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Welcome to the 30th week of pregnancy! You’re just 10 weeks away from a full term. Now if that feels like a countdown to you and your spouse, then you know you’ve entered a critical juncture of your gestation and there’s a lot to do. From baby-proofing the house to getting all possible necessities, you have a lot to do during this week and after it.

But you must remember that at no point during the 30th week of pregnancy does work come before your health. You have to stick to your pregnancy diet as well as the doctor’s recommendations to rest and put your feet up whenever you feel tired. This is because although this time is exciting, you’re still heavily pregnant and your baby has quite a bit of growing to do still.

Your baby’s brain and lungs will continue to develop this week, and his or her weight will also continue to increase. Your baby bump will correspondingly increase, and you are likely to feel short of breath and a bit wobbly on your feet. Finding a comfortable position to sleep at night might get harder as your bump grows, too. All of this is likely to make you more fatigued and sleepless, which is why you should get as much rest, sleep and nutrition as possible.

Read more: Sleep during pregnancy

Pregnant women often come across a lot of comments about their weight and the possible gender of their child. These comments can be a bit overwhelming and can build a lot of pressure, so it’s important to have supportive friends and family members around who can ensure that you’re coping well. Here’s everything you need to know about the 30th week of pregnancy.

  1. Baby size and features at 30 weeks of pregnancy
  2. Changes in your body by the 30th week of pregnancy
  3. 30th week of pregnancy symptoms
  4. Complications in the 30th week of pregnancy
  5. Things you should do in the 30th week of pregnancy
  6. Takeaways for the 30th week of pregnancy

You can probably guess by the strength with which your baby now kicks that he or she is getting stronger and bigger every day. During the 30th week of pregnancy, your baby is approximately 39.9 cm long from head to heel, which is roughly the size of a big cabbage. He or she weighs around 1.3kg now.

Your baby’s eyes have now developed enough to be able to focus, and their vision will continue to mature now and well after birth. Newborns usually have the ability to focus just a few inches beyond their face after birth, but that’s not alarming as this sense grows slowly with time and proper nutrition. (Read more: Vision problems in babies)

As your baby’s lungs develop, he or she will also mimic breathing movements in the womb to make this easier later on. Your baby will also continue to get hiccups during this stage of the pregnancy.

If you have older children, try to instil a sense of responsibility and love for the baby sister/baby brother in them already. Involve them in activities, let them feel your tummy if they are curious, show them which sounds the baby responds to most enthusiastically. Let them know that you love them and that you need their help.

The most obvious thing you’ll begin to notice this week is that you get tired more easily than before. Your baby’s weight is increasing, and you may experience back pain, sciatic nerve pain and round ligament pain as a result. Sleeping will become more difficult, and when you do get to sleep, you’ll probably have vivid dreams.

It’s normal for women in their third trimester to have vivid dreams about delivering their baby and related topics. If you wake up scared and on your back, get up, drink a glass of water, go to the toilet and go back to sleep on your side with pillows to support your back and belly. Make sure you discuss your dreams with a friend or your spouse for support the next morning.

Mood swings have been your friends since the first trimester, but expect things to get a little more intense this week. Pregnancy hormones can make your joints a little looser, and you’re also carrying a lot of extra weight on your feet. This can lead to awkwardness and lack of balance while walking. Take support whenever and wherever possible—hold the railing while climbing stairs, get support bars put in the loo, and anything else that will make you more comfortable.

The third trimester can be difficult for some pregnant women. Others, on the other hand, don’t feel the symptoms as severely. Melasma, sore breasts, bleeding gums, swollen gums, headaches, nosebleed, and mood swings might give you a tough time this week, but the following symptoms are the ones you really need to look out for because of their intensity:

