30 Weeks Pregnant: Ways to Help That Back Pain
It’s likely your baby is kicking a little less these days, but don’t panic. She’s beginning to outgrow the “womb-room” she’s rented, and it's getting pretty tight to maneuver in there. She’s growing fast—weighing about 3lbs now—and she’ll gain about a half pound per week until...her lease is up!
Her head, which was previously so much larger than her body, is now in proportion. And, if you shine a dull or red light at your belly, she just might turn to look at it (and turn away from a very bright light)! Her vision is about as clear now as it will be at birth, but still extremely nearsighted by our standards (about 20/400). In her first week of life, she’ll be especially interested in looking at things that are red or have strong contrast (that’s why infants like looking at black-and-white white patterns…and the line where your face meets your dark hair or the contrast of your eyes). Her best vision is 9-18 inches away…which is perfect, because that’s exactly the distance between your face and hers while breastfeeding.
30 Weeks Pregnant: About Your Body
Right about now, your baby may start putting serious pressure on your lower back. Your amazing body will make several adjustments to handle the extra weight. For example, your spine will curve more, which shifts your center of gravity and prevents you from…toppling over!
Despite a woman’s advantages (men’s spines are not as flexible), back pain is common in the 3rd trimester. Wearing a belly support band, exercising and gentle stretching can ease discomfort; swimming, massage, gentle chiropractic/osteopathic treatments and acupuncture may lessen pain.
It’s possible your tailbone (called your “coccyx”) is hurting, too. It is made up of 3-5 semi-fused bones connected by disk-like ligaments sitting right at the bottom of your spine. To feel better, try gentle movement like swimming or walking and invest in a wedge or donut cushion. But if your pain is severe, talk to your doctor. A physical therapist or pelvic floor specialist can recommend exercises to help, like pelvic tilts and cat/cow pose. The good news is that tailbone troubles usually resolve after the birth.
A To-Do List for the 30th Week of Pregnancy
Shop for yourself: Get anything you think may make life easier for after the baby comes. Some women develop hemorrhoids during late pregnancy (and they can get much worse during labor), so Tucks pads or another kind of witch hazel wipe are good to have on hand. Many new moms swear by stool softeners (like prune or aloe vera juice) to ease the potential trauma of your first post-baby bowel movement. And everyone needs to stock up on overnight pads—expect bleeding to last 6 weeks.
Get thank you cards and stamps: The gifts will roll in. Keep your notes short and sweet…everyone knows how busy new moms are!
Research breastfeeding pillows: You’ll need breastfeeding support—figuratively and literally. Popular pillow options include the Boppy or My Breast Friend, which straps around your waist like a shelf. Luna Lullaby has its big fans too. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s sturdy enough to let you feed without slumping over, which may cause back, shoulder and neck pain.
Save important numbers on your cell: Program the digits for your doctor or midwife (and doula if you are hiring one) into your phone and your partner’s.
Lingo Lesson: Pitocin
Oxytocin is a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland, which is located deep in your brain. Oxytocin makes muscles squeeze! Later on, it will help the tiny muscles in the milk ducts of your breast squeeze, which causes let down (milk may even spray out of your breast!). Oxytocin also starts and sustains your labor contractions. Interestingly, it’s also called “the love hormone,” because your body produces it during sex. Pitocin is a synthetic form of oxytocin, administered through an IV to help speed up contractions (it’s commonly used with the epidural, which can slow labor). Pitocin may also be given after delivery to contract the uterus and lessen bleeding.
Pitocin has good sides…and bad sides. If your labor is stalling, it can help speed things up. But it can also increase pain by dramatically intensifying contractions, which might stress your baby and even require a C-section.
Quote of the Week
If pregnancy were a book, they would cut the last two chapters. — Nora Ephron