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Pregnancy Week 34

What to expect when you’re 34 weeks pregnant

Profile picture of Jessica Render
by Jessica Render ConsumerAffairs Research Team
pregnancy marker cantaloupe

Baby development at 34 weeks pregnant

Your baby’s making preparations daily to meet you, but they still have some important tasks ahead. In the weeks to come, your little one will be gaining additional insulating fat to protect them from infection. Their organs are also gearing up to function independently of the placenta.

Typical fetal growth is relatively predictable until the middle of your second trimester. At this point in your pregnancy, your obstetrician’s assessment tops all estimates. If you’re extremely typical, though, your baby now measures approximately 17.5 inches and weighs 4.7 pounds. This is about the size of a cantaloupe!

The vernix caseosa, an ideal moisturizer for your baby’s skin as they prepare for birth, is thickening. It’s believed to have waterproofing and anti-infective properties, and a baby’s ingestion of vernix in the amniotic fluid may help develop their stomach and intestines.

Your baby’s eyes are open when they are awake and closed while they sleep. Your baby’s nails have reached the ends of their tiny fingers now.

Week 34 pregnant belly

If you began pregnancy with an average body mass index (BMI), you’ve likely gained anywhere from 22 to 40 pounds. There’s an unusual emphasis in the United States on monitoring weight gain during pregnancy. If you’re following your body’s cues to eat what you’re hungry for and drink fluids, you’re probably doing the right thing.

That said, It’s important to step on the scale regularly. If you gain more than 3 pounds a week, it may signal the onset of preeclampsia, which is a serious pregnancy complication involving a sudden rise in your blood pressure. If you notice a trend in your weight gain, contact your obstetrician’s office immediately.

Common pregnancy symptoms at 34 weeks

Your baby is probably moving around your womb with gusto this week. As they grow larger in the coming days, there will be less room for such displays of athleticism.

  • Balance: The heaviness of your uterus and its contents, including your baby, may change your center of gravity. This is not the trimester to climb ladders or stand on your toes to reach too-high items in the grocery store. Make your way around the world with some caution and ask for assistance from your partner or a friend.
  • Getting full faster: As your uterus takes a great deal of available space and displaces your stomach, you may find smaller meals to be more tolerable.
  • Back pain: As your pelvic ligaments begin to relax for birth, you may experience more backaches. You might consider taking a warm bath with Epsom salts or requesting a soothing massage from your partner or a professional pregnancy masseuse.
  • Fatigue: You may feel tired most of your third trimester. Sleep is important now, so get it on your own terms while you can! You may rest better with supportive body pillows or medications recommended by your obstetrician.
  • Vaginal discharge: Your body may produce more vaginal discharge. Higher estrogen increases blood circulation in your pelvic area and stimulates the mucous membranes.

Pregnancy checklist at 34 weeks pregnant

This week is a good time to look into the not-so-distant-now future and make your official birth plan. Take the time to learn more about the options available to you and learn what procedures or treatments may be used in case something doesn’t go quite as expected.

Reminders for
Week 34
  • Create your birth plan. Your obstetrician or midwife may ask you to write and share your birth preferences. A typical birth plan outlines your preferences for labor, delivery and postpartum care — from pain management and delivery preferences to whether you plan to breastfeed and do skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth. Creating a birth plan helps ensure everyone in the delivery ward is on the same page.
  • Don’t hold it in. When you feel that frequent urge to go, go. Some women may experience leakage as a side effect of frequent urination. To alleviate this symptom, try to empty your bladder as frequently as possible. Don’t limit your fluid intake, though! Staying hydrated during pregnancy is important.
  • Take up perineal massage. Perineal massage can reduce your chances of tearing during delivery by increasing the plasticity of your perineum.

Explore pregnancy by week
Week 33 | Week 35


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Profile picture of Jessica Render
by Jessica Render ConsumerAffairs Research Team

As a member of the ConsumerAffairs research team, Jessica Render is dedicated to providing well-researched, valuable content designed to help consumers make informed purchase decisions they can feel confident making. She holds a degree in journalism from Oral Roberts University.