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Petite women are just as capable of delivering large babies as larger women. Many petite women have delivered babies weighing in at eight pounds or more. So don’t panic just because you are small. You can do it!

James W Brann, MD

Your Pregnancy MD
Pregnancy Week Thirty Four

Author James W. Brann, M.D.

Pregnancy Week 34
Pregnancy Week 34

At 34 weeks of pregnancy your uterus measures roughly 5.6 inches from the top of your belly button. You make find however that you look larger or smaller than other pregnant women who are at the same stage of pregnancy as you are. Each woman tends to carry her baby a bit differently. Keep in mind the size of your abdomen generally does not necessarily correspond to your baby’s size. Some women measuring very small or looking small will still have very large babies!

You might start feeling a bit uncomfortable and anxious to meet your tiny baby. Some women start feeling anxious about delivery around this time. Others worry that their baby may not be able to fit through the birth canal. Fortunately most babies have no difficulty fitting through their mother’s pelvis, even if your pelvis is small.

 If you do have concerns your healthcare provider can provide you with guidance to predict whether or not your baby is too big to fit through your pelvis. Usually this diagnosis is not made until labor though, as your doctor assesses how well your baby fits or “descends” into your pelvis.

Petite women are just as capable of delivering large babies as larger women. Many petite women have delivered babies weighing in at eight pounds or more. So don’t panic just because you are small. You can do it!

The same is true of larger women. Some onlookers have an annoying habit of pointing out how large some women are growing. Just because you are large doesn’t mean you will have a 12 pound baby. Relax. Most babies know just how big to grow to fit through their mother’s birth canal.

Backache is a common at 34 weeks

Backache at 34 Weeks
Backache at 34 Weeks

Backaches and low back discomfort are a regular pregnancy symptom at 34 weeks pregnant that you must struggle with. The heavy weight of your uterus, as well as hormonal changes relaxing the ligaments and muscles in your body, can lead to extra strain on your back.

Pregnancy-related back pain and discomfort is related to the physical changes you experience when you’re expecting a little one. Similar to round ligament pain, it’s another “growing pain” of pregnancy.

Because your uterus expands many times its pre-pregnancy size, this ends up shifting your center of gravity – which causes you to tilt backwards to avoid tumbling forward. When you lean backwards, this adds strain on your back muscles and makes them work harder than before. In addition, as your uterus gets larger, it causes the abdominal muscles that support your spine to stretch and weaken. This can contribute to the back discomfort that you experience in the second and third trimesters.

Your hormones also play a role in back pain and discomfort in pregnancy. The elevation of the pregnancy hormones estradiol (estrogen) and progesterone is associated with increased joint pain (back pain).

You may find that your backaches and pain is worse at the end of the day. Unfortunately, back discomfort will get worse the further along you are in your pregnancy. This is simply a pregnancy symptom you must suffer through for your little bundle of joy.

How to get relief from back pain

Throughout your pregnancy, you can get relief from back pain and discomfort with the following techniques:

  • Pay attention to your posture – Instead of leaning backwards, stand up straight and hold your chest high. This may seem like it’s hard to do, but good posture may help you feel better. If your job requires you to stand for an extended period of time, elevate one foot on a box or stool. This will make staying upright more comfortable. When you are sitting, you should find a chair with good back support. If you don’t have that luxury, place a small pillow behind your back.
  • Wear the Right Shoes – You may see pregnant celebrities walking down the red carpet with high heels, but high heels aren’t practical for the regular Jane. To reduce your back discomfort, you should wear low-heeled shoes (not flat) with good arch support.
  • Ask for Help When Lifting – It’s not a good idea to lift heavy objects when you are pregnant. It may put you at higher risk for a back injury, not to mention it adds even more strain on your back. If you need to lift or pick up a heavy object, don’t be afraid to ask someone else for help. When picking up a small object, you need to squat down, keeping your back straight, and lift with your legs. Do not bend forward and lift with your back.
  • Sleep on your side – As your uterus grows, you may find that sleeping on your back is uncomfortable. Even if you find it comfortable, you should avoid it. Sleeping on your back forces the weight of your uterus on your back muscles, spine, and major blood vessels. This increases the likelihood you will suffer from backaches during pregnancy, as well as impaired circulation – which can reduce blood flow to your baby. The best sleep position for pregnancy is on your left side. You may also consider using a pregnancy pillow for support.
  • Heat or Cold Therapy – If you find that your backaches bother you, you might get some relief with a heating pad, or by applying ice packs on the painful area. Massage may also help you feel better. If you have a willing partner, ask him to rub your back. Not only is this a romantic gesture, but it also may help you feel better.

