Your baby is the size of a cantaloupe

34 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby's Development

It's starting to get a little cramped inside your bump at around 34 weeks pregnant, and your foetus is probably now curled up in... yes, you've guessed it: a foetal position, with the knees drawn up towards the chest.

At 34 weeks pregnant, you might already be able to recognise some of the body parts that push out against the side of your bump as your little one shifts position from time to time. Was that an elbow or a foot that just brushed past under your hand as it rests on your belly?

Bump watching is a fantastic way for you and your partner to start bonding with your little one before he or she is even born.

If you're expecting a boy, his testicles will be moving down from the abdomen into the scrotum at around 34 weeks.

Don't be alarmed if your baby's genitals or breasts seem disproportionately large when he or she is born. This is common in newborns (boys and girls alike). It's usually just a little swelling caused by extra fluid or hormones, and goes down a few days after the birth.

If you're expecting a boy or girl based on an ultrasound scan, keep in mind that (although far more accurate than any of these light-hearted methods), scans aren't 100 percent reliable when it comes to predicting the sex of your little one.

In this light, maybe it's best to hang onto both your lists of boy and girl names for a little while longer, just in case!

Whether you have a little boy or girl, one thing is certain: The first time you lay eyes on your newborn will be one of the most magical moments of your life. You don't have to wait too much longer now!


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The Size of the Foetus at 34 Weeks Pregnant

Now that you're 34 weeks pregnant, your foetus is about the size of a cantaloupe, measuring close to 45 centimetres from head to heel, and weighing in at around 2.1 kilograms.

Check out the illustration below for a rough idea of what your little one might look like and how your baby may be positioned at 34 weeks.

34 weeks pregnant

Mum's Body at 34 Weeks Pregnant

Are you having trouble figuring out how many months pregnant you are at 34 weeks? Pregnancy doesn't fit neatly into full months so it’s not always an easy calculation, but at a rough estimate you’re probably eight months pregnant.

If you're still feeling a little breathless or suffering from heartburn as your little one pushes upwards, squashing your stomach and putting pressure on your lungs, relief could soon be in sight.

From around 34 weeks pregnant on, at some point, some of the symptoms you may have been experiencing like shortness of breath or heartburn could magically ease up or disappear altogether as your foetus moves further down into your pelvis, taking some of the pressure off your stomach and lungs.

The downside of this is that you might start feeling the urge to pee more often, as your little one puts more pressure on your bladder.

This is a sign that he or she is one step closer to venturing out into the big wide world, although it doesn't necessarily mean you're about to give birth.

Don't worry if this downward shift hasn't happened yet. It might not even take place until just before labour, especially if this is your first time giving birth.

Babies aren’t usually born precisely on the due date at the end of 40 weeks – it’s common for labour to start within a week or two either side of the due date.

Your little one probably still has several more precious weeks in which to grow and develop inside your bump, but it’s good to be aware of the signs of labour at 34 weeks pregnant and in the weeks ahead, just to be on the safe side.

The signs of labour can include:

  • Cramping or period-like pains, with or without diarrhoea

  • Regular or painful contractions

  • An unusual backache

  • Fluid trickling or gushing from your vagina

  • A ‘show' – when the mucus plug sealing your cervix comes out.

If you're 34 weeks pregnant with twins or triplets, it's even more important to keep an eye out for these symptoms in the next few weeks, as there's a higher chance of multiples being born a little early.

Whether you're expecting to have one baby or more, your midwife and doctor will be monitoring your pregnancy closely at 34 weeks and onwards to make sure that you're getting the best possible care.

34 Weeks Pregnant: Your Symptoms

Here are some of the symptoms you may be experiencing at 34 weeks pregnant:

  • Braxton Hicks contractions. As your due date approaches, you might be noticing more of these. It's most likely nothing to worry about if these cramping sensations come at irregular intervals and aren't painful, but if you think you might be having labour contractions, call your midwife or doctor straight away. Your midwife and doctor are best able to assess your symptoms if you're in any doubt, but it might help you feel at ease to read up on the difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and true labour contractions.

  • Leaky breasts. Fluid leaking from your nipples at 34 weeks pregnant is likely to be colostrum, the first milk produced by your breasts in preparation for feeding your newborn. This kind of leakage is nothing to worry about. In fact, those yellow stains in your bra are a sign that your body is gearing up to provide nourishment for your little one after he or she is born, should you plan to breastfeed. If the dribbles are bothering you, get some absorbent breast pads (sometimes called maternity breast pads or nursing pads) to put in your bra. It’s probably worth stocking up on these anyway for after your little one is born, especially if you plan to breastfeed your baby.

  • Pelvic and lower back pain. The weight of your growing bump could be adding to any pain you might be experiencing in the pelvic or lumbar area at around 34 weeks pregnant. As your little one moves further down into your pelvis in preparation for birth, you could also find walking a little harder at around 34 weeks pregnant. To help relieve pelvic pain, try to stay off your feet when you feel most uncomfortable. A massage or soak in a warm bath may also give you some relief from pelvic and lower back pain. If these ideas don’t work, ask your midwife or doctor for more advice.

