With ten more weeks to go for you to reach full term, there is no doubt that your baby bump is getting into the way of everything that you are doing. While your baby continues to put on weight for the final few weeks, you should keep a check on yours to ensure that you don’t end up with gestational diabetes or preeclampsia a few weeks before delivering. You are likely to have a number of concerns this week and while it is normal to feel disoriented and puzzled about most of the things around you; look out for signs of depression. A lot of pregnant women feel blue a few weeks ahead of delivering their baby and while pregnancy blues are common, depression should be addressed as soon as possible.
Your Baby At 29 Weeks
Why is your baby bump growing bigger? The simplest of answer is because your baby is growing and getting stronger with each passing day. If he were to be born now, he would have high chances of survival in the neonatal care of the hospital you will be birthing in. However, we would all want the little one to stay intact for as long as possible.
At 16 inches of length and almost 3 pounds of weight, your baby is gearing up for birth dramatically. A number of significant changes are happening and a handful others are queuing up for the next few weeks. Your baby is almost the size of a cabbage now. It all seems unimaginable, isn’t it? The baby that was the size of a kidney bean once upon a time is now this big and is ready to come into the world and survive.
In the next seven weeks, your baby will continue to gain half a pound each week till you reach the 37th week, which is medically considered as full term. However, in the final three weeks, a lot of significant things happen, the importance of which cannot be undermined. If there is no risk involved and if both mother and baby are doing fine, it is best to let the body take its natural course.
Your Baby’s Brain Is Developing Rapidly
A well developed brain has crevices and indentations on its surface as markers of the complex characteristics it has. Your baby’s brain had a smooth surface till now. This week, it will start developing more rapidly than ever before and will slowly start sporting the wrinkles that signify an increase in the amount of brain tissue. This takes your baby’s development one step further by laying down the foundation on which his brain functioning will take place in future.
Did you know that your amniotic fluid is gradually diminishing in its volume? Before you press the panic button, it is for you to know that as your baby grows bigger in size, it needs more space to be accommodated and only a pint of amniotic fluid surrounds her in the 29th week of pregnancy. This is absolutely normal and will continue to happen till you deliver.
Your baby’s eyesight is also on a roll. Although there is a lot of room for development, she is responding to external light already. After birth, she will spend a good amount of time with eyes closed and for a couple of months; her vision will be restricted to objects close to her. She will also mostly respond to changes in light and not to objects or people moving in front of her. You will understand the difference when you get to know that a normal adult’s vision is 20/20 while your newborn’s vision will be 20/400.1
Where Is All That Fine Hair Going?
Your baby was covered with fine hair called lanugo till the beginning of this week. From this week onwards, the lanugo will begin to shed. This is because lanugo used to serve a purpose in your baby’s body. When the fat cells were absent and the brain was not as developed as it is now, there was a need to keep your baby’s body temperature regulated. Now that new fat stores are being laid out and your baby’s brain is getting more complex by the day, the function of regulating body temperature is being taken over by them.
Even after most of the lanugo is gone, you will find strands of fine downy hair here and there on your newborn’s body after birth. This will shed off in a couple of weeks.
Production Of RBCs
Earlier when your baby was lesser developed than she is now, the tissue groups and the spleen used to produce red blood cells. The 30th week marks a significant development in your baby’s body with the bone marrow taking over the production of red blood cells completely. This is yet another step towards ensuring that your baby survives effortlessly outside the womb.
How Is Your Body Changing?
Are you temperamental all the time? Apart from blaming your pregnancy hormones, think about all the trouble that your body is taking for your baby to have a safe haven inside your womb. As your baby grows by leaps and bounds, your digestion gets slower and becomes more sluggish. Your pregnancy hormones are also helping the muscles in your body to relax, which also include your gastrointestinal tract. This causes food and stomach acids to easily pass into the esophagus and up into the throat. The intestines being pushed to the extremes only worsen the situation by adding fuel to the fire.
Apart from reflux, you are also quite bloated these days and continue to pass more gas. With an expanding uterus, you can only expect more pressure on your rectum. This pressure might loosen your rectum and let gas pass more frequently than ever before. Please don’t feel embarrassed about it because pregnant women fart and that is a well-known fact.