Back Labor

Back labor
Back Labor

The process of labor and delivery is one of the most exhausting and painful life experiences that a woman may experience. Although it is possible to experience mild pain during labor, most women who had previously given birth will most likely describe the pain as horrendously or excruciatingly painful.

However, if there is one type of labor that an expecting woman would never want to deal with during childbirth, it will be back labor. It comes with a good reason. Back labor is known to cause more intense labor pains and longer hours in the labor room. The term “back labor” is commonly used to describe labor where most of the discomfort and pain occurs in the lower back, more specifically above the coccyx or tailbone.

What is back labor?

Labor pain initially starts in the back. As the labor progresses, the pain typically radiates to the lower abdominal region. By the time the baby comes through the birth canal, the pain radiates down to the perineal area and later on, in the thighs. What distinguishes back labor from the usual labor is its marked persistence in the lower back. A few number of women who experienced back labor reported that the pain was exclusively limited in the tailbone area.

Most women report slight cramping in their lower back at some point during labor, but with back labor, the discomfort is most severe during uterine contractions. The pain and the contractions may even linger in between contractions. It is estimated that 25% of laboring mothers may have back labor.

Occiput posterior: The most common cause of back labor

Back labor is frequently associated with the baby’s position. Back labor is most likely to occur when the baby enters the vaginal canal face up instead of the usual face down position. This position is medically termed occiput posterior or OP. The OP describes the baby’s position in relation to the mother’s pelvis. In the position, the baby is faces the mother’s abdomen. As a consequence, the baby’s occipital bone located in the back of the skull presses directly on the mother’s tailbone, which is richly supplied by nerves. The pressure applied into the tailbone and its nerves is often the cause of intense pain related to back labor.

Other causes of back labor

Although delivering a baby in the face up position is the most common cause of back labor, it is not the sole cause. There are some laboring women who simply perceive more pain and tightening in their backs during labor than others. A research revealed that a woman who has a history of back pain during her menstrual cycle is more susceptible to experience back labor, irrespective of the baby’s position in relation with the pelvis.

Back labor experience

Aside from the excruciating and persistent pain in the lower back, laboring women who experience back labor are more likely to experience a slower progression of labor. The labor may be longer than the usual due to the odd positioning of the baby’s head during the delivery. It is important to keep in mind that every woman goes through labor and delivery differently. A woman who finds out that she is delivering a baby in occiput posterior must not immediately conclude a definite longer labor process.

How to ease back labor

Back labor is not preventable; however, it is a relief to know that a mother delivering a baby in face up position can do something to ease the back pain.

Change positions
One of the most effective ways to relieve back labor is to change positions. If back labor is suspected, it is advised to get off your back, straddle a chair and lean forward. Kneeling against a birthing ball or a pile of pillows can be helpful. It is also recommended to get up on all fours. These positions can significantly reduce the pressure applied by the baby’s bony back on the spine.

Perform pelvic tilts
Pelvic tilts are a simple and non-stressful exercise used to minimize the pressure against the tailbone. Start by kneeling on all fours. Place your hands directly under the shoulders; the knees must be directly under the hips. Inhale and gently lift the pelvis forward. Allow the hips to drop or move toward the floor. Exhale, and gently squeeze in your abdominal muscles as the pelvis is titled backward and up toward the ceiling.

Another person may apply a firm back rub against the lower back between or during the contractions. A tennis ball or any rounded object may be rolled down the back. Back rubs with steady counterpressure during contractions may also relieve the discomfort. Massage is generally accepted as a technique that can help reduce pain, control anxiety, and promote relaxation.

A warm bath may relieve some of the pain. Application of warm compresses or indirect application of hot-water bottle can relax the tense muscles. For some women, application of cold packs can be more soothing. Whatever feels best is recommended.

The pain arising from back labor can be intense. For some women, the pain may be too much to endure. An epidural anesthesia may be considered to temporarily block the pain in the lower part of the body. Back labor is hard to predict. Every expecting mother is recommended to work with a health care team before labor to evaluate the options should back labor occurs. The mother must understand the benefits and risks of the anesthetic drugs.

Are you Having Trouble Breathing Now?

Shortness of breath is a very difficult side effect of pregnancy which takes many first timers by surprise. It’s not that it’s any easier to breathe the second time around; it’s just that you understand what is happening.

