You are now entering the eighth month of pregnancy (weeks 29-32). Your baby is growing and gaining strength. Your baby requires a large amount of calcium to strengthen their growing bones. This can be supplied through the mother through her diet and vitamin intakes. Your baby’s skin is becoming pink and smoother. From time to time, you may notice small bulges and “bumps” on your stomach as your baby moves about.
The length of the fetus is about 36–37 cm, and the body weight is around 1200–1300 g. By this week, the baby’s skin becomes smoother as subcutaneous fat continues to accumulate, smoothing all wrinkles and folds. The body of the fetus is covered with hair, but their number is already smaller than in earlier terms. On the contrary, the hair on the head thickens and darkens. Your baby often blinks, opening his eyes wide.
The movements of the fetus by this period becomes less active. Instead of the previous frequent and intense movements, your baby is demonstrating smoother motions. They straighten their arms and legs, and stick out their head and pelvic end. There is little free space in the uterus now, and your baby, who has reached a rather large size by this time, is forced to be in one position most of the time. Since its head is heavier than the buttocks, your baby will often be taking the head-down position, which makes it easier for their mother to give birth to them when labour comes. However, in some cases this may not happen, and the baby may sit on his buttocks until they reach full-term.
As for the mother, your uterus will continue to grow rapidly. This will push down on your stomach, bladder and lower part of the large intestine: these are the organs with a cavity inside.
“Sufferings” of the stomach can manifest as heartburn, a feeling of heaviness after eating. Heartburn – discomfort that occurs when casting the contents of the stomach into the esophagus.
Increasing pressure on the bladder causes frequent urination, which may accompany the pregnant woman up to the birth. False urges are also possible, when the brain sends a signal about the need to urinate, but the bladder is not yet full and there is no urine flow at all or it happens in very small quantities. During pregnancy, the situation of frequent and painless urination is not a sign of any disease. When other symptoms join: appearance of turbid urine, pain, etc. – then you should inform your doctor.
By this week your baby is 37–38 cm, weighing about 1300–1400 g. At week 30, your baby’s muscles will have increased, and their frequent movements in your stomache are designed to train the their arm muscles, legs, chest, back. The high tone of the muscles of your baby’s body makes it easier for them to move out of your birth canal when it is time to give birth.
Also during this period, the internal organs of your little one continue to prepare for life outside of the womb. The chest expands and contracts. Alveoli are intensively developing – in which gas exchange occurs. Readiness for independent breathing is the most important indicator of fetal survival.
Your baby will also constantly be swallowing the amniotic fluid around them, which causes the organs of the gastrointestinal tract to contract, stimulating the functioning of the liver and pancreas. The liver performs the most important function of cleansing the blood, and by this time is fully ready to function. The pancreas is also fully ready to serve the newborn’s body.
The constant flow of amniotic fluid causes the kidneys to work intensively, producing urine from the amniotic fluid that is consumed. The amount of urine during this period can reach up to 500 ml per day.
Thus, by the end of the 30th week, the internal organs of your baby are able to ensure the vital activity of the newborn in the case of childbirth, but the process of their maturation and improvement will continue until they are full-term.
Pregnant women may notice swelling of the breast and a release of colostrum from them, called “primary milk”. Colostrum has the appearance of a thick whitish or yellowish liquid. Its selection can begin at different stages of pregnancy, but most often it occurs after 30 weeks. The appearance of colostrum indicates the active preparation of your body for when you will be breastfeeding your baby after birth.
The body length of your baby is now about 39–40 cm, and the weight will be around 1500–1600 g. During this time, the fetus’ nervous system continues to go through rapid development. The brain and all its departments function as a single system – this interaction is provided by a multitude of neural connections. By this time, the periods of sleep and wakefulness are divided quite clearly, and sleep still takes a longer time than your baby’s period of activity.
During sleep, the eyes of the fetus are closed, and during wakefulness the baby opens them. The eyelids are already very well developed, meaning that your baby can open its eyes wide, squint, and blink. As a rule, the eyes of the fetus are always open, and it squeezes tightly when a bright light hits the mother’s abdomen or when it touches the surface of the eye: this reflex is another evidence of the high development of your baby’s nervous system.
As for the future mother, the increase in body weight by this time should approximately be 7–8 kg. It is best if you monitor your gain in weight, because if your put on too much too fast, this may affect the functioning of your liver. Rather than eating a lot, try to eat healthy and what you may think your baby needs in order to grow.
You should also take care to note swelling in your arms or legs, which can occur from fluid retention in your body. This can lead to complications during the second half of your pregnancy, such as gestosis. Let your doctor know if you notice signs. In addition to swelling, an increase in blood pressure and the appearance of protein in the urine are also signs of mild and moderate preeclampsia.
The initial stages of preeclampsia can proceed without any dramatic changes. A pregnant woman can feel fine without any complaints. That is why regular visits to the doctor and timely testing are so important.
Gestosis is the most common cause of complications for both the fetus and the mother. As a result, the baby may experience developmental delay, hypoxia, etc., and in a woman, it can impair her kidney function, liver, cardiovascular system and lead to other dangerous conditions.
Mild preeclampsia, dropsy of pregnant women, is characterized by the appearance of swelling and can be corrected with the normalization of water-salt metabolism: for this, the expectant mother may be prescribed a diet, and herbal remedies, etc.
Moderate and severe degrees of preeclampsia – nephropathy, preeclampsia and eclampsia – require intensive care in a hospital.
The most severe stage of preeclampsia, eclampsia, is characterized by the presence of convulsive seizures which could develop into a coma.
It is extremely important to detect the signs of preeclampsia at an early stage and it is imperative to treat this condition, since an increase in the complication can occur quickly and lead to serious and sometimes irreversible consequences.
You baby by week 32 weighs about 1700–1800 g, with a height around 41–42 cm. Your baby’s facial features are close to the appearance of a newborn baby. The face becomes rounded, wrinkles are smoothed, the hair on the head is more pronounced. The skin of the fetus is no longer bright red, but pink due to the even distribution of subcutaneous fat. The accumulation of such fat is essential for your baby to be able to keep their body temperature at a constant level. In adults, these processes are controlled by the brain, more specifically, by the centers of thermoregulation.
By the time the baby is born, these centers are not yet able to fully provide thermoregulation, and it is precisely because of this that subcutaneous fat is important for maintaining the correct body temperature after birth as well.
Your baby’s immune system will also take on marked changes during this week. There is a sharp increase in immunoglobulins in your baby’s blood which will help protect them from infections.
As for the mother’s state, there can be pain felt in the back, pubic area, and in large joints, such as the hips, knees, and pelvic bones. These phenomena are to some extent present in many pregnant women during the third trimester. A change in the center of gravity from your increasing belly can also cause these pains.
On top of that, the mother’s body begins preparing for childbirth through the production of the hormone relaxin. It causes relaxation of the ligaments, helping your body become softer in order to open up during labour, which ensures the child’s free passage through the birth canal. During pregnancy, the high content of the hormone relaxin “loosens” the ligaments, which can manifest as in pain in the body.
Regular physical exercises – such as fitness, yoga, swimming, and walks – will help reduce the soreness. The stronger the back muscles, the better they will hold the spine and the less pain and discomfort in the region.
At this time it is recommended to wear a bandage, and choose the correct posture during sleep: it is desirable to sleep on the side so that oxygen travels easily to your baby. You can also use pillows for pregnant women, or any pillow to prop on your back for support: these can help allow you relax your back and leg muscles and cope with back pain.