Your pregnancy: 34 weeks

This week your baby's bones are hardening. However, the bones in his skull are not completely fused yet and will remain flexible to help ease his passage through the birth canal.

Felt pineapple used to show how big baby is at 34 weeks

Photo: Mandy Milks, Erik Putz, Anthony Swaneveld. Felt: thefeltstore.com

What’s going on in there: Fetal development at 34 weeks

At 34 weeks pregnant, your baby is about 2.1 kilograms (4.7 pounds) and almost 46 centimetres (18 inches) long. From now on, you may get “Oh, he’s totally dropped!” comments from people who see you often, as your baby will likely turn very soon, with his head engaged in your pelvis. Also, the baby won’t move less, but the movements will feel different—less kicking and more wriggling—because that kid is most definitely out of room. Your wee one’s hearing is fully developed now, too, so get your lullaby on (though we can’t promise that it will help with sleep once he arrives) or let your partner read a book to the bump.

34 weeks pregnant symptoms

Things are just swell
You’ve no doubt heard expectant mothers complain about swelling—especially in the summer months—but as we mentioned in week 22, excessive puffiness can be an indicator of pre-eclampsia. This complication is related to organs that aren’t functioning as they should, and it can pose a risk to both the mother (causing kidney and liver damage) and baby (who might not be getting enough oxygen). If you notice pronounced edema (a fancy word for swelling), especially if it’s accompanied by headache, blurriness or flashing lights in your vision, don’t wait for your next doctor’s appointment; hightail it to the hospital and have the doctor check on your blood pressure and test for protein in your urine. Pre-eclampsia will resolve after the baby is born.

Sprung a leak?
Make sure that you have breast pads on hand from here on out because your boobs have tuned into their new job—feeding your baby—and may start to leak any day now. The liquid you’re noticing is colostrum (the nutrient-rich substance that precedes milk), and this pre-delivery leakage is nothing to worry about—it will ramp up as soon as your baby arrives, sustaining your infant until your milk comes in. Speaking of leaks, you may also notice more vaginal discharge than you’ve had up to this point. This is a result of increased blood flow to your pelvis, spurred on by the estrogen racing around your body, as well as the extra pressure of your growing baby. Panty liners are your friends.

What’s on your mind this week

What if I get too tired to push during labour?
Many women worry about enduring a long labour and then being way too exhausted to push. This is a legitimate fear, but try to look at it from a different perspective: Up to the point of pushing, you’ll have had very little control over the situation, but that’s about to change. Once you’re through the transitional phase of labour, you’ll likely be given the green light to give it all you’ve got, if you feel ready. (There has also been some recent research and advocacy around whether women should be told when—and for how long—to push. This piece on whether women are pushing too hard, and too soon, is worth a read.) When it’s time to push, keep your chin tucked in, focus on an image or a spot in front of you and bear down as if you’re having a bowel movement. Just be sure to listen when the doctor, midwife or nurse says to stop and take a break, try to avoid frantic pushing, and do your best to rest between contractions. Your body knows what to do (aren’t women amazing?). Check out some of our strategies for an easier labour.

I have no sex drive right now. Will my libido rebound at some point?
Pregnancy affects women differently in terms of sex drive. Some women notice an increase in desire for sexual activity, while others would rather walk over hot coals than get frisky. In the third trimester, many women feel heavy, uncomfortable and tired, so sex is the last thing on their minds. Hormones also factor in, making some women hypersensitive, even to the point of vaginal discomfort. If there’s even a glimmer of passion, try to nurture it: Embrace your gorgeous curves (and the fact that you’re already knocked up!) and enjoy some pre-baby intimacy with your partner. But if you’re not feeling it, that’s OK, too. It may take some work, but your sex drive will show up again in a few months’ time.

Just for kicks

Send this video to everyone (read: your partner) who might be near you during labour: 8 things not to say to a woman during labour. They’ll thank you later.

Baby names

Does your family hail from the Emerald Isle? Or maybe you just want your baby to have as much luck as possible in their future? If so, these Irish baby names might be just what you’re looking for.

Pregnancy to-do list: 34 weeks

If you are intending to breastfeed and haven’t purchased a breast pump yet, this is the week to get one. Make definitive plans to rent a medical-grade pump from your hospital or from a baby supply store or research models to buy (if you haven’t already). Here our the best electric breast pumps on the market. If you’re planning to pump frequently, you want an electric one. Make sure to open your new pump, assemble it and account for all the pieces it requires—the last thing you want to be dealing with postpartum is missing breast-pump components (especially when you have rock-hard boobs engorged with milk and a sleeping baby). We know it looks complicated and intimidating, but it’s not as bad as it looks, so check out this breast pump guide first. And on a more fun note—we’ve rounded up 25 pieces to help you stack your breastfeeding wardrobe. 

Jessica Simpson Pull Over Wrap Nursing Top

Read more:
Breastfeeding and pumping primer
Tips to help you prepare for breastfeeding
Next up: 35 weeks pregnant

 

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