34 Weeks Pregnant
Watch what you say! Your curious baby can hear your voice and is listening in on your conversations at 34 weeks pregnant. In fact, baby might enjoy a lullaby or two—so go ahead and sing to them. Some experts say that, after birth, babies can recognize songs mom sang while pregnant; they may even be more easily soothed by those familiar tunes once they're “on the outside.” And no, baby won’t care if you’re singing a bit off-key.
At 34 weeks pregnant, baby is the size of a butternut squash. With less than two months until go time, baby weighs in at about 4.7 pounds and measures about 17.7 inches.
At 34 weeks pregnant, you’re eight months pregnant, give or take. You’re only about six weeks away from becoming a mom!
Your symptoms at week 34 of pregnancy are pretty typical to late pregnancy and might seem like a broken record from here on out.
- Blurry vision. A combination of hormones, fluid buildup and lack of sleep may make your vision seem a little “off.” Sometimes it’s just a normal, temporary pregnancy symptom, but if your blurry vision is accompanied by swelling, headache, rapid weight gain and/or swelling, it could be a sign of preeclampsia, so tell your OB right away.
- Fatigue. It’s exhausting carrying around all that extra weight (whether you’ve got one baby in there or you’re 34 weeks pregnant with twins). And if only you could sleep at night!
- Constipation. It’s normal to be stopped up at 34 weeks pregnant, which can make you feel more uncomfortable than you already are. Remember to take frequent walks, eat foods with lots of fiber (think: leafy greens) and drink lots of water to get things moving.
- Hemorrhoids. What a vicious cycle! Straining when you go to the bathroom can cause this other not-at-all-fun symptom—and so can all the extra weight baby is putting on your rectum. To ease hemorrhoids, work on the constipation and try different sitting and standing positions to ease some of the pressure on the area.
- Swollen ankles and feet. Sit down and put up your feet whenever you can to reduce the swelling.
- Abdominal pressure. As baby prepares for arrival and settles down lower, you might feel pressure in your pelvis and even more frequent urination.
- Braxton Hicks contractions. At 34 weeks pregnant, cramping sensations are totally normal. It’s likely your body is just getting ready for the real deal. Note, though, that at 34 weeks pregnant, pelvic pain could be the sign of a problem. Regular contractions that don’t stop after about an hour, vaginal bleeding and lower back pain are all signs of premature labor. If you have any of these worrisome symptoms at 34 weeks, call your OB immediately.
You’re so close, but baby at 34 weeks isn’t quite full term yet. (That won’t be until they reach 37 weeks.) However, at 34 weeks, baby has a great chance of being strong and healthy, ike any full-term infant. Still, they may require some extra time in the hospital to make sure everything is okay before going home with you.
Your 34 weeks pregnant belly might seem a little—or a lot—lower than it did a few weeks ago. That’s because baby may have descended lower into your pelvis. This may let you breathe a little easier, since your lungs have more space. Ahh! (Some babies don’t do this until the day they’re born, so we’re not making any guarantees.) The pitfall of this descent, of course, is even more pressure on your bladder, so be prepared to make even more trips to the ladies’ room over the coming weeks.
At 34 weeks pregnant, your belly should measure about 32 to 36 centimeters from the top of the uterus to the pubic bone. If you’re measuring a bit big or a bit small, it could mean baby is bigger or smaller than average or in a breech or sideways position, or that there is an abnormal level of amniotic fluid. Anything out of the ordinary with fundal height (that belly measurement) may prompt your doctor to order a 34 weeks pregnant ultrasound to figure out the cause.
Fun fact: Amniotic fluid is at an all-time high between weeks 34 and 36, so you might feel as if your belly isn’t getting too much bigger after this point. That’s because fluid will decrease so baby can keep growing and have room to wiggle around. Still, they’re getting snug in there, causing movement to start to feel slightly different around this time.
Continue checking in on baby by doing kick counts. Twice a day, set a timer and see how much time it takes baby to move 10 times. (It should be an hour or less.) Let your doctor know about any notable changes.
If you’re 34 weeks pregnant with twins, you might be feeling pretty antsy. That could be a subtle psychological sign that the babies are coming soon. For twin moms-to-be, the countdown is officially on, since a twin pregnancy reaches full term at 37 weeks. If there’s no need to deliver your babies early, you’re likely to go into labor around 37 weeks.
You’ll likely take a trip to the OB this week, since you’re probably seeing them every other week. If your doctor orders it, you could have a biophysical profile (BPP), which is a combination of a 34 weeks pregnant ultrasound and a special non-stress test, which measures baby’s heart rate over a period of 20 minutes. Together, these two tests help the doctor confirm that baby is reacting well to stress and thriving.
Enjoy having next week off, because starting at week 36 you’ll have weekly OB appointments. You’ll probably have a Group B strep test around 36 weeks too, which involves a vaginal and rectal swab. Ten to 30 percent of pregnant women test positive for the Group B strep bacteria, which could be harmful to baby if passed to them during delivery. If you test positive for Group B strep, it’s no biggie—you’ll just have to take some antibiotics during labor and delivery. Maybe pick a new book to read during your waiting room time.
Are babies fully developed at 34 weeks?
Pretty close! A 34-week fetus can hear, see, sleep and breathe, among other things. You’ll also probably feel a lot of movement—your baby knows it’s almost time for their big debut!
What does baby look like at 34 weeks?
Baby at 34 weeks looks a lot like they will when they’re born, just with less body fat. At this point, it’s all about the finishing touches. Fingernails have grown in, their skin is smoothing out and baby keeps putting on weight. You’ll be seeing what baby looks like very soon!
Pass on the salt
Swollen feet are tough enough to deal with—don’t make them worse by adding fluid-retaining salt to your foods. Keep an eye on any prepared foods you eat too, and choose low-sodium versions when you can.
Drink water… and then drink some more water
If you’ve got Braxton Hicks, it could be a sign that you need to drink more water—dehydration is a big contributing factor for these contractions. And because water helps relieve and prevent constipation, drinking a lot of it is doubly good for you!
Take care of your bottom line
Hemorrhoids aren’t fun, but you can make them a little more bearable by treating them with some TLC. A warm sitz bath and witch hazel pads can help, and so does spending plenty of time on your feet—sitting too long puts pressure on the blood vessels affected by the hemorrhoids. Constipation is another cause of hemorrhoids, so do what you can to keep everything running smoothly.
Wind down for the evening
Get your mind and body ready for bed each evening, and you may have a better chance of sleeping through the night. Try a few gentle prenatal yoga stretches at night to soothe aches and pains, eat at least three hours before bedtime to give your meal time to digest and skip the late-night TV talk shows or social media scrolling—the light from screens can mess with your body clock, preventing you from falling asleep. If you need something to help you doze off, read a few pages of a book instead.
Reminders for the week:
Medical content was reviewed November 2020 by Sherry A. Ross, MD, an ob-gyn and women’s health expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, and author of she-ology and she-ology, the she-quel: let’s continue the conversation.