Week 29 brings about a vital development for both you and baby. Your baby actually triggers your body to get ready for breastfeeding through an amazing process of hormone development first in your baby and then in your body. You could have a new symptom this week as well.
Your Baby this Week
Your baby is now around the size of a squash at about 40cm (16 inches) long and weighing in at between 1.1 to 1.7kg (2.5 to 3.8lbs).
At week 29, your baby has practiced breathing for some time now by inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid. Now, her brain is developed enough that she can actually control the process of breathing. This means that if she were born now, she would have the natural instinct to breathe on her own. Additionally, your baby now has enough body fat to control her body temperature if she were born early.
All of your baby’s senses are quite developed now as well. She has the ability to see and react to light, her taste buds are functioning, she can hear noises from outside the womb, she reacts to touch, and she could even smell if she were born now.
Your baby’s bones have been hardening for several months now and are continuing to do so. This process will continue for about 18 months after she is born. For now, her bones are hard at work storing iron, calcium, and phosphorus.
An important development of week 29 is the development of the hormone androgen. Your baby’s adrenal glands produce androgen this week. The androgen enters the placenta and triggers your body to start producing estrogen. The estrogen then stimulates your baby to make the hormone prolactin. The hormone prolactin causes your body to produce colostrum. If you decide to breastfeed, colostrum is what your baby will get first. Colostrum is loaded with protein and gives your baby antibodies that will protect her from diseases. The milk will then come in after a couple of days.
Your Body this Week
As you enter week 29 of your pregnancy, know that you will probably be putting on about 5 additional kilos (10 pounds) before you deliver. Do not despair! The weight is temporary and necessary for your baby to be born healthy. You’ve probably already noticed that you are quite clumsy and have a hard time climbing in and out of the car. You may even require help getting up and down already. But, you have to remember, your centre of gravity is not the same now. The weight has changed the way you walk and move.
You feel your baby moving much more this week and some of the movements can even be shocking to you. A foot in the ribs can sometimes take your breath away! It’s important to pay attention to your baby’s movements. If they seem to decrease, you should sit down and count the number of movement for one hour. There should be at least 10 movements. If not, contact your doctor right away to be safe.
You could also notice that heartburn has become a daily thing now. As your baby gets bigger and bigger, she is pressing on all of your internal organs. Your stomach gets pushed up and the duodenal flap that normally stays closed can be pushed open. This causes heartburn and indigestion. The only way to relieve heartburn and indigestion is to eat smaller more frequent meals, and to use antacids. (You should always consult your doctor before taking any over the counter medications during your pregnancy.)
Because your body is now producing prolactin, your breasts may already have colostrums and could be leaking. If you notice a leak, do not be alarmed. This happens quite often and is nothing to be concerned with. You may have to use nursing pads or gauze placed in your bra.