Week 34 of Your Pregnancy
With 34 weeks down, you're cruising through month 8 of your pregnancy. You shouldn’t be putting on more than a few hundred grams per week now. However, the total amount of weight you might be expected to gain throughout your pregnancy will depend on your weight before you were pregnant.
PREGNANCY WEEK 34
Your Body at Week 34 of Your Pregnancy
Shortness of Breath
Your uterus can now be felt about 4 inches above your belly button. This means that your uterus is pushing all the internal organs that used to be there somewhere else, crowding your diaphragm and lungs and making it more difficult for them to expand fully. Your body is spare on air and will be until your baby drops near the end of pregnancy in preparation for birth. While this shortness of breath may feel very uncomfortable to you, your baby is fine as he’s getting his oxygen from the placenta.
With the hormonal changes, midnight bathroom runs, leg cramps, heartburn and your big belly, sleep is a problem. Many women may also be coping with anxiety about the upcoming birth and a mind that is filled with their to-do-before-the-baby-comes list.
Your body needs rest and worrying will not help.
Instead, do your best to get comfy — before bed and when you get in it. Have a warm cup of milk before sleeping. Ask your partner for a massage. You deserve it!
Strong Baby Movements
You’ll feel your baby moving every day now, sometimes with a punch or a kick! and some times with a wiggle or stretch. You can also expect more activity after you’ve eaten and when you’re lying down. You may feel fewer hard kicks at this stage. Always check with your doctor if you feel there are some other changes.
Braxton Hicks Contractions
Around this time some women may experience Braxton Hicks Contractions. Your uterus tightens or hardens, these are irregular contractions. It may feel like a tightening sensation that begins at the top of your uterus and then spreads downward.
How do you know they aren’t real labor? They’ll stop if you change position, so try getting up if you’re lying down or walking if you’ve been sitting. If they are real labor contractions, they'll become progressively stronger and more regular — so in that case, call your doctor.
As your breasts get bigger in the third trimester, they may also leak a yellowish fluid called colostrum, which is the precursor to breast milk. This liquid, packed with protein and antibodies, is the first milk your baby will get. If the leaks are getting uncomfortable, try wearing nursing pads.
Your uterus puts more pressure on your bladder in the third trimester, giving it less room to store urine. Cut down on the bathroom trips by double voiding: Pee, then when you’re done, pee again. That’ll make sure you’ve emptied your bladder completely.
More than half of all pregnant women experience swollen, itchy veins in the rectum due to the bigger uterus pressing down as well as to increased blood flow to the area. Hemorrhoids can be painful and even cause rectal bleeding.
Constipation can aggravate them, so your best bet at prevention is to increase your fluid and fiber intake and to eat plenty of fiber-rich foods, like fruits, veggies and whole grains.
Some women develop Varicose Veins. They are swollen blood vessels, they pop up because your blood volume increases during pregnancy, your growing uterus is putting pressure on the pelvic veins and hormones are making your veins relax.
Some pregnant women find varicose veins painful, while others have no discomfort at all.
It is best to keep your circulation going by avoiding standing or sitting for a long time. Aim to get in some daily exercise.
Your baby's head and your growing uterus may rest on the sciatic nerve in the lower part of your spine. If that happens, you may feel sharp, shooting pain, tingling or numbness that starts in your buttocks and radiates down the back of your legs — known as sciatica. The pain of sciatica can be quite intense at times, and though it may pass if your baby shifts positions, it can also linger until you've delivered. Talk to your doctor about it.
Swelling in Feet and Ankles
During pregnancy your body tissues accumulate excess fluid that is needed to support you and your baby, this may cause swelling in your ankles and feet. Because fluid tends to pool in the feet due to gravity. Reduce water retention in your feet by avoiding standing or sitting for long periods of time — and try to keep your legs elevated when you can. Also keep yourself hydrated.
Heartburn and Indigestion
If you’ve got a burning sensation from the depths of your stomach to your mouth after you eat, then you’ve got pregnancy-induced indigestion and heartburn. Avoid heartburn triggers like spicy or fatty foods and caffeinated drinks and ask your doctor about pregnancy-safe heartburn remedies.
Hormones relax your bowel muscles, so they are not that efficient in moving the waste products out from your body. Add high-fiber foods to your diet, like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, along with plenty of fluids, too.
Your vision may seem blurrier and your eyes drier. Vision changes are common during pregnancy. Pregnancy changes in hormones, metabolism, fluid retention, and blood circulation can all affect your eyes and eyesight. These changes are usually minor and will go away after you have your baby. Sometimes vision changes can be caused by a more serious condition, though, so talk to your doctor if you have blurry vision, double vision, temporary loss of vision, or anything else unusual.
If you find your headaches last for days, are severe and are sometimes accompanied by nausea or vision changes, they might be migraines. Inform your doctor and keep a journal of what you ate, where you were and what you were doing before you experienced each migraine so you can pinpoint the triggers — and start to avoid them.
Your growing baby is putting more demands on your body, and insomnia may be leaving you dead tired during the day. So ask for help and get help.
Increased Vaginal Discharge
As your pregnancy progresses, you could see an increase in vaginal discharge. Blame pregnancy hormones, especially estrogen, for this symptom — they increase blood flow to the pelvic area and stimulate the mucous membranes. Wearing undies with breathable cotton liners can keep you drier and curb odors.
Your Baby at Week 34 of Your Pregnancy
How big is my baby?
Your baby now weighs more than 2kg and measures about 30cm from head to bottom. Their immune system is developing, and their bones are getting harder. However, the bones in their skull will stay soft until after they are born. During the birth, these bones will gently slide over each other to protect the baby’s brain.
There isn’t much room for your baby to move around anymore, but you might feel them kick and roll over. This can be quite uncomfortable.
Your baby is piling on fat
Your baby's fat layers – which will help regulate his body temperature once he's born – are filling him out, making him rounder
If you're baby is born this week ...
If you've been nervous about preterm labor, you'll be happy to know that babies born between 34 and 37 weeks who have no other health problems generally do fine. They may need a short stay in the neonatal nursery and may have a few short-term health issues, but in the long run they usually do as well as full-term babies.
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