The toughest part of this ailment is that it’s scary. You worry that you won’t catch your breath, that you (and baby) aren’t getting enough oxygen. The physical sensation of breathlessness can cause anxiety which then exacerbates the problem. Take it from me, you will catch your breath…just not as quickly as you’d like.

One thing that helps: stretch out on your left side. This increases blood flow to the brain and quickly alleviates SOB, or shortness of breath.

So why do pregnant women experience shortness of breath?

A third trimester mom’s uterus is now large enough to push up on her digestive organs and her diaphragm. Where do they get pushed? Upward toward the lungs. The lungs may not fill up as much as they used to when breathing, creating a feeling of breathlessness. Hopefully, the breathlessness comes and goes as baby changes position. In most cases, mom is able to catch her breath again full time for the last month of weeks of pregnancy, when baby’s head moves toward or into the birth canal.

Physically, the uterus compresses the venous return of blood from the legs, cutting off blood supply to the heart and lungs. This decreases the oxygen in the blood and gives you the sensation of a rapid heartbeat and SOB.

When you take the uterus weight off the large veins (vena cava ) of the legs, the circulation increases and you immediately feel better. Simply sit down. Then, lean to your left side a bit to shift the uterus and allow for the free flow of blood from the legs.

In some cases, very long or large babies will exert pressure on the lungs earlier or longer. Maybe future NBA or WNBA players are preparing mom for breathless moments in the stands.

If you’re feeling breathless, there are some things you can try to do to help alleviate the sensation.

If you can’t catch your breath:

  • Do not panic
  • Straighten up your shoulders and back, giving your lungs some “breathing room”
  • Slow down whatever physical activity you are engaging in; take some pressure off your respiratory system
  • Prop yourself up when sleeping and never sleep on your back.
  • Always sleep on one side or the other. The left side is best.

Hip Pain during Pregnancy?

Hip Pain
Hip Pain

What causes hip pain during pregnancy?

Hip pain is a normal pregnancy symptom that usually plagues women in the third trimester. You may have experienced hip discomfort in the second trimester, but it’s usually more of a problem in the final weeks of pregnancy. Your hip pain or hip discomfort may be mild or excruciating. Some women find that their hip pain is so uncomfortable that it keeps them awake at night; others have a hard time walking in the morning due to their pain.

During pregnancy, your body releases an important hormone (called relaxin), which relaxes and softens all your joints and muscles. Relaxin is released in high amounts to prepare your body for labor. This hormone is responsible for softening the joints in your pelvis, so that it’s easier for your baby’s body to move through the birth canal when it’s time for delivery. Unfortunately, relaxin also increases your susceptibility to injury, and it results in hip pain for some women.

Physical changes in your body also contribute to the development of hip pain in pregnancy. The softening and shifting of your pelvic bones, paired with the pressure of carrying around a huge uterus, can lead to hip pain and discomfort in the third trimester.

How to Get Relief from Pregnancy Hip Pain

Because hip pain is caused by the normal physical and hormonal changes of pregnancy, you cannot prevent this uncomfortable sensation. Not to worry – there are a number of things you can do to try to minimize your hip pain and discomfort.

  • Use a full body pregnancy pillow when you sleep. Most pregnant women experience hip pain when they’re trying to sleep. This is typically due to poor posture or lack of good support in the joints in your pelvic area during sleep. You can easily remedy this with the use of a full body pregnancy pillow. Pregnancy pillows conform to the unique shape of your body and offer support to your back, belly, and legs.
  • Don’t cross your legs when you sleep. Some pregnant women notice that their hip pain is worse in the morning, especially if they have slept with their ankles crossed. This position may increase pressure to your hips.
  • Rest when you can. Standing on your feet all day can really aggravate pregnancy-related hip pain. Make sure that you sit down or rest as much as you can during the day.
  • Take a swim. When you’re in the water, you are weightless and this can take the pressure off your joints. Swimming is actually one of the best exercises for pregnant women.
  • Schedule a prenatal massage. A prenatal massage is targeted to easing the aches and pains of pregnant women. Not only do prenatal massages relax all your muscles and de-stress you, but they make you feel better and offer relief from hip pain. A trained prenatal massage therapist knows exactly where an expectant mother’s sore spots are, and they will adjust their techniques based on how far along you are.
  • Try out Yoga or Pilates. Many pregnant women find that yoga and Pilates helps relieve their back and hip pain in pregnancy. You can probably find a prenatal yoga or Pilates class in your local area. The instructors who teach these pregnancy exercise classes know exactly what positions may stretch and align your hips and pelvis to give you some relief.

