34 Weeks Pregnant
34 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby’s Development
At 34 weeks pregnant, your baby is getting bigger, and there’s less room in your womb for those cartwheels! As a result, you may notice that his movements feel different — possibly a little less forceful now — but you’ll still sense his wiggles and stretches. Around this time, your baby may also be dropping deeper into your pelvis as he gets ready to make his grand entrance. As early as week 34, or maybe in the weeks following, if you have an ultrasound or checkup with your healthcare provider, you may learn that your baby has moved into a head-down position in preparation for birth.
Wondering what color eyes your baby will have when he's born? Eye color depends on the amount of the pigment melanin that's present. Babies born with little or no pigment will have blue eyes, but that color may change over the first year or two. If your little one has darker eyes at birth, the color is less likely to change.
Speaking of birth, your due date is fast approaching, and you'll want to get a head start on those final preparations. Take this quiz to find out how close you are to being ready for your baby’s arrival.
If you’re expecting a boy, his testicles are likely to have dropped into the scrotum by now. Sometimes, one or both of the testicles don’t descend before birth. If this is the case for your little one, the testicles are likely to drop by the time your baby is 6 months old.
How Big Is Your Baby at 34 Weeks?
At 34 weeks pregnant, your baby is the size of a cantaloupe. He may measure nearly 12 inches long, crown to rump, and weigh more than 4 1/2 pounds.
Mom's Body at 34 Weeks Pregnant
Wondering how many months pregnant you are at 34 weeks? As pregnancy doesn't fit neatly into full months, you could be around 7 or 8 months along.
In the coming weeks, it's a good idea to watch out for the signs of preterm labor. Preterm labor is when labor starts before 38 weeks of pregnancy. Preterm labor and preterm birth are of concern because babies born too early may not be developed enough and are at high risk of having serious health problems. Some of the signs of preterm labor include:
mild abdominal cramps with or without diarrhea
increase in the amount of discharge
change in vaginal discharge — watery, bloody, or with more mucus
constant dull backache in the lower back
regular or frequent contractions
your water breaking, which could be a large flow or just a slow stream
If you're 34 weeks pregnant with twins, it's especially important to watch for these signs. Turns out that when you're expecting twins or multiples, you have about a 50 percent greater chance of going into early labor than if you're having just one baby. Don't hesitate to contact your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Learn more about your babies in our twin pregnancy week-by-week guide.
34 Weeks Pregnant: Your Symptoms
Braxton Hicks contractions. As you near your due date, Braxton Hicks contractions — also known as prelabor or practice contractions — are more likely to get stronger and occur more often. It's most likely nothing to worry about if these cramping sensations come at irregular intervals and subside when you change positions, but if you suspect that you are having preterm labor contractions, contact your healthcare provider right away. Although your provider is the best person to assess your symptoms, take the time to learn more about the difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and true labor contractions as it might help put your mind at ease.
Enlarged breasts. Your breasts are probably becoming even fuller as you roll into the last few weeks of the third trimester. This could cause some discomfort as the skin stretches and becomes itchy. By this time, you're no stranger to the bit of relief a good moisturizing lotion can provide, but don't forget that a properly fitting bra can also help. Many specialty underwear shops and department stores have bra fitting specialists who can help you find a bra that fits correctly and gives you maximum support. You may also have to adjust the strap length or use a bra clasp extender as the weeks progress as well as in the first few months of motherhood. Learn even more about breast changes during pregnancy.
Pelvic pain. At 34 weeks, as your baby drops lower into your pelvis in preparation for birth, you might experience some pelvic pain, lower-back discomfort, or pressure on your bladder. On the bright side, because your baby has dropped, you may feel less pressure on your diaphragm and lungs, making it easier to breathe. To help relieve any pelvic pain, try to stay off your feet when you feel most uncomfortable. A soak in a warm bath may also give you some relief. If these ideas don't work, speak to your healthcare provider for further advice on what to do.
Swollen ankles and feet. It's not uncommon for women to have swelling in their ankles and feet at this stage of pregnancy. One way to help relieve the swelling is to reduce standing time as much as you can. Plus, when you're sitting down, you can prop up your legs on a pillow. For those times when you're feeling discomfort from the swelling and you can't sit, wearing supportive shoes might help.
Constipation. Bowel movements that are hard to pass and infrequent may occur for many different reasons. Whatever the cause, they can be very uncomfortable! Good tactics include drinking plenty of water, prune juice, or other fruit juices, as well as eating high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, wholegrain bread, and bran cereal. Also, try walking or gentle exercises to help your digestive system. Finally, eating smaller, more frequent meals rather than a few large meals might improve your digestion.
34 Weeks Pregnant: Things to Consider
The arrival of a new baby can be hard for older siblings to handle because of all the changes that happen. Parents put a lot of effort into preparing for the new baby and, after the baby arrives, caring for the newborn requires much of the family's attention. It's not unusual for older siblings to feel some jealousy and react to the changes by acting out. However, parents can help ease the transition and prepare siblings for the new addition to the family. Talking about the pregnancy in a way that makes sense to older siblings can help. For example, you could explain where the new baby comes from in an age-appropriate way. There are children's books that can help you with this. Plus, including kids in the preparation for the arrival of the new baby can be a great way to help them embrace the idea of your newborn joining the family. One way to involve your older children is to let them help you shop for items you need for your newborn. It's a good idea to talk to them about the role they can play in helping you with the new baby before he arrives, too. Be sure to spend one-on-one quality time with your older children so they understand they're still valued and loved members of the family.
Calcium helps form and harden your baby's bones and teeth, so getting enough calcium during pregnancy is a top priority, both for your baby's health and for your own. Your prenatal vitamins may contain calcium, but it's also important to eat foods that are rich in calcium. Some great food sources other than dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt include sardines, leafy green vegetables like broccoli, and calcium-fortified juices. This means lactose-intolerant moms-to-be have great options for getting extra calcium, too! Learn more about how much calcium you need during pregnancy and ask your healthcare provider whether you're getting enough. Your provider may recommend you take a calcium supplement or get more by making changes to your diet.
The last thing you want to worry about when you go into labor is deciding what to throw into your bag to take to the hospital. That's why we've compiled a comprehensive hospital bag packing checklist to make sure you don't leave out those must-haves and nice-to-haves you might want to take with you on the big day. We list the things you, your partner, and your newborn baby will need.
34 Weeks Pregnant: Ask Your Doctor
What position is my baby in?
If my baby is breech, what are the chances he'll move into a head-down position?
If my baby is breech closer to the due date, what would you recommend?
What exercises or stretches can I do to help relieve the pressure on my lower back?
I'd like to take an infant CPR training course. Is there one you recommend?
How we wrote this article The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.