If you feel like you’ve gained another 10 pounds since last week, you can take some comfort in the fact that not all that weight was yours to gain. Your baby is really starting to pack on the weight now. In the last week alone, it’s possible your baby gained almost half a pound! That might not seem like much, but when you only weigh 2.5 pounds to begin with, that’s some serious weight gain.
By this time in pregnancy, it’s very hard to make generalizations—but that doesn’t stop anyone from trying. A typical woman at Week 29 will have gained somewhere between about 20 and 25 pounds, or the majority of the weight she will gain during her whole pregnancy. But if this doesn’