What to Expect When You Are 29 Weeks Pregnant

Being 29 weeks pregnant means you’ve entered the third and final trimester of your pregnancy journey. While the first and second trimesters had their ups and downs, the third trimester brings a whole new set of changes and challenges as your body prepares for labor and delivery.

At 29 weeks pregnant, both you and your growing baby are going through major developmental milestones. Your baby’s organs are maturing, their skeleton is hardening, and they are packing on weight at a rapid pace from here on out. Meanwhile, your body is accommodating your expanding uterus and preparing for childbirth in numerous ways.

This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about being 29 weeks pregnant. Learn what’s happening with your baby’s development, what symptoms and changes to expect with your body, tips for self-care and managing discomforts, what to discuss with your doctor, and more.

Key Takeaways When 29 Weeks Pregnant

Here are the key things to be aware of when you’re 29 weeks into your pregnancy:

  • Your baby is around 15 inches long and over 2.5 pounds now. Their bones are ossifying, organs maturing, and senses developing.
  • Common pregnancy symptoms include back pain, trouble sleeping, leg cramps, varicose veins, itching, swelling, and other discomforts.
  • Your doctor will check your weight gain, blood pressure, urine, and the baby’s size and position at 29 week checkups.
  • Take time to rest and sleep as much as possible. Hydrate, eat nutrient-rich foods, take supplements as directed, and maintain an exercise routine.
  • Prepare your birth plan, hospital bag checklist, and arrangements for work leave and childcare for other children.
  • Watch for potential warning signs of pregnancy complications and call your doctor right away if anything concerns you.

Your Baby’s Development at 29 Weeks

At 29 weeks pregnant, your baby is around 15 inches long from head to heel and weighs about 2.5 to 3 pounds. The average baby is the size of a cabbage at this stage.

Organs and Systems

  • The baby’s organs and systems are maturing and getting ready for functioning outside the womb.
  • Their eyes can open and close now. Eye movement begins and vision continues developing, though it is still blurry.
  • The lungs are developing surfactant, a substance that allows the air sacs to inflate with oxygen once the baby takes their first breath at birth.
  • Waste products are storing up in the baby’s bowel in a dark sticky substance called meconium. This will be their first stools after birth.
  • Blood circulation and bone marrow production continues at a rapid pace to supply the baby’s growing body.

Bones and Muscles

  • Bones are hardening from the soft cartilage state they’ve been in up until now, a process known as ossification.
  • More fat continues accumulating under the baby’s skin. This helps regulate body temperature after birth.
  • Muscles are getting bigger and stronger in preparation for using their limbs after birth.

Brain and Senses

  • The brain is developing complicated connections and building specialized functions.
  • Your baby can distinguish light and dark and detect loud noises you’re exposed to. Research shows they may even be able to recognize your voice and certain melodies.
  • Taste buds are developing on their tongue, and their sense of smell is continuing to mature.

Size and Position

  • Average size is around 15 inches crown to rump and 2.5 to 3 pounds in weight.
  • Your baby is running out of room in your increasingly snug uterus and has less space to flip around now. They are likely settling into the head down position in preparation for birth.

Changes in Your Body at 29 Weeks Pregnant

As you move further along in your third trimester, you’ll notice a lot of significant changes taking place in your pregnant body. Here’s what to expect when you’re 29 weeks along:

Uterus and Abdomen

  • Your uterus is around the size of a watermelon now, stretching upward close to your rib cage. This puts pressure on surrounding organs and adds to pregnancy discomforts.
  • The top of your uterus may feel hard like a shelf under your ribs due to the position of your baby’s head pressing against it.
  • As your belly continues growing, you may develop stretch marks on the abdomen and breasts as the skin expands. These are common and not preventable.
  • Braxton Hicks contractions should be felt at this point. These practice contractions help prepare and strengthen the uterus for labor. Stay hydrated and rest when they occur.

Weight Gain

  • Average pregnancy weight gain by 29 weeks is around 17 to 22 pounds, most accumulating in the abdomen area.
  • Your doctor will monitor your weight at each visit to make sure you’re within target. Weight gain varies person to person based on pre-pregnancy BMI.
  • Try to gain the recommended amount of weight steadily. Gaining too little or too fast can cause complications. Focus on a healthy diet and exercise routine.

Swelling and Fluid Retention

  • Increased pressure from your expanding uterus can restrict blood flow returning from your lower body causing fluid buildup and swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet. This is especially common in hot weather.
  • Use compression socks, keep feet elevated when resting, sleep on your left side, limit sodium, and drink plenty of water daily to reduce swelling.
  • Tell your doctor if the swelling is severe or accompanied by headaches, vision issues, or excessive weight gain, as that may indicate preeclampsia.

Skin Changes

  • Existing moles and freckles often darken during pregnancy due to increased melanin production. New moles can also pop up which are usually harmless but should be monitored.
  • Your dark line running down the abdomen may continue getting darker. This typically fades after giving birth.
  • Skin tags, stretched belly button, and other changes are all common and expected as your stomach expands.

