Weekly Guide to Pregnancy: Week 34
How big is my baby?
Fetal size: crown-rump 32cm (12.8 inches), crown-toe 44cm (19.8 inches). Fetal weight: 2.25kg (5 pounds).
Your baby is now perfectly formed and has the proportions of a newborn. Now it's simply a matter of your baby gaining some weight and doing some further maturing before he/she is ready to be born. It's becoming more cramped in your uterus as your baby continues to mature. Consequently your baby curls up more and starts to move a bit less.
Everything is mature except the lungs, which will continue to prepare themselves for breathing air after birth. Although the lungs aren't fully developed, almost all babies born at 34 weeks will survive, but will probably experience some breathing difficulties.
What pregnancy symptoms will I be experiencing?
Your health care professional will continue to check that you and your uterus are growing at the right rate to ensure that your baby is growing normally. Don't worry if you look different to other people at this stage in your pregnancy - everyone is different and there is no effective means of comparing yourself to others.
Ruptured membranes - or "waters breaking" is when the membranes of the amniotic sac (that has been holding the baby) break. It can either be a slow trickle or a sudden gush of fluid from the vagina. This can happen during labour or even hours before labour commences. Your health care professional should be notified if you think that your waters have broken and you should take note of the colour of the fluid.
False Labour - will sometimes happen before your real labour begins. You may believe you are in real labour because false labour contractions can be very painful. You may be able to identify false labour by observing your contractions and comparing them to what you should feel in real labour. False labour contractions may also be felt as discomfort in other parts of the body (back, lower abdomen and groin). They will be more irregular than real labour contractions, and are usually shorter (less than 45 seconds). Real labour contractions result in pain that starts at the top of the uterus then radiates outwards to the whole uterus, the lower back and into the pelvis.
Braxton Hicks contractions can be felt from early on in your pregnancy. If these irregular, painless contractions increase later in your pregnancy they are also considered to be false labour rather than real labour.
Now is a good time to start thinking about what you will need to take to hopsital. When preparing your bags for hospital, keep everything in one bag (to avoid rushing off and leaving one bag behind), but separate items within the bag as much as possible into:
- Most hospitals will provide gowns if you need, but you may want to wear your own clothes.
- Take two nighties or large loose shirts for the birth, plus an additional one to wear after your baby is born.
- Underpants and Nursing Bra
- Warm Socks
- Toiletries Bag
- Tissues or Hankies
- Camera, film/storage card, charger
- Mobile and charger
Your hospital will usually supply you with information on any other specific items you will need.
- You will use your delivery bag during the time you are in the labour ward or birthing centre, but if you are staying in hospital for a couple of days, the following is a guide to what you will need for you and your baby.
- Basics for you:
- Comfortable nightwear that will enable you to easily breastfeed - nightshirts are particularly good.
- 3 packets of super sanitary pads
- Nursing bras
- Nursing pads
- Hairdryer (if required)
- If you are staying in hospital for a few days, you may want to pack comfortable day clothes rather than wearing nightshirts during the day.
- Phone cards come in handy as you cannot use mobile phones in hospitals.
Basics for Baby:
- An outfit to take baby home in - including nappies and a wrap.
- A carry cot to take baby home (your partner can bring this in when you are getting closer to going home)
Check with your hospital whether you will need any clothes or other items for the baby - most hospitals will provide clothes and nappies for baby while you are in hospital. If you plan to bottlefeed, check if you will need to bring your own bottles, formula and sterilising equipment. Remember you will need to have arranged a restraint for your car to get your baby home.
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