29th – Twenty-ninth week of pregnancy

You are more than halfway through your pregnancy and are probably already preparing for labor and delivery. Your  baby carrier should be in preparation. If you intend to take a course, you should have already enrolled in a hospital pre-natal course. If you haven’t done either, don’t worry, you still have some time.

Reaching the 29th week of pregnancy means that if you were to deliver it now, your baby would have a more than 90% chance of surviving thanks to special medical care.

Baby development in the 29th week of pregnancy

the development of organs

During this week, the fetus’s muscles, lungs, digestive tract, and other internal organs continue to mature.

The fetal airways are also maturing; while the bronchioles and alveoli are increasing in number. If your baby were born this week, he could breathe on his own, although he would need assistance and would probably tire quickly.

His respiratory system will continue to mature until the baby reaches eight months of age.

The development of the brain

The head of the fetus grows in size to support the developing brain, which is now developed enough to regulate body temperature.

The outward appearance

In the  third trimester,  your baby looks like a newborn, with growing layers of fat that make his skin smooth.

The white waxy layer of vernix begins to gradually disappear along with the thin layer of hair (lanugo) that covered his body.

The formation of fat

The layer of white fat accumulating under his skin is now very different from the brown fat your baby had developed over the past few weeks.

Brown fat is responsible for maintaining fetal body temperature, while white fat (found in infants as well as adults) serves as a source of energy.

However, until the time of birth your body temperature is still needed to keep your baby warm, as it is still too early for him to regulate his own body temperature.

The development of the sensory organs

In week 29 – as he becomes more responsive to light and sound – his eyes also begin to focus on things.

The development of bones and teeth

With the baby teeth already developing, the final teeth are starting to form this week.

The  third trimester  is crucial for fetal bone development because, each day, 250 milligrams of calcium are deposited in its hardening skeleton.

Fetal movements and kick count

As the child grows in size and strength, his kicks and punches probably also increase in frequency.

At this time, in fact, she still has enough space in the uterus to be able to move and practice the movement of her limbs.

Still for a few weeks though: in the last period of pregnancy, this becomes too cramped.

You may now also feel occasional rhythmic movements, or fetal sobs that last several minutes at a time: every baby has its own set of movements that are unique, and you are probably already used to the movements of yours.

After week 28, your doctor may ask you to keep a diary of your baby’s movements by counting his kicks.

Be silent for a few minutes twice a day, and then record his kicks or any other movement he makes.

Ten movements in an hour (or even less) mean that everything is going well. If your child is moving less, drink some fruit juice or have a snack, then lie down and start counting again.

Call your doctor if you feel less than ten movements in the next two hours.

The size of the fetus

The baby is rapidly approaching the length it will be at birth; this week it’s about 39 centimeters long, so it’s about the size of a medium-sized pumpkin.

However, he is still rather skinny, and will still have to gain a lot of weight in the coming months: he now weighs just over a kilo. Weight which then, in the last weeks preceding the birth, will double, or almost triple.

The changes in the woman’s body at the twenty-ninth week

Now feel the top of your uterus about 9-10 inches above your belly button.

The ideal weight gain at this stage of pregnancy should range from 8 to 11 kilograms for women with a normal BMI (body mass index).

Overweight and underweight women should consult their physician to determine what is the ideal level of weight gain for them.

It is completely normal for your breasts to continue to ooze yellowish liquid (colostrum), as your body is now still preparing to breastfeed.

Colostrum contains antibodies that help the baby prevent the most common diseases and infections in the first few days after birth.

Therefore, even those women who plan to use powdered milk instead of breastfeeding normally should maintain breastfeeding at least for the  first few days  of their baby’s life .

Women pregnant with twins would normally have gained 13-18 kilograms in total weight so far, with an average weekly gain of about 700 grams after 28/29  weeks  .

Exams and ultrasound at the 29th week of pregnancy

An ultrasound performed this week will show a fetus with an appearance almost similar to the one the baby will have on the day of delivery.

