Week 30 of Pregnancy
Your baby is now nearly 11 inches long from head to rump (17 inches from head to toe) and weighs about three pounds.
In addition to laying down body fat, she's starting to horde vital nutrients such as phosphorus, iron, and calcium to prepare for the future.
Calcium is especially important, because, in her 30th week, her bones are starting to harden. Your body will do whatever it takes to give her calcium. If you aren't getting enough of the mineral in your diet, your bones will start releasing it into your bloodstream, which is not a good thing for your own bones. Your baby will grow stronger, but you could be at increased risk for osteoporosis. It's far better to get your four servings of low-fat or nonfat dairy products every day or take a calcium supplement to make up any deficit. Many doctors recommend calcium supplements throughout pregnancy for this reason.
Your baby is showing many signs of growth. The lanugo (hair) that once covered her body is starting to disappear, and the hair on her head is getting longer and thicker. She's making rhythmic breathing motions in preparation for the big day. Her bone marrow is cranking out red blood cells, and her brain continues to grow.
As you've no doubt noticed, your baby is still very active. She likes to kick, especially when she hears a noise. She also spends more time opening and closing her eyes.
You're growing, too. At this point, you should be gaining about one pound every week. You look pregnant, you feel pregnant, and you still have a full 10 weeks to go!
Call your doctor immediately if you experience any signs of premature labor, including painful menstrual-like cramps, a dull backache, contractions less than 15 minutes apart, or a sudden loss of fluid from the vagina. Your doctor may be able to stop the labor and buy you more time.
If you haven't done so already, now's a good time to start writing up a thorough birth plan. The plan should cover all the important details: Where do you want to have the baby? Who do you want with you? Do you want pain medications or any other interventions? Which interventions should be used only as a last resort? And where do you want your baby to spend her first night?
Go over this plan with your doctor or midwife well before the actual birth. If they can't accommodate your wishes -- if, for example, the hospital doesn't allow newborns to sleep with their mothers -- it's not too late to explore other options. It's your birth. You should be able to do it your way.
American Academy of Family Physicians. Pregnancy Calendar.
Campbell, Stuart, MD. Watch Me Grow. St. Martins Griffin.
American Pregnancy Association. Fetal Development: Third Trimester. http://www.americanpregnancy.org/unplannedpregnancy/fetaldevelopment3.html
The American Society for Nutritional Sciences. Micronutrients and the Bone Mineral Content of the Mother, Fetus and Newborn.
Yale University School of Medicine. Placental Hormones. http://info.med.yale.edu/obgyn/kliman/placenta/articles/Plac%20Hormones.html
Cleveland Clinic. Nutrition During Pregnancy.
Nemours Foundation. Week 30. http://www.kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_calendar/week30.html
Curtis, Glade, MD. Your Pregnancy Week by Week, 5th edition. Da Capo Press.
Shanahan, M. Kelly, MD. Your Over-35 Week-by-Week Pregnancy Guide. Prima Press.