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Welcome to the 29th week of pregnancy! This is week two of your final trimester. At this point, you may be feeling a little bit of apprehension mixed with a lot of joy. While it’s natural to feel a bit overwhelmed, it is important for you to try and stay happy.

You should take some time out this week to talk to people around you—your doctor, doula, mom, friends and siblings who have had babies recently and the people in your pregnancy yoga or Lamaze class who know what you are going through could be great.

You should also be preparing your home and life for the arrival of your little bundle of joy in just a few weeks from now. 

Your aim this week should be to continue following your doctor’s recommendations, including

  • Recommendations for your pregnancy diet: Increasing pressure on your digestive organs can lead to indigestionheartburn and related issues in the third trimester. So, eating small meals with higher fibre content is as important as getting ample rest right now. You need it, and so does your baby, who’s continuing to grow during this week.
  • Your doctor may also ask you to reduce strenuous activity and get more rest now. Both these things are important at this stage, because your baby bump is continuing to grow, and it can make you feel wobbly on your feet as well as a little short of breath.

You should maintain a diary to track your baby’s kick count at this stage—this will give you a general idea if and when your baby deviates from the routine you started building a few weeks ago. If you observe anything abnormal in the count, do call the doctor immediately.

You should be thinking about baby-proofing the house and getting the essentials for the baby ready this week, but remember to enlist the help of your spouse, friends and family in this effort.

Here’s everything you need to know about the 29th week of pregnancy.

  1. Baby size and features at 29 weeks of pregnancy
  2. Changes in your body by the 29th week of pregnancy
  3. 29th week of pregnancy symptoms
  4. Complications in the 29th week of pregnancy
  5. Things you should do in the 29th week of pregnancy
  6. Takeaways for the 29th week of pregnancy

Your baby will continue to gain weight and grow bigger throughout the gestational period. During this week, he or she is likely to be around 38.6cm long from head to toe, which is as big as butternut squash. Your baby’s approximate weight is 1.2 kilograms this week. 

Not only will your baby continue to grow in size, but his or her organs will mature as well. Rapid brain development began in the 28th week of pregnancy, so the baby’s head will also continue to grow in size. The muscles, lungs and fat tissues are growing rapidly too. The vernix—the waxy, white protective layer that was covering your baby’s skin for the last few weeks—will start to disappear and so will the lanugo—the soft downy hair covering the baby.

Your baby is not only able to open and close their eyes, but he or she is also able to properly blink now. With all these rapid developments, your baby will need proper nutrition, so continue to take a good pregnancy diet and ask your doctor about supplements depending on your deficiencies.

Read more: Essential vitamins and minerals during pregnancy

You’re a little breathless because your baby bump is pushing against your lungs. Frequent urination during pregnancy will continue this week (and beyond) because your baby bump is pushing against your bladder. You’re probably feeling a little bloated and awkward on your feet, and that’s because your baby bump has grown. You might have a lot of gas, heartburn, acid reflux and constipation during pregnancy at this stage, and yes, that’s because of your growing baby bump too.

From sleeping issues to leg cramps, leg pain, back pain and abdomen pain during pregnancy, most of the problems you face this week will be because of the baby bump. It can lead to a lot of pain and discomfort, and it can get a little too much to handle, too—especially if your baby is also very active and appears to be playing a good game of football in your womb. 

However, all of this is quite normal in the third trimester, and the best you can do is to get plenty of rest. Learning to use a pillow or a couple of cushions to support your body as you rest or sleep can also give you more comfort. Eat a high fibre diet, sip water throughout the day, get some light activity or walk for at least half an hour every day.

Keeping a check on your mental health is equally important this week, and you should talk to your spouse, friends and other loved ones if things get too overwhelming or apprehensive. You might hear people commenting on your weight, and some people might even try to guess the gender of your baby based on how your baby bump is hanging, kick counts, heart rate, etc. These are superstitions and have no scientific backing, so try not to take them seriously. As long as you deliver a healthy baby while staying healthy yourself, everything will be fine.

As your third trimester progresses, you’re likely to revise your idea of what comfortable means. All the symptoms that you experienced during the first and second trimesters—like melasma, sore breasts, bleeding gums, swollen gums, headaches, nosebleed, mood swings—are likely to persist to some degree. But there are a few symptoms that are going to intensify over this and the following weeks.