During pregnancy, you might also benefit from going to see a chiropractor. Make sure that you find a chiropractor that is specially trained to treat expectant mothers. Getting regular adjustments may help you feel better, since an experienced professional will know exactly how to relieve your aches and pains.

If you decide to seek the assistance of a chiropractor, ask your doctor or healthcare provider for a referral.

Swelling (Edema) is Very Common in Pregnancy

Swelling during pregnancy is quite common. In fact most if not all pregnant women will experience swelling during some part of their pregnancy. Some women tend to swell more than others. Swelling from water retention can contribute up to 25% of the weight gain during pregnancy.

In the second and third trimester, you may start to experience water retention that causes mild swelling in your hands, face, ankles, abdominal wall and vulva. This is called “edema,” and it’s quite common when you’re expecting.

Swelling is basically a result of compromised circulation. Your enlarged uterus places pressure on the blood vessels in your pelvis and legs. That pressure slows your circulation down. That compromised circulation causes blood to pool and push fluid into your tissue, hence swelling.

What Increases Swelling during Pregnancy

There are certain lifestyle habits that can contribute to swelling during pregnancy.

  • Hot or humid conditions which can contribute to water retention.
  • Not drinking enough water, this can trigger the body to retain fluid.
  • Standing for long periods of time, this can cause pooling of your blood and push fluid into the tissue that results in swelling.
  • Over consumption of diuretic foods like caffeine. Like not drinking enough water this can trigger your body to retain liquid.
  • High salt intake from processed foods during the day will cause retention of water.

Tips to Reduce Swelling in Pregnancy

In most cases, swelling during pregnancy is normal. To minimize your edema, or swelling during pregnancy, you should avoid foods that are high in salt, or sodium. Salt-laced foods can make your swelling worse. Other steps that you can take to reduce swelling include:

  • Exercising on a regular, if not daily, basis. (Unless your doctor has warned against it, light or moderate exercise during pregnancy is healthy, and it may ease many of your pregnancy aches and pains.)
  • Don’t stay standing for extended periods of time. If your job forces you to remain standing for a long time, you should stretch your legs when you can, and shift the weight between each leg.
  • Consider wearing maternity support hose. While support hose isn’t exactly stylish, it may help promote blood circulation in your lower extremities.
  • When you are resting, you should always lay on your sides, left better than right. This may minimize swelling.

Pitting Edema – Severe Swelling

Severe swelling or edema is usually detected by the presence of pitting after pressure is applied to your swollen ankles for at least five seconds. Pitting reflects movement of the excess water from the tissue where pressure was applied.

Physicians commonly grade pitting edema from 1+ to 4+ (mild to severe). Although there is no agreed upon definition of these grades, this type of grading scheme may help your physician record relative changes in your swelling. Your physician will also watch your weight gain, for a sudden increase in weight in a short period of time is an ominous sign.

Swelling is a Warning Sign of Pre-Eclampsia

Although a little swelling is normal and nothing to worry about in pregnancy, sudden swelling in the face or hands may be a sign of pre-eclampsia – a serious pregnancy complication that is marked by high blood pressure and a protein in the urine. If you notice sudden swelling that causes you to gain more than a few pounds within a small window of time, contact your doctor or healthcare provider right away.

Pre-eclampsia can be life-threatening to mother and baby, so you want to pay extra attention to sudden swelling. Bad headaches, upper abdominal pain and blurred vision are all other symptoms that you may have developed this condition. Your doctor can take prompt action to ensure your safety and that of your baby.

Are you Having Trouble Remembering Things These Days?

Pregnancy brain
Pregnancy Brain

Do you find yourself easily distracted? You aren’t alone. Forgetfulness during pregnancy is quite common, especially in the first and third trimesters. This phenomenon is called “pregnancy brain.”

When you’re pregnant, you may be in the middle of an important conversation, and you suddenly forget what you were talking about. Or you’re on the way to the kitchen, and when you get there, you forget why you went there. You may even forget important meetings and appointments. It can be frustrating to feel so forgetful, but it’s just another side effect of pregnancy.

What Causes Forgetfulness in Pregnancy?

Experts aren’t sure exactly what causes “pregnancy brain,” but hormones are thought to play a role. Emerging research suggests that pregnant women have trouble with spatial recognition memory – which is your ability to locate and know where things are in your world (or environment).

