Understanding your pregnancy: Week 29

Understanding your pregnancy: Week 29

A quick snapshot

Your belly is leading the way from now on and it has probably become difficult for you to ignore it. Even if you aren't particularly big, you'll certainly be feeling the effects of your pregnancy on your legs, your bladder, your belly and even your brain.

One of the greatest areas risking strain is to your back. To counterbalance the weight and bulk which is out in your front, your back is likely to automatically sway inwards. In addition, your feet will be placed further apart as you walk, giving you the all too familiar pregnancy waddle. Watch your weight, wear flat shoes, take your time getting from a standing or lying position to being upright and do some back strengthening exercises. The abdominal muscles also work on supporting the back so don't ignore their important role.

Try to squeeze in a few pelvic floor exercises too. Think about your muscles as a sling, supporting all those vital organs and tissues in your pelvic region. Your bladder, rectum, vagina, cervix and uterus will need all the help they can get to stay upright, well supported and secure in all their correct positions.

What’s changing in your body

  • You could find yourself becoming more swollen and puffy, simply because you have so much extra circulating blood and fluid volume within your body. Your legs, feet and even your fingers may look bigger than they usually do. If your rings are getting tight, consider taking them off now, in case you have problems removing them in the weeks to come.
  • The third trimester is when many women notice a real shift in their body's temperature. You could find yourself having hot flashes, turning down the air conditioning when everyone else is almost shivering or just complaining about how hot it is. Your body is designed to cool off when it gets too hot and there is a risk of overheating. Avoid spicy foods, alcohol and stress which will only make you feel worse.
  • Your breasts could be feeling increasingly heavy and denser. Dilated veins are becoming obvious and your nipples will continue to darken. All of these changes are necessary to prepare your breasts to produce milk for your baby. Other than not using drying soaps and avoiding general skin irritation, there is no nipple preparation recommended during pregnancy to prepare for breastfeeding.
  • Bending over will be getting more difficult. Now is the time to cut your toenails, shave your legs and go shopping for shoes that can be slipped on. As the next few weeks progress you'll find yourself groaning as you bend.

How your emotions are affected

  • You may be feeling yourself relax a little, knowing that if you went into premature labour, your baby's chances of survival are very good.
  • Try not to place too much value on how you look. You may need to change your ideas on what you perceive to be attractive and beautiful. Pregnant women's bodies are unique and have their own inherent beauty.
  • Mood swings are common in the third trimester. You could find yourself almost delirious with happiness one minute and in tears the next.

How your baby is growing

Third Trimester: Week 2931

  • Your baby weighs around 1.4kg this week but is still less than half the weight they will be at birth. There are lots of fat still being accumulated under their skin and if they were born now, they would look very thin with long limbs.
  • Your baby's movements will probably peak during weeks 26-30. There is still room for complete body movements and changes of position now, before quarters get too cramped inside your uterus.
  • Your baby's airways are further maturing, with the little tree-like structures increasing in number.
  • Your baby's chances of survival, if they were born early, are increasing with every week that passes. They may not even need respiratory support if you deliver this week.
  • It may be difficult for your doctor to say what position your baby is lying in this week. A bony head can easily be confused with a round bottom and your baby may be so mobile, it makes it hard to say with certainty which way they are facing.

Tips for the week

  • Ask your doctor about the need to check your iron count. You will need a blood test around now to determine what level it is and if you need iron supplements. You may also need your blood group checked and an antibody screen attended. If you are a Rhesus negative blood group, it is important to make sure you have not developed any antibodies.
  • Make a list of baby names. Many parents leave the final decision for when they actually see their baby and what name suits them. This is not as strange as it seems. In a moment of absolute clarity, most parents can look at their little ones’ face and know what they need to be named.
  • No matter how much you believe in weight-bearing exercise, put those weights down if you have haemorrhoids. Instead, go for low impact exercise such as yoga or swimming.