It’s just a matter of a few weeks from now, and you’ll have your baby in your arms! But before you do experience the joy of childbirth, read our post. Here’s a guide to what to expect during the 34th week of pregnancy.
34 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms:
Pregnant women experience some of the following symptoms during week 34:
- Edema or swelling of the feet and hands
- Backache and body pain
- Less pressure in the chest area
- False contractions
- Shortness of breath
- Lack of sleep
[ Read: 36th Week Pregnancy ]
34 Weeks Pregnant – Changes In Your Body:
Most of the symptoms of the earlier weeks drag on, and they continue to worsen. The false contractions increase and so does the discomfort. Here’s a list of the some of the changes that your body will go through during week 34 pregnancy:
Although heartburn stays with you throughout your pregnancy, the condition worsens as you near the 8th month. Not only does the growing uterus push your stomach up, the muscles around the esophagus relax, which leads to hyperacidity. Unfortunately, you cannot get rid of the problem, but you can control the symptoms. Avoid spicy and oily food. Say no to fast foods as well. Don’t drink a lot of water while you eat- take little sips if you must. Don’t eat three meals a day; divide the food intake into portions. Eat your last meal at least 2 hours before your bedtime. Weight gain during pregnancy also leads to heartburn- try low impact exercises like chair aerobics, if you exceed the expected weight growth range.
- Constipation And Hemorrhoids:
Constipation usually occurs in the third trimester. Muscles around the bowel relax thanks to hyperactive pregnancy hormones, making it difficult for your body to digest food. Besides hormones, a continually growing uterus pushes your bowel up, leaving little space to function effectively. Iron supplements also contribute to the problem. Unfortunately, the symptoms usually last until the delivery. After that, things would return to normal. Sometimes, constipation could lead to hemorrhoids- a condition where the veins around the anus swell. Hemorrhoids are very painful and uncomfortable. To avoid constipation, eat fiber-rich food, which includes grain cereals, pulses, leafy greens, fresh fruits, vegetables and dried fruits. Avoid certain foods like pasta, white bread, and rice. Eat six small meals instead to three large meals to avoid feeling gassy or bloated. Drink plenty of water- you need at least 8-10 full glasses of fluids every day to help ease digestion. Certain fruits like kiwi and prunes act as laxatives. You can also drink warm water to stimulate bowel movement. Practicing Kegel exercises also helps.
- Body Ache:
Pregnancy hormones estrogen and relaxin help relax your ligaments. They also put pressure on your legs, knees, feet, hips and back. You can avoid them altogether, but it’s easy to alleviate the pain. For one, do not strain your body by standing for long or lifting heavy objects. Place a hot water bottle or a heating pad on the sore area several times a day. You can also soak a towel in warm water and place it on the area for pain relief. And if it doesn’t work, apply an ice pack. But do not apply the pad or ice pack for more than 20 minutes because ice can damage the nerves and do more harm than good.
- Braxton Hicks:
Starting with the second semester, muscles around the uterus tighten and contract for around 30 to 60 seconds. These contractions only get worse from around the 8th months onward. They dilate and soften your cervix, preparing it for delivery. Braxton Hicks occurs when the mother or baby is active or when someone touches your belly. Unless these contractions do not increase in frequency or intensity, there’s nothing to worry. When you experience contractions, try changing positions or take a warm bath. Drinking water also helps to control these contractions. When none of these are effective, contact your doctor immediately.
Swollen hands and feet are a common occurrence during 34 weeks of pregnancy onwards, the swelling worsens. Your rings do not fit you any longer, neither do your shoes! To ease the swelling, sit with your feet above the level of your heart. Do not wear tight clothes or cross your legs when sitting. Edema isn’t a cause for concern, but if you feel the swelling gets worse quickly or there is something sinister about it, don’t hesitate to call your doctor immediately.
Changes In The Baby At 34 Weeks Of Pregnancy:
Thanks to the growth spurt, your baby continues to grow rapidly. She now occupies most of your tummy and does not move as often as earlier. As she continues to grow, so do her placenta and amniotic fluid. Some of the other changes in the baby at 34 week of pregnancy are:
- If your baby hasn’t settled into the pelvis until now, she will do so in this week. The process is called lightening and is characterized by a belly that seems lower and tilted forward. While you get relief from the discomforting heartburn, you may have to visit the loo more often than ever.
- Your baby’s internal organs are developing. Air sacs inside the baby’s lungs are now lined with chemical substances that help the baby breath immediately after delivery.
- The doctor can now tell if the baby is lying head down or if she is in the breech. Most babies turn their head upside down by 34 week pregnancy. But if you are a second-time mom, the process can take longer.
- Your baby’s behavior isn’t as erratic as it was earlier- she has definite sleep patterns. She isn’t kicking as often as earlier, but the kicks are now stronger than ever.