Vaginal Discharge Increase

  • You may notice an increase in normal vaginal discharge, which can be wetter and thicker in the third trimester as your body ramps up mucus production.
  • Wear a panty liner if needed and let your doctor know if the discharge changes color, consistency, or smell as that can indicate an infection.
  • Increased vaginal discharge is your body’s way of keeping the vaginal area cleansed, lubricated, and protected from infection.

Common Pregnancy Discomforts at 29 Weeks

Carrying around a 2-3 pound baby and expanding uterus leaves many pregnant women feeling pretty uncomfortable at this stage. Here are some of the most common issues and how to get relief:

Back Pain

  • Your changing posture and center of gravity along with loosened muscles and ligaments can lead to lower back pain. Support your bump with pillows when resting.
  • Apply gentle heat to the sore area, try prenatal massage, and do pelvic tilts and other stretches to ease tension.
  • Consider seeing a chiropractor or physical therapist who specializes in pregnancy adjustments and exercises.

Leg Cramps

  • Leg cramps are very common, especially at night. Stretch calves and feet before bedtime. Stay hydrated, get enough calcium and potassium, use heat pads, and massage the area.

Fatigue and Insomnia

  • Growing a baby is exhausting! Rest as much as possible. Take short naps, go to bed earlier, and put your feet up during the day.
  • For insomnia, establish a relaxing pre-bed routine, limit caffeine, and use pregnancy pillows for comfort. Talk to your doctor if lack of sleep becomes severe.

Hemorrhoids

  • Constipation and increased blood flow can cause swollen, painful veins around your anus. Use a cold compress, sit in a sitz bath, apply ointment, and keep the area clean to soothe irritation.

Varicose Veins

  • Increased blood volume and pressure on veins in your legs can cause enlarged, twisted veins. Elevate legs often, wear compression stockings, move around periodically, and avoid long periods of standing or sitting.

Itching Abdomen

  • Rapidly stretching skin over your growing belly can feel intensely itchy. Moisturize with lotion frequently, take lukewarm oatmeal baths, and resist scratching which can damage skin.

Breast Leaking/Discharge

  • Leaky breasts are common as your milk ducts prepare for lactation. Wear nursing pads in your bra to avoid embarrassing leaks or stains. Notify your doctor about any abnormal discharge.

Braxton Hicks Contractions

  • These “practice” contractions start to prepare your body for labor. Stay hydrated and limit activity when they occur. Time them if frequent or painful.

Shortness of Breath

  • Your growing uterus presses against the diaphragm making it harder to take deep breaths. Use pillows for support, practice pursed lip breathing, and sit up straight.

Frequent Urination

  • Pressure on your bladder causes more frequent pee breaks. Limit fluids close to bedtime and do Kegel exercises to help control urges.

Things to Discuss With Your Doctor at 29 Week Appointments

Your 29 week prenatal checkup is a great time to discuss any questions or concerns that may be coming up as you enter the final countdown to delivery day. Here are key things to cover:

  • Results from routine urine and blood tests conducted to check for issues like anemia, infections, and gestational diabetes.
  • Blood pressure check. High BP may be a sign of preeclampsia.
  • Measuring fundal height to estimate fetal growth rate and position. Tracking measurements weekly from this point.
  • Baby’s heart rate. It should be between 110 to 160 bpm.
  • Any discomforts you want to get treated or ways to minimize them.
  • Nutrition, exercise routine, and appropriate weight gain level for your BMI.
  • When to schedule a glucose screening test if you haven’t had one yet.
  • Prenatal test results if any are still pending.
  • Getting into an optimal position for birth such as head down.
  • Questions about what to expect with labor, delivery, possible complications, and the postpartum period.
  • Plans for maternity leave and childcare arrangements if needed.
  • Resources available like birthing or new parent classes.
  • Any emotional concerns, relationship changes, anxiety about labor, etc.

Self Care Tips When 29 Weeks Pregnant

Nurturing your mind and body should be a top priority at this stage. Here are ways to practice self care and cope with challenges:

Rest and Relaxation

  • Rest as much as you can! Take breaks, nap, sleep 8-10 hours a night, and sit with your feet up often. Don’t overexert yourself.

Comfort Measures

  • Use pregnancy pillows, heat pads, ice packs, comfy clothes, epsom salt baths, and massages to relieve aches and pains.

Stay Hydrated

  • Drink the recommended amount of water (at least 64oz) and keep a water bottle on hand at all times. Dehydration increases discomforts.

Exercise

  • Continue doing light exercise like walking, swimming, prenatal yoga and pilates to stay active, ease aches, and build stamina for labor.

Eat Nutritious Foods

  • Focus on a balanced diet with plenty of protein, fruits/veggies, whole grains, calcium, iron, and omega-3s for you and baby’s health. Take vitamins as prescribed.

Pamper Yourself

  • Take time for self care like soothing baths, pedicures, relaxation exercises, journaling, and other activities you enjoy to reduce stress.

Connect With Your Support System

  • Turn to your partner, friends, family, and pregnancy support groups for emotional support and practical help as needed. Don’t isolate yourself.

