Pregnancy Week by Week (Weeks 29-32)

Week 29

It’s not just during the first trimester (when organ development is frantic) that you need to watch what you eat and drink. Overdoing the booze now could damage your baby’s brain because brain development is really going into overdrive.

Your baby
Indeed, during this final trimester your baby’s brain mass really rockets. As the brain grows rapidly within the skull, it starts to coil and fold into its characteristic form, rather like a walnut.

Food for thought
Oily fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are believed to boost brain power. So, while your baby’s brain development is rapid, it’s a good idea to eat oily fish regularly. Fish to try are:
• Mackerel
• Salmon
• Sardines
• Fresh (but not tinned) tuna
• Kippers
• Anchovies

Don’t overdo it, though. Because pollutants can build up in the flesh of oily fish, pregnant mums are advised to stick to two portions a week. If you’re vegetarian, you can get omega-3s from linseeds, although they may not be as beneficial as oily fish.

MOTHERCARE TIP Feeling the strain? From this week, you are legally entitled to begin your maternity leave. Remember, though, that every week you take before the birth will be one less week to spend with your new baby. So think carefully about the timing of your leave.

Week 30

If your baby is breech, encourage him to turn by spending some time each day on hands and knees – this maximises space so he can manoeuvre into the best position. (Doctors can help too, by manipulating your bump, persuading your baby to turn.) Spending time on hands and knees also helps your baby settle into a position with his spine running along your belly (anterior). If he lies spine to spine (posterior) labour is likely to be longer.

Your baby
Most babies will be head down by now, but 4% will remain breech (either feet or bottom down) at the time of the birth. As your baby grows and room in the womb shrinks, changing position will become harder.

In the swim
You may be starting to feel heavy, but it’s important to keep up a gentle exercise routine. From now on swimming will be the best option. It gives all parts of the body a work out, yet can be done at a gentle pace with the water supporting the weight of your bump. Make sure you have invested in a good maternity swimsuit that will see you through to the end of your pregnancy.

Back to front
Many babies lie in the posterior position because of the amount of time we spend slumped on a sofa or driving a car. Sitting like this, with knees higher than hips, encourages your baby to lie with his spine along your spine, which, if he stays in this position during labour, can make for a slower, more painful delivery. Try to sit up straight whenever you can, and spend a little time each day on all-fours so the baby can move around inside you.

ONE MUM SAYS… ‘To get my baby into a great position, my midwife advised me to watch telly leaning forwards onto a bean bag. It worked!’

Week 31

From now on sleeping may be hard – getting comfy in bed is tough and turning over is a mammoth task. Also, your baby may well kick his hardest just when you settle down to go to sleep. That’s because, when you are up and about, he is rocked to sleep in your pelvis. The moment you lie down, the rocking stops and he perks up and starts to play.

Your baby
The lanugo – the hair that covered your baby – now begins to fall out. Some babies are born a little furry! But don’t worry, it will fall out over the first few weeks.

Time for school
NCT or parentcraft antenatal classes will probably start around now. If you’ve booked up, make sure you know the start date and time and put it in your diary. If you haven’t, check whether there are still spaces available on the hospital’s parentcraft sessions.

ONE MUM SAYS… ‘The best way to get comfy in bed was to lie on my side with one pillow beneath my bump and another between my legs. I had to buy more pillows – otherwise my boyfriend ended up with none!’

Week 32

For the last couple of months, you may feel increasingly tired as your baby gets heavier and your bump more cumbersome. Learn to snatch five minutes’ rest here and there – the ability to cat-nap will be a huge advantage when a solid eight hours is no longer possible.

Your baby
Taste is developing and it’s believed your baby gets a tiny tang of what you are eating. He is now also packing on the pounds and fat stores are being laid down under his skin. Consequently, he is becoming less wrinkly and his skin is growing more opaque. Plus he is beginning to be able to dream.

Ready, steady, nursery
With just a couple of months to go, it’s time to get the nursery ready. Even though it’s best to have your baby sleeping in your room in a crib or cot for the first six months, preparing a special room (if you have space) is useful. It’s a place for changing nappies, feeding, naps, cuddles… It’s best to go for neutral colours (unless you’re sure what you’re having) and to match wall colours to the bedding you’ve chosen.

Take a back seat
You shouldn’t be doing the hands-on work for any nursery decorating. Assume the role of adviser and decision maker, and leave things that may be bad for your baby to the professionals (or your partner). So avoid:
• Paint stripping
• Painting
• Varnishing
• Floor sanding
• Climbing ladders

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