34 Weeks - Pregnancy
Besides looking like a newborn at 34 weeks of pregnancy, your baby is acting like a newborn as well. Her eyes open when she’s awake and close when she is sleeping. Her sleeping cycles are the same now as they will be when she is born. She has learned to blink and can see better when a bright light is shined on your stomach. She recognizes voice and sound patterns from the outside world and is most comforted by the sound of your voice.
She weighs about 4 ¾ pounds now and is about 18 inches long. Her fingernails have reached the end of her fingertips at week 34 of pregnancy and she may even scratch her face before she is born. Her fat layers are growing every week to fill up that wrinkly skin and she may have already turned into the head down position for labor.
Your baby’s central nervous system is still maturing, and her lungs are almost fully ready to breathe air. If your baby is born this week, she has a 99% chance of survival outside of the womb, pretty darn good odds.
The last few weeks can be uncomfortable and tiring. The weight of your baby and your body may start to leave you feeling fatigued at week 34 of pregnancy. Be sure to rest up and save some energy for the big day. In the next couple of weeks, you will most likely be tested for Group B streptococcus (GBS). GBS is a type of bacteria that some pregnant women carry in their vaginal or rectal areas. This bacteria is harmless to you, but can be transmitted to your baby during childbirth and cause some complications like meningitis, bacterial blood infections, and pneumonia. If you test positive for GBS, your doctor can prevent many of these complications by administering an antibiotic to you through IV during labor.
As you get closer to your labor day, have you thought about how this baby will affect your relationship? If this is your first baby, a new member to the family can be exciting, but overwhelming. If you are married or living with your partner, having that first baby can strengthen your relationship greatly. On the other hand, if you have already had some differences, a baby can add even more stress. The key to a great relationship with your partner is good communication.
What often happens with first babies is that one parent is more ready and willing to quickly transition their lifestyle than the other. Add to that the stress of decreased sex, little sleep, and a high maintenance baby that takes all of your energy and focus. It’s no wonder that relationships can be a bit strained that first year.
Be proactive and make a commitment to your partner. Commit to weekly or at least monthly dates with just the two of you, no baby. If you are low on cash, a picnic or a hike will do fine. OR take baby to a babysitter and cook yourselves a romantic dinner.
When conflicts arise, talk them out before resentments show. Try and get your partner involved with the baby as much as possible. If you are nursing, let dad bathe the baby. Anyway you can get him to bond to baby will help him bond with the family lifestyle. Remember that bonding is harder for dad at first; he didn’t carry your child for nine months, he’s not able to nurse, and babies naturally bond to mom first. Encourage your partner’s dad skills by encouraging him to participate more. While your baby’s first year can be a challenge, with hard work and dedication, you will discover more love than you have ever known, from your partner and your child.
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This should be used as a general guideline and is for general information and educational purposes only. Please remember that all pregnancies develop at different rates. If you have questions about your baby's development, please contact your doctor or midwife.