29 weeks pregnant
How is your baby growing at 29 weeks?
Your baby should be about 38.5cm from head to heel and weigh about 1.15kg (2.5lb). He or she will be plumping up as deposits of white fat fill out his or her body. Your baby's head will also be getting larger, which is necessary to make room for the continuing development of the brain. Your baby's brain might now be developed enough to detect movement such as your breathing, respond to pain and start to control body temperature. His or her senses are still being refined, with the eyes continuing to become more sensitive to light and his or her hearing being able to more clearly distinguish different sounds.
Your baby is likely to be in a head-up position but moving from side to side. As the baby is getting bigger and filling the space inside your womb, you may feel his or her movements a bit more sharply, like a strong kick or push. They may take your breath away at times, and you might even recognise the shape of a foot kicking inside your bump, or perhaps a hand pushing. If you've been paying attention, you should pick up a pattern as to when your baby is sleeping and awake.
How are you changing in week 29?
Thanks to a chemical produced by your baby's adrenal glands, you'll have been producing oestriol, a hormone that is normally low in women who are not pregnant. During pregnancy, your placenta will be making increasingly higher levels of the hormone. It causes the womb to grow and interacts with other pregnancy-related hormones. One of these is prolactin, which is necessary for producing milk – by week 29, you may be producing enough prolactin to be able to breastfeed if your baby is born early.
Oestriol levels will peak just before birth, when there is normally a sudden surge about 3 weeks beforehand, in preparation for labour. Because oestriol depends on a chemical produced by the baby, oestriol levels in your blood are a good indicator of how well your baby is doing. Too much and your baby may be born early, but too little may be a sign of Down's syndrome or that you may need to have induced labour.
Some women develop a rash known as polymorphic eruption of pregnancy (PEP) in the third trimester. It often starts near stretch marks but can spread to the buttocks and thighs. The rash is more likely to occur if this is your first pregnancy or you are having twins, and it also occurs more often in women with a family history of the condition.
What you need to know in week 29
If you have PEP, it should disappear about 1 or 2 weeks after your baby is born, but your doctor may prescribe an antihistamine or steroid cream until then to relieve the itchiness if it is severe.