Welcome to week 29. Only 11 weeks to go!
Your baby eggplant is growing this week to the size of a cauliflower. Your boy or girl measures 15.5 inches (39.3 cm) and weighs 3 pounds (1.4 kg).
Every day, your little one looks more like a full-grown baby and less like a fetus. Your baby will double or even triple in weight between now and birth. More fat is being deposited under the surface of their skin, and their wrinkles are smoothing out as they are plumping up.
As your baby grows, you will feel increased jabs, pokes, and kicks. While it can be uncomfortable, just think of it as your baby saying hello and reminding you that they are in there. They are getting stronger every day and responding to all sorts of stimuli like movement, sounds, light, and some foods you eat, especially sugar.
The placenta has also been growing over the past 29 weeks. By this time next week, it will weigh almost one pound.
The top of your uterus is now four inches above your belly button. The bad news is that it is crowding your ribs and diaphragm and leaving you short of breath. It is also pressing against your bladder, so you must urinate more often.
There are some complications that can arise in the third trimester. PUPPP stands for pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy or PEP in the UK (polymorphic eruption of pregnancy). This itchy rash is the most common skin condition in pregnancy. See this episode for more information and treatment of PUPPP.
Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy is a complication caused by a reduced flow of bile down the bile ducts in the liver, which causes some bile to leak into the bloodstream. This build-up of bile acids in the bloodstream can cause a persistent itch, most often in the palms of your hands or the soles of your feet. It is also possible for it to spread to your belly. This condition does increase the risk of some adverse outcomes for your baby. Please bring up any symptoms with your doctor or midwife.
As your uterus grows, it can put additional pressure on your veins in the lower half of your body, especially in your legs. This causes your veins to work extra hard to circulate up to 45% additional blood volume in your body. On top of this, progesterone can relax your blood vessels. This can contribute to spider veins or varicose veins.
Spider veins are tiny red or bluish veins that most often appear on your legs. Other than changing the appearance of your skin, they are painless. Varicose veins are more prominent, protruding veins. Varicose veins have the potential to be uncomfortable. These are hereditary, but the good news is that you can do some things to treat them if they do show up. See this episode for more information on treatment. Both spider and varicose veins should go away in the months after you have your baby.
Interventions should only occur with your informed consent. That means that your care provider takes the time to explain the risks and benefits and that you can opt in or out. An excellent tool for evaluating any intervention is the BRAIN acronym, which breaks down to five questions you can ask your doctor or midwife.
Benefits: What are the benefits?
Risks: What are the risks?
Alternatives: What are the alternatives?
Intuition: What does your intuition tell you?
Nothing: What happens if you do nothing?
Many interventions are available during your labor and birth. Each has risks and benefits, and you should work with your care provider to make informed decisions that are right for you. You can prepare for conversations with your doctor or midwife by educating yourself about interventions like vaginal exams, electronic fetal monitoring, iv fluids, and episiotomy.
Tip for Dads and Partners
Whether decorating a room in your home or just carving out a corner for your baby, the nursery is often one of the biggest to-dos for parents-to-be. If setting up the nursery involves painting or lifting heavy objects, volunteer to take care of those tasks. Don’t panic if the nursery isn’t 100% done when mom goes into labor. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants sleep in the parents’ room, close to the parent’s bed, but on a separate surface designed for infants, ideally for at least the first six months. It will be at least six months until your baby spends nights in their room.
Want more evidence-based information to navigate your pregnancy and birth?
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