More growth and new movement
Week 34: Your baby is still growing and is getting ready for birth
Between the 34th and 37th weeks of pregnancy, your baby continues to refine his systems and put on significant weight.
- He probably weighs about 5-1/2 pounds and is about 12-1/2 inches long from head to rump, which is about as long as a loaf of bread.
- The white, waxy coating protecting your baby's skin (vernix) thickens this week.
- The soft downy hair (lanugo) that insulated your baby's skin so effectively for months is now almost gone.
- Your baby's fingernails have reached the tips of his fingers.
- Your baby might gain about 1/2 of a pound this week as his weight continues to build quickly.
Your Week 34 nutrition and health
Fill up on fluids during your 34th week of pregnancy
Water is one of the most important nutrients in your diet when you are pregnant. It constitutes half of your body weight, which adds up to about 10 to 12 gallons. You need water to digest and absorb other nutrients, remove waste products from the body, regulate body temperature, and perform the millions of metabolic processes essential to life.
You lose about 2 to 3 quarts of water every day when you sweat, go to the bathroom, and even breathe. Drinking water is more important than ever as dehydration can lead to false contractions, also known as Braxton-Hicks contractions. In addition to preventing contractions, water:
- Helps build important tissues
- Assists nutrients as they circulate in and out of your body
- Aids in digestion
- Helps you maintain the right amount of amniotic fluids
Make sure you are getting 10 glasses (about 8 ounces, each) of water a day. Drink more if you are exercising. Here’s a tip: You can count other fluids, such as 100% fruit juices, vegetable juices, soup, and milk, but you still want to try to keep regular water as your primary source of fluid.
The facts about lightening
Lightening is defined as when your baby drops or settles into your pelvis in preparation for birth. This can occur as early as this week.
- When your baby does drop into the pelvic area, he is considered engaged or in position for birth.
- Lightening can happen several weeks before your baby's birth, especially if this is your first pregnancy. Or, it could happen the day your labor begins.
- You might notice that your belly seems lower and more tilted forward when this happens.
- This can cause discomforts, such as leaking or frequent urination, to increase.
- If you've experienced numbness or pain from pressure on your sciatic nerve, this also should stop if your baby drops now or in the next few weeks.
- You might continue to notice late-pregnancy swelling in your legs or ankles throughout this week. Your doctor will continue to watch this during checkups.
- Braxton-Hicks contractions might continue to prepare your body for childbirth.
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