29 weeks pregnant: What’s going on in there
It’s a big week for baby! She is the size of a head of broccoli—about 41 centimetres (16 inches) long and weighing around 1.1 kilograms (2.5 pounds)—but the really cool part is what’s happening inside her cute little noggin: Nerve cells have separated into five differentiated areas of the brain, including the parts that control memory and coordination, and these compartments will continue to develop. At 29 weeks pregnant, the amniotic sac has also officially finished growing, but don’t worry about your wee one having enough room to develop: The sac is extremely elastic to accommodate your growing infant (not unlike your maternity pants!). By now—and sometimes as early as 26 weeks—your baby can smile, blink and even frown or cry in utero.
29 weeks pregnant symptoms
What symptoms don’t you have at this point? Constipation, hemorrhoids, headaches, heartburn, indigestion and an itchy belly—it’s a lovely laundry list of indignities. Luckily, most of these complaints are temporary and will improve once you have the baby.
It’s tempting to throw in the towel on your workout regimen toward the end of your pregnancy, but do your best to stick with it. If your achy joints are causing a fuss during this stage of pregnancy, consider a workout in the water. The water will support your expanding body and loose joints, making activity more comfortable for you. Try following a gentle water workout or look for a low-intensity aquafit class in your community.
Getting regular exercise during these last couple of months will help ease aches and pains, help you sleep better (yes, for real!), make you stronger for delivery, reduce your risk of delivery complications, speed up post-birth recovery and boost your mood.
What’s on your mind when you’re 29 weeks pregnant
Dude, what’s my birth plan?
Creating a birth plan is a comforting activity for some moms-to-be. Envisioning how the childbirth experience will go feels like a little bit of control in an otherwise uncontrollable situation (for those of you in this camp, here’s a handy printable birth plan for your obsessive planning pleasure). For others with a bun in the oven, it’s an anxiety-inducing exercise that’s better left to the experts. Neither outlook is right or wrong—you should do what feels right for you and your partner. Just keep in mind that not all births go according to plan, so even if you detail the day down to the labour playlist, special mood lighting and socks you’re going to wear, it’s best to research alternatives so you’ll know what you’re dealing with in any scenario. And just for fun, read these wild celebrity birth stories. Did you know Seth Meyers’ wife gave birth in the lobby?
And the baby was delivered by dad! Actress (and Parenthood star) Erika Christensen revealed on Instagram that her second daughter arrived so quickly that her husband had to step in to play doctor—because her doctor literally wasn't there yet. “My fault, as I didn’t know she would come so quickly and didn’t call the doc until far too late.” The doc arrived about one minute after Polly was born—he came in such a rush that he forgot to bring the scale so they think the baby weighed 7lbs 8 oz. And they think she was born at 9:21 a.m. on August 10.
Lots of expectant parents are torn on the topic of stem-cell collection (often called cord blood banking) because of the cost. Stem cells develop into different parts of the body and, if they are harvested from the umbilical cord at birth and stored properly, they can potentially be used to treat various illnesses by replacing diseased cells. But the cells retrieved from the cord must be frozen and stored privately, and this service comes at a price (an initial fee ranges from $1,400 to $2,300, depending on the company, with a monthly storage fee thereafter). If you decide on stem-cell collection, investigate which stem-cell companies service your hospital or area and make arrangements for collection.
Just for kicks
You’re well into your third trimester by now. Can you imagine going through all of this again while carrying and delivering someone else’s baby? This amazing mom did. Watch why she decided to become a surrogate mother.
Not worried about being too trendy with your babe’s name? You can find some of the current trends in baby naming here.
Pregnancy to-do list: Week 29
Every women’s magazine in the world has a yearly feature on Kegels (apparently, it’s an unspoken rule). But what exactly are Kegels, and should you really be doing them in preparation for childbirth? Kegels are exercises that strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and have been known to make a huge difference in the incidence of pelvic floor weakness and even vaginal prolapse post-baby. (Yes, weak pelvic floor muscles can turn your previously made-of-steel bladder into Leaky McLeakerson in nine months flat.) You can get in a Kegel workout no matter where you are: The trick is to act like you’re trying not to fart during an important board meeting. (Yup, there’s a difference between holding your pee and executing a proper Kegel.) Hold for four seconds, then release for four seconds. Repeat 10 to 20 times, a few times a day, for a daily tally of 60 to 80. For the finer points of Kegel exercises and to ensure you’re doing them properly, read this.