What’s happening with your baby?
By week 29 of pregnancy, your baby is about three pounds and is nearly 17 inches long. That’s about the size of a butternut squash. They are certainly growing (and no one knows that better than you and your poor back) but they will most likely double or even triple their weight in the next 11 weeks. So, buckle up and get ready for an even harder time getting out of bed! As your little babe fattens up they will be gaining white fat which will begin to smooth out their wrinkly skin. This white fat is different from the brown fat that was essential earlier in fetal development. Brown fat was necessary for temperature regulation, but white fat (which is what you have, mom) is actually a source of energy!
You might recall that your baby’s teeth buds formed weeks ago. This week actual permanent teeth will form in your baby’s gums. Now they’re all set for the dreaded days, weeks, and even months of teething! Oh, the joy of what those little chompers will do to both you and your baby’s sleep routine.
Your baby’s muscles and lungs are continuing to develop and your baby’s head is growing bigger this week. They have to make room for an ever-growing brain. There is a lot changing and growing this trimester for your baby, so make sure that you’re eating well and getting enough calcium to support that important skeletal development.
What’s happening with your body?
Your baby’s living quarters have become rather tight at this point, so the kicks and jabs you feel might be less erratic and may be less frequent. Your physician might ask you to do an exercise called kick counts a couple times a day in order to ensure that your baby is moving alright. If you experience prolonged periods of time when your baby doesn’t move, contact your doctor. Otherwise, relax either in a seated position or laying down and count the movements you feel. Once you get to ten, you’re good. If it’s been an hour and you haven’t gotten to ten yet, your baby might be taking a snooze, so you should have a light snack or a glass of orange juice and try again. The sugar rush should get them moving and grooving so you can count their kicks. If you have felt fewer than ten movements in two hours, then call your physician. Chances are that everything is just fine, but it’s always better to check.
A pregnancy hormone called relaxin causes your muscles to relax — including your digestive tract. This can cause your system to get backed up and you can get constipated. You can help relieve your constipation by eating yogurt with certain probiotics in it, or just by taking probiotics. Probiotics aren’t generally the first thing prescribed, but they are accepted by a vast majority of the medical community as a natural, safe, and easy way to support good gut health. And when hemorrhoids are a common side-effect of constipation, you’ll want to do everything you can to alleviate it. If you do have hemorrhoids, they should clear up a few weeks after the baby is born. If they are itchy, painful, or uncomfortable, try soaking in a sitz bath and applying cold compresses that have witch hazel to the affected area.
What to do during week 29 of pregnancy
It might seem early, but run some important errands now. If your nesting instincts haven’t kicked in yet, they will soon! Grab plenty of newborn diapers, wipes, a diaper disposal can, a baby thermometer, and nose suction. Also, get a few things for yourself. You’ll need sanitary pads (I recommend nighttime pads with wings) for after the birth. You will bleed for several weeks. You might want to stock up on thank you cards before you receive all of the gifts you’re bound to get. Your breasts might already be leaking colostrum (a golden liquid that babies drink in the first few days before your milk comes in). Even if they aren’t, stock up on breast pads now! You’re going to need plenty when your milk really comes in.
It might seem silly to prepare things like this when you’ll likely have over two months left of pregnancy, but you can never truly plan when your baby will come. You don’t want to be caught without any essentials if you go into labor early or if you simply lose track of time and your due date is suddenly upon you. Plus, with all of those pregnancy hormones hijacking your brain, you can pretty much guarantee that you will forget something every time you run errands so it will take multiple outings to prepare just the very basic supplies! Get used to it! Running errands with a little baby is like navigating a live mine field while carrying an infant! You will beat a path to the store more times than you care to remember.
Featured photo credit: Ben Grey via flickr.com