Pregnant woman stands on the beach and embraces her baby bump

Pregnancy weeks

Pregnancy Week 34

Almost Ready For the World

A little fine tuning, and your little one will be good to go! If your baby were to arrive in the world now, it would have an extremely high chance of survival and a low risk of long-term disabilities. Read on to find out why you should avoid toasting this excellent news with a glass of fizz, what little details your baby is still missing, and other fascinating facts about week 34 of pregnancy.

What's Going On in Your Belly at 34 Weeks Pregnant?

The fetus is around 17 inches long (crown to heel) and weighs approx. 5 pounds!

Your baby is largely fully developed. It even has nails that it could scratch itself with. However, these are very soft (and should not be trimmed immediately after birth, to avoid damaging the delicate cuticles). During the last few weeks, it will put on more weight and its bones will become stronger.

Your baby is now about the size of a pineapple with leaves.

Your baby is now about the size of a pineapple with leaves.

The lungs are still not yet fully mature – this process takes until around week 36. Your little one would still be considered premature, although with excellent chances of survival outside of the womb.

How Do You Feel at 34 Weeks Pregnant?

The weight your little one is putting on means you need more energy. 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 30However, you are probably not able to really tuck in big meals due to your baby bump: Many expectant mothers suffer from heartburn, at least towards the end of their pregnancy. Instead of eating big meals, we advise that you snack little and often.

If heartburn is troubling you, also avoid foods that are:

  • Sugary 
  • Fatty 
  • Spicy 

If you eat yogurt, you can kill two birds with one stone: It is a good source of calcium and can also help soothe heartburn. 

It is still recommended that you avoid alcohol. Although your baby's development is at an advanced stage, alcohol can still affect your child's brain, organs, and various bodily systems. Because there is no such thing as an "insignificant" quantity of alcohol, it is best to avoid it altogether. Alcohol is always a toxic (poisonous) substance for the body.

The baby's movements are now frequently visible from the outside – a lovely opportunity for your partner to strengthen their bond with your little one. You could also try "playing" with your baby by gently pressing on the baby bump and seeing whether your baby responds.

The list of pregnancy-related symptoms during the last weeks remains relatively unchanged:

  • Heartburn  
  • Constipation  
  • Hemorrhoids 
  • Tiredness  
  • Back pain 
  • Pelvic pain  
  • Regular cramps (prodromal contractions)  
  • Fluid retention 

Carpal tunnel syndrome
can now occur more frequently or more painfully.  
What is carpal tunnel syndrome? 

The carpal tunnel is a "tube" in which tendons and nerves move from the forearm to the hand. Fluid retention can put pressure on this tendon sheath (the carpal tunnel), which causes the hands to tingle, "go to sleep”, or even become painful.  

What helps to ease the pain caused by carpal tunnel syndrome during pregnancy? 

To avoid medication, you can first try resting your hand as often as possible. You may also find that a splint helps. Ideally ask your doctor to show you how to use one. Avoid straining and extending your wrist excessively, and refrain from activities that cause vibrations in the wrists, such as mowing the lawn or holding a blender. Gentle stretching exercises and yoga may ease the pain – although there is unfortunately no scientific evidence or guarantee of this.

Gynecological examination in week 34 of pregnancy 

When you have an examination with your gynecologist, they may take a smear to test your vagina for bacteria and fungi. If detected, these can be treated before you go into labor to prevent them posing any risks to your child. B-streptococci may be a particular source of danger because at worst they can cause pneumonia, meningitis, and septicemia in newborns. Infections can also lead to premature contractions.

Another important point concerning premature contractions: Sex with a baby bump may be somewhat more strenuous, but it does not usually trigger contractions unless the baby is ready to come into the world. Sex will not harm the baby either. It is true that sperm contains prostaglandins, which are used to medically stimulate contractions. However, there is a very low concentration of these in sperm and it has not been scientifically proven that they can actually induce birth (possibly in conjunction with oxytocin, which is released during orgasm).

So, the good news is that there is currently no reason why you should miss out on time and intimacy as a couple! 

Photo Credits: Unsplash