The size of a butternut squash! That’s how big your baby is this week. She’s 38.6cm long and weighs 1.1kg.
Nerve cells have separated into five differentiated areas of the brain, including the parts that control memory and coordination, and these compartments will continue to develop. Increasingly, your baby’s brain will be able to control his breathing and temperature.
The amniotic sac has officially finished growing but don’t worry about your baby not having enough room to develop. The sac is very elastic to accommodate her growth. She’s big enough to really jab you in the ribs if too much prodding takes place! You might even notice that she gets hiccups – they are a more regular, rhythmical movement.
Your baby is now gaining more weight than length. Between weeks 24 and 37, she’ll pile on the grams at a rate of 15g a day.
Her lungs are coming on excellently. Most of her smaller airways are ready and she has more of the little air sacs that branch out at the end of them. These will increase in number until she is eight, which is why respiratory problems in children often get better as they get older.
Your baby’s bones will be storing calcium and other minerals that make them hard and strong, and they will now be the main supplier of red blood cells, which carry oxygen and nutrients around the body.
There used to be an ideal number of times that you were supposed to feel your baby move in any given hour. But these days, the advice is: what’s normal for your baby? Spend some time counting your baby’s kicks – that way if you notice the pattern isn’t as regular one day, you can call your midwife for advice. You can even download an app to help with this and remind you when to do it.
If this is your first baby, it’s your last chance to catch up on R&R. If you already have other children, then use this time for some quality ‘mummy and me’ time, as the arrival of a new baby can make children feel anxious and a little insecure. You might also want to see if someone can babysit for a few hours here and there so that you can get enough rest as you find things more tiring in the third trimester.
Make sure you’re following advice to sleep on your side to reduce your risk of stillbirth. Don’t worry if you roll over in the night, just move back on to your left side when you notice.
Have you thought about your hospital bag yet? Or is reading this causing you to stick your fingers in your ears and start singing?! Don’t leave it last minute and put it by the front door ready with a copy of your birth plan and a reminder to take your antenatal notes when you do finally head to the hospital with it. We’ll cover off possible things to take in future weeks.
The third trimester is a time when many women notice a real change in their body’s temperature. 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.
Everything slows down a bit in pregnancy, which can have unwanted side-effects. Digestion slows down, which can cause constipation and piles, and your circulation is slower, which can contribute to varicose veins. A baby in the womb presses on the veins in your pelvis that collect blood from the veins in your legs. As a result, the blood doesn’t leave your legs as quickly as it used to and pools there instead. In addition, the hormones in pregnancy affect the valves in your leg veins that should help push the blood up the leg. Then, your leg veins start bulging and they may itch and ache – as well as your general swelling in your feet, legs and hands.
There isn’t much you can do to stop them – some people suggest regular swimming or other exercise might help. Another tip that may improve things is not to cross your legs when you’re sitting and, if possible, raise them higher than the level of your heart. Speak to your GP to get their take on the best approach for your situation.
At the 29-week mark you might experience numbness or pain in your hand, arm or fingers, or perhaps you have trouble gripping, which could be a sign of carpal tunnel syndrome. It usually disappears after birth, and the symptoms come and go – they’re usually worse at night though. A wrist splint and pain relief can help. Try to rest your hands but if your current plan of attack isn’t working and your symptoms get worse, go and speak to your GP.
Pregnancy is an emotional time in your life – even if it’s a fairly straightforward journey. If you’re finding any aspect of pregnancy difficult, though, hormones can make it feel even more intense. Make sure you make time for pleasurable activities, and if you want to talk to someone about how you’re feeling, then do – you won’t be alone in feeling how you do.
The changes your body goes through and the amazing process of growing a baby inside you can make you feel ‘separate’ from the rest of your friends and family at times. You may feel in your own world with being pregnant and the physical changes it brings. Some women also feel strange that their partner or childless friends have no real idea of what they’re going through.
There are some great books out there on how to bond with your children, especially if you’re not the one spending the most time with them each week. If you can’t be hands-on but really want to feel you’re connecting with your child, then do a bit of research on Google to see what advice is out there, and what books/articles might be worth reading.