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30 Weeks Pregnant

You are now in the last week of the seventh month, with just 10 more weeks to go until you are full term. Reaching the 30th week is a major milestone in your baby’s development, as premature babies born after the 30th week has over 92% chances of survival without any long-term complication when provided with proper preemie intensive care [1].

30 weeks pregnant: fetal development

Brain development

These last few weeks are vital for the fetal brain development with brain cells maturing at a rapid pace. The characteristic wrinkles and indentations (convolutions) on the brain’s surface continue to get more prominent to provide space for a higher number of brain cells [2]. The nervous system is almost done maturing, waiting for the synapses to connect the neurons with each other after birth [3].

30 Weeks Pregnant Picture

30 Weeks Pregnant Picture

Blood cell production

Another important change occurring this week is the bone marrow taking over the job of red blood cell production [28]. This development further equips your baby to survive on his own after birth [2].

Sensory organ development

All the five senses have become functional by this week [4], going through the final stages of development. Your baby’s vision is now mature enough that he can follow a light source with his eyes if you shine a torch on your belly [5]. He can probably even see the world around him inside the womb; however, babies at 30 weeks of gestational age are likely to keep their eyes closed most of the time. Even after birth, it takes months for them to detect objects more than a few inches away from their face [6].

External appearance

The white fat layer continues to form beneath the skin, giving your baby a plumber, chubbier appearance. The loose skin folds are gradually filling out with the skin turning smoother and suppler [7]. His fingernails have almost reached the fingertips [3] while his eyelashes are fully mature as well [8].

Fetal movements

Your baby’s kicks and punches are enough for you to know about his growing strength. His movements are not so light and fluttery anymore; in fact some of his kicks can actually hurt a bit. You are probably used to his sleep-wake cycles and movement patterns by now. Make sure to take some quiet time every day for kick counting to make sure everything is okay with your baby [9]. It is normal for babies to be in a breech (feet down) or transverse (lying sideways) position during week 30 as there is still plenty of time for him to position himself properly for birth [7].

How big is your baby?

About as big as a cabbage, your baby is now around 15.71 inches (39.9 cm) long [10], weighing about 3 pounds (1.3 kg) [11].

Pregnancy week 30: weight gain, belly and body changes

The top of the uterus lies just over 4 inches above the top of your bellybutton this week [12]. Most women gain around 1 pound per week throughout the third trimester [13].

In addition to the growing belly shifting your center of gravity, the increasing levels of relaxin hormone contribute to loosening of the joints and muscles, making you clumsier than usual [6]. Your relaxing joints and ligaments may also cause you to go up a shoe size [4]. Although your feet are more likely to go back to their pre-pregnancy size after delivery, this change might be permanent in some cases.

30 weeks pregnant ultrasound

An ultrasound performed this week will show your baby moving a lot, grabbing the umbilical cord or his feet with his now developed hands [2].

30 Weeks Pregnant Ultrasound Image

30 Weeks Pregnant Ultrasound Image

Pregnancy week 30 signs and symptoms

  • Indigestion, heartburn and constipation [14]
  • Gas and bloating
  • Feeling out of breath [8]
  • Pain in the ribs (due to the growing uterus putting pressure on your ribcage)
  • Itchy skin around the stretching abdomen [15]
  • Skin changes like dark marks or rashes on different areas
  • Mood swings and depression [4]
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite (partly because of the changing hormone levels and the growing uterus)
  • Sleeping difficulty
  • Frequent urination [2]
  • Round ligament pain
  • Pelvic pain [16]
  • Joint (knee, jaw, hip etc.) and back pain
  • Tailbone pain
  • Braxton Hicks contractions [17]
  • Swelling or edema of ankles and feet due to water retention and increased blood volume [18]
  • Varicose veins and hemorrhoids [14]
  • Tender breasts, leaking a thick yellowish fluid or colostrum (preparing for breastfeeding)
  • Stretch marks [2]
  • Fatigue [19]

When to call the doctor

  • Although it is completely normal for your baby to move less in the last weeks of gestation (as there is much less space in you uterus now that he is growing so fast), make sure to inform your doctor or midwife if you cannot feel your baby move at all for over 3-4 hours during his ‘active period’ [20]
  • Extreme fatigue and lightheadedness with constant headache, upper abdominal pain, sudden edema of the face, hands and feet, vision changes, nausea, vomiting and sudden unexplained weight gain (might indicate high blood pressure [21] or preeclampsia [14])
  • Extreme thirst, dry mouth, frequent urge to urinate, tiredness and sudden blurred vision (might indicate gestational diabetes) [22]
  • Contractions getting more frequent over the hours with vaginal bleeding/spotting, increasing pressure in your pelvic area, lower back pain, period-like cramps, flu-like symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness), orange or reddish mucus discharge (losing the mucus plug) and leaking lots of thin watery fluid (might indicate preterm labor) [23]
  • Pain or burning during urination accompanied by yellowish or clear jelly-like or thick white discharge with or without a foul odor, dark or cloudy urine, abdominal pain, back pain and nausea (might indicate yeast infection [24] or UTI [25])

Tips for a healthy pregnancy and baby

  • Following a diet containing lots of calcium rich foods, such as milk, yoghurt and low-fat cheese, as it is vital for the final stages of fetal bone development [26]
  • Including plenty of iron rich foods in your diet (leafy vegetables, beans etc.) and taking your iron supplements (if prescribed by your doctor) so your baby can store iron, which will help in his growth until he reaches 6-9 months of age [15]
  • Keeping your hospital bag ready, especially if you are carrying twins, as multiple pregnancies are always considered high-risk with considerable chances of premature labor after the 26th week
  • Avoiding scratching your itchy abdomen as far as possible; instead, try massaging the area with a gentle moisturizing lotion [15]
  • Avoiding using the computer right before bed time, refraining from caffeinated drinks and playing a relaxing music or some white noise might help you fight your third trimester insomnia to get a good night’s sleep [3]
  • Doing prenatal yoga or following a regular light exercise routine (going for a 10 minute walk 3 times a day), as it boosts your energy level in addition to strengthening your muscles and ligaments [27]
  • Avoiding travelling and flying in these late months, unless absolutely necessary (so you can avoid the risk of having premature labor when away from your doctor)

Published on August 23rd 2014 by .
Article was last reviewed on 23rd August 2014.

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