  • Sciatic nerve pain: As your baby bump grows, your womb may press down on the sciatic nerve and cause lower back pain, hip pain and leg pain. Sciatic nerve pain is actually quite common during pregnancy, especially during the third trimester. The pain can be constant or episodic. You can try putting a hot compress on the area that is hurting and put your feet up to get some relief. If the pain becomes difficult to manage, ask your doctor about other methods to reduce the pain.
  • Round ligament pain: Round ligament pain is a type of pain that pregnant women experience in the lower belly or groin area, and is either located on one side or can be experienced all across the belly. This is one of the most common complaints in the second and third trimesters, so don't worry too much if feel a deep or stabbing groin pain and lower belly pain—often after an activity like walking. Call the doctor if the pain gets too intense, becomes unbearable or starts to spread.
  • Varicose veins: Varicose veins may develop when the inferior vena cava—which carries deoxygenated blood back from your feet and legs to the heart—gets pinched and inflamed due to the increasing weight and pressure in your abdomen. This, in turn, causes the formation of bluish, inflamed vein clusters that are hard and painful. Varicose veins during pregnancy are mostly located in the legs, vulva and the rectum—varicose veins in the rectum/anus are also known as haemorrhoids—and you should talk to your doctor about managing them.
  • Braxton-Hicks contractions: Also known as false labour contractions, these contractions during pregnancy tend to become less intense with time or with changes in position. You should count the frequency and intensity of your contractions whenever you experience them, to rule out premature labour. (Read more: Water breaking)
  • Fatigue: Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of pregnancy and tends to intensify as the delivery date approaches. Your body is pumping more blood, your weight has increased, there’s a life growing inside you, you have late-term symptoms to handle, and you still have to remain active and make sure your daily functions are performed. Fatigue is therefore quite natural at this stage. The best thing you can do to handle it is to get adequate sleep, and eat well during this phase of your pregnancy.
  • Sleep problems: From pain and gas to constipation and frequent urination during pregnancy, there’s a lot that can keep you awake during the 30th week. You might also have the added discomfort of vivid dreams this week. Communicating your fears and apprehensions to a loved one is as important as consulting your doctor about ways to get better sleep. At this stage of your pregnancy, getting a few naps during the day can alleviate your sleep problems quite a bit.
  • Digestive issues: You might experience an increase in indigestion and heartburn this week, and acid reflux, gas, bloating and belching are also quite likely to occur. These symptoms aren't just caused by pregnancy hormones, but also by the increasing pressure on your digestive system due to the growing uterus. Many pregnant women experience severe digestive issues during the 30th week of pregnancy, so consulting your doctor for safe medications and antacids to relieve the issues may be a good idea.

It’s usually between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy that gestational diabetes shows up, which is why you might feel like you’re in the clear during the 30th week of pregnancy. However, it’s important to keep a check on your blood sugar levels, especially if you have a family history of diabetes. 

On many occasions, both pregnant women and their doctors fail to recognise the signs of cervical insufficiency. This is why, in the absence of a cerclage, many women end up giving birth prematurely. There can be a number of other reasons for premature labour and birth, but it’s not the only complication women experience during the third trimester of pregnancy. The following are some of the complications of pregnancy you need to look out for in the 30th week.

  • Stillbirth: While the loss of a foetus before the 20th week of pregnancy is known as a miscarriage, a sudden loss after the 20th week is known as stillbirth. If the stillbirth occurs between the 28th and 36th completed weeks of pregnancy, it’s known as late stillbirth.
    Developments in medicine and medical technologies have made it possible to reduce the risk of stillbirth if caught in time. Hence, if you do see any symptoms like contractions, vaginal bleeding, etc., contact your doctor immediately.
  • Hypertensive diseases: High blood pressure is never a good thing to have, but it can pose quite a number of difficulties during pregnancy. Expecting moms have about 50% extra volume of blood which is why they are at risk of pregnancy-related high blood pressure or gestational hypertension.
    Hypertension during the third trimester can lead to further complications like placental abruption, pre-eclampsia and eclampsia.
  • Subchorionic haemorrhage: Since you aren’t supposed to experience any vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, bleeding due to a subchorionic haemorrhage can be quite alarming. A subchorionic haemorrhage occurs when the placenta gets partially detached from where it got attached to the uterus in the first place. Sometimes gynaecologists may see signs of subchorionic haemorrhage in an ultrasound during pregnancy, even if the mom-to-be doesn't experience any bleeding. Depending on the size of the haemorrhage, the bleeding can be light or heavy. In any case, it’s very important to take a subchorionic haemorrhage seriously and get immediate medical aid to ensure your baby’s safety.
  • Infections: No matter how careful you are, you can’t completely avoid infections, especially during pregnancy. During the 30th week of pregnancy you’re more susceptible to infections like bacterial vaginosis, urinary tract infection (UTI), hepatitis B, hepatitis C, genital herpes and group B streptococcus or GBS bacterial infection. You should not delay a diagnosis and treatment in the case of infections during pregnancy. You should also eat food that’s properly prepared to avoid infections like salmonella and listeriosis. (Read more: Is it safe to eat fish during pregnancy?)
  • Obstetric cholestasis: Obstetric cholestasis might be rare—this condition affects less than 1% of pregnant women in India—but it can be quite difficult to live with during the third trimester of pregnancy. This is because sleep is anyways hard to come by during these weeks, and itching soles and palms can make it even more difficult. 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.
  • Placenta previa: In this condition, a low-lying placenta covers some or all of the cervix (part of the female reproductive system that links the uterus to the vagina). This can create problems during delivery.
    Normally, placenta previa resolves itself by the 20th week as the baby bump grows. But if your ultrasound shows that your placenta is over the cervix at this stage, your doctor may advise regular ultrasounds to monitor the situation.
    He/she may also advise bed rest for the remainder of your pregnancy. Follow your doctor's recommendations closely, as placenta previa can lead to bleeding during pregnancy. Do not use tampons during pregnancy if you have been diagnosed with placenta previa and are experiencing some vaginal bleeding.
    Sex during pregnancy should also be avoided by women diagnosed with placenta previa.