Keep reminding yourself to include your leafy greens and probiotics2 because you don’t want to be dealing with constipation in the 30th week of your pregnancy.
At this stage of pregnancy, stay away from spicy food as much as possible. Fried food and chocolate might seem the best way to beat the pregnancy blues but they will only add to your troubles. It might seem that heartburn is a permanent state of things for you but once you deliver, you will no longer need to worry about it.
You can expect your shoe size to go up again. This is because while the ligaments of your feet are relaxed, your feet get wider. You will be slightly disappointed to know that all your fancy sandals might not fit you anymore. It is time to invest in a pair of new shoes.
Your mood swings could really take a toll on your family life; especially if you have older kids. While controlling ore regulating your mood might be difficult at the moment, you and your partner need to talk to the older kid about the arrival of a new baby and how roles and responsibilities will change for the time being. If you have been preparing your older one for a while, he could be more understanding than you thought. If not, he could get more demanding and sibling rivalry might begin even before your baby is born.
In such situations, always distribute the work between yourself and your spouse. Handling the older kids should ideally be done by him because with all the huffing and puffing you are into these days, it will be next to impossible if you are expected to look after everything.
Somewhere in the midst of all these engagements, your concerns regarding labor and childbirth seem to be looming large. First-timers are mostly apprehensive because of the uncertainty that lies ahead. Second or third timers are keen on not repeating the mistakes in the first couple of times. The trick is to focus on the task at hand instead of letting the anxiety and apprehension build.
Dealing With Frequent Urination
Frequent urination comes back to haunt you in the third trimester because your uterus drops down into the pelvis yet again and your growing baby places a god amount of pressure on your bladder now. Your baby is also settling down into the birthing position which further pushes your bladder to the extremes. You will feel the need to urinate every often but do not give in to the temptation of cutting down on fluids.
It is essential to have enough fluids so that you don’t feel dizzy, light-headed or dehydrated. Cutting down on fluids could lead to urinary tract infections. UTI3 is quite common in pregnancy and has a vicious cycle of recurrence. Drinking plenty of water will flush out the toxins through urination.
What you could rather do is cut down on your intake of tea, coffee, juices and carbonated beverages. They do not quench your thirst in any way. What they really do is make you feel like urinating even more frequently. Having homemade juice without added sugar makes more sense.
Have You Thought Of Cord Blood Banking?
What is cord blood and why does it need to be preserved or banked? Cord blood banking is the latest development in the medical world. Although there is still scope for extensive research in this field, it is believed by researchers that this blood is made of stem cells that can be used to treat a number of life-threatening health conditions in future.
After birth, the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and the placenta is what is called cord blood. The collection of the blood is safe and painless and takes about five minutes after birth. There are two ways of storing cord blood; the first way is to store it in a public facility, with access to all those who need it. The second one is to store it privately, so that it is accessible only when you and your family need it. For the latter, an annual storage cost needs to be paid.
All said and done, it is not compulsory to preserve cord blood. While some people choose to do it, some others are yet to be convinced of its efficacy since there is not enough evidence to back up its claim.
Does The Thought Of Labor Intimidate You?
A lot of pregnant women feel petrified as they inch closer to their due date. More than worrying about the new roles and responsibilities that will crop up after your baby is born; all you can think of is whether you will be able to bear the pain of labor. Listed below are the common factors that play a major role in building up anxiety in pregnant women:
1. Am I Equipped Enough To Handle The Pain?
While natural, intervention free births are empowering and liberating at the same time, there is no denying the fact that tolerance of pain is not everybody’s cup of tea. Some women are prepared to take epidural or other pain relieving medication even before they are in their third trimester. Some others want a drug-free birth and can go to any length for it. If you find yourself asking this question too often, find out your strengths and weaknesses and identify the triggers. If you do end up getting pain relief, that does not belittle your efforts in any way. It only means that you are human.
2. What If I End Up Passing Bowel?
This could be embarrassing for you but it is the last thing that your doctor and the nurses around will be bothered about. While pushing in labor, there are chances that you may pass poop on the deliver table. You might even not have a movement but if this is a cause for concern, wipe it off like a boss.
