Week 29: Your pregnancy
Your baby's growth: Weight gain
By this time your baby may weigh just under 3 pounds and is a bit less than 14 inches long.
Now that organ and nerve development are almost complete, your baby will start gaining weight very quickly—mostly in the form of body fat. This fat will provide insulation for your baby and will fill out most of the wrinkles in her skin, making her look like a plump, healthy infant.
Your baby's brain continues its important developmental work this week. In fact it is growing so quickly now, it may cause her flexible skull bones to swell slightly. The folds and fissures of the brain continue to develop, allowing room for important interconnections between nerve cells. During this week brain-wave patterns begin to look like those of a full-term baby.
Other important developments in the 29th week:
- Prolactin production. Your baby will begin to produce prolactin, a hormone that will help your body produce colostrum. Colostrum is the first breastmilk you'll produce and is filled with nutrients some of which help support a healthy immune system
- Kicking. Insistent kicking action will occur as your baby's muscles develop. Later in this trimester these movements will slow down as she gets bigger and the uterus gets more cramped.
- Skeleton will continue to harden.
- Lungs will continue to mature.
- Loss of lanugo. Your little one's downy lanugo hair will begin to shed into the amniotic fluid. She may still have some on her body at birth, but this will fall off in the first week or so.
- Toenails will continue to grow.
- Retinas will continue to develop.
What's happening with you
- Weight gain. Your overall weight gain should be 19 to 25 pounds.
- Nutritional needs. Your diet becomes even more important as your baby's nutritional needs peak. To keep your baby on track, you'll need plenty of protein, vitamin C, folic acid, iron and calcium. (About 200 milligrams of calcium is deposited into your baby's skeleton every day.) Dairy products, meat, fish, chicken, beans and tofu are good protein sources.
Additional isolated pains. The normal side effects of pregnancy may peak now—itchy skin (a result of hormones and stretching skin), hemorrhoids, breathlessness, fatigue, aching muscles, heartburn and leg cramps.
In the second and third trimester, leg cramps usually occur at night. Although their exact cause is unknown, they may be linked to fatigue, pressure of the uterus on the nerves in the legs and inadequate calcium intake.