It’s now week 34 and your baby is filling up your abdomen more and more each day. You are probably feeling a bit anxious now as you get closer to the final weeks and time may be starting to go very slowly. It won’t be long now until your baby drops down your pelvis as she prepares to make her grand entrance into the world.
Your Baby this Week
Your baby is now around the size of an honeydew melon.
Your baby is continuing to gain weight and grow in length during week 34. The details are not changing much now as your baby is for the most part, fully developed. In week 34, she weighs in at around 2.1 kilos (4.7 pounds) and measures close to 32cm (12 ½ inches) from crown to rump. If she were to stretch out her legs, the length would be closer to about 47cm (18.5 inches) long! (This is an average length and weight. Naturally, some babies are much smaller or larger depending on many factors. Even the measurements that your doctor takes on your belly are not exact - only ultrasound measurements can come close to the real size and weight of your baby.)
When an ultrasound is done, your baby is measured in several areas. The most common measurements are the circumference of the head, the circumference of the abdomen, and the length of the femur. At 34 weeks into your pregnancy, the circumference of your baby’s head is about 30cm (12 inches). The length of the femur bone is about 7cm (2.75 inches), and the abdomen circumference is about 30cm (12 inches). Your baby’s hair is continuing to grow on her head, but the lanugo (the fine hair on her body) is shedding more every day. Your baby’s fingernails are past the tips of her fingers now and she can even scratch herself.
Your Body this Week
So, how is mum this week? Well, time may be going slow for you now. You are anxious to see your baby, but a bit apprehensive as well. Your symptoms in the last couple of months have been challenging and you are probably even dreaming nightly about having your baby.
Shortness of breath continues as your baby presses on your diaphragm and lungs. The good news is that this symptom should decrease as your baby drops lower into your pelvis in preparation for delivery.
Around this time in a pregnancy, many women find out that they must have a caesarean section (C-section). There are a multitude of reasons that this happens. Whenever a condition poses a risk to mum or baby during vaginal delivery, a C-section can be indicated. It is also common for the mum to have a C-section after attempting to deliver vaginally. Occasionally, the labour will progress too slowly. The contractions may not be strong enough to deliver a baby and the cervix may not be soft enough to dilate. This is called dystocia and can be corrected with medication called oxytocin. Doctors will usually try this medication before suggesting a C-section be performed. Additionally, if the baby shows any signs of distress during labour, such as low heart rate, a C-section may become necessary.
Though natural delivery is always best, a C-section is next best. You should also note that some doctors are more likely to suggest C-section than others. If you have been told you need to have a C-section, make sure to do your research and ask your doctor lots of questions.