As your third trimester continues you'll probably be feeling more tired, more sluggish and even more excited and nervous about the birth (if that's possible!). If you haven't started to slow down yet, now's the time to really start taking things easy, although with the nesting instinct kicking in, that may be difficult!
34 weeks may just sound like any other third trimester week, but it's actually a pretty big milestone. Although you're not classed as being "term" until 37 weeks (that's the point at which babies are considered to be low risk), babies born from 34 weeks onwards generally do very well and, assuming there are no underlying health problems, they should be able to function outside of the womb perfectly.
If you're expecting multiples or are suffering with preeclampsia, your baby (or babies!) may be born via caesarean section or induction any time now! Your baby's lungs are perfectly capable of taking that first breath now, but they may be a little small at around 4 to 5 lbs.
Baby: What's Happening?
The big news is that your baby is pretty much done cooking, and is simply simmering away nicely waiting until they're ready to move on from that cozy and warm environment you've created for them for the past 8 months.
Of course, your baby continues to grow and put on weight and should be putting on about half a pound a week until D-Day. With your baby weighing a healthy 4 or 5 lbs, the remaining lanugo hair that covers Baby's body should completely disappear around now as it's no longer needed. However, there may be a resurgence of caseosa vernix just to make sure your baby's skin stays protected from the amniotic fluid.
Speaking of amniotic fluid, there's actually much less in your uterus now than there was just a few weeks ago. Due to Baby's increasing size, there simply isn't enough room for everything, so for now the fluid stops being produced. You'll probably feel your baby's movements a lot more severely now as there's less fluid to cushion the blows. The fluid restarts its quick production during labor and you may be surprised just how much there is!
The lungs still have a bit more work to do before they're perfect, and the brain and central nervous system continue to work hard on your baby's development. Your baby's muscles are strengthening by the day, and he or she will be making the most of their newfound abilities; kicking, punching and turning the head.
You: What's Happening?
It's a big week for you, too! Around now, your baby may start to bury his or her head into your pelvis, ready for labor! Even if Baby doesn't engage quite yet (some babies do, others don't, it's not an accurate indicator of when labor will happen), they'll still likely start to drop further down at this point. What does this mean for you? Balance problems!
It's been a good couple of months since your center of gravity shifted to cope with carrying your baby around with you, so you've probably gotten used to how you need to walk and stand to stay upright now. Unfortunately, the whole gravity shift things happens all over again once the baby descends into the pelvis and you may find yourself a little unsteady on your feet. Be careful, and if you've not already made the switch from heels to flats, do so now!
Are you finding you just can't take a break from the housework, even though you could really do with a lay down in bed? Are you frantically sweeping the floors as 3am? It's called nesting, and it's totally normal. With the big day being so close, many Moms-to-be start to worry that they're not prepared for bringing the little one home, and spend all their energy making things perfect. Remember to try and take a break every now and then!
Nesting is sort of natures way of helping you prepare for your new life as a Mom. Cleaning, washing and getting the house baby-proofed for when the little one arrives. However, if things aren't perfect, don't panic!
Sure, there are some bits and bobs that really should be done. For example, you'll want to make sure there's somewhere for the baby to sleep such as a moses basket or a crib, you'll want a pushchair or a sling to take baby outside and you'll need a car seat for bringing Baby back from the hospital. You may also wish to wash and dry the baby's clothes and have some bottles and infant formula at the ready if you've chosen not to breastfeed.
However, when it comes to having the perfect Nursery, for example, that's really nothing to get yourself worked up over. So what if you don't have a rocking horse? So what if the drapes don't match the crib bedding? So what if Baby's first hat is a hand-me-down? Your baby will never know! He or she is not going to judge you for having an incomplete nursery, or a non-matching color scheme, or second hand clothing! So chill!