  • Swollen ankles and feet. It's not unusual for you to experience swelling in your ankles and feet at this stage in your pregnancy, due to water retention. Fluid tends to collect in the lowest parts of your body as the day progresses, so one way to help relieve the swelling is to cut down on standing time. Plus, when you're sitting down, you can prop up your legs on a pillow. Oddly enough, drinking water can actually help your system, so it's more important than ever to stay hydrated at 34 weeks pregnant and beyond. Normal swelling in pregnancy comes on gradually, and isn't likely to harm you or your foetus; but if you experience sudden, rapid swelling of the face or extremities, call your doctor or midwife straight away, especially if you also have a bad headache, blurred vision, pain below the ribs or vomiting as well. These might be symptoms of pre-eclampsia, a relatively uncommon but serious blood pressure condition that needs to be treated immediately.

  • Constipation. Infrequent and hard bowel movements can occur for all sorts of different reasons, but your hormones can also make things worse during pregnancy. Whatever the cause, constipation can be very uncomfortable. Straining to poo can also cause or aggravate piles (haemorrhoids), a painful or itchy swelling of blood vessels in or around your anus. Good tactics for keeping constipation at bay include drinking plenty of water and getting enough fibre in your diet. Fruits, vegetables, wholemeal bread and cereals, as well as pulses like beans and lentils, are all great sources of dietary fibre. Walking or gentle exercise can also help your digestive system become more regular.

34 Weeks Pregnant: Things to Consider

  • The arrival of a new baby can be hard for older siblings to handle. Parents put a lot of effort into preparing for a new baby, and then caring for the newborn takes up a lot of the family’s attention once he or she arrives. An older brother or sister might feel like the centre of your world until the new arrival, so a little jealousy and resentment isn’t unusual. These feelings can result in tantrums or baby-like behaviour. There’s a lot you can do to help your older child adjust to the new family dynamic:

  • Even now, at 34 weeks pregnant, it’s not too early to encourage your older children to take an interest in the new arrival, by showing them pictures from your last ultrasound scan, and letting them feel your little one’s movements in your bump.

  • Once your baby’s born, you could find other ways to get the older sibling involved, by encouraging him or her to pass you the nappies and baby wipes during nappy changes, or to sing and talk to the newest member of the family.

  • If possible, try not to disrupt your toddler’s usual routine. For example, the familiar evening baths and bedtime stories can be a reassuring anchor for a toddler who’s feeling a little left out of things.

  • Accept that you might not be able to avoid a certain amount of kickback. It’s common and perfectly normal for small children with a new sibling to start asking for a baby bottle themselves, demand to be carried around or even temporarily forget their potty training. Punishing this kind of behaviour or making a big deal of it won’t help. Often a big dollop of patience is the best remedy.

  • Calcium helps build and harden your little one's bones and teeth, while keeping your own in good shape too. Getting enough calcium during pregnancy is a top priority, both for your baby's health and for your own. Your doctor may advise you to take prenatal vitamin supplements, which could include calcium, but it's also important to eat foods that are rich in this essential mineral. Dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt are great sources of calcium in your diet. To get a little more variety – or if you're lactose intolerant – you can also get calcium from sardines, leafy green vegetables like rocket, kale or broccoli, as well as bread or other bakery products made with fortified flour.

  • The last thing you want to worry about when you go into labour is deciding what to throw in your bag before setting off for the hospital. That’s why we've compiled a comprehensive hospital bag packing checklist. It’s a good idea to have all these things packed and ready to go well before your due date, just in case.

  • If your foetus hasn’t turned head-down yet at 34 weeks, don’t worry – there’s still plenty of time until your due date. If your little one hasn’t taken the plunge by around 36 weeks, your midwife or doctor will discuss your options. It may be possible to turn your foetus by hand. If that doesn’t work out, a breech (bottom-first) position doesn’t necessarily rule out a vaginal birth if that’s your preference. The safest option for delivering your baby, whether it’s vaginally or via caesarean section, will depend on various factors that are unique to your pregnancy, including the position of your placenta.

  • If you have time this week, consider stocking up your pantry and pre-cooking batches of food that you can freeze for after your baby’s arrival. Getting these things ready in advance can ensure you have one less thing to worry about when you’re busy tending to your newborn. You might also like to set up online grocery deliveries now so that they’re ready to go, or ask friends and family members to pitch in with delivering some home-cooked meals during those first few weeks postpartum.

  • If you haven’t already, start thinking about what comfort measures you might like during labour, and ask your doctor what options may be available to you. Your options may include medical pain relief options like an epidural as well as non-medical pain relief like massage or focused breathing.

34 Weeks Pregnant: Ask Your Doctor

  • What position is your foetus in?

  • If your foetus isn't head down, what are the chances he or she will move into a head-down position before labour starts?

  • What are your options if your foetus isn't positioned head-down closer to the due date?

  • What exercises or stretches can you do to help relieve lower back pain at around 34 weeks pregnant?

  • Where can you find out about first aid courses that include infant CPR in the local area?

34 Weeks Pregnant: Your Checklist

  • Make sure you have all the essential gear for your newborn.

  • Start finalizing your baby name choice, or at least start consolidating your shortlist of favourite names. Our Baby Name Generator can help you find the perfect name.

  • If you’d like to have a newborn photoshoot, find and book a photographer in your area whose work you like and who you will feel comfortable with. To make your choice, you might like to see some examples of past work, or ask other mums in your area for their recommendations. If the photographer is experienced in newborn shoots, ask him or her for tips on the best time of day to schedule the shoot, where the shoot will take place, and how long the shoot usually takes. You should also talk about whether the shoot will have a theme, and who is responsible for bringing any items like blankets, headbands, and props.

  • Is that perfect baby name still eluding you? Try throwing a baby naming party to get some fresh ideas.

  • Sign up for even more weekly pregnancy tips:

How we wrote this article
The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the National Health Service (NHS). The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.