Researchers who study spatial recognition memory in pregnant women found that expectant mothers had a more difficult time learning rules and planning to move objects within a space. In addition, pregnant women couldn’t remember if they had seen past patterns or locations. The scientists also discovered that pregnant women had higher levels of depression and anxiety – which improved after the baby was born. This suggested that hormonal fluctuations might be to blame for “pregnancy brain.”

Other theories about absentmindedness

Being absentminded when you’re pregnant might also result from your pregnancy symptoms.

In the first trimester, you may find that you’re easily distracted by the prospect of having a new baby, or you might be nervous about the health of your baby. The fatigue and morning sickness that plagues you in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy can also contribute to your fogginess and forgetfulness.

The “pregnancy brain” typically gets better in the second trimester, since you’re feeling much better and the annoying first trimester symptoms go away. But when you reach the final trimester, you will find that your tendency to be more forgetful returns.

Your pregnancy brain in the third trimester may be a result of the overwhelming anxiety that you feel about your baby’s impending delivery, or sheer exhaustion, especially since your fatigue has come back and it becomes harder to sleep at night (due to your huge belly getting in the way).

How Can I Cope with Pregnancy Brain?

Although being so forgetful may be frustrating, once you deliver your baby and become settled into your role as a mother, you will regain your concentration and feel less forgetful. In the meanwhile, you should write everything down. Create a grocery list of items you need around the house; keep a planner for important meetings and appointments; use alerts and reminders on your cell phone. If you’re organized and write everything down, there is less chance that you’ll forget something important.

What Causes Clumsiness in Pregnancy?

Have you noticed that you’re becoming clumsier as your pregnancy continues?

You may find that anything in your hand immediately drops to the ground, or you have a harder time holding onto items. It’s also common for you to accidentally bump into door frames and cabinets around the house.

Clumsiness in pregnancy is a normal symptom to expect and it’s no wonder when you realize everything that’s going on in your body.

Clumsiness is normal and it’s caused by a number of factors. For one, you are lugging around much more weight than normal. For most women, by the time they have their baby, they have gained 35 pounds or more. The recommended weight gain for the average sized woman is only 25 to 35 pounds, but many women gain way more than this.

On top of your pregnancy weight gain, you tend to be clumsier due to your “pregnancy brain” making it harder for you to concentrate on anything. Your center of gravity also changes in pregnancy, as a result of your growing belly, and this can contribute to clumsiness in pregnancy.

Plus, pregnancy hormones relax all the joints in your body – including the joints in your toes and fingers. You just don’t have the dexterity or balance that you used to have. Not to worry – you will go back to feeling less clumsy after your baby is delivered.

Can you prevent clumsiness in pregnancy?

No, there is nothing you can do to prevent clumsiness in the second and third trimesters. It is a normal pregnancy symptom. However, you can take measures to protect yourself from falling and hurting yourself.

For example, you will want to avoid any situations where you have a high risk of falling, such as standing on a ladder, rock climbing, roller skating, riding on a moving bicycle, and other activities. (It’s not recommended that pregnant women perform any activities or exercises that put them at risk for falls.)

In addition, you can further protect yourself from falls by wearing flat, comfortable shoes. You’ll want to put away the high heels for now. Make sure that you take it slow whenever you are near wet, icy, or uneven surfaces. Always use handrails if they are available.

When to call the doctor

Clumsiness is normal, and it’s often a byproduct of carrying a growing baby inside your womb. However, if you feel clumsy, along with other troublesome symptoms, like dizziness or lightheaded, blurred vision, headache, or any pain at all, call your doctor immediately. Sometimes, clumsiness is a product of a virus or infection.

Birth Plan Template

A birth plan, or birthing plan, is the easiest way to communicate your wants and needs to your medical team for the arrival of your child. Use our easy fill-in-the-blank birth plan template.

Birth Plan for: ___________
Mother’s first and last name:___________
Father’s first and last name:___________
Due Date:___________
Coach’s first and last name:___________
Other support people:___________
Name of obstetrician:___________
Desired hospital:___________

Low lighting
Quiet room
Wear own clothing
Coach/partner only desired attendees other than medical staff
I would prefer to wear my contact lenses/glasses
I want my labor and delivery photographed/video recorded
I do not want my labor and delivery photographed/video recorded

choose one:
Unlimited freedom to move (walking, bathroom, rocking chair, fitness ball, etc.)
Mobility is not important to me

{most hospitals no longer shave the pubic area or use enemas, but just in case…}
I would like to avoid the use of an enema.
I would like to avoid having my pubic area shaved.