3. Will I Need An Episiotomy?
While some women need episiotomies, others get natural tears. Both have their own pros and cons. An episiotomy is a cut made between the vaginal opening and the anus if the doctor feels that the opening is not wide enough for the baby to pass through. This is again a topic of debate because some women feel that a natural tear is better. However, a natural tear could be severe if not detected. Your doctor might want to wait till she feels you are absolutely ready for the cut.
Some women are of the opinion that massaging your perineum five to six weeks before due date might keep the episiotomy4 and the tears away.
4. Is A C-section A Possibility?
C-sections have been unnecessarily demonized. You might feel disappointed if you end up having a C-section because a natural birth is all that you had hoped for but you are as much of a mother if you end up delivering surgically. A lot of women feel cheated after a c-section because apparently, they did not go through the pain and trouble and it was not a choice. There is nothing like an ideal birth, which is why feeling disappointed because you never had a vaginal delivery makes no sense at all.
5. I Will End Up With A Different Kind Of Birth
Most pregnant women would have a birth plan in place and if you are one of them, you might feel anxious about not being able to live up to it at the last moment. You will need to speak to your doctor or midwife regarding these fears and they will be able to let you know what you could expect. However, a lot of births need medical intervention when either the mother or the baby is in distress. You cannot be assured till the last minute whether your birth plan will hold but if it does not, you can at least feel happy about the fact that you tried for a natural birth.
6. Something Will Go Wrong With The Baby
Most women would not own up to this fear but it does exist in them. All through pregnancy, you might have felt apprehensive about your baby’s well-being and the same happens at birth. What you need to keep telling yourself is how you are doing the best for your baby and she will be fine all through. If you have had a complicated pregnancy or miscarriages in the past, there is more reason to feel apprehensive about the future but you are only stressing yourself and your baby by worrying about the situation.
7. What If My Water Breaks At Home?
What you really need to do about this is to keep yourself updates about the different stages of labor by attending a birthing class in advance. The instructors would teach you how to deal with emergencies and how to reach the hospital on time. You could also educate yourself about home births, if you have been worrying about needing to deliver at home. Your spouse should also be a part of this learning since he will be the person around you most of the time.
Is Your Baby Gear In Place?
In case you did not know, you will only be allowed to leave the hospital with your baby if you have a car seat properly installed in place. Some hospitals insist on car seats that meet the safety standards in every way. This is the week you should plan to buy a car seat and get it installed. If your friends want to help you in any way, ask them to accompany you in bringing together baby gear and placing them accordingly in the nursery.
If you want to babywear, trying a couple of carriers before birth is the right place to begin. If your friends have carriers, request them to bring a couple along so that you have time to place an order and receive it before your baby is here. Some carriers take longer shipping time so ordering them in advance is more convenient.
If you want to get a stroller, buy one that can grow with your baby. This will come in handy when she would be a toddler but will run out of energy at the mall. The same applies to cribs. Buy a crib that can be transformed into a bed or can be attached to your won if you plan to co-sleep.
There are other things like cot mobiles, bassinets, swings and diaper changing table that you will need to assemble. Keep these entire set ready for the baby before you visit the hospital. Nothing spells trouble like a sleep-deprived mum and you can trust yourself to be the queen of clumsiness in the initial days of caring for a newborn. Keep spare batteries at hand; get rechargeable batteries and a battery charger if you plan to use them.
If you have not disinfected your house lately, you could get it done now. However, ensure that you are not around when the work is happening because you need to keep away from inhaling toxic fumes.
What Can You Do For Your Pregnant Spouse This Week?
In a few weeks, you will call yourself a father. As incredible as that realization is, there is no denying the fact that it comes along with a host of responsibilities. How would you cope with your emotions and concerns while ensuring that your spouse feels loved and pampered at the same time? Focusing on your common goals will help. Educating yourself about the different stages of labor will also come in handy if both of you have been contemplating a home birth. Always accompany her to the birthing classes so that you can remind her of what she needs to do in case labor pains begin. Like every week, reminding her to take her prenatal vitamins, drink enough water, eat healthy and get enough rest should ideally be your priority now. If you have not applied for paternity leave yet, it is time you do and get into the groove of being a new parent. Bracing yourself for sleepless nights by getting enough rest yourself is also a wise idea to follow this week.