Have you noticed that much talked about 'nesting instinct' kicking in yet? If so, don't panic! Just go with flow and try to remember to take it easy and rest as much as possible in these final weeks. You'll need that energy once your little angel has arrived!
Changes to you and your body
By the time they reach 34 weeks, some women notice that their ankles and feet have started to swell. If this is happening to you, the swelling may be particularly apparent during the end of the day. Your hands and face might also change in appearance leading you to describe them as looking a little “puffy". Don't worrry if this is the case, this is perfectly normal and the majority of women experience this during the final trimester of pregnancy. Try to rest as much as possible and keep your legs elevated where possible whilst you are sitting down to alleviate the aching.
If you have yet to take maternity leave, you are likely to be feeling very tired now. If you find that you're working hours are too much or taking their toll on you, you may wish to speak with your employer and see if there is a way of altering your hours or bringing your maternity leave forward.
At this stage of your pregnancy, you may start to experience Braxton Hicks contractions. These contractions are practice contractions and are a normal part of pregnancy. If your contractions become painful and more frequent in their nature, you should consider getting in touch with your midwife as this could be a sign that you are soon to give birth to your baby.
Between 34 and 37 weeks, you may be screened for group B streptococcus (GBS). GBS is one of the many forms of bacteria present in your body. It is found in your digestive system and reproductive system. If you test positive for GBS, you can pass it onto your baby. Although the risks are thought to be relatively low, GBS infection can pose a risk to your baby so if you test positive for it you will be prescribed antibiotics to reduce this risk.
Changes to your baby
At 34 weeks, your baby won't be moving as much as they used to, put simply they just don't have the room to do so anymore! Your baby's tummy is now fully developed and working efficiently to the point that if you were to give birth to your baby at 34 weeks, your baby would be able to process food all on their own.
Your baby's memory is continuing to develop at 34 weeks and they are absorbing information all the time. Be sure to talk and sing to your baby as much as possible as this has been proven to help with the bonding process and amazingly your little baby will remember the sound of your voice from inside the womb once they are born.
At this stage of your pregnancy, your baby is the same weight as that of a cantaloupe melon. This means that your baby weighs four and three-quarter pounds, or 2.2 kilograms and measures around 18 inches or 45 centimetres in length from head to toe.
Be sure to talk and sing to your baby as much as possible as this has been
proven to help with the bonding process and amazingly your little baby will
remember the sound of your voice from inside the womb once they are born.
Tips for a happy pregnancy
At 34 weeks, it is time to consider everything you have learned through your antenatal classes. You may like to try the relaxation exercises you have been taught and practise them with your birthing partner. They will be particularly helpful during this stage of your pregnancy.
You may also like to attempt a perineal massage. This will reduce your chances of tearing your perineum during labour. If you haven't already been taught how to perform a perineal massage, you may like to ask your midwife for more information.
You should continue to stay active at this stage of your pregnancy. Light exercise in the fresh air will help you to keep active which will assist you in labour and will also help to relieve any stress you may be feeling.