Week 29

In week 29, you’re now in the eighth month of your pregnancy and the third and last trimester. During this month, your baby will grow in all sorts of ways and put on a lot of weight. It’s also time to plan ahead so that your home is a safe space for your baby.

Your baby is 38.7 cm in size, about as big as a coconut. They weigh around 1240 grams, so they’ve put on quite a bit of weight – rather than weighing the same as one bag of flour, they’re quickly heading towards weighing as much as two of them. The more your baby weighs, the easier it will be if they are born premature. 

Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids

Between weeks 29 and 33, your baby's brain goes through a rapid development phase. As the brain's surface area expands, your baby's thought power is growing as well. At this stage, the brain starts to control things like body temperature and his or her first practice attempts at breathing.

Because there's so much brain growth happening right now, it's extra-important for you to get enough Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, which are essential for healthy brain development.

To find out more about fatty acids and how to include them in your diet, check out our section on healthy eating during pregnancy.

Maternity leave

You could start your maternity leave from this week, but remember that the sooner you begin your leave, the less time you will have after your baby arrives. You might want to weigh up all your options and discuss it with your partner, friends or family before making any decisions on when to begin your leave.

From this week you may also be eligible to claim the Sure Start Maternity Grant. Click here for more information.

What it’s like for the mum-to-be in week 29

As your baby grows, so does your bump. They continue to practise their movements, which are getting more and more noticeable as your baby gets bigger and stronger every day and has less and less space in your womb. As long as they can still turn and move around, that’s what they’ll do – they’re already an active little person. 

The familiar symptoms of back pain, problems caused by your baby’s forceful movements, and swollen, sore legs can also occur in week 29. Symptoms you experienced in the early weeks of pregnancy have been replaced by symptoms affecting your musculoskeletal system, though you may still feel slightly nauseous or get heartburn in the final few weeks before the birth, as your womb is pressing against your costal arch and squeezing some of your other organs.

Increasing back pain 

Many pregnant women suffer from back pain. This is completely normal, as your gait has changed and your back has a heavier load to carry. Your baby’s weight may also affect your nervous system, which can lead to other problems: sudden muscle cramps in your legs, bottom, hips and upper abdomen are all common. You’ll notice this in particular if your stress levels are high, as stress is a kind of “magnesium devourer” – so if things are becoming stressful for you, make sure you get sufficient magnesium from the food you eat.

Preparing for life with your child 

It'll probably be difficult to think of much else other than your baby, and now’s the time to plan ahead for where they’re going to sleep, and for painting/redecorating/renovating if necessary. Your baby can sleep in your bedroom at first, of course, and it’s a good idea to get a cot to go next to your bed (this will also help when it comes to breastfeeding at night).