At week 29, your baby is about 10 and a half inches long from head to rump (nearly 17 inches with her legs stretched out) and weighs about 2 and three quarter pounds. The womb is crowded, but, as you know, she still has enough room to squirm and kick. If you pay attention, you'll probably feel her kick about 10 times this morning.
All of her senses are becoming sharper. She still loves to touch her face, and she's awash in smells, tastes, and most of all, sounds. Try singing to her at bedtime. You'll never have a more attentive audience.
Her brain continues to develop at an astonishing rate. She's building all sorts of connections between brain cells, and the brain itself is growing so large that the soft bones in her skull are expanding like a balloon. She's not doing calculus in there, but she is storing memories. (If she hears a song over and over again, she'll recognize it after she's born.) She's also learning how to control her own breathing and body temperature. The job is not yet complete. She could almost certainly survive if she were born now, but she would have to stay in an incubator to keep warm.
No matter how careful you've been during your pregnancy, premature delivery is still a risk. Even though your due date is more than two months away, you should know the signs of early labor. If you act quickly, your doctor may be able to stop the labor and buy your baby more time.
Here are some of the possible signs of premature labor:
- Painful stomach cramps or menstrual-like cramps
- Contractions that are less than 15 minutes apart
- A dull backache
- A feeling of pressure in the pelvis
- A change in vaginal discharge
- A sudden loss of fluid from the vagina.
Chances are, you won't have to worry about going into early labor, but if you think it might be happening, get medical help immediately.
American Academy of Family Physicians. Pregnancy Calendar. 2010. http://kidshealth.org/
Curtis, Glade, MD. Your Pregnancy Week by Week, 5th edition. Da Capo Press.
Campbell, Stuart, MD. Watch Me Grow. St. Martins Griffin.
Shanahan, M. Kelly, MD. Your Over-35 Week-by-Week Pregnancy Guide. Prima Publishing.
American Pregnancy Association. What is premature labor? http://www.americanpregnancy.org/labornbirth/prematurelabor.html