Pregnancy Week 34
As the final weeks of pregnancy move along, baby is continuing to grow and fill out. His primary activity from this point forward is to gain weight. If your baby came this week, he would likely have few difficulties as his weight would be close to five pounds and he would be about 20 inches long. If premature labor begins, the doctor will administer a steroid injection to help the baby's lungs mature and to prevent respiratory problems after delivery. Otherwise, the major changes now will be in you and your body.
The Big "Drop"--Baby's Head Descends
Between weeks 34 and 36, your baby will probably drop into the right position for birth. He will flip around and his head will settle into your pelvis. The baby will noticeably lower in his position, leaving some welcome space between the top of the uterus and your lungs and other organs. The heartburn will subside somewhat and your breathing will be much easier when this happens.
Another common sensation is pressure in the vagina after the baby drops. Pressure on the cervix prepares for labor and delivery and in these weeks as the cervix will soften and begin to thin out in order to allow the baby to leave the uterus. At about week 37 or 38, your cervix may begin to open slightly. In order for your baby to pop out of the uterus, the cervix will have to open to 10cm. Your health practitioner will be checking the condition of your cervix over the coming weeks at every visit. Your doctor will also be paying attention to the size of the baby.
How Big Is This Baby?
The doctor may determine your baby will be a certain size after delivery, but unless he has an ultrasound performed, the speculation is often off by one to two pounds. Ultrasound is a valuable tool in predicting weight because it allows many measurements to be taken which help in estimating the baby's size and weight. The diameter of the baby's head, the circumference of both his head and abdomen and the length of his femur are important determining measurements. When estimates are made with ultrasound, they are usually off by one and a ½ to one pound.
Will Baby Fit Through The Birth Canal?
You may be concerned over whether your baby will fit through the birth canal when the time comes. Your health care provider will not be able to predict whether the baby will be too big to fit through your pelvis until you are actually in labor. Many petite women give birth to rather large babies with little difficulty and most women are able to deliver their babies without incident. Your health care provider will be monitoring you and your baby during the entire birthing process, and will know if there is a problem. If you are worried, talk with your doctor about options and interventions at your next appointment.