week, by the specialist glands on the top of your baby's kidneys to produce surfactant. In most respects, other than their lungs, your baby could manage almost independently if they were born now.

Tips for the week

  • Have a weekend away. A babymoon is a great chance to spend some quality time with your partner and focus on what is important. Take your camera and make sure you get some photos of your pregnant belly. You may not be feeling too attractive now but there will come a time when you look back on them and take pleasure in how clever you were.
  • Don't be in too much of a hurry. Your centre of balance is changing and it is common for pregnant women to fall over. You won't be able to see the ground as clearly because your tummy is getting in the way, so take your time and tread carefully.
  • Make plans for finishing work if you haven't already. Be realistic about what you can finalise and what you need to delegate to others. You want to be able to walk away from your work with a firm and clear attitude that your work is done and it is time for another important phase in your life.