With just 10 weeks to go until your due date (give or take a week or two) here's what to expect now that you've hit the 30-week mark. From feeling out of breath to starting antenatal classes, here's what's happening at this stage of the third trimester.
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What’s happening at 30 weeks?
Here are the key things you can expect from your pregnancy at this stage:
- You might be feeling quite out of breath as the baby takes up more space inside you.
- Try to keep active but don't overdo it.
- Antenatal classes often start around now.
- Keep an eye out for any signs and symptoms of pre-eclampsia.
How big is your baby?
Your baby is around the size of a large apple pie. At 39.9cm long and 1.31kg, your little one is now around two thirds of their full-term size, and will continue to grow at a rate of almost 1cm a week.
If your baby was born prematurely now, they'd have a very good chance of surviving (with help from the special baby care unit, of course).
Those tiny lungs still have some development to do before they're completely ready for the outside world though, and your baby's brain tissue is continuing to grow and develop, too.
The delicate digestive system is also virtually fully formed and ready for feeding after birth. In fact, by the time they're born, your baby will have a natural instinct to help with breastfeeding, called 'rooting'. When a newborn baby is placed on their mum's chest, they often automatically start searching around for a boob. Babies are pretty amazing!
Your baby's eyes are well and truly open now, and they can also tell the difference between light and dark. Try shining a torch over your bump and they may even turn to follow it.
What's going on with your body at 30 weeks pregnant?
Feeling out of puff just from walking up the stairs? As your baby continues to grow, they'll start to push up against your lungs and, coupled with the fact you’re carrying that extra weight, it can make you feel quite breathless .
There’s light at the end of the tunnel though, as at around 36 weeks pregnant your baby’s head may move down into your pelvis, giving you a bit of breathing space!
Good posture may help you feel less breathless, as well as relieving some pregnancy aches and pains in your back. Sit and stand up straight as much as you can; use pillows to support you in a comfy position when sitting or lying down.
Doing some regular gentle exercise will help get the baby into position over the coming weeks – and it'll help improve your strength and stamina for labour, too.
Don't try anything too strenuous or demanding at this stage of pregnancy, especially if you're new to exercise. Your ligaments and joints are at more risk of injury with the influx of pregnancy hormones.
Gentle exercise like half an hour’s swimming, a long walk, a shorter, brisk walk, even a short spell walking up a slight incline on a treadmill will all help keep you active, without overdoing it.
When exercising in late pregnancy, just be sure to stop if you feel very hot or get really out of breath. As a guide, you should still be able to hold a conversation while you exercise.
Check out the top sports for pregnant women .
What to expect this week: your first antenatal class
If you've booked you and your other half into antenatal classes , they will probably start around 8-10 weeks before your due date, which is around now.
You can either have classes via your hospital, which are provided by the NHS and free. Or, some parents choose to pay for private classes, provided by the NCT or for a course led by a private antenatal teacher.
Whichever you choose will be really helpful. You'll learn about your labour and birth and the afterbirth in more detail. You'll also get plenty of information about newborn health and care, along with practical tips, such as how to breastfeed, change a nappy and settle your baby to sleep.
You'll also meet a group of parents-to-be going through what you're going through. They'll probably also live pretty near you, too.
Lots of parents make close friends with their antenatal classmates for this reason. It can come in handy when you've had the baby and need moral support, tips or just someone to message when you're up in the middle of the night (again!).
During the coronavirus pandemic, face-to-face antenatal classes may not always be possible. But many places are offering online courses for pregnant women and their partners instead, so you can still learn everything you need to know and meet other parents-to-be.
If you haven't yet, you can also join your Netmums due date club to meet other pregnant women who are due at the same time as you.
What to do this week: watch out for pre-eclampsia
You'll have come across mentions of pre-eclampsia earlier on in pregnancy. This condition is thought to be caused by problems associated with the function of the placenta during pregnancy (the organ that links baby's blood supply with the mother's).
Your midwife will be looking for signs and symptoms of it at each antenatal appointment you have.
This is because, unless it’s detected and treated early, it can develop into full-blown eclampsia, which can be life-threatening to mother and baby.
Signs of pre-eclampsia your midwife or obstetrician will be looking for include:
- raised blood pressure.
- protein in your urine.
- excessive oedema (swelling due to water retention), particularly in the hands, face and ankles.
If left untreated, the following symptoms may develop:
- recurrent headache
- blurred vision
- nausea, with or without vomiting
- shortness of breath
- shoulder or abdominal pain
- vagueness or confusion.
If you feel you have any combination of the above symptoms, report them immediately to your midwife, who will probably invite you to come in for monitoring.
Once diagnosed, you’ll be seen more often than other mums-to-be and may have extra scans of your placenta throughout the remainder of your pregnancy. You'll also be advised to have your baby 2-3 weeks early, either by c-section or by being induced .
Remember that your midwife is there to support the health of both you and your baby, so it's always best to get in touch if you have any health concerns during your pregnancy. There's no such thing as a silly question, and it's always best to seek reassurance to be on the safe side.
Your 30 week to-do list
1 Now is a good time to join a pregnancy exercise class, if you haven’t already. As well as keeping you in shape, they also provide the opportunity to meet mums-to-be in your area.
2 Drink lots of water. Not only will it help with a sluggish digestion (all too common during pregnancy) it's a good habit to get into if you decide to breastfeed your baby.
3 You can still book NCT or antenatal classes if you haven't done so already. Find your nearest NCT course here .
4 Enjoy some healthy snacks – now that you need an extra 200 calories a day, it'd be silly not to make the most of it!
5 Take some time to think about what contraception you might use after the birth. It may be the absolute last thing on your mind right now, but you'd be surprised how many families have found themselves expecting again sooner than they'd like. That's why the NHS recommends that you read up on your post-pregnancy contraception options in late pregnancy, before you're too busy with your baby.
What to watch this week...
Get expert tips on what to expect at 30 weeks pregnant from our midwife.
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