With 34 weeks down, you're cruising through month 8 of your pregnancy.
Your little bambino is now weighing in at about 5 pounds — the same as a standard bag of flour.
Meanwhile, your uterus keeps on growing (and growing) to accommodate the bigger bun in the oven.
Your Baby at Week 34
Want to get a real sense of your baby’s size right now? Head to your supermarket’s baking aisle and pick up a five-pound bag of flour. That’s about how much your little muffin weighs. Now, stack three bags of flour on top of each other — that’s how tall he is (well, if he could stand) — about 20 inches in length.
Have a boy bun in the oven? Then hooray for his testicles, which started out tucked up in his abdomen and are now migrating to their permanent home — his scrotum. In about three to four percent of boys, the testicles hang out upstairs a while longer, lingering until some lads turn a year old. So don’t worry if your son is born with undescended testicles...they’ll make an appearance in the near future.
Both boy and girl babies are producing lots of sex hormones now, which will explain why the genitals may appear large and swollen at birth… and in the case of a little man, why the scrotal skin may appear darkly pigmented in the first few weeks after birth.
In other news, with just a few weeks to the big day, vernix — the white waxy coating that protects baby’s skin from amniotic fluid and provides lubrication for delivery — is thickening right on prepping schedule. Also right on schedule is the maturation of your little one’s intestines, enabling them to fully digest mama’s delicious milk when the time comes!
At a Glance
34 weeks pregnant is how many months?
If you're 34 weeks pregnant, you're in month 8 of your pregnancy. Only 1 month left to go! Still have questions? Here's some more information on how weeks, months and trimesters are broken down in pregnancy.
How big is my baby at 34 weeks?
This week your baby is clocking in at 5¼ pounds and could be as long as 18 inches. Need a visual? Hold a 5-pound bag of flour in your arms and imagine it's your soon-to-be-born baby — cradle it and you'll only get strange looks in the baking aisle.
Then stack three such bags one on top of the other and get ready for some more strange looks, maybe from the same clerks who saw you grinning and holding that 1-pound bag of sugar a few weeks ago. That's how long your baby is at 34 weeks pregnant.
Baby sex differences
If your baby is a boy, then this week the testicles are making their way down from the abdomen to the scrotum. Some full-term baby boys — roughly 3 to 4 percent — are born with undescended testicles, but they usually make the trip down sometime before the first birthday. About 30 percent of preterm boys are born with undescended testicles, too.
Tiny fingernails and toenails
In other baby-related developments, those tiny fingernails have probably reached the tips of his fingers by now — and are getting ready for that first postpartum manicure.
Your Body at Week 34
Your eyes do not deceive you: Your uterus is still growing — and you thought there was no more room! — and, at 34 weeks pregnant, is around a whole 5 inches above your navel now.
But wait...are you seeing things? You likely aren't seeing as well as usual. That's because your eyes are yet another part of your body that can fall prey to those pesky pregnancy hormones — the same ones doing a number on your digestive tract and your ligaments.
Not only can your vision seem blurry these days, but a decrease in tear production can leave your eyes dry and irritated, especially if you wear contact lenses.
What's more, an increase in fluid behind your eyes’ lenses can temporarily change their shape, making some women more nearsighted or farsighted than usual. You may find wearing glasses rather than contact lenses to be more comfortable.
Happily, these changes are all temporary. Things should clear up as your eyes return to normal after delivery, so there's no need to change your prescription just yet. But do keep in mind that certain more serious vision problems can be a sign of preeclampsia, so be sure to mention any vision changes to your practitioner.
Pregnancy Symptoms Week 34
Tips for You This Week
You bought the car seat, but have you installed it yet? A better question: Have you installed it correctly? Between 85 and 95 percent of new parents do it wrong.
No matter the model of vehicle or car seat you have, you should always follow three important rules for installing an infant car seat:
1. The safest spot for your baby is always in the backseat — preferably in the middle spot, away from passenger-side air bags.
2. Face it backwards. Experts including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) urge parents to keep kids in the rear-facing position until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat.
3. Be sure the base is secured tightly. A car seat shouldn’t wobble, pivot, slide or tip. If you're not sure if you installed it correctly, get yours checked by a professional technician. Your local police or fire station may also be able to check your handiwork for free.
Your eyes may be feeling more dry and sensitive than usual, so keep your sunglasses and lubricating eye drops, known as “artificial tears,” handy.
Many are safe to use during pregnancy, but ask your doctor for a recommendation first. Your peepers will be filled with tears of joy soon enough.
Feeling blue? Between 10 and 15 percent of pregnant women suffer from depression during pregnancy. And it’s no wonder they’re even more susceptible to depression when they’re expecting: Surging hormones coupled with stress, anxiety and societal pressure to feel a certain way can do a number on their emotional state.
Some factors can put you at greater risk for depression, but it can strike anyone at any time — and there’s no shame in asking for help. Talk to your provider; some antidepressants are safe to use when pregnant.
Wondering if cutting back on salt will help ease the puff? That depends on how much salt you're eating in the first place. Doctors used to recommend a low-sodium diet during pregnancy — which made it hard to satisfy those pickles-and-ice-cream cravings — but thankfully they no longer do.
A moderate amount of salt — for example, adding iodized table salt to your meals and eating lightly salted foods— actually helps your body regulate fluids. Plus, dramatically cutting back on sodium isn't good for the baby.
But before you polish off that pickle jar, keep in mind that too much salt isn't healthy for anyone, pregnant or not, and can even pump up the puffing.
The bottom line? Salt, but don't oversalt, your food. Give yourself a one- or two-pickle-per-sitting limit, skip the heavily salted snacks and get into the habit of tasting before sprinkling.
Looking for an energy lift now that you've cut down on those lattes? Believe it or not, you'll find it in regular exercise. A brisk walk, jog or yoga session will increase blood flow and boost feel-good endorphins.
The result? A revitalizing burst of energy, one that actually lasts longer than the coffee-induced kind. Need more convincing? Unlike those lattes, physical activity helps you sleep better too, which will also stave off daytime fatigue.
Love a good soak in the tub? Then dive right in, darling. There's no truth to the myth that dirty bath water can enter the cervix and cause an infection. Do check that the temperature is right though: It should be warm, not hot.
And just be careful when you climb inside — at 34 weeks pregnant, your bigger belly may affect your sense of balance, and not being able to see your feet can make you even more prone to spills. Make sure your tub has a non-skid surface, and take your time getting in and out.
Make sure you talk to your doctor about what to do when you think you're in labor. It will help to get clear instructions on when to call your practitioner about contractions, what to do if your water breaks, and if or when to go to the hospital directly. That way, you’ll know what to expect and won’t be confused in the heat of the moment.
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