Your eighth month may have just started, but hopefully you're seeing the light at the end of the tunnel! The third trimester is both a thrilling and anxious time. While you still have time to plan with 11 or so weeks to go, you're probably starting to really wonder about what your baby looks like, your labor experience and what lies beyond pregnancy. And, as you exit the second trimester, you're starting to get, well, bigger and much more uncomfortable.
In your 29th week of pregnancy, you'll unmistakably feel your baby's movements and totally connect with the little person you're helping to form. Here's what's going on this week in your pregnancy, including changes in your body and your baby's newly found acrobatics.
What You Might Be Feeling
You've certainly gotten the hang of pregnancy by now, and the third trimester brings its own set of challenges. Wasn't it only recently you felt light on your feet and looked adorable in maternity clothes? That will all start to change right around 29 weeks. Here are some of the happenings in your body at this point in your pregnancy:
- You'll gain about 1 pound a week from now on and have probably gained between 19 and 25 pounds overall. Each pregnancy is different, so if you're not in this weight range, don't worry. Eating healthy, exercising and getting plenty of rest should be your focus.
- Swelling of your hands and feet can occur as you retain more fluid from the baby. Support hose on your legs eases swelling and allows for better circulation, but ask your doctor for help if you're really uncomfortable.
- As your abdomen stretches beyond its comfort zone, you may experience an itchy belly, which can continue throughout your pregnancy. A scratchy tummy can be very uncomfortable (and pretty unsightly), so make sure to moisturize your skin (try shea oil). Drinking a lot of water also keeps your skin hydrated, so keep it handy at all times.
- Some women experience thicker and more luxurious hair during pregnancy, while others have just the opposite. Pregnancy hormones affect everyone differently, so don't be too disappointed if you have a Farah Fawcett mane one week and lifeless locks the next.
- If you experience hemorrhoids, usually due to constipation, even sitting down can be uncomfortable. Try to relieve the pain and itching with mildly astringent witch hazel wipes and a therapeutic soak in the tub. To ease constipation, drink plenty of water and eat small, high-fiber meals throughout the day so your body doesn't have to work hard to digest large amounts of food.
Now that we've covered all the lovely things happening to you right now, let's focus on the reason you're going through all this -- your baby's growth and development during week 29.
What's Going On in Your Body
Your little guy measures about 16.7 inches from head to toe. He also weighs about 3 pounds (think of a small watermelon). While this is pretty close to how tall he'll be at birth, your baby still has a ways to go in weight. In fact, in the third trimester of pregnancy alone, your baby will double -- and could even triple -- his weight!
Your baby is far from chunky, but he's starting to accumulate white fat, the thickening baby fat that forms under the skin and contributes to his adorable chubbiness. White fat is also an energy source, which may be one reason this is the time when your baby really wakes up in the womb!
It's a truly active time for your baby, as he starts to respond to outside stimuli by kicking, rolling and maybe even throwing a swift elbow to your ribcage. Some jabs may even literally take your breath away! Your baby still has some wiggle room in your uterus, and he'll take full advantage of it as he grows.
What Your Partner Should Know
This is a prime time to plan together for what's ahead but still enjoy each other alone. You may have started birthing classes together, begun shopping for nursery furniture and supplies and arranged for maternity or paternity leave from your job. Basically, you eat, sleep and breathe baby, but there's no reason to keep your partner on the back burner. Take some time for romantic dinners, movies and other activities you enjoy together that you won't be able to do for a while after the baby makes his debut.
Since babies can now respond to light and sound stimuli, take advantage of getting to know your baby from the outside in. Shining a flashlight on your belly and playing music near the baby can result in an amazing response. Try different musical styles, even if they're not your favorite. You may be surprised at what beats and rhythms your baby rocks and rolls to!
Some Things to Consider
Now is the time to start consistently counting the baby's kicks and movements. In utero, babies like to be active when Mom is lying down (a habit that doesn't seem to go away for many years after they're born). You'll want to count at least 10 movements (including kicks, flutters and rolls) per hour. Baby taking a nap? Eat a small snack -- the sugar rush will wake him up and get him moving again.
Hopefully, your headaches are a thing of the past. However, if you experience severe headaches, blurred vision, a spike in weight gain (more than 2 pounds per week) and dizziness after 20 weeks, you may be experiencing preeclampsia, a serious condition that needs to be treated immediately. Preeclampsia can result in high blood pressure and elevated levels of protein in the mother's urine, which is toxic for both mom and baby.
Preterm labor is also something to keep in the back of your mind. Symptoms of preterm labor include menstrual-like cramps, leaking fluid (which could be a sign of your water breaking) or a feeling of pushing or pressure in your pelvic region. See your doctor immediately if you experience these symptoms because you may be put on medication to help slow down or stop labor or be placed on bed rest for the duration of your pregnancy.
Don't Worry If…
Babies are often head facing down at this point, but don't stress if your baby is still head up (also called the breech position). He still has plenty of room to turn around to prep for his big debut in a few weeks. Babies often turn at the very last minute.
You may also notice your blood pressure increasing a bit. As your baby gets bigger, your body works harder than ever to keep everything running smoothly; your doctor can determine if you need extra time to rest to help keep your blood pressure at a healthy level.
- Guide to Being One Week Pregnant
- Guide to Being Two Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being Three Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being Four Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being Five Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being Six Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being Seven Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being Eight Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being Nine Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 10 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 11 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 12 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 13 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 14 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 15 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 16 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 17 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 18 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 19 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 20 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 24 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 25 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 26 Weeks Pregnant
- American Pregnancy Association. "29th Week of Pregnancy." (June 6, 2011) http://www.americanpregnancy.org/weekbyweek/week29.htm
- Baby Center. "100 Most Popular Baby Names of 2010." (June 7, 2011) http://www.babycenter.com/top-baby-names-2010
- Baby Center. "22 Surprising Facts about Birth in the United States." (June 7, 2011) http://www.babycenter.com/0_22-surprising-facts-about-birth-in-the-united-states_1372273.bc
- Parenting. "3rd Trimester: Week 29." (June 6, 2011) http://www.parenting.com/timeline/3rd-trimester-week-29
- WebMD. "Your Pregnancy Week by Week: Weeks 26-30." (June 2, 2011) http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/your-pregnancy-week-by-week-weeks-26-30?page=2
- What to Expect. "Week 29 of Pregnancy." (June 1, 2011) http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/week-by-week/week-29.aspx
- Women's Healthcare Topics. "Pregnancy Week 29." (June 1, 2011) http://www.womenshealthcaretopics.com/pregnancy_week_29.htm