34 Weeks Pregnant: Moving into position for the big push
The big day is fast approaching and baby is slowly moving into place getting ready for that big push into the world to meet everyone. How exciting!
At a glance
At week 34 baby is developed enough to be born early and safely
More nutrient-rich snacks and fewer big meals can keep indigestion at bay
Feeling the odd twinge in your pelvis? That could be baby dropping
It’s not too early to start packing that hospital bag. Baby could come anytime
Baby's development at 34 weeks pregnant
Your baby’s been inside for eight whole months now. And the size of your baby at 34 weeks is the size of a pineapple. Can you believe it’s only a few weeks until you meet? Right now, they’re building up layers of fat to keep themselves nice and warm in preparation for life outside the womb. If you’re having a boy then around this time his testicles descend from the abdomen to the scrotum. When he’s first born these may look enlarged due to swelling caused by excess fluid or hormones, but they’ll go down shortly afterwards.
The part of your baby’s ears that send messages to their brain is called the cochlea. This is becoming more mature which means at this stage baby recognises your voice and maybe your singing and your musical taste.
Baby may have already started to go down into your pelvis, but won’t get completely in place until about 36 weeks for first-time mums and later for subsequent births.
The good news is that if baby decides to arrive now, they will have developed enough for a fairly normal delivery. By now their brain is fully developed and their lungs are quite well developed too. The size of your baby at this point also means they probably wouldn’t need extensive medical intervention. As long as there are no additional complications they should be fine.
Changes in you and your body at 34 weeks
Feeling out of breath at times? It’s usually when your growing baby starts putting pressure on your diaphragm and lungs. Not to worry, this feeling should disappear naturally once your baby moves down in preparation for birth. In the meantime, find positions that allow your lungs to expand properly whenever you feel short of breath. If the breathlessness continues, contact your GP or hospital.
Your body knows what it needs to do now. Over the next few days and weeks baby will start to move into place, hopefully easing any breathlessness and your pelvis will begin to widen accordingly. But if they’re feeling heavier, you may be experiencing tension or a spreading pain in your lower abdomen. This is totally normal: your pelvic joints are loosening up, pulling on your ligaments.
You might even feel twinges or tugs of pain in your abdomen or pelvic area as baby’s head moves into position. This is often referred to as the baby ‘dropping’ or ‘lightening’. Some women feel it weeks before labour and others just hours before – usually if they’ve had a baby before. Both are totally normal. But if you’re experiencing regular or constant pain, contact your GP or hospital.
Baby may have already started to go down into your pelvis, but they won’t settle completely in place until about 36 weeks for first-time mums and later for those who’ve been here before.
Pregnancy nutrition at 34 weeks
Baby is taking up lots of room in there so if you find yourself feeling full and bloated, try to eat three smaller meals a day rather than three big ones. Try starchy foods for lunch and dinner, as they’re a great source of complex carbohydrates and will provide you with a consistent source of energy over the day. Pasta, rice, potatoes or pulses such as beans and lentils are your friends. However, try to keep sweet foods such as cakes and chocolate for small, occasional treats. You don’t really need to ‘eat for two’ but if you fancy an extra portion of something, why not? An extra 200 calories a day is fine at this stage.
Here’s a few snacks that contain plenty of good nutrition for you and baby:
Malt loaf and low-fat butter
Cream cheese and banana on toast
Veggie crisps with houmous
Mashed avocado on crackers
Toasted waffles with almond butter and pear
Ready for labour day?
Before you know it you’ll be meeting your little one for the first time. Just got to get through that labour bit.
You’ve probably already considered many of your options for labour day by now if you’ve been attending ante-natal classes, but there’s still things you might want to look into. From hypnobirthing and birthing pools to the position you want to adopt for the big push, there’s lots to think about.
Packed your hospital bag yet? Now’s the time. Here’s a hospital bag checklist to make sure you’re ready to go as soon as baby is.