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34 Weeks Pregnant


Image: Fetal Development At 34 Weeks

How did it happen so quickly? Your little one now weighs around 2.2 kilos (4 ½ pounds!). Her intestinal and digestive systems are now functioning fully, hooray! It might be hard to believe but she may even sometimes wee up to a pint into the amniotic fluid. And to top it off your baby’s first poo is waiting in her intestines to be passed after birth – lucky you! (Maybe not).

By now your baby will most likely be facing down, although she may still be changing position a little bit. Baby’s skull bones are still somewhat malleable and the bone plates have not completely fused, which will make it easier for her to travel down the birth canal on the big day. The rest of her bones are hardening a lot right now.

If this is your first baby, there’s about a one in two chance that your little one’s head will move into your pelvis this week, pressing against your cervix firmly. If this is not your first, that’s likely to happen the week before you give birth, or even just before labour in some cases.

You’ll most likely have another antenatal appointment this week. If you’ve read your notes and are unsure of anything, just ask. Doctors and midwives often write quickly in shorthand and code so you may need some things explained.

If you have been making a birth plan, now might be a good time to have another look at it to make sure you’re still happy with things. Have you started thinking about what you want in your birth bag yet? It might seem too early but you’ll be surprised how these things can creep up.

Should I be worried about my bump size? My midwife measured my bump and said that I am ‘measuring large’. What does this mean?
The first thing for any mum-to-be to remember is that measuring yourself at home is not considered an accurate screening method – let your midwife measure you. She’ll wrap a tape measure around you from your pubic bone’s upper edge to the top of your womb. Since the top of your womb is called the fundus, this measurement is known as the ‘fundal height’.

Midwives usually start measuring bumps from about 24 weeks for first-time mums and 28 weeks for all others. It’s said that the expected growth should match the amount of weeks in centimetres. In other words if you’re 28 weeks you should be 28cms.

However, bumps vary and around a 2cm window either side is normal. You may also be slightly larger if it’s not your first pregnancy. Mums expecting second or third babies do tend to have bigger bumps. This is thought to be because their tummy muscles have been stretched in pregnancy before. If you’re a bit shorter than average or you carry a bit of extra weight anyway, the measurement may be bigger.

It’s difficult to measure fundal height exactly and often different medical professionals come up with different measurements. Even if your bump exceeds the expected measurement, your midwife is far more likely to be concerned about the prospect of a baby being underweight than slightly large.

However if you have diabetes, or any other condition that increases the likelihood of bearing a large baby, you and your little one will be monitored closely throughout your pregnancy. Your baby’s growth can be checked with extra scans to make sure everything is progressing well.

Possible Scan at Week 34
The purpose of a Well-being Scan is to check that the baby is growing well and that the pregnancy is developing normally. You may want to have this scan if your baby has been moving less, if you have had unusual tummy pains, light bleeding or if you have had some kind of accident (for example on the road or in a fall).

A Wellbeing Scan is particularly important if you have had pregnancy complications or problems in a previous pregnancy. This scan is usually only offered by the NHS if there is a complication with the pregnancy.