At 34 weeks pregnant, you’re getting so close to the finish line! You’re in your 8th month of pregnancy. You will be delivering so soon.
How big is your baby now? What symptoms might you experience? What should you be doing or avoiding? In this guide, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about your 34th week of pregnancy!
34 Week Fetus Stage of Development
Oh, boy (or girl)! Your baby is getting big! She is around 20 inches long and weighs about 5 pounds. Your baby is viable at this point, meaning she would most likely be fine if she were born now, so don’t worry if you deliver early.
If you’re having a boy, then during the 35th week, his testicles are making their way towards from the abdomen down to their final position at the scrotum. Don’t stress if his testicles haven’t descended. About 3-4% of baby boys are born with undescended testicles, and they typically descend before their first birthday.
Your baby’s tiny fingernails are probably now full length; they’re covering the entire nail bed. Make sure to put baby nail clippers on your shopping list! You’re going to need them.
What You Might Be Experiencing at 34 Weeks Pregnant
As you get close to delivery in your 8th/9th month of pregnancy, you might experience some new (or continuing) symptoms—don’t worry: these are normal.
- Strong, regular fetal activity: there’s less fluid to cushion the blows of your baby’s kicks and pokes, so you might feel a bit uncomfortable.
- Increasing vaginal discharge
- Increased constipation
- Heartburn, indigestion, flatulence, bloating
- Occasional headaches, faintness, or dizziness
- Nasal congestion and occasional nosebleeds; ear stuffiness
- Sensitive gums
- Leg cramps
- Pelvic pressure and/or achiness
- Mild swelling of ankles, hands, feet, and face.
- Varicose veins in your legs
- Itchy abdomen
- Protruding navel
- Stretch marks
- Increasing shortness of breath
- Braxton Hicks contractions: these are “rehearsal” contractions that are preparing your body for delivery (typically 15-30 seconds, though sometimes 2 minutes or more).
Again, you should know that it’s normal to experience these symptoms, but if you’re having issues that seem beyond normal (i.e. excessive vaginal discharge, many contractions, or severe nosebleeds), please contact your doctor.
Major Changes to Look Forward To
At 34 weeks pregnant, the biggest to change to look forward to is having your baby and not being pregnant anymore! Hopefully, after having your baby (or within a few weeks or months), you will start feeling yourself again: free from the annoying symptoms mentioned above.
Even better, you’ll now have a (hopefully healthy!) bundle of joy to start caring for!
What to Start (Or Keep) Doing: 2 Tips
Although you’re nearing the end of your pregnancy at 34 weeks, you still want to start (or keep up) these good habits to make sure you have a healthy baby!
Tip #1: Up Your Healthy Fat Intake
According to doctors, omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA, are vital for brain growth and eye development in your baby! Your baby’s eyes and brain keep developing even after birth, so you want to keep supplying him or her with healthy fats even while breastfeeding.
Doctors suggest you have at least 200 mg of DHA per day. To meet this goal, consider adding in two 6 oz servings of fish per week. NOTE: The FDA says to limit your fish intake to 12 oz per week to avoid mercury poisoning, which could harm the baby.
If you’d rather avoid eating fish entirely, you can enjoy one of these alternative Omega-3 rich foods:
- Olive oil
- Nuts (not including peanuts)
- Omega-3 eggs
- Chia seeds
Still having a hard time getting your Omega-3s? Ask your doctor about taking a fish oil supplement.
Tip #2: Learn About How to Care for Your Baby
Since you’re reading this article, you clearly do your homework, which is great. Make sure in addition to your pregnancy reading that you read up on how to care for your baby.
Consider buying a book such Mayo Clinic’s Guide to Your Baby’s First Year, Brain Rules for Baby, The Baby Owner’s Manual, or What to Expect the First Year. For a free option, check out the articles on BabyCenter.
What to Avoid Doing Especially at This Time
Try to avoid giving up on your healthy habits. I know you’re close to the finish line, and it’s tempting to say, “Ah, I’m 34 weeks pregnant. My baby is mostly developed, so a couple of cigarettes/drinks/raw fish/etc. isn’t a big deal.” Don’t do it! It’s not worth the risk of harming your baby. You’re so close. You can hold out a few more weeks.
Try not to freak out about becoming a parent. It’s completely normal to feel worried and to doubt your decision no matter how excited you’ve been about becoming a mom. Know this: you’re already being a smart mom by reading this article and doing your research. Keep reading, and you’ll be prepared when your baby arrives!
Other Non-Medical Thing to Consider Doing
Have you had a baby shower yet? If you want one and haven’t had one, you should definitely plan one or recruit your friends and family to plan one ASAP. At 34 weeks pregnant, your baby could come any day now, so you don’t have time to delay the baby shower (unless you decide to do it after the baby is born). Baby showers are a fun way to celebrate your pregnancy! Also, at your baby shower, you’ll likely get baby gifts from friends and family.
At this point, your baby could come tomorrow—you simply don’t know. Try to be ready. If you’re giving birth at a hospital, you should get your hospital bags packed now. Make sure you have a baby car seat ready to bring with you to the hospital, so you have a safe way to bring your baby home! Set up your nursery room or area. Try to get all the baby supplies: diapers, changing table, swaddles, pacifiers, clothes, etc. ready.
I know there’s a lot to do, but try to relax. This is the last time you’ll get to enjoy without your baby for a while. Make a to-do list of things you want to do. Consider going hiking, doing a spa day or shopping day, or going on a weekend trip. Do something for yourself since you’ll soon be doing a lot for your baby!
- At 34 weeks, your baby is 5 pounds! Your baby is viable which means it would survive if it were born today.
- You will have some new experiences (such as Braxton Hicks contractions). Monitor your symptoms, and if they seem extreme, contact your doctor.
- At this stage, you should eat (or keep eating) healthy fats and read up on how to care for your baby.
- Since your baby could arrive any day now, it’s important to be ready. Make sure you have the necessary baby supplies: diapers, swaddles, pacifiers, clothes, etc.
- Plan some fun things for yourself (since soon you’ll have a baby to care for): have a baby shower, do a spa or shopping day, go for a hike, do a weekend getaway.
- Also, if you’d like to read more, I recommend What to Expect When You’re Expecting.