Your baby is now between 15 and 17 inches long and is tipping the scale at 2.5 to 4 pounds. Her brain is developing neural connections, her liver is a little factory churning out lots of red blood cells and her bones are continuing to turn from soft cartilage to hard bone.
For the past many months, your baby’s weight gain was mostly from her brain, intestines and vital organs, but now she’s putting on…a little fat. She has already popped out some chubby little cheeks, and by the time she’s ready for her big day, she may even have Buddha-like thighs and one or two cute little belly rolls. And, that extra pudge is actually her life preserver.
The fat is her cozy coat keeping her warm. Remember, you’re tossing your baby out of a tropical, 98.6 degree womb-world, to a room-world that is 20-30 degrees colder…brrrr! Of course, some fat will also be “burned” to keep her body warm. And, some will sustain her body and brain over the first 3-7 days, until the milk comes in.
Your baby is now beginning to shed her lanugo, that layer of fine hair that’s been growing on her face, ears and back. Some of those hairs will get swallowed up in her frequent sips of amniotic fluid and form part of her first few sticky, dark bowel movements—called meconium.
Ah…and those hiccups. It turns out the jolty syncopations that you will feel from time to time are little warm-ups her diaphragm is doing to prep for the biggest, most important job she will have the first minute after birth…breathing.
29 Weeks Pregnant: S'up with Your Bod?
If you’re feeling an occasional uterine cramp, of course you should check with your doctor or midwife, but don’t panic. These are probably just the famous Braxton Hicks contractions.
Just as hiccups are your baby’s rehearsal of her big, birthday job…these practice contractions are probably your womb doing some calisthenics to tone and strengthen for your big birthday job.
Most women have Braxton Hicks, but not everyone feels or notices them. Sometimes these are brought on by dehydration, so try drinking water and putting your feet up to see if they dissipate.
If the cramping is strong, you may worry that this is the start of real labor. In general, the rule is: Braxton Hicks go away if you change position, while real contractions won’t, and they tend to intensify over time, rather than going away. However, you should always call your healthcare provider if you feel cramps, just to check in and make sure everything is normal.
Braxton Hicks contractions, plus constant peeing plus body aches (swollen hands, back strain, etc.) may have you resting not-so-easy these days. And, a new problem may emerge… pregnancy brain. Some moms start to get forgetful and spacey. This is likely due to sleep deprivation plus the surges of hormones swirling through your body. There’s not much you can do to “fix” pregnancy brain, but you can try to get extra sleep. And, you’ll find that note-taking and list-making will become very helpful tools.
A To-Do List for Your 29th Week of Pregnancy
- Carbon monoxide alarm: Install a carbon monoxide alarm on every level of your home—ideally, in or near where your family sleeps. Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that is more dangerous for babies than adults. If you already have alarms, check them regularly and keep extra batteries handy. More home safety tips.
- Get your car seat: Obviously, you will get a good car seat (get a new one). But, the harder job is installing it properly. Don’t be shy about asking for help from a car seat safety expert. Amazingly, 50% of parents do it incorrectly!
- Hope for perfection, plan for problems: Newborn health issues are pretty common, but not all hospitals are equipped to care for sick babies. Ask your doctor or midwife what hospital is best at handling such problems. Even if you’re giving birth at home or a birth center, do your homework and ask about the facilities nearby…just in case.
- Diaper decisions: Wet diapers, poopy diapers and handling little skid marks will soon be as much a part of your daily routine…as checking your texts! So, it’s worth considering what type of diapers you want to use. Disposable paper diapers—with a plastic liner—are the norm, but 20 billion diapers (3.4 million tons) are tossed every year…using millions of trees and adding a huge amount to landfills. Another option is cloth. You can buy a pack of 20-40 or use a local diaper service. Or—to save a little some money and reduce your enviro impact—you might do both: Use organic, bio-degradable disposables for the first month (when babies usually have lots of big, gooey poops), then use mostly cloth once pooing slows and peeing becomes the main deal.
Quote of the Week
The only time a woman wishes she was a year older is when she's expecting a baby. - Mary Marsh