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. This is especially true if you have toddlers to care for as well. Bending down to them is getting more difficult and you could worry they’ll “squash” the baby as they sit on top of your bump. Try not to be concerned. Nature has been very kind in terms of the protective mechanisms in place which will insulate your baby while it is in utero. In fact, at 29 weeks of pregnancy, your baby is likely to give a swift kick in response to too much pushing. Consider this an early form of sibling rivalry, something that will become all too familiar in the years to come.
Oh, my aching back
One of the greatest areas of risk of strain is to your back. To counter balance the weight and bulk that is out in your front, your back is likely to automatically sway inwards from now on. In addition, your feet will be placed further apart as you walk. This will give you the all too familiar waddle of pregnancy, something you may have sworn you’d never succumb to. 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.
What pelvic floor?
Talking of exercises, try to squeeze in a few pelvic floor ones while you’re at it. 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. Coughing and sneezing can place undue strain on your pelvic floor so check with your doctor if you have a cold.
Your physical changes this week
- 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. Many women wear their wedding and engagement rings on a chain around their neck in the last months of their pregnancy.
- Feeling the heat? The third trimester is a time 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 toe-nails, shave your legs and go shopping for shoes which only need to be slipped on. As the next few weeks progress you’ll find yourself groaning as you bend, something you probably thought you’d never do! Welcome to the third trimester.
Your emotional changes this week
- 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. If you’ve had a pre-term baby before, this will undoubtedly cause you to feel concerned and anxious it may happen again.
- Start to prioritise about what is really important and what isn’t. Think in terms of what you have to get done and what you want to get done before the baby is born. Be realisitc about what will be more difficult to achieve, when there is someone who is totally dependent on you for its care. Now is not the time to start a major renovation, plan a house move or start a new job. Try to avoid excess stress and aim for a simple life.
- Try not to place too much value on your body image or 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. Keep a box of tissues handy and be kind to yourself. Blame those hormones again which can depress your nervous system and cause symptoms similar to pre-menstrual tension.
Your baby’s changes this week
- Your baby weighs around 1.4 kilograms this week but is still less than half the weight it will be at birth. There is lots of fat still being accumulated under its skin and if it were born now would look very thin with long limbs.
- Your baby’s movements will probably peak in the month from 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. It takes up to eight years for a child’s respiratory system to mature fully so these are still early days.
- Your baby’s chances of survival, if it were born early are increasing with every week which passes. It may not even need respiratory support if you delivered this week.
- It may be difficult for your midwife or 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 it is facing.
Tips for Week 29
- Ask your midwife or 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 which can be further refined if you can’t ultimately decide. 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. Sometimes, it’s a name which has not even occurred to them.
- No matter how much you believe in weight bearing exercise, put those weights down if you have haemorrhoids. They will just enlarge further by the increase in your intra-abdominal and rectal pressure. Instead, go for low impact exercise such as yoga or swimming.