Pregnancy Tracker: Week 34

Pregnancy Tracker: Week 34




At 34 weeks pregnant, you are in your 8th month, with 6 weeks to go! Your baby is now as heavy as a bag of flour and the size of a squash.

At this stage, most babies will be in the head-down, bum-up position as they get ready for delivery, and your health care provider can confirm if your baby has adopted this position or not.

The lungs of babies at 34 weeks of gestation are typically well developed. The average weight of 2.4kg and length of ±44 cm crown to heel means that, should your baby be born now, the chances of survival outside the uterus without extensive medical assistance is excellent, although some medical monitoring will be necessary.

Up until recently your baby has been able to fight off diseases and germs by ‘borrowing’ your immunity via the placenta. But in week 34, your baby begins to develop his or her own immune system. Very soon after birth, your pre-milk, colostrum, will be available and this offers further immunity as it is rich in the antibodies that help boost your baby’s immune system.

Your baby’s development at 34 weeks pregnant

Your baby has possibly shed most, if not all, of the downy hair, lanugo, by this stage, but the waxy vernix coating is thickening as it provides lubrication during birth. This cheesy substance is often noticeable on the baby’s body after delivery.

Your baby is practicing swallowing and drinking up to 1 litre of amniotic fluid a day, passing it out again as urine. Sex hormones are developing, which might explain why a baby’s genitals appear swollen at birth, and a little boy’s scrotum has a dark colour. Usually at this stage the testicles are descending from the abdomen, although in some baby boys this will only happen after birth.

Fingernails and toenails are growing, bones are hardening, hearing and sight are refining, fat is piling on.

In fact, your baby is beautifully formed and well developed, and already looks just like a newborn baby. All that is needed is to put on a bit more weight in readiness for the big day!

Your symptoms at 34 weeks pregnant

The usual symptoms that have been plaguing you recently are still with you and will be around until you deliver.


By this week, you are possibly feeling more tired than ever before. This is quite normal as you are carrying all that extra weight and probably experiencing disturbed sleep due to the need to pee so often as well as not being able to maintain a relaxed, comfortable sleep position. Be consoled by the knowledge that this is the home stretch – it won’t last for much longer.


This is also a common symptom of late pregnancy due to cardiovascular changes taking place in your body. When a dizzy attack starts, try to lie down or at least sit with your head between your knees until it passes. Avoid rising too fast from sitting or lying down, and make sure you eat regular meals to keep your blood sugar stable.

Leaky breasts

An off-white liquid called colostrum can be noticed leaking from your nipples as your breasts prepare to produce milk. Colostrum is a highly nutritious pre-milk that is rich in antibodies which will boost your newborn baby’s immunity. Maternity healthcare professionals say that even if baby only suckles for a few days, this super-food will help fight against diseases and germs. If the leaking bothers you, place a breast pad inside your bra.

Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) is something that affects all the joints of the pelvis during late pregnancy, as the pelvic joints become less stable. PGP can cause inflammation and pain that ranges from mild to severe.

Watch out for the following symptoms:

  • Groin pain between the vagina and anus.
  • Pain triggered by activity, such as walking, climbing stairs, and turning over in bed.
  • Lower back pain.
  • A clicking or grinding feeling in the pubic region.
  • Pain that intensifies when parting your legs or by leaning on one leg.

Luckily, most mums-to-be report only mild pain, but if you are one of the few who suffers from severe pain, let your healthcare provider know as help is at hand.

Even if it is tempting to stop exercising, you should continue to be active as far as possible, without exacerbating the pain, as the correct kind of exercise could help provide relief. You may need to try out different types of exercise until you find what works for you. Some women report that gentle swimming or aquanatal exercises are suitable. Both are low-impact and provide support for your joints and ligaments while giving you a comfortable, weightless feeling. Take care to avoid breaststroke as the motion of the froggie legs can trigger PGP. Other mums-to-be find visits to a physiotherapist more suitable. Whatever form of exercise you decide to do, make sure that the instructor understands - and has experience with - pelvic girdle pain.

Here are some tips to make your daily life with PGP more manageable:

  • Hire help or ask family members to assist with looking after older children.
  • Wear flat shoes, with good support.
  • Dress sitting down in a chair or on the bed.
  • Shop online.
  • Roll out of bed, placing both feet down at the same time.
  • When getting out of a car, pivot on your bottom and keeping knees together, place both feet on the ground.
  • Take stairs one at a time.

Signs of early labour

With full term pregnancy being 40 weeks, premature birth is when a baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Sometimes an early birth is planned for medical reasons, mostly due to foetal growth restriction in the baby or pre-eclampsia in the mother. If a pre-term birth is advised, you would most probably have an induction or a caesarean section. If a baby is born prematurely, specialist care may be needed.

Occasionally a mum-to-be goes into premature labour spontaneously. The reasons for this are numerous but suffice it to say that good medical supervision during pregnancy is the best prevention.

Bed rest and modern medication can suppress preterm labour, which affords your baby precious extra time for the lungs to mature.

Early detection of premature labour is essential for the good prognosis of the baby, so look out for the following signs of early labour:

  • Regular contractions or tightening of the abdomen.
  • Period-like cramps.
  • Pressure low down in the vaginal area.
  • A "show", which is when the mucus plug that seals the cervix comes away.
  • A flood or trickle of fluid from your vagina (waters breaking).
  • Unusual backache.

If you notice any of these symptoms, call your healthcare provider urgently, or get yourself to hospital for immediate treatment.

Because your eyes may feel drier and more sensitive at this stage of your pregnancy, keep sunglasses and suitable eye drops on hand, and wear a hat when out in the sun.

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