- Your baby’s brain isn’t completely closed; there are certain areas, where your baby’s skull bones do not join. The skull bones are not fully developed; the head is shaped like a diamond and slightly towards the front. It helps your baby push easily during labor.
- Fat layers within the baby’s body allow her to adapt to the outside world.
- Almost all babies are ready to survive outside the womb, but they’d still be preterm babies.
- If the baby is a boy, his testicles would have developed; they move from the abdomen to the scrotum.
- The baby’s fingernails and toenails are now fully developed. In fact, don’t be surprised if you have to cut them often.
- Your baby is plumper than before. Her eyes, nose and tough are not fully developed, and so are some of the other body parts.
- Hair continues to grow. It takes on the color of her parents’ hair or depending on her ethnicity.
- The vernix around the baby’s skin thickens. Vernix is a thick cream-like substance that covers the baby to protect her skin from becoming wrinkly. Ideally, the nurse would bathe and clean the vernix off the baby. But you can request the nurse to feed her before she cleans your little one.
[ Read: Pregnancy Calendar | Momjunction ]
34 Weeks Pregnant Baby Weight In Kg:
At 34 weeks pregnancy, your baby would weight at around 2.5 kilograms. She’ll measure around 18 inches in height when measured from head to toe.
Tips For Expecting Moms:
You’ve covered the journey so far, but it is the distance from now until delivery that seems to be the most tiring. The least that we can do is to ask you to wait patiently for a few more weeks. Here are a few tips to help you sail through pregnancy 34 weeks:
- The last few weeks are physically and emotionally tiring. The best thing to do is to slow down. There’s not much scope for physical activity. So, the best thing to do is take up small tasks like preparing a slam book for the baby or even writing a letter for her to read when she’s old enough.
- Why just stop at one letter when you can write a series of letters to your baby explaining to her about her activities inside your tummy. Let her know about the songs or voices that made her kick with excitement. Share your experiences of pregnancy and motherhood through these letters. Tell her that you are dying to meet her. Discuss the food that you ate while pregnant. Make plans for the activities that you aim to do with her.
- Week 34 is also the time to prepare for labor. You can begin by packing your bag for the hospital stay. The maternity bag should include a spare set of clothes, a few supportive bras, sanitary napkins, toothbrush, toothpaste and other toiletries. Besides these, remember to carry a few nightdresses, a comfortable dress to be worn during delivery, a pair of slippers, some warm blankets for the baby, and a lot more.
- You may also have to plan on getting to the hospital in case of an emergency. Write down the names of people to contact in an emergency and make sure that you have their phone numbers. How do you plan to go to the hospital? If you have a car, who will drive it and do you have a contact number? Do you have an alternate arrangement if she isn’t available? Is it easy to arrange for a cab from your place?
- Some moms plan for home birth. If you are one among them, discuss your plans with the doctor. You may also have to arrange for a pediatrician for the baby.
- During delivery, certain muscles are stretched to their maximum. It is important that you prepare them now. Practice all exercises prescribed by your doctor with fail. Common exercises prescribed during this time include Kegels, Pelvic tilt, and tailor sitting. Pelvic tilt helps increase stomach muscles while tailor sitting helps to strengthen muscles in the back and thighs. They also make the pelvis flexible for delivery.
- Drink plenty of water. I know it sounds cruel considering the frequency with which you have to rush to the toilet. But this is the only way to lessen swelling around your hands and feet and to control false contractions. Drinking water also alleviates constipation and helps to maintain amniotic fluid.
- You may not have the energy to go out for shopping. But online shopping is always easy. But clothes and accessories for the baby from the comfort of your home. Not just clothes, but all necessary supplies like diapers, liners, car seat, etc.
- Feeling depressed? It is common for women to feel frustrated and tired at eight weeks. Speak to your friends and family and spend time with them.
Understanding Preterm Labor:
When labor starts before the 37th week, it is usually preterm labor. The odds for a preterm delivery are pretty high for women above 35 years of age. Premature labor occurs due to various factors- from persistent backache to frequent standing. Similarly, women who’re considered high-risk pregnancy have a higher chance of facing preterm labor. If you have contractions, try changing position or walk around a little. If it’s a false alarm, the pain will subside in a few moments. But if pain continues, it is time to call the doctor.
Once your contractions start, there’s nothing much that you can do, except get to the doctor immediately. Drinking plenty of water or lying down on the back are advised, but honestly, we do know if they’re effective!
[ Read: Risks of Preterm Labour ]
Tips For Dads To Be:
Dear dads, you may be exhausted by now, but not as tired or frustrated as your spouse. Though you cannot share her woes, you can make her feel special. Watch her favorite movie or spend some time with her. Give her a back rub or arrange for the hot water bottle for her. Do your best to make her comfortable and relaxed.
So how was your experience of pregnancy at 34 weeks? Share your memories with us or write to us if you have any questions. Leave a comment below.
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