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Pregnancy Series

Up to 34 weeks

Thirty-four weeks after your LMP, your baby is perfectly formed. All her proportions are exactly as you would expect them to be at birth. Still, she has some maturing to do and some weight to gain before she is ready to be born.

Your Baby’s Progress
Her organs are now almost fully mature, except for her lungs, which are still not completely developed, although they are secreting increasing quantities of surfactant, which will keep them from collapsing once she begins to breathe air. She can make strong movements that can be felt on the surface of your abdomen. Almost all of the babies born at this time survive.

The Baby’s Skin, Nail and Hair
The baby’s skin is now pink rather than red, due to the deposits of white fat underneath it. Fat deposits build up under her skin in order to provide energy and regulate her body temperature after she is born. The protective vernix caseosa that covers her skin is now very thick. Her fingernails now reach the ends of her figures, but her toenails are not yet fully grown. She may have quite a lot of hair on her head.

The Baby’s Eyes
The irises can now dilate and contract. They will contract in response to bright light and also to enable her to focus – although the baby will not need to develop this skill until after birth. They baby can close its eyelids and has now begun to blink.

The Baby’s Position
Some babies assume the head-downwards position about now, but there is still plenty of time – most engage after 36 weeks. However, the baby may remain in the breech (bottom-down) position until birth, although most babies do turn on their own.

Your Baby
Your baby’s main activity now is to settle into a head-down position and adjust to the lack of space in the uterus.

The baby can now focus and blink.

Weight gain
The baby will have gained at least 1kg (2ib) since last month. This is made up primarily of increased muscle tissue and fat.

The baby’s lungs are still developing so that she can adjust to respiration outside the uterus. If the baby were to be born at this stage, it would almost certainly have breathing difficulties, although it would stand an excellent chance of survival.

Your baby’s size
The baby is now becoming a rather tight fit in the uterus, especially if the baby is large. As a consequence, the baby’s movements will tend to decrease in frequency, although you should still be able to feel it moving. In addition, the body will now start to become tightly curled as the elbow and knee space is restricted. Quite a few babies are bottom-down (breech) at the start of this month, but most will have tipped head-down by term.

You will probably be having more frequent antenatal checks now. Your doctor will be monitoring your blood pressure and urine and checking the baby’s position.

Your uterus hardens and contracts as a practice for labour. Known as Braxton Hicks’ contractions, these only last about 30 seconds and you may not be aware of them.

Your pelvis has now expanded. It may ache, especially at the back.

You will probably have a low haemoglobin level at this stage in your pregnancy.

Your baby’s size is increasing so that the uterus is pushed hard against your lower ribs and your ribcage may become quite sore. Your abdomen is so stretched that your navel inverts and the increased pigmentation of the linea nigra can make it look very prominent.

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