You are 34 weeks pregnant or in your 35th week of pregnancy (counting from the first day of your Last Menstrual Period).
Keep in mind that this information is approximate. Each pregnancy is different and growth rates vary. For variations and details, please talk to your doctor.
What’s happening to the baby?
- The baby will continue her rapid weight gain, growing at the rate of nearly one ounce or 28 grams a day.
- The baby’s kidneys are fully developed now.
- The baby might not be able to move as frequently, because of being snug in your uterus. Much to your delight, you might be able to see the baby move - ripples on your belly as the baby changes position or sometimes the baby’s head, or elbow pushing out.
- As your baby adds fat, his skin gets smoother, the wrinkles fade away and his skin is on it’s way to becoming “baby soft”. Your baby sure is preparing to greet you. But during birth (especially vaginal birth), your baby might get bruises while squeezing out of the birth canal.
- Your baby is about 45 centimetres long (Crown to heel length) and weighs about 2.2 kilograms.
What’s happening to mom?
- Your doctor might start seeing you once every week (until delivery) now. For high-risk pregnancies the doctor might want to see you more often. At your regular doctor visits, you will be screened for preclampsia or pregnancy induced high blood pressure. Some swelling is normal, but if you see unusually high swelling, call your doctor, it could be signs of preclampsia.
- You might experience a tingling sensation in your uterus because of the bulging uterus pressing on your nerves. Try changing your position and have a warm bath to help you relax. Discuss this with your doctor at the next appointment.
- This week or next, the baby might move downwards, lower in your pelvis. This is called “lightening”. It happens later in women who have had babies earlier. This will relieve discomforts like heartburn and breathlessness but your uterus will start pressing more on your urinary bladder, making you go to the bathroom even more often.
- Try and stay calm and relaxed in the next few weeks, stress and anxiety can hinder the production of oxytocin, a hormone that helps labour progress naturally.
- Your doctor might conduct a Group B Strep Screen (GBS) for you. The GBS screen involves a pap smear and a urine test to screen for the GBS bacterium in your vagina. Exposure to GBS during childbirth can cause serious infection in the baby. This is a routine test and the doctors like to play it safe and around 35 to 37 weeks of pregnancy, screen all women for GBS. If you test positive, then you will be given intravenous antibiotics to kill the bacteria (to prevent infecting the baby) during labour. If for some reason, you do not get this screen completed before childbirth, do not worry. The doctor will give you this antibiotic during childbirth anyway to be safe. But you might not want to take unnecessary antibiotics, so get the GBS screen.
- This is also the right time to learn about the process of labour and how it progresses. This will help you get prepared for the process.
Checklist for mom
- Try and get into a calm and relaxed mental state to prepare for childbirth. Stress and anxiety can make your muscles tense and hinder the production of oxytocin, a hormone that helps labour to progress naturally. Even though you have a few weeks to deliver, getting relaxed is not something that will happen at the last moment. You need to start now. Some relaxation tips:
- Meditate. Many women say that meditation also helps them to tune in better with their changing bodies and their baby. There are many different ways to meditate. You need to find the one that works for you. Basically, going to a quiet spot, closing your eyes, first letting all thoughts just flow and then focusing on one thing (a repetitive chant, picturing something pleasant etc.) are all some basics that are a good start.
- Continue your walks.
- Have a warm bath.
- Get a soft massage.
- Be organised, get things done but after a point just go with the flow.
- Schedule the Group B Strep screen this week or in the next couple of weeks after discussing with your doctor.
- Start planning your hospital packing. Ask the hospital what all will they be providing. Read our checklist for what to pack for the hospital. And then shop for items that you might need.
- Start practising the breathing exercises or other exercises you might have learnt in your childbirth class.
If you have not already.....
- Get organised at home
- Start stocking up on domestic provisions while you still have the energy
- Make space for the baby. Do some spring-cleaning. Clean those shelves.
- Keep important phone numbers (doctor, hospital, baby’s paediatrician, caretaker of older child etc.) handy (in your mobile etc.)
- Discuss episiotomies with your gynaecologist
- Learn about natural pain relief during childbirth
- Learn about medicines for pain relief during childbirth
- Buy basics for the baby so that you are not scrambling in case you deliver early! Basics like diapers, nappies, basic clothes, receiving blankets…See Parentree's article on shopping for a new baby.
- Start looking for a paediatrician for your baby. Get a shortlist by talking to your to your friends, even your gynaecologist and Parentree parents in your area. Then start interviewing paediatricians. Check out our article on selecting a paediatrician.
- Schedule or go for your childbirth classes if you have not already. You need to have completed taking these classes by your 37th week. Make sure you take your spouse or labour support person (your mother, friend or other person who is close to you). Childbirth classes can provide useful information on
- Labour process, childbirth and pain relief options
- Teach you breathing exercises and other tips to make labour and childbirth easier
- Breastfeeding basics
- Even basic newborn care
- Read Parentree articles on breastfeeding - Breastfeeding tips, Common questions about breastfeeding.
- Especially learn about signs of labour in “How to know that you are in labour?”
- Ensure that you have arranged for your maternity leave at work. You might be taking maternity leave soon. In India, 3 month paid maternity leave is mandatory by law and any more is left to the discretion of the employers.
- Read about what your baby may look like at birth.
Ideas for dad
- Help mom to start relaxing. Go for walks with her. Talk to her about her anxieties.
- Go for childbirth classes with Mom. Read our article on “Tips for the labour coach”. Even if you are not planning to be present during labour, your knowledge and participation can boost mom’s confidence.
- Help mom practice the breathing and other exercises she might have learnt in her childbirth class.
- Familiarise yourself with post-partum depression.
- Read about what your baby may look like at birth.
- FYI, birthing practice in other countries…Water-birth is a birthing practice that is slowly gaining ground in some foreign countries. In water-birth, the labouring woman gets into a tub of warm water and gives birth. The warm water relaxes the mother and the baby is used to her amniotic fluid anyway and finds water “familiar territory”. Once the baby is born, she is brought to the surface of the water, dried and wrapped in a warm blanket.
- Fun fact: In 2008, water-birth was in the news when there were some rumours of Hollywood actors Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt having their baby by water-birth in France.
Useful Parentree articles for this stage of pregnancy