Pregnancy week 29

Week 29 of Your Pregnancy

Whether the weeks are flying by or have halted to a slow crawl, one thing is certain: big things are happening during week 29 of your pregnancy. Read on to learn more.

It's week 29 of your pregnancy, and the aches and pains that come with carrying an almost-full term baby are coming soon, if they're not already here. Expect more symptoms as the third trimester marches on.

Pregnancy Week 29 Quick Facts

  • At 29 weeks, you're seven months pregnant
  • You have 11 weeks until your due date
  • You're in the third trimester

Your Unborn Baby's Size at 29 Weeks

At 29 weeks, your baby is about 15.2 inches long and weighs about 2.54 pounds. That's the size of a butternut squash!

week 29

Pregnancy Symptoms Week 29

As the third trimester rears its head, you might start having more symptoms, including:

You may feel constipated from iron supplements if you're anemic. "We discover anemia during that 28 week visit for many patients, and they're started on iron, which can be constipating," says Alex Peahl, M.D., MSc, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan and co-director of the Michigan Plan for Appropriate Tailored Healthcare in pregnancy. "That plus physiologic changes can make bowel movements really hard for patients. And that can contribute to a lot of discomfort."

Dr. Peahl suggests taking iron supplements once every other day. "Oral iron is as effective if it's taken every day or every other day," says Dr. Peahl. "Taking it every other day can reduce constipation.”

As the fetus is growing quickly, you'll likely feel fatigued, even if discomfort is keeping you from being active. "Your body is sedentary, but the amount of metabolism that's required from your body for the baby to go through this rapid growth phase can leave you pretty fatigued at the end of the day," says Cassandra Blot Simmons, M.D., chief of general obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.

At this point in pregnancy you've likely experienced some breast growth, tenderness, and discomfort. You may start seeing other breast changes as you get ready to create milk. This might show up as crusting at the nipple. 

"I always remind my patients not to worry if they don't develop any symptoms of lactation,” says Dr. Simmons. “Sometimes patients will not develop any symptoms of lactation until they actually try to nurse the baby after birth.”

Keep in mind, symptoms can vary. If you experience a symptom that seems concerning to you, make sure to call your health care provider.

Developmental Milestones

During week 29 of pregnancy, the fetal skin starts maturing. It is currently covered in lanugo, the fine, soft hair that covers its body and limbs. Lanugo peaks at 29 weeks and will fall off completely around 33 to 36 weeks.

All those weeks of building new brain cells and forming connections are paying off. The areas of the fetal brain associated with intelligence and personality are developing. They'll start reacting to foods you eat, sounds, and lights.

Prenatal Tests and Doctor's Appointments

Most people won't have a doctors appointment at 29 weeks, unless they had to reschedule their 28 week appointment. By now, you should have done your one-hour glucose test and other 28-week testing.

If you “fail” the one-hour test your doctor will ask you to take a three-hour glucose tolerance test. I took my three-hour glucose tolerance test in week 29 and failed it.

The three-hour test is very similar to the one-hour test except the amount of sugar is higher and your blood is drawn a total of four times: once before the challenge, and then at one, two, and three hour intervals. You'll need to stay near the clinic the whole time, so bring something to keep you entertained.

Failing the test means you have gestational diabetes, but if you do have diabetes, it means your blood sugars are too high for too long.

"During pregnancy, the placenta produces a hormone that increases insulin resistance. So your body is still making insulin, your cells are just more resistant to it. So your sugar levels start going up," says Jeanne Sheffield, M.D., professor and director of maternal-fetal medicine at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore. Insulin resistance peaks and plateaus around week 24 to 28 of pregnancy, which is why the testing is done at this time.

If you're diagnosed with gestational diabetes you'll likely meet with a nutritionist and a maternal-fetal medicine doctor, or high-risk pregnancy specialist. Your doctor will have you measure your blood sugar four times a day with a finger prick device. Generally, you want your glucose level to be under 95 mg/dL first thing in the morning and under 130 mg/dL 90 minutes after eating. Keep all these records and bring your glucose tester to your doctor's visits.

Providers may also tell you to restrict your carbohydrate intake. In my case, I could have 30 grams of carbs for breakfast, 40 grams of carbs for lunch, and 50 grams of carbs for dinner. I also had to limit my snacks to less than 15 grams of carbs. Getting exercise, especially after eating, can also help keep blood glucose levels down.

That said, while many gestational diabetics are able to control their sugars with diet changes, Dr. Sheffield explains that some cannot. “It's not that they're doing something wrong,” Dr. Sheffield says. “They just may be more insulin resistant.” What’s more, almost anyone can get gestational diabetes.

“You could literally do everything right and still end up with gestational diabetes, and on insulin," Dr. Sheffield adds. The good news is the condition can be managed, with dietary changes and (in some cases) medication. It also usually goes away after the baby is born.

Common Questions Week 29 of Pregnancy

What can I do to relieve my third trimester aches and pains?

There are several ways to alleviate pregnancy-induced aches and pains. You can take a warm bath or stretch, says Dr. Peahl. Prenatal yoga is one such method. Some find massage is helpful, and over-the-counter pain relievers can be taken. "Tylenol is absolutely safe in pregnancy and people can use that,” Dr. Peahl adds. “Heat is also safe as long as it's not applied directly to the belly.”

What are my options for my birth plan?

According to Dr. Peahl, there are a lot of choices available, especially for the routine person who doesn't have complications. "You should first identify what your hospital is able to provide and how that matches your preferences." This may include different types of pain medication, how closely you want to be monitored, and if you want a support person or doula.

It's also important to recognize that our "ideal" doesn't always happen. "Figure out your ideal, then recognize that labor and delivery is a pretty fluid place, and that babies call the shots," Dr. Peahl says. "Perhaps the most important thing in that birth plan is answering the question: 'If things change, and we need to pivot, how can my birth team still help me feel supported and in control?'"

Things You Might Consider This Week

You may still be coming to terms with the results of tests you underwent during week 28. For example, receiving a gestational diabetes diagnosis can change your third trimester. You're not going to be lounging on the couch eating a pint of ice cream if you have gestational diabetes, and pretty much all ice cream will be off your menu. Give yourself patience, understanding, and grace.

"When a pregnant person is diagnosed with gestational diabetes, it usually doesn't affect them a huge amount during pregnancy, but it does increase the risk of them developing type 2 diabetes later on, and also gestational diabetes in subsequent pregnancies. Really, the big risk is to the baby," Dr. Sheffield says.

In addition to appointments with a specialist, you'll have more appointments with your provider, especially if you need medication to help control your blood sugars and/or other prenatal conditions. I had to go into the office for non-stress tests twice a week, have weekly appointments starting at 32 weeks, and get growth ultrasounds every three to four weeks to ensure the baby wasn’t getting too big. You may also be induced early, depending on your prognosis and how your condition may affect you and your baby.

Support You May Need This Week

You should start thinking about what your postpartum period will look like. Think about who will be around to help you, who your support person will be in the hospital, what the plan is if the baby comes early, and who will look after your other children (if you have any) while you're in the hospital.

After you come home from the hospital, you'll need to spend some time planning how you'll feed yourself and your family as your hands will likely be full.

"Planning for feeding yourself is so important, particularly for our breastfeeding parents. You're just hungry, and you need an additional 300 or 400 calories. Your thirst is higher," Dr. Peahl says. "Having some plan for how you're going to have meals—whether that's a meal train, or a family member who's staying and helping with the cooking—can really help. "

Head over to week 30 of pregnancy

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