If you feel like you’ve gained another 5 KGs during week 29, you can take some comfort in the fact that you are not the only one gaining weight. Your baby is really starting to fatten up now. In the last week alone, it is possible that he or she gained an extra 250g. This might not sound a lot, but when you only weigh just over 1.1 KG to begin with, that’s a substantial weight gain.
By week 29, it is very hard to make generalisations. Typically, by his stage in her pregnancy, a woman will have gained somewhere between about 9 and 11 KGs, which, for many women, is the majority of their total weight gain during pregnancy. However, remember these are averages and you may have gained less than this, or more. As long as your healthcare provider is happy with your progress, you should be too.
Whilst you might be experiencing more aches and pains and starting to feel distinctly uncomfortable, perhaps it helps to put things in perspective. Your uterus, which was about the size of a walnut 29 weeks ago when this pregnancy started, is now more than 30cm above your pubic bone. This makes it about the size of a basketball, which maybe helps to explain why you haven’t seen your feet for a while.
Hopefully you have been taking a balanced approach to your diet over the past 6 months, and now is no time to relax. As your baby grows, his or her need for nutrients and calories is also increasing. This is particularly important when it comes to calcium, which your baby is using to build a strong skeleton. Unfortunately, if you’re not getting enough calcium in your diet, your baby will draw the calcium needed from your bones, causing a loss of bone mass. In very extreme cases, women can develop osteoporosis during pregnancy due to calcium deficiency.
But there is good news: your body has developed a number of ways to protect your bones during pregnancy (National Institute of Health):
- Pregnant women absorb calcium better than non-pregnant people; particularly when the baby is growing rapidly and has a greater need for calcium.
- During pregnancy you produce more oestrogen, which is known to protect bones.
- Multiple studies have shown that normal bone mass is usually restored shortly after the baby is born, or once you stop breastfeeding.
Your baby’s foetal age is now 27 weeks. He or she weighs somewhere between 1.1 and 1.3 KGs and is almost 40cm long from head to toe. The biggest change over the past few weeks has been weight gain. Prior to these last few weeks, your baby would have appeared wrinkled and very thin. That’s all changing now that you have reached week 29. As your baby gains weight, the layer of fat lying underneath the surface of their skin will increase in volume, causing the skin to plump out, losing all the wrinkles and becoming smoother in appearance.
Your baby should still be very active. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions on how to monitor movement, perhaps by counting the number of kicks over a certain time period. Note any irregularities and if you are at all concerned speak to your doctor or midwife.
By week 29 most of the major developmental progress and growth is complete. You could say that it is time for the “finishing touches”! The sex organs are fully formed, the sensory organs are working, and the nervous system is highly developed. Even the permanent teeth buds have formed in preparation for the arrival of your baby’s first set of teeth.
Even with all these developmental milestones met, the next 10-11 weeks are important. To give your baby the best possible start, they should remain firmly cocooned in the nourishing, protective environment of your uterus for a bit longer yet. Babies born at week 29 are considered very premature and will often face multiple medical challenges. Your healthcare provider will monitor you for signs and symptoms of premature labour, particularly if you are considered high risk. Risk factors for going into labour early include, smoking, being pregnant with 2 or more babies, serious bleeding during your pregnancy and a family history of premature delivery.
“Ask around for paediatrician recommendations from friends and family, and consider making a prenatal appointment with them to see if you are a good fit.”
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