Week 34 of Pregnancy: Week by Week Pregnancy Calendar


Your baby is now the size of a cantaloupe in weight, measuring between eighteen (18) and nineteen and a half (19.5) inches from head to heel and weighing between four and a half (4.5) and four and three-fourths (4.75) pounds. You are in your eighth month of pregnancy.

Your Baby

Newborn Covered in Vernix

Newborn Covered in Vernix

Although not quite full term, babies born as early as week 34 of pregnancy who do not have any other health problems tend to survive without any serious long-term problems. Your baby continues to settle into the head down position is preparation for birth. However, if your baby is still stubbornly sitting upright, now that some babies continue to flip flop up until labor and sometimes right up until birth. The lungs, brain, and central nervous system continue to mature. The rest of your baby’s internal organs are fully developed and mature. Layers of fat continue to deposit under the skin, which is now pink, ruddy red, or brownish, making your baby look less wrinkled and more smooth and chubby.

The muscles also continue to mature during week 34 of pregnancy, allowing your baby to work on his or her newfound muscles tone through some serious stretching and kicking. If your baby is a boy, his testes continue to descend into his scrotum, although 3% to 4% of baby boys are born with undescended testicles. In most cases, the undescended testes will descend into the scrotum by the time your son turns a year old. Your baby’s lanugo, which was the downy fine body hair that formed a protective layer over the delicate skin, has disappeared and has been replaced by a thickening layer of vernix, which is a white waxy cheese-like protective material that covers the skin of a fetus in utero. Babies born earlier are often still covered in vernix while babies born later have almost none. Your baby’s fingernails are also growing and may need trimmed shortly after birth.

Your Body

Baby Bump at 34 Weeks

Baby Bump at 34 Weeks

If you find yourself feeling more exhausted than usual, then you have joined the ranks of expectant women suffering from pregnancy fatigue during week 34 of pregnancy. Because of the extra blood volume in your body, blood might pool in your legs and feet, causing a temporary drop in blood pressure than can make you feel lightheaded or dizzy. Be careful to stand up slowing to avoid fainting or falling over. You may also find yourself feeling more forgetful (mommy brain) and clumsier than usual. Your vision may be changing and may continue to change until you finish breastfeeding. Braxton Hicks contractions are normal during week 34 of pregnancy, but you should be aware of the signs of premature labor which include painful contractions similar to menstrual cramps, sudden or severe back pain, significant and unusual changes in vaginal discharge, and leaking amniotic fluid from the vagina. Amniotic fluid differs from urine in that amniotic fluid smells sweet while urine smells like ammonia.

In addition to the stretch marks and itchy abdominal skin that go along with your increasingly-protruding belly, some women also begin suffering from itchy red bumps or welts on the belly, thighs, and buttocks. Although quite uncomfortable but usually harmless, pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPP or PUPPP) affects about 1% of pregnant women. The rash should disappear after your baby is born. Your breasts may also begin leaking colostrum, although many women who go on to breastfeed successfully never lactate until after giving birth. Other symptoms during week 34 of pregnancy include heartburn, indigestion, bloating, flatulence, constipation, backaches, leg cramps, mild swelling of the ankles and feet, stretch marks, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, changes to the nails and hair, increased vaginal discharge (leukorrhea), shortness of breath, and difficulty sleeping.

Cantaloupes

Baby Is the Size of a Cantaloupe
During Week 34 of Pregnancy

Learn about your baby during week 33 of pregnancy or week 35 of pregnancy.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is not meant to replace the professional medical advice of your health care provider.

References

34 weeks pregnant: http://www.babyzone.com/pregnancy-week-by-week/34-weeks-pregnant_70890
Curtis, Glade B. & Judith Schuler. 2011. Your pregnancy week by week. 7th edn. Philadelphia: Running Press.
Stone, Joanne & Keith Eddleman, eds. 2003. The pregnancy bible: Your complete guide to pregnancy and early parenthood. Willowdale, Ontario: Firefly Books.
Your pregnancy: 34 weeks: http://www.babycenter.com/6_your-pregnancy-34-weeks_1123.bc
Your pregnancy week by week: Weeks 31-34: http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/your-pregnancy-week-by-week-weeks-31-34

Image Credits

Newborn Covered in Vernix: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:JazlynRoseVernixByPhilKonstantin.jpg
Baby Bump at 34 Weeks: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sheila_34_weeks.jpg
Cantaloupes: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cantaloupes_Market_1.JPG

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