Pregnant woman standing on the beach with her hands around her bump

Pregnancy WEEKS

Pregnancy Week 34

Nearly ready for the world

Hooray! It's time to get those final touches ready! If your baby were to arrive now, it would have an excellent chance of survival and little risk of long-term difficulties. Find out why it is still too early to toast this good news with a glass of champagne, which finer details your baby still needs and other fascinating facts now you are 34 weeks pregnant!

What's going on inside you at 34 weeks pregnant?

The size of the foetus is around 44 cm (crown - heel) and it weighs approx. 2200 grams.

Your baby is more or less fully developed. It even has nails with which it could scratch itself. However, these are quite soft (and should not be cut immediately after the birth, as this may damage the delicate cuticles). Your baby continues to put on weight in the last few weeks and its bones become stronger.

Your baby is now roughly the size of a Butternut Squash

Your baby is now about as heavy as a butternut squash.

The lungs are still not yet fully developed – this usually takes until pregnancy week 36. Nevertheless, if your baby were to be born prematurely, it would have an excellent chance of survival outside the womb.

How do you feel at 34 weeks pregnant?

Your baby's weight gain also means that you need more energy too. You can support the development of the baby's bones by ensuring you have a sufficient amount of calcium in your diet, as detailed in pregnancy week 30.

Nevertheless, because of your baby bump, you probably cannot eat a proper meal: many pregnant women suffer from heartburn, even if only towards the end of pregnancy. We recommend eating smaller snacks more frequently, instead of fewer larger meals.

If heartburn is a problem for you, you should also avoid food that is:

  • sweet
  • fatty
  • or spicy

By eating yoghurt, you can kill two birds with one stone: it is rich in calcium and can ease heartburn.

It is still not recommended to drink any alcohol. Even though the development of your baby is well advanced, alcohol has an impact on the baby's brain, organs and various other systems. As there is no such thing as an "insignificant" quantity of alcohol, the best thing is to avoid it completely until the baby is born. Alcohol is always a toxic (poisonous) substance for the body.

The baby's movements are now also frequently visible to everyone else – a wonderful time for your partner to bond with your baby. You could also try to "play" with your little one. Press your tummy very gently and see if the baby responds.

The list of pregnancy-related discomforts in the final weeks remains more or less the same:

  • Heartburn
  • Constipation
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Tiredness
  • Lower back pain
  • Pain in the pelvis
  • Regular contractions (prodromal contractions)
  • Fluid retention

Carpal tunnel syndrome is another common issue in the last weeks of pregnancy

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

The carpal tunnel is, quite literally, a tunnel in which the tendons and nerves move in the lower arm and into the hand. Fluid retention is an example of one condition that can put pressure on this tendon sheath (carpal tunnel), resulting in pins and needles in the hands, hands going "dead" or even pain.


What helps to counteract the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome during pregnancy?

You can start by resting the affected hand as much as possible. This does not require any medication. A splint may also help. Talk to your Midwife or Doctor about wearing a splint. In day-to-day life, avoid excessive stretching and extension of the wrists and any vibrating activities, such as mowing the lawn or holding a mixer. Gentle stretching exercises and yoga can ease the discomfort; however, unfortunately there is no scientific evidence or any guarantee of this.


Gynaecological examination in the 34th week of pregnancy

If you have a gynaecological examination, a swab may be taken to check your vagina for bacteria and fungus. However, these can still be treated before the birth so that there is no risk to your baby. Group B streptococci are a particular source of risk, as in the worst-case scenario, they can cause pneumonia, meningitis and septicaemia in newborns. Infections can also result in premature contractions.

Another important point concerning premature contractions: sex with a baby bump is likely to be more difficult; however, it doesn't usually trigger any contractions, as long as the baby is not yet ready to be born. It poses no harm otherwise to the baby. However if you have a high-risk pregnancy, have experienced any bleeding or any other complications it’s always best to check with your Midwife or Doctor before getting busy.  It is true that sperm contains prostaglandins that are used in medications to stimulate contractions. However, sperm only contains a very small concentration of prostaglandins – there is no scientific evidence as to whether this can actually (possibly in conjunction with the oxytocin released during orgasm) initiate the birth process.


So, to finish with the good news: there is currently no reason why you should not continue to get intimate with your partner!

Photo Credits: Unsplash