There may be some occasions during the 30th week of pregnancy when you feel overwhelmed by all that’s left to do. Take a deep breath and call a friend if this happens, because you should still be getting as much rest as possible this week. Simply because you’re the mom-to-be doesn't mean that you have to do everything by yourself. The following are some of the things you should get done this week. 

  • Diapers, washcloths, baby bed, disposal bags, teeny-tiny clothes, oilcloths, bathing and cleaning essentials—there are so many things to shop for! If you feel too exhausted to go from store to store, order them online and give your swollen and aching feet some rest.
  • Whether you have a normal delivery at full term (39th week to 40 weeks and six days) or end up having premature labour, you'll thank yourself for getting a hospital go-bag ready in advance. Fresh sets of clothes and other essentials apart, you should carry your medical history and pregnancy check-up results for all trimesters in the bag to help the obstetrician on call during your birthing experience.
  • Many women find out that their baby is in breech position around the 28th week of pregnancy or later. If you’re one of them, then your doctor would have given you remedial movements and exercises to naturally turn the baby in the womb. Follow these recommendations while making sure that somebody is around to help out if anything goes wrong.
  • This is no time to be indulging in a heavy workout or any strenuous exercise at all. A brief walk for 20 minutes or so every day should be enough for you during the third trimester. Practice yoga and pelvic floor strengthening exercises only if your doctor gives you the go-ahead.
  • If you have an older child, talk to him or her about the baby. Get your child involved in picking out baby clothes, bottles, toys, books—whatever they are most enthusiastic about. Make provisions for who will look after your older child while you are at the hospital and let your child know these plans in advance, so there are no unpleasant surprises later on.

With just 10 more weeks to go for a full term, you must be very excited to finally meet your little bundle of joy in real life. However, it’s recommended that you slow down a little and take a lot more care as this is a critical phase of your pregnancy. Your physical and emotional wellbeing is of the greatest importance right now, and you need to remember that you cannot do everything by yourself—so ask for help.

If you have access to maternal or parental support groups in your area, then you and your partner should join their classes. Reading up on what to expect at this stage of your pregnancy and after your baby arrives is fine, but these groups can often provide vital support, especially to new parents staying away from the rest of their families. 

It’s equally important to reach out to a mental healthcare professional if you observe the symptoms of depression during pregnancy—either in yourself or in your partner. Brushing your mental health under the rug can harm you and your entire family unit—including your baby— after delivery, so take it as seriously as you would exercise and nutrition during pregnancy.

If you have older children, it is a good idea to get them involved in your preparations to bring baby home. Children love to be included, and love to feel loved—especially by you.

References

  1. Start4Life. National Health Service [Internet]. Hertfordshire. UK; Week 30 – your third trimester
  2. American Pregnancy Association [Internet]. Irving, Texas, USA; Pregnancy Week 30
  3. Nemours Children’s Health System [Internet]. Jacksonville (FL): The Nemours Foundation; c2017. Week 30
  4. Johns Hopkins Medicine [Internet]. The Johns Hopkins University, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and Johns Hopkins Health System; The Third Trimester
  5. National Childbirth Trust [Internet]. London. United Kingdom; 30 weeks pregnant
  6. Visser, GH. et al. Fetal Behavior at 30 to 32 Weeks of Gestation. Pediatr Res . 1987 Dec;22(6):655-8. PMID: 3431947
  7. Mills, GH. and Chaffe, AG. Sleeping Positions Adopted by Pregnant Women of More Than 30 Weeks Gestation. Anaesthesia . 1994 Mar;49(3):249-50. PMID: 8147522
  8. Shi, Chengyu. and Xu, X George. Development of a 30-week-pregnant Female Tomographic Model From Computed Tomography (CT) Images for Monte Carlo Organ Dose Calculations. Med Phys . 2004 Sep;31(9):2491-7. PMID: 15487729
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