You will probably also see it moving its puny limbs and taking on different facial expressions.

During this stage it is normal for the baby to still stand with his feet down (breech position), as he has not yet had enough time to turn over and get into the correct position with his head down, as in the case of I leave.

Your doctor may order a blood test to check your iron levels, and to see if you need any dietary supplements.

If you have noticed that the baby is becoming less active, to evaluate his health, the doctor may recommend a fetal biophysical profile, or a “nonstress” test.

Symptoms of the twenty-ninth week

In this weeks pregnant women may be subject to,

  • bloating, indigestion, heartburn
  • constipation;
  • leg cramps;
  • joint, hip and back pain;
  • pelvic pain;
  • pain in the round ligament of the uterus;
  • rib pain associated with shortness of breath (due to the growing uterus pressing on your rib cage and diaphragm);
  • drowsiness or insomnia;
  • restless legs syndrome;
  • vivid and often disturbing dreams;
  • headaches and migraines ;
  • Braxton Hicks contractions;
  • varicose veins and hemorrhoids;
  • spider veins, characterized by reddish and swollen veins, which protrude from a central red point, which resemble a spider;
  • stretch marks;
  • frequent urination;
  • hot flashes;
  • swelling of the hands and feet (due to increased blood flow and fluid retention);
  • itchy skin (due to the skin stretching to make room for the baby, around the belly, back and breasts);
  • mood swings and depression.

When to call the doctor

It is a good idea to call your doctor in case of:

  • any changes in the child’s normal rhythm of movement;
  • abdominal contractions that become more frequent over time, along with pressure in the pelvic area, menstrual-like cramps, and back pain (may indicate a premature birth);
  • pain or burning when urinating, associated with an urgent urge to urinate, dark or cloudy urine, lower back pain around the kidneys, thick white or gelatinous and green/yellowish discharge, nausea (may indicate a kidney infection, candidiasis, or a urinary tract infection;
  • extreme fatigue or dizziness, accompanied by constant headache, shortness of breath, vision changes, sudden swelling of the face/hands/feet, upper abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting (could indicate high blood pressure or preeclampsia);
  • severe diarrhea and vomiting that lasts for more than 24 hours;
  • extreme thirst and dry mouth together with sudden changes in vision, excessive tiredness or light-headedness (may indicate  gestational diabetes
  • copious straw-colored or clear watery discharge (may indicate leakage of amniotic fluid);
  • recurring vaginal bleeding with abdominal or back cramps (could indicate placenta previa or low).

Useful tips for a healthy pregnancy and baby

Here are some tips that may interest you:

  • try to plan a varied daily diet to meet your child’s increased nutritional needs; follow a diet with foods rich in calcium such as milk, cheese, yogurt and green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, precisely because your child’s developing bones absorb a lot of calcium every day;
  • take docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), as directed by your doctor, which helps the correct development of your nerve cells: flax seeds, walnuts, canola oil and fatty fish such as salmon;
  • drink plenty of fluids (at least 10-12 glasses of water a day); eat foods that are also high in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, wholemeal breads, and cereals;
  • Unless you’ve already been prescribed dietary supplements, try to get at least 30 milligrams of iron in your daily diet.
  • avoid sleeping on your back; try instead to sleep on your left side because this improves your blood circulation;
  • to combat leg cramps and varicose veins, avoid standing for long periods and, when lying down, keep your feet elevated (with a pillow); instead do light physical exercises, such as walking or swimming, exercises that last 20-30 minutes each time, three times a week;
  • consult your doctor in case you need to stop taking your iron supplements in case of severe constipation (if you are already taking them, of course).

Katherine Johnson, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with clinical expertise in general obstetrics and gynecology, family planning, women’s health, and gynecology.

She is affiliated with the Obstetrics and Gynecology division at an undisclosed healthcare institution and the online platform, Maternicity.com.

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