That due date is looming ever closer. Is the anticipation overwhelming you? Are you anxious about the labor and delivery process? Are you doubting your fitness to be a parent? These are common concerns all expectant mothers have, and by week 34, you’re probably becoming a little irritable inside your own skin. But once your new baby is in your arms, all those worries will disappear. At week 34, even though the end is in sight, you still have some things to take care of.
Your Baby’s Development
At 34 weeks, your baby is almost 13 inches from crown to rump and weighs about 5 pounds. Fine, downy hairs that will appear on the baby’s cheeks, foreheads or backs are normal at this point. While Lanugo, that soft fur that covers his body, is mostly gone by now, don’t be surprised to see a few stray hairs when he is born. At 34 weeks, his skin is now covered with a waxy film called vernix. If you’ve seen photos of newborns with a white, cheesy-looking substance on them, that’s vernix. It keeps the baby’s skin moisturized and protected from the amniotic fluid.
At 34 weeks, you’ll probably be quite fatigued. That pregnancy “glow” probably feels more like “pack mule in August” to you by now. You may be experiencing swollen feet and ankles. When you’re pregnant, you have a greater volume of blood in your body, so when fluids escape the blood vessels and into the surrounding tissue, you experience unsightly swelling. You may be feeling back and joint aches, especially in the hips. Sleeping with a body pillow can help relieve pressure points while you’re in bed. And due to the heavy load on your bladder, you’re likely using the ladies room frequently.
Preparing a Birth Plan
If you haven’t already done so, prepare for the birth of your baby by composing a birth plan. It can be as simple or as complex as you’d like. It’s a worthwhile tool to keep everyone involved with your delivery on the same page regarding pain management, lighting and music, emergency C-section protocol, who will be allowed in the delivery room, and anything else you’d like to include in the plan.
Know Where You’re Going
Program your GPS device and rehearse your drive to the hospital or birthing center. Find out if there will be any construction in the area, and plan alternate routes just to be safe.
Pre-Registration and Pediatricians
Pre-register at the hospital so that all your paperwork is prepped when you show up. You’ll also want to meet potential pediatricians. Meet-and-greets are common between expectant parents and prospective pediatricians, so don’t feel awkward about asking any new-baby questions.