This week, your baby is about 39.9cm long – about the size of a cabbage, weighing 1.3kg.
More fat is forming under your baby’s skin and she is starting to look rounder. The loose folds of skin over her body are being filled out from the inside until by birth, their skin will be smooth and even a little plump.
All five of her baby senses are now in full working order. Your baby’s brain has grown and their nervous system is almost mature. At birth, they will have millions of neurons just waiting for lots of interaction and stimulation from you, to help them form the synapses (junctions between nerve cells, consisting of a minute gap across which impulses pass by diffusion of a neurotransmitter), which will link the neurons together. Talking, singing, massaging your tummy and visualising what your baby will look like will all help you form an early emotional connection.
She’s gaining weight rapidly – about 500g between week 28 and week 32 and then she will continue to pile on about 250g a week until she is 35 weeks old.
Scientists have recorded the brain waves of unborn babies. At seven weeks they are sporadic, but become noticeably more consistent by 10 weeks. Unborn babies have one continuous distinct brain wave pattern by 22 weeks and two distinct patterns (similar to adult brainwaves) by 30 weeks.
Her fingernails will now reach the end of her fingertips this week but her toenails will take a little longer to grow. When your baby is born, you might want to carefully nibble long nails or use baby nail clippers to trim them down. Some scratch mitts in your hospital bag are probably a good idea.
Only 10 weeks to go! You’re now three-quarters of the way through your pregnancy.
Your baby is getting bigger and she is sitting on top of your bladder so you’re going to want to wee more often. Try to empty your bladder completely when you go to the toilet as this avoids the risk of getting a urinary tract infection.
It is quite common to find it hard to get to sleep in the third trimester. There isn’t much you can do about it occurring but keeping a regular night-time routine will help you cope with it. Make sure you are comfortable in bed – a pregnancy pillow is useful – and move your mobile phone and computer out of your room.
If you are still working, you may be feeling a little exhausted. If you are working full time, you could consider dropping to part-time hours until you go on maternity leave or ask about working from home. If you have older children to look after, you won’t be able to take a break. Try to have an afternoon rest if you can and synchronise a lie down when your children do.
It can be hard to concentrate on any one thing at this stage, which can be difficult if you’re at work. Your mind could be wandering. Try using an egg timer as a prompt to stay focussed on the task in hand – perhaps say you’ll focus for an hour and then take a break, and then repeat.
Restless legs? For some it is only mildly irritating but for others, whose symptoms are more severe, it can ruin most evenings and disrupt your sleep. It can be linked to iron-deficiency anaemia, which is not uncommon in pregnancy, so it’s worth seeing your doctor as there’s a blood test that can check for this. It’s also worth asking if any treatment can relieve your symptoms. Moving your legs can help, as can distracting yourself by watching TV or getting up and doing something. Regular daytime exercise may improve things, too.
Your skin is more sensitive during pregnancy and it’s being stretched in several directions. This may result in dry and itchy patches. To help with the itchiness, you can use E45 or similar (avoid fragranced creams). If the palms of your hands and soles of your feet are itchy, speak to your midwives straight away as just occasionally this can be a sign of a serious liver condition called obstetric cholestasis, which can be dangerous for both you and the baby.
Are you planning a homebirth? Start thinking now about what you need, and get a birthing pool/TENS machine etc organised. The midwife will bring the items she needs for the birth. You might need some plastic sheeting to protect your floor, bed or sofa, old towels to cover the plastic sheeting, a warm blanket or throw (in case you get cold), clean warm towels and a baby blanket to keep her warm after birth. Speak to your midwife for more information and how to prepare. You’ll also need to register it in your maternity notes.
As your baby’s due date approaches you may begin to think about what to take to hospital or the birth centre for your stay. Gathering supplies can be very exciting. Here are the main things you might want to include for labour – we’ll look at what you’ll need for after the birth, for baby and what your birth partner might need in future weeks. In terms of labour: nightdress and dressing gown, birth plan/notes, slippers, socks, toiletries, hair bands (to stop wisps annoying you!), lip balm (for dry lips), straws (to take sips of drink, as you’ll get dehydrated more easily), sugary snacks or energy drinks to give you a much-needed boost when you’re flagging, and maybe a playlist on your phone to help distract or relax you. There are many things you can take, and some of it is personal preference. Have a chat with your partner and friends, and also do some internet research.
Check in with your partner to see how she is feeling. If you have older children, she might not be able to get much rest in the later stages of pregnancy so see if you can work out between you a routine that allows her to get some rest when you’re around.