Practice Coping Techniques

  • When stresses build, use meditation, deep breathing, calming music, positive affirmations and other healthy tactics to center yourself.

Preparing for Labor and Postpartum

With about 11 weeks left until your due date, preparations for childbirth and life with a newborn should be in high gear. Here are top things to focus on:

Take Childbirth and Breastfeeding Classes

  • Now is the ideal time to take birthing, newborn care, and breastfeeding classes offered locally or online to gain valuable hands-on guidance.

Create (or Update) Your Birth Plan

  • Think about your preferences for labor like who you want present, pain relief options, delivery position, cord clamping, and other choices. Discuss with your partner and doctor.

Pack Your Hospital Bag

  • Make a list of what to pack for the hospital like comfy clothes, toiletries, phone charger, and other essentials. Have bags ready for you and baby around week 35.

Set Up the Nursery

  • Get your baby’s room organized with furniture, bedding, decorations, and stocked with newborn essentials like diapers, wipes, blankets, and plenty of clothes.

Install the Car Seat

  • Have an infant car seat properly installed well in advance so it’s inspected and ready to safely transport baby home.

Line Up Postpartum Help

  • Make arrangements for household help, meal deliveries, childcare for older kids, and any other support you’ll need after giving birth as you recover and adjust.

Prepare Financially

  • Budget for upcoming medical/hospital bills, baby expenses, and any reduction in income from taking leave. Save as much as possible. Look into disability or paid family leave if offered by your job.

Get Ready for Recovery and Breastfeeding

  • Have supplies on hand for healing after birth like pads, witch hazel, peri bottles, nipple cream, and loose, comfortable clothes. Stock up on nursing bras, breast pads, pumps, and anything to make breastfeeding easier.

Warning Signs to Watch For at 29 Weeks Pregnant

While most pregnancies proceed normally at this stage, it’s important to watch out for a few key warning signs:

Baby’s Movements Decrease Significantly

  • You should feel your baby move regularly. Notice if movements slow down or stop for 12+ hours. Call your doctor right away as it can indicate fetal distress.

Contractions Every 10 Minutes or Less

  • Contractions that are frequent, last 1+ minute, and become increasingly painful can signal preterm labor. Drink water and rest on your side. Call your OB if they don’t subside within an hour.

Heavy Vaginal Bleeding

  • Light spotting may be normal but heavy bleeding with cramps requires prompt medical attention to check for potential problems like placenta previa.

Severe or Persistent Abdominal Pain

  • Belly pain that feels like menstrual cramps paired with bleeding can mean placental abruption, a serious concern. Seek help immediately.

Extreme Headache, Vision Changes, Nausea

  • If you have a severe, sudden headache with vision issues and vomiting this may indicate preeclampsia. Your doctor will check BP and urine for protein. Delivery may be needed if it develops into eclampsia.

Water Breaks or Unexplained Fluid Leakage

  • Call your doctor anytime you think your water may have broken. Note the color. Fluid leakage should always be evaluated. It raises risk for infection if your water breaks prematurely.

Flu Symptoms

  • Flu can be very dangerous in pregnant women. Let your doctor know about any fever, body aches, cough or symptoms so they can provide prompt treatment.

Stay alert about any concerning symptoms and call your healthcare provider right away if anything seems abnormal. It’s better to be safe and get checked out.

29 Weeks Pregnant FAQs

How big is my baby at 29 weeks pregnant?

At 29 weeks, your baby measures about 15 inches long from their head to heels, and they weigh approximately 2.5 to 3 pounds, about the size of a cabbage.

What are Braxton-Hicks contractions?

Braxton-Hicks contractions are sporadic tightening sensations in the uterus that can start occurring in the second trimester. They help strengthen uterine muscles for true labor down the road. Stay hydrated and change positions when they occur. If they become very frequent, painful, or regular get checked for preterm labor.

Is my baby’s position important yet?

Around 29 weeks, your baby should be settling into the head down position in your pelvis, ready for delivery. Their head may press on your bladder more. Let your doctor know if you feel consistent movements low in the pelvis as that is a good sign baby is head down. If still breech, techniques can be done to flip them.

When do I need to start kicking count?

Fetal kick counts help monitor baby’s wellbeing and ensure they are getting enough oxygen. Around 28 to 32 weeks, your doctor may advise counting kicks every day. Look for at least 10 movements within 2 hours. Call your provider if you notice decreased motion.

How can I get better sleep in the third trimester?

Sleep often gets disrupted as your pregnancy progresses. Try using extra pillows for support, sleeping propped up on your left side, avoiding foods that trigger heartburn at night, limiting liquids before bedtime, listening to white noise apps, and keeping your room cool, dark and comfortable for the best rest.

The Takeaway

When you’re 29 weeks pregnant, you are nearing the home stretch! Focus on listening to your body, staying as comfortable as possible, eating well, preparing your birth plan, and cherishing these last few weeks bonding with your growing baby. While the third trimester can be tiring and taxing, remember this special time will be over before you know it. Reach out for support whenever you need it during this transition. Before long, you’ll be holding your precious newborn!

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