  • Round ligament pain: The world over, this is one of the most commonly experienced aches during pregnancy. It presents as a sharp pain in the groin area, on one side of the belly or across the belly.
    This pain is called round ligament pain, as it occurs when the round ligament—which supports the uterus—gets stretched more and more in the latter half of the pregnancy to accommodate the growing baby. (Ligaments are fibrous connective tissues that are present all over the body. The round ligament starts where the fallopian tube meets the uterus, passes through the inguinal canal just above the groin and joins with the mons pubis and labia majora in the crotch area, according to an article published by StatPearls, US).
    There are a number of ways to deal with this type of pain, but if the pain intensifies, then you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible.
  • Varicose veins: Varicose veins are basically enlarged, swollen and twisted veins that have a blue- or dark purple-coloured spider web-like appearance on the surface of the skin. Because of the growing baby bump and weight, a pregnant woman is likely to suffer from varicose veins during pregnancy— especially in the third trimester. These varicose veins usually appear on the legs, vaginal opening or vulva, and on the rectum or anus (also known as haemorrhoids). These can pose a huge issue during childbirth, so you should consult your doctor about your options this week. (Read more: Home remedies for varicose veins)
  • Sciatic nerve pain: This periodic type of pain affects the legs in most pregnant women, and it can be constant or may occur in bouts. This type of pain occurs when the sciatic nerve—which runs under the uterus and down the legs—gets pressed due to the growing uterus and foetus inside. With the added weight and pressure, the sciatic nerve is bound to swell up and get inflamed. You should consult your doctor about managing sciatica pain during pregnancy, especially if a hot or cold compress and staying off your feet doesn’t help this trimester.
  • Braxton-Hicks contractions: These contractions usually show up in the third trimester of pregnancy, and indicate that your body is preparing itself for delivery. These contractions are completely normal and you need not worry about them. However, you should start timing your contractions if they start to happen too frequently because instead of being Braxton-Hicks contractions, these could be actual labour pains and what you might be experiencing is premature labour. (Read more: Contractions during pregnancy)
  • Fatigue: Given the increased intensity of pain and discomfort during the 29th week of pregnancy, it’s highly likely that you will experience increased amounts of fatigue this week and in the coming weeks. You’re carrying a lot of weight around, your internal organs are being squeezed, you might be breathless, in pain and unable to sleep comfortably in any position, so it’s quite natural for fatigue to set in.
  • Sleep problems: Sleep during pregnancy is extremely important, but it might prove to be quite elusive in the 29th week of pregnancy. The pain and fatigue, especially when added to the digestive troubles and the baby kicking and moving all night, may keep you awake all night, every night. The best way to handle this is to get into a comfortable sleeping position while supporting your womb, and to get sufficient daytime naps as well.
  • Digestive issues: Your digestion issues may have started as soon as you got pregnant, but things in this department are likely to get more difficult now. Indigestion, heartburn, bloating, gas and acid reflux will increase. This is primarily because your growing uterus is pressing into the digestive organs, and your hormone levels make certain types of foods more difficult to digest. Tailoring your diet to suit this trimester’s need is, therefore, something you absolutely need to do.

While entering the third trimester ensures that you are now closer to meeting your baby, it doesn’t automatically mean that there won’t be any complications. If you were diagnosed with cervical insufficiency (a weak cervix) and a cerclage couldn’t be performed, you’d have to be on bed rest now to ensure that you get through a few more weeks of this trimester. There are quite a few other risks involved with the third trimester, so you should ensure that you’re aware of them, taking precautions against them and keeping a check on yourself to understand if any symptoms show up.

  • Stillbirth: The sudden loss of a foetus after the completion of 20 weeks of pregnancy is termed stillbirth. If the stillbirth occurs between the 28th and 36th completed weeks of pregnancy, it’s known as late stillbirth. World Health Organization (WHO) data from 2015 show that globally, 2.6 million stillbirths occur every year. India has among the highest rates of stillbirths in the world, at an estimated 22 stillbirths for every 1,000 births. The causes can vary from complications during childbirth to maternal infections and health disorders like high blood pressure. Regular check-ups and taking good care of your health are the best bet against this complication. (Read more: Blood pressure machine)
  • Hypertensive diseases: Moms-to-be can get high blood pressure or gestational hypertension, which can have serious repercussions. If the blood pressure levels aren’t controlled, then it can lead to further complications like placental abruptionpre-eclampsia and eclampsia. Placental abruption is a condition in which the link between the placenta and the uterus breaks—either partially or completely—before birth. Pre-eclampsia is a complication of gestational hypertension which can affect the mom-to-be's organs like kidneys and liver. Getting your blood pressure checked regularly is therefore very important during this stage of pregnancy.
  • Subchorionic haemorrhage: This type of bleeding occurs when the original connection between the placenta and the uterus is affected, though not completely broken (placental abruption). This occurs in over 3% of pregnancies. Your doctor may be able to diagnose this during your routine ultrasound during pregnancy, even if you don’t notice any bleeding. If you are diagnosed with this condition, your doctor may prescribe progesterone and bed rest to improve the outcome for you and your baby.
  • Infections: Pregnant women are more prone to some infections, like bacterial vaginosis, urinary tract infection (UTI), hepatitis B, hepatitis C, genital herpes and group B streptococcus or GBS bacterial infection. You should report any signs like itching or abnormal discharge from the vagina to your doctor and get treatment as soon as possible. This is because there’s a real risk of you passing on the infection to your baby. Infections typically cause a fever: a normal occurrence as your body fights the pathogen. A rise in body temperature during pregnancy, however, can be harmful to your health as well as your baby’s. (Read more: How to naturally reduce your body temperature during pregnancy).
  • Obstetric cholestasis: Also known as intrahepatic cholestasis, this condition affects less than 1% of pregnant women in India, and is characterized by itchy palms and soles of the feet. Though doctors don’t yet know the exact cause of obstetric cholestasis, they have linked the condition to the effects of pregnancy hormones on the liver. There’s no treatment for this condition, and it usually becomes better on its own after delivery. In the meantime, if the itching gets to be too much, ask your doctor for salves and creams to soothe it.
  • Gestational diabetes: Hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to gestational diabetes due to increase in blood sugar levels. This usually occurs between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy, so you might think that you’re in the clear now. However, it’s best not to take any chances at all with your health. So, if the doctor asks you to get your blood sugar levels checked frequently, bear with it because it’s for your own good and that of your baby’s.

