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29 weeks pregnant

Foetus at 29 weeks pregnantYour baby at 29 weeks

  • At 29 weeks she will look pink with those chubby contours that give her a baby shape. She will be ditching the downy hair on her head and growing her first proper baby hair - this will have colour although, like her eyes, it can change after birth.
  • As well as getting fatter, your baby's brain is still hard at work with nerve cells reaching out to meet other nerve cells to form the intricate systems of wiring that determine who we are and what our potential is, and control what our body does.
  • Increasingly, your baby's brain will be able to control her breathing and temperature. The complex wiring and connections that the brain has to grow mean it takes a while for her to develop the control mechanisms she needs. How fast she will breathe for example, will change when she is born depending how hot she is (we don't pant like dogs but we breathe more shallowly when it's very hot).
  • Her lungs are coming on brilliantly. Most of her smaller airways are ready and she has more of the little air sacs that branch out at the end of them. They will increase in number until she is eight, which is why respiratory problems in children often get better as they get older.
  • She begins to make surfactant, which is hugely important. It is made in the cells that line the lungs and coats the air sacs in a fine fluid. This increases the surface area inside the air sacs so her lungs are made elastic and she can breathe in and out without her lungs collapsing. If your baby is born before 35 weeks she may not make enough surfactant and she'll be given steroids to encourage her to make more.
  • Your baby will still turn the odd somersault but, increasingly, she will get crowded in your womb and her movements will get restricted. But she won't move less. She is more forceful - you can sometimes see what looks like a foot or fist sticking up through your abdominal wall.
  • Your baby's bones will be storing calcium and other minerals that make them hard and strong, and they will now be the main supplier to her body of red blood cells, which carry oxygen and nutrients round the body.
  • If you have a boy baby, his testicles will be moving from higher up in his abdomen down to their rightful place in the scrotum.
  • Your baby is now gaining more weight than height. Between weeks 24 and 37, she will pile on the grams at a rate of 15g a day. During this period your baby will be around 28-30cm long and 1,400g to 2,100g. She's getting chubbier and soon fat will make up 8% of her weight.


Your body at 29 weeks pregnant

Fatigue You may feel great right up until the time you give birth and maybe even then, who knows? But you're likely to feel more tired and need more rest as the weeks go on. The fatigue of pregnancy is really like no other - it spreads up and over your whole body, leaving you completely knackered.

Varicose veins You may remember your mother having them. Now you know it was probably your fault. A baby in the womb presses on the veins in your pelvis that collect blood from the veins in your legs. As a result, the blood doesn't leave your legs as sprightly as it used to and pools there instead. Also, the hormones in pregnancy affect the valves in your leg veins that should help push the blood up the leg. Consequently, your leg veins start bulging and they may itch and ache.

If this is your first pregnancy, they are highly likely to go (well, mostly) a few months after birth. If it isn't, then they're likely to get worse with each pregnancy and stay behind afterwards. There isn't much you can do to stop them - some people suggest support stockings (chose maternity ones as others may be too tight and restrict your circulation), others suggest that you swim or exercise regularly. When you're sitting, don't cross your legs and, if possible, raise them higher than the level of your heart.

Sleep problems There are many reasons why you may not be able to sleep at night. As your baby gets bigger, it's harder to get comfortable. For instance, you may be woken by the pressure on your bladder from her head once she has turned round to take up her exit position.

If you empty your bladder before going to bed and lie on your side with a pillow between your legs this may make you more comfortable and sleep longer. A banana-shaped bean bag pillow is great but can be expensive. Get help, especially if you have a toddler, so you can nap in the day. Try to rest whenever you can.

Colostrum Your breasts are getting ready to breastfeed your baby. You will start producing some clear fluid from your nipples, especially if you are hot - eg in the bath or having sex. This is colostrum and the fluid your baby lives off for the first few days of her life before your milk supply is triggered into action. It has sugar, protein and, importantly, antibodies - all the ingredients your baby needs.

If it doesn't leak out then you are just lucky and have got off without a dry cleaning bill. It will still be there when you need it. And it will be enough for your newborn baby, promise, even though it looks like a few drops.

Loneliness Everyone pats your stomach and asks how you are. But you may still feel quite lonely. The changes your body goes through, the extraordinary process of growing a baby inside you can make you feel separate at times. You may feel preoccupied by being pregnant and the physical changes it brings. Some women also feel strange that their partner or childless friends have no real idea of what they're going through. Try to talk to your partner (if you have one) and concentrate a bit on your relationship.

Body image You may not like your pregnant body. If you are used to being thin or exercising a lot and feel you can't be or do either, then you may resent your body. But some women feel liberated by having a big tummy and enjoy not worrying about their weight.

 

The Day by Day Pregnancy Book coverIllustrations taken from the bestselling book The Day-by-Day Pregnancy Book, £25, published by DK.

Disclaimer: The information in the pregnancy calendar is for general information and is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or antenatal team. Not all babies develop at the same time and in the same way, so this week-by-week guide may not always match your own experience. If you have any worries, consult your antenatal team or GP.

Last updated: 21-Jan-2013 at 11:27 AM