Maternity leave time is upon you as your pregnancy moves closer to full term, and inside the womb, your baby hones her senses at 34 weeks.

Your baby’s development

This week your baby is the size of a… butternut pumpkin.
With only around six weeks of pregnancy remaining, your baby is in the final straight – making all the adjustments she needs for life in the big wide world.

· The fine hair (lanugo) that has been covering your baby’s skin will begin to disappear this week but the white protective substance (vernix caseosa) that’s preventing her skin puckering in the amniotic fluid remains.
· Lungs are almost fully developed and still growing stronger meaning, should your baby be born prematurely this week, her chances of survival are around 99 per cent.
· Your baby will be fully using her eyes to regulate light and focus on surroundings, and her hearing is now completely developed – time to start talking to her.
Your physical pregnancy changes

Your own body is going through nearly as many changes and adaptations as your baby’s:

· Your ever-changing centre of balance makes it quite normal to wobble, lose balance or fall over. Take care, and if you take any dramatic tumbles or hurt yourself in a fall it’s best to get checked by your doctor or midwife.
· Make sure you take things slowly, especially as your bump is restricting your vision of any potential ground-level hazards.
· Some women experience a tingling sensation or numbness in their pelvic region – this is thought to be your pelvic joints loosening in preparation for labour.
· At night, you may be kept awake kicking your legs trying to get rid of an annoying crawling sensation or prickly skin (as well as all the usual night-time symptoms, like that urge for the bathroom). This is down to restless leg syndrome. It might be triggered by diet but many women find no pattern, and just have to do their best to ignore it.
Your health and fitness during pregnancy

If you’re feeling triple your usual size and a bit fed up, just keep reminding yourself that in a few weeks you’ll get to meet your beautiful bouncing baby!

Heartburn and acid reflux may be causing you discomfort. Try to eat several small meals a day instead of three big ones – this will probably suit your appetite in any case. Mix up the flavours that you’re eating, as it will give your baby a taste for different foods – theoretically preventing fussy eaters later in life.
Your week 34 pregnancy checklist

· Make the most of your down time and have a chat, read to, or listen to music with your baby. She can hear your every word.
· Take your time moving about to avoid accidents – slow and steady wins the race!
· Eat small, regular meals to keep your energy up.
· If you’re not feeling your usual chic self, get a haircut or do something that makes you feel a little pampered.
· If you haven’t already, finish up at work. It’s likely you’ll want to make those final preparations for your new baby without having to rush.
· Enjoy some time alone with your partner. He’ll appreciate the attention as much as you will.