At 34 weeks pregnant, you may be feeling a little anxious now. Don’t feel bad if you’re also starting to feel really ready for your pregnancy to be over. Not only are you likely to be more than ready to meet your little darling baby, but I will bet that you’re also ready to get your body back!
The last weeks can be emotionally and physically tough for many women, but be careful not to fall for the seduction of an induction, or you may find your body taking much longer to recover than you expect, which is no fun with sleep deprivation to boot. This is because inductions of labour are associated with a much higher risk of intervention, including caesarean section (this is called the cascade of interventions, because once you have one intervention, you usually need something else too – like a snowball effect).
This is because the medication used to induce you doesn’t work like the real labour hormone, oxytocin — it doesn’t cross the blood-brain barrier. It may cause the baby to become distressed, usually due to compressed blood and oxygen supply. If your baby becomes distressed, the only option is an emergency caesarean section. The best way to avoid this happening is to avoid an induction altogether, unless medically necessary. Check out our article on the hidden dangers of unnecessary labour induction.
Take the time now to rest as much as you can, and take good care of yourself. Go on date nights as often as possible, since this is something that you probably won’t be doing much of for a while after baby is born. Sleep in on the weekends. You won’t be doing much of that for a while, either!
34 Weeks Pregnant – Your Body
When you’re 34 weeks pregnant, all of your usual pregnancy symptoms are there. Many of them are only getting worse. Heartburn, swollen feet and lack of sleep are common. So are haemorrhoids and constipation. You may also start to experience blurry vision. It’s caused by a combination of lack of sleep, hormones and fluid building up in your body. If you’d like some natural relief, natural therapies like naturopathy, acupuncture and massage can be a saviour!
If you haven’t already, it’s time to start thinking about the actual process of childbirth. Have you thought about a birth plan? If this is your first child, you may be nervous or even scared. You may even be afraid if you’ve already been through it. Each labour and birth can be so very different, so your experience in the past may be completely different. Its a great idea to talk to understanding, supportive people during this time if its really bothering you. You could try connecting with the wonderful women in the BellyBelly Forums, in the birth forum or if you feel you need more experienced help, you can get support from a doula or other birth counsellor/de-briefer. Some great books you might like to read are Birthing From Within or Childbirth Without Fear.
Many women feel more comfortable labouring at home, waiting until their instincts tell them to go to hospital (unless advised by their midwife or doctor). There is good logic in this, because when you’re more comfortable, relaxed and in your own surroundings, you will labour more effectively. Being stressed on in unfamiliar surroundings can sometimes slow or stall labour. I am sure you’ve heard plenty of stories where women went to hospital in ‘labour’ and it just stopped.
More women are choosing to give birth at home these days, with the help of an independent midwife. Home births can be more relaxing and empowering, and can help your whole family be part of the process. However, home births are not for high-risk pregnancies. Confusingly, doctors have varying definitions of high-risk, so you need to do your research on this one. Speak to both midwives and doctors as part of your decision making process. Keep in mind that even if you’ve been planning a home birth up to this point, at any time your doctor or midwife may decide that you may need to transfer to hospital care. Therefore, it’s wise to advise your hospital that you’re planning a homebirth and would like them to be your back-up hospital. Some hospitals may be accommodating, others not, but they cannot refuse you care.
Its a good time to explore your feelings about pain relief, too. Maybe you’re strongly against it. Maybe you’re strongly for it! You may want to enquire in your thoughts why you feel this way – it’s likely due to fear. Having a doula or midwife to help talk through your options and fears can be a great way of sorting through your thoughts and feelings. There are many natural pain relief options you might like to try first. Its important you find out about both benefits and risks about pain relief options.
34 Weeks Pregnant – Your Baby
If your baby is a boy, his testicles may be descended by now. His fingernails are also growing. By the time he’s born, he may already need a manicure!
Baby is starting to be able to recognise simple songs now. If you’re not already singing to him, start doing so. Once he recognises the songs, he may react for you, too.
At 34 weeks pregnant, your baby’s weight may be as much as 2.6 kgs, and she is about 39-48 cm long.