34 Weeks Pregnant: What To Expect
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When the going gets tough, the tough gets going! You are so close to your goal at this point, all the annoyances and grievances that pregnant women experience don’t seem like a bother anymore. Here is a list of suggestions and answers to any questions you might be having about your 34th week of being pregnant!
Your Baby’s Growth During Pregnancy – Week 34
Your 34th week of pregnancy is going to show well-established sex markers, with boys and girls easily differentiable. (Please note that even if your doctor knows the sex of the baby, you won’t be told, as sex determination is illegal in India.) Your baby’s fat has now fully filled out the wrinkly skin, making it smooth and robust. The immune system and lungs get stronger and more independent of your body. As the foetus’s brain connections now number in the trillions, it is even possible for it to dream occasionally!
Your uterus is now at near-maximum capacity, and any shift in position will be easily felt by you. In fact, your baby might even be able to perceive your warm touch through your abdomen. Preterm delivery around this point is completely safe, excluding a short stint in the hospital, and you will ready to take your little one home in no time. Don’t worry if you don’t experience labour around the due date, as that only happens in five percent of all cases.
What Is the Baby’s Size at 34 Weeks?
At 34 weeks pregnant, the baby size is almost 45 cm from top to bottom – around the size of a large pumpkin. At slightly over 2 kg, your baby is still going to grow some more. Its skeleton is hard by this time, except for the skull bones, which remain soft to allow passage through the birth canal.
Common Body Changes
Week 34 will bring its own challenges to the table. This week you will experience another host of body changes during pregnancy.
Haemorrhoids are caused due to factors such as constipation and hormonal activity during pregnancy. Much like last week, you stand the risk of developing painful swellings in the anal or perineal area. Medications and Kegel exercises are options for some relief.
Discharge from the Vagina
Another common symptom is mucous secreted by your vagina, in preparation for birth. This is caused by the influx of oestrogen, which promotes blood circulation around the vagina.
Your feet and ankles might continue to suffer from oedema due to all the fluid collecting in them. Opt for comfortable footwear that has soft padding to ease your swollen feet.
If you are at your 34th week of pregnancy, these cannot be avoided! However, their extent can be reduced by controlling your weight gain under medical supervision.
Discharge From Breasts
Your body is making colostrum for when your baby is born, and your breasts have decided to leak it early. Wear absorbent pads inside your bra to avoid embarrassing situations.
Symptoms of Pregnancy at Week 34
The expanded uterus now takes up nearly all your abdominal space, forcing your bowels into a corner. This will tend to make your bowel movements rather irregular. Consuming enough fibre and water should ease the discomfort.
Gas is extremely common during pregnancy, due to the slowing down of digestion, with anxiety worsening the situation. Try a few breathing exercises to ease the stress.
Carrying around all that weight, and lack of sleep, band together to create painful leg cramps.
A frequent symptom of late-stage pregnancy, it occurs due to your lungs being compressed by the uterus, thereby unable to draw full breaths. Avoid activities like running or climbing stairs, if you have shortness of breath.
Staying Up All Night
Belly at 34 Weeks of Pregnancy
In your 34th week, you can expect your abdominal region to stretch to around 45 cm from top of the uterus to the lower pelvic region. An interesting thing to note is that the volume of the amniotic fluid is much higher at this point than at any other point during your pregnancy. Your uterus is now up to 1,000 times bigger than before it had a baby in it.
34 Weeks Ultrasound
Going for ultrasound scans every alternate week is standard procedure at this point. Your doctor might even prescribe a non-stress test or a biophysical profile, which can tell if there’s something wrong with the baby’s breathing or heart. The scan can show you your baby’s movements in real time, such as breathing or moving around the uterus. If you want, you can see the intimate details of your baby’s face and body with a 3D ultrasound.
What to Eat When You Are 34 Weeks Pregnant
Eating a balanced diet is crucial for your and your baby’s health. Consume several portions of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy a day. Eat frequent but small meals, so you can avoid heartburn. Some of the dietary changes to make in your 34th week pregnancy food are:
Vitamin D, C, and K are essential in bone and teeth development, as well as boosting immunity. Vitamin D can be consumed via supplements, but exposing your body to sunlight for 10-20 minutes a day also does the job. Vitamin C can be found in leafy greens, lean meats, and citrus fruits. Vitamin K can be found in foods like cauliflower, cabbage, beans, pomegranate, spinach, and soybean.
It is certainly time to have omega-3 fatty acids, to have your baby’s intellectual capacity reach full potential. Fish oil is available to suit any interest.
Drink 3 litres of water a day, minimum, to stay fit for your delivery.
Tips & Care
Below are a set of activities that you should and should not do while pregnant:
Perform some exercises to ensure your baby is in the ideal position for delivery, that is head downwards with his face towards your spine. Some exercises use a chair or birthing ball, so you can exercise by keeping your pelvis leaning forward.
It might help to visit the hospital where you are thinking of giving birth. Observe the labour and birthing wards of the hospital, and complete any paperwork you might have to.
Dieting is not fun, and while you’re in the third trimester, it’s outright dangerous. Your baby and you both need considerably more food than usual, so cutting them out will cause complications. Instead, ignore unhealthy foods such as alcohol and spicy food.
Don’t forget to perform Kegel exercises, and don’t be embarrassed about them! Kegel exercises make the pelvic floor stronger, and they can ease pain caused by cramps and hemorrhoids. In addition, the exercise improves the chances of a smooth delivery. You can also perform the pelvic tilt, which can help ease any backache.
What You Need to Buy
Make sure your baby has a nice warm home to be welcomed into. Maternity clothes from Bella Mama are always first on the purchase list, and there are several stylish options available. If you prefer to wear Indian ethnic clothing on most days, maternity kurtis are a must-have for you as they provide ample room for the growing belly. Maternity tops are another favourite as they are available in lovely silhouettes, prints and colours.
Keep sufficient stocks of diapers, bottles, nursing bras, and baby clothes. Buying a little pram will also make it easier for you to get your baby to your home or neighbourhood. As the time draws closer towards your final day, do your best to stay calm by talking to your friends and family. You’re almost to the finish line, so just keep doing what you’re doing, and you’re as good as gold!
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