At 29 weeks pregnant your uterus is now about 3 and a half to four inches above your belly button. You should be paying attention to your baby's movements, you will notice patterns of rest and wakefulness in your baby. If you notice any abnormal movement patterns or a substantial reduction in movement be sure to contact your healthcare provider immediately.
Your blood volume has doubled, and you've gained 15 to 20 pounds. Keep your calcium and iron intake high - you need it, and so does your baby! Now more than ever it is important that you eat several small meals per day. Your baby needs the nutrients, and your digestive processes have slowed tremendously due to rising levels of progesterone and the decreasing space in your belly. It is also important that you drink plenty of water during the third trimester to help ward off constipation, which can result in hemorrhoids.
Don't stop exercising. Walking (or swimming) is important and can make you feel more energetic. Exercises designed for strengthening the abdominal muscles, which support the back, can help. After the fourth month of pregnancy, you should avoid exercising while lying on your back, according to recent guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Take special care in practicing proper posture to avoid back pain. Most women gain the most amount of weight during their third trimester. Sometimes this is due to the baby's growth spurt, whereas at other times it is due to increasing levels of water retention. Don't be alarmed if you notice a sudden weight jump within a two-week period.
There are times however during the third trimester when a sudden weight jump may be cause for alarm. If for example, you gain several pounds within a couple of days, accompanied by high blood pressure, increased swelling of the hands and face and a terrible or debilitating headache, you may be at risk for preeclampsia. If this is the case, your doctor will have to monitor you very closely for complications to ensure a healthy and safe delivery for you and your baby. If you experience premature labor (some signs are menstrual-like cramps or lower back pain, a trickle of amniotic fluid, or a watery pinkish or brownish discharge preceded sometimes by the passage of a thick, gelatinous mucus plug) call your care provider immediately. They can often stop labor from progressing with bed rest or other drugs, possibly requiring hospitalization.
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Your baby now weighs around 2.5 pounds and measures about 13-15 inches long from head to toe. At this stage a fetus's eyes are almost always blue and can distinguish bright sunlight or artificial light through the uterine wall. Your baby's movements may not be as acrobatic since space has become more cramped, but you will still feel a lot of kicking and stretching. In boys, testicles descend from near the kidneys through the groin en route to the scrotum. In girls, the clitoris is relatively prominent because it's not yet covered by the still-small labia. These will grow to cover it in the last few weeks before birth.
Your baby's head is getting bigger, and brain growth is very rapid at this time. Nearly all babies react to sound by 30 weeks. Your baby's nutritional needs reach their peak during the third trimester. You'll need plenty of protein, vitamin C, folic acid, iron, and calcium (about 200 milligrams is deposited in your baby's skeleton every day), so eat foods rich in these nutrients. The skeleton hardens even more and the brain, muscles, and lungs continue to mature.
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