I.V. insertion is acceptable at any point
I.V. placement should be attempted only if dehydration occurs
Please attempt to insert I.V. on left/right (circle)

No restrictions
Clear fluids
Ice chips

choose one:
Intermittent monitoring (Fetoscope, Doppler, etc.)
Continuous monitoring (External leads, internal monitoring)
No monitoring except in emergency situations

I would like to avoid catheterization unless it is absolutely necessary

Pain Relief Offer
choose one:
Do not offer; I will ask if I desire it
Offer if I appear uncomfortable
Offer as soon as possible

Pain Relief Options
Relaxation techniques
Hot or cold compresses
Water therapy (bath, whirlpool, shower)

I.V. Medication
Other ______________________________

Walking epidural
Traditional epidural

Labor Induction/Augmentation
No induction
No augmentation
Cervical gel
Rupturing of the amniotic sac
I prefer my amniotic sac be allowed to rupture on its own

{check all pushing options which are acceptable}
Push in position of my choosing
Squat/Birthing Bar
Pushing while on hands and knees
I am not concerned with positioning
Foot pedals rather than stirrups
People as leg support rather than stirrups
Spontaneous pushing (when I feel the need)
Pushing with medical direction

I would like to touch baby’s head when it crowns
I would like a mirror available to view pushing/crowning/birth

I want baby placed on my chest immediately after birth
I would like my partner/coach to cut the cord
I would like to cut the cord
Partner/coach does not want to cut cord
Please delay cord clamping and cutting until pulsating ceases
I would like to hold the baby while delivery placenta
I do not wish a pitocin injection to assist with placenta delivery
I wish baby to be examined in my presence.
If baby cannot be examined in my presence, I wish my partner/coach to remain with baby at all times
I do not wish baby to be placed under heat lamps; I will hold baby and provide body warmth instead
I want to donate cord blood
I want to bank cord blood

I do not want an episiotomy unless there is an emergency situation
I would like to attempt perineal massage to stretch the perineum.
I would like an episiotomy to reduce risk of tearing
I would like a local anesthetic during repair of tear/episiotomy
I would not like a local anesthetic during repair of tear/episiotomy

I wish to breastfeed exclusively
I wish to breastfeed, but formula supplementation is acceptable
I wish to formula feed
I do not want baby to be given a pacifier
I would like to meet with a lactation consultant as soon as possible
I want baby circumcised
I do not want baby circumcised

I would like a private room, I understand that there will be an additional charge
I would like baby to “room in”
I would like baby to sleep in nursery
I would like baby to be brought to me for all feedings
I welcome all well wishers
I wish to limit visitors
I would prefer my door closed with a sign requesting that visitors and staff members knock before entering
I do not wish to have medical students involved in my care
Other ______________________________

In the event that a cesarean section is deemed necessary, I would like the following:
Partner/coach present
Other support present _________________________
Screen lowered at delivery
I would like the procedure described as it is happening
Partner would like to cut cord
Other _________________________

In the Event that Baby Requires Special Care Due to Trauma or Illness:
I would like to breastfeed/pump breast milk
Partner/coach will accompany baby if transferred to another hospital
I would like to be transferred to baby’s hospital

Mother’s Signature ______________
Date ____________

Father’s Signature _______________
Date ____________

With a well-considered, well-organized plan in place you’ll relieve stress by knowing what to expect and by ensuring that your wishes and preferences are known to all – including your doctor.

Your Baby at 34 Weeks of Pregnancy

By pregnancy week 34 your baby weighs in at almost 4.7 pounds and may be 17.7 inches long!

34 week newborn baby
Newborn Baby

Your baby is filling out as your pregnancy continues. Fat layers are making your baby rounder and giving his or her skin a smoother appearance. These fat layers will help regulate your baby’s body temperature after birth.

By now, your baby has settled into his or her birth position. The occiput anterior position (head down, head slightly turned to the side) is the most common position and it is the easiest position for a natural, vaginal delivery.

Your baby’s digestive system is mature now. If your baby were born this week, he or she would be able to digest food. The digestive enzymes in your baby’s gut are now functional.

By pregnancy week 34, the level of amniotic fluid in your womb has reached its maximum amount and will stay the same until you reach 37 weeks pregnant, when it will slowly decrease.

Estimating the weight of your baby may prove challenging as you continue your through your pregnancy. Many women hope to get an estimate about how big their baby is via ultrasound in the final weeks of pregnancy. Truthfully however, this estimate can be off by a pound or more!

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