You’re in your third trimester, which means there’s a lot to be done in the weeks before your baby finally arrives. Most pregnant women experience an increase in nesting behaviour during the third trimester, so make sure that you utilise this instinct to the fullest to get everything done, while also ensuring that you get enough rest.

  • There are a lot of essentials your newborn will need, from washcloths and soft towels to clothes and diapers. You will need to list them out and get these essentials home in the coming weeks. Don’t try to do it all by yourself, though, and enlist the help of friends and family—especially experienced parents.
  • Get a go-bag with all your hospital essentials ready. Your baby is now viable, and whether you have a premature delivery or a full-term one after about 10 weeks from now, you should have all the necessities ready.
  • Make sure you avoid caffeine, raw fish, undercooked meat, processed foods, excess sugar and salt in your diet. Doing this may ease some of your digestion issues and keep infections like salmonella and listeriosis at bay.
  • Your doctor would have told you by now if your baby is in breech position or not. If your baby is breech, you will have been recommended a few remedies to try at home to shift the baby’s position. Follow these recommendations, but ensure that you have company while you do so.
  • Avoid all strenuous exercises and activities, but do get some exercise, yoga and pelvic floor strengthening exercises done every day.
  • If you are carrying twins, it may be a good idea to schedule monthly ultrasound appointments now. Check with your doctor about when you should go in for your next ultrasound.

You might have been able to do everything by yourself in the previous trimesters, but the third trimester is different. This is a critical time when you need ample rest and care, while the list of things to do tends to get longer. So, getting help—and not just for your physical needs—would be an excellent idea.

It’s very important to remember your mental wellbeing matters just as much as your physical wellbeing. Depression during pregnancy is as serious an issue as postpartum depression, and it’s necessary that you do everything possible to keep both at bay. Communication is the key to solving this issue, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed or any excess of emotions—which is all very normal—talk to your partner, friends, family or a professional. 

As mentioned before, this is a critical trimester, and getting the support of your obstetrician is very important here. Follow their recommendations and don’t stop yourself from asking questions you really need the answers to. Addressing your concerns is very important, and so is communicating with your doctor. Make sure both you and your partner do this throughout the third trimester.

References

  1. Start4Life. National Health Service [Internet]. Hertfordshire. UK; Week 29 – your third trimester
  2. American Pregnancy Association [Internet]. Irving, Texas, USA; Pregnancy Week 29
  3. National Childbirth Trust [Internet]. London. United Kingdom; 29 weeks pregnant
  4. Nemours Children’s Health System [Internet]. Jacksonville (FL): The Nemours Foundation; c2017. Week 29
  5. Huang, Yu-Ting. et al. Antepartum uterine rupture at 29 weeks gestation following unilateral salpingectomy and review of literature. BMJ Case Rep. 2017; 2017: bcr2015211359. PMID: 28298378
  6. Grillo, M. et al. Prenatal Diagnosis of Triploidy (69,XXX) in the 29th Week of Pregnancy With Fetal Death in the 37th Week of Pregnancy. Zentralbl Gynakol . 1990;112(1):49-53. PMID: 2316295
  7. Linde, Anders. et al. Fetal movement in late pregnancy – a content analysis of women’s experiences of how their unborn baby moved less or differently. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2016; 16: 127. PMID: 27245990
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