Third trimester - Weeks 30 - 32

Weeks 30 - 32

Week 30

Overview

At this week, your baby is about 39.9 centimetres long, which is 15.71 inches and weighs 1319g (46.526oz). Your belly and your baby are both growing together and you may often feel uncomfortable and sometimes awkward as your centre of balance is off.

 Week 30

Your baby’s development at this stage

Your little one is about the size of a cabbage and has about 0.7 litres of amniotic fluid surrounding him or her, this volume will soon shrink in size as your baby takes up more space in the womb. His or her eyesight is also developing and when he or she is born, they will have a vision of 20/400 (normal adults with perfect eyesight have a vision range of 20/20), which means that vision is initially blurry and only objects that are a few centimetres from of the baby can be seen for the first little while after birth.  This will adjust in time as the brain and visual system mature and begin to process stimuli at greater distances.

Changes in your life as your baby grows

You may be very tired and possibly clumsy as this stage, which is perfectly normal. In carrying more weight, your balance is off, and with all the pregnancy hormones and especially due to the production of the relaxin hormone, you will notice that your ligaments are more relaxed, making your joints looser, which all contributes to you feeling a bit off balance.

Your ligaments relaxing can also result in your feet spreading permanently, this may make your shoe size go up to a bigger one. You may also be suffering from the occasional mood swing as all of these uncomfortable symptoms take their toll.

If you are suffering from bad moods on a regular basis or constantly feeling down, then speak to your doctor as you may be suffering from depression during pregnancy.

What to do at this stage

You should have been attending a child birthing class at this stage, which will end at around week 36. These classes help in educating you on the stages of labour, how to relieve any pain during pregnancy and how to recognise the signs of pregnancy. Speak to your doctor about what your pain-relief options are for labour and birth.

Week 31

Overview

At 31 weeks, your little one weighs 1502g (52.982oz) and is 41.1 centimetres in length, which is about 16 inches. You will be putting on about 450g (15.873oz) a week at this stage and you may also be experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions quite a bit now, and while they may make you feel nervous, remember that these are helping your body to prepare for labour.

These are basically ‘practice’ contractions and often last between 30 seconds up to two minutes. If your contractions are closer together and more intense, then you should phone your doctor immediately as you may be going into preterm labour.

Week 31

Your baby’s development at this stage

Your baby is about the size of a coconut and is heading towards a growth spurt. He or she can turn their head now and his or her little legs, arms and body are plumping out nicely with a healthy layer of fat building up under the skin. You will be feeling your baby move a lot now, this is a great sign and means your baby is healthy and active.

Changes in your life as your baby grows

You may have noticed the Braxton Hicks contractions by now, these feel like your uterus muscles tightening randomly and lasting for about 30 seconds. These should be painless and infrequent. If you are experiencing more intense and frequent contractions, this may be preterm labour. Other signs of preterm labour are:

  • Changes in vaginal discharge
  • Lower back pain (being more painful than usual or especially if you haven’t had it before)
  • Abdominal pain

You may also notice that your breasts are leaking colostrum, which is basically a ‘pre-milk’ form. If this is the case, then try putting some nursing pads into your bra to stop this liquid from leaking onto your clothes.

What to do at this stage

You may want to interview some midwives, labour coaches or doulas if you intend to have a natural birth as the good ones tend to fully-booked in advance.

As well as this, you will want to start looking into your options for pain medication during labour. Every woman will experience pain differently and every pregnancy is different, therefore, you may want to know in advance what your options are for pain medication, otherwise, you may be looking more into the unmedicated approach to labour. Here are a few things that you may want to consider before making your decision:

  • By now you should have signed up for a childbirth class, this helps you and your partner know how to handle your labour pains and informs you of your birthing options which can include spinals, epidurals, systemic medication and drug-free approaches such as relaxation and breathing techniques.
  • The majority of women will want to have some form of pain medication for the birth of their child. The most popular form is that of an epidural, this is a continuous pain reliever that relieves the pain from your lower body and allows you to stay fully conscious.
  • A drug-free approach, which is the preferred method of choice for some women, is a method that controls the labour pain through breathing and other natural techniques. If you choose this route, then you should accept that pain and discomfort that will come with it.

Week 32

Overview

Your little one now weighs in at 1702g (60.036oz) and is 42.4 centimetres (16.69 inches) long. There isn’t a lot of room left in your uterus but your baby will still manage to squirm and wriggle around. The fine covering of lanugo is now falling off and the hair that remains is where is it supposed to be, on the eyebrows, eyelashes and head.

 Week 32

Your baby’s development at this stage

Your baby is now taking up quite a bit of the space left in your uterus and the weight you are gaining should be going straight to your baby. He or she will gain about a third to even half of the weight he or she is born within the next seven weeks or so. Now being equipped with fingernails, toenails and real hair, your baby’s skin is starting to become smooth and soft as he or she is plumping up in preparation for birth.

Changes in your life as your baby grows

Your blood volume will have increased to 40 or 50% more than when you got pregnant in order to accommodate for the growing needs of your body and your baby. Your uterus is now also pushing up close to the diaphragm and is starting to crowd your stomach, this may result in heartburn and a shortness of breath. It is best that you eat smaller more frequent meals to prevent heartburn and sleep on your left side with the support of body pillows.

Your lower back pain may also progress as your pregnancy is advancing. If you haven’t had any back pain before, then you will need to let your doctor know if you suffer from any as this may indicate preterm labour. If this is not the case, then your hormonal changes and growing uterus are to blame. As your uterus expands, your centre of gravity shifts and your abdominal muscles are weakened and stretched, as a result, your posture changes and strain is put on your back.

What to do at this stage

If you are having one, it’s best to have your baby shower around this time as this gives you time to shop for items you don’t receive as gifts at the shower.

You may get hungry when you are out and about and become dizzy if you do not eat, it is, therefore, a good idea to carry a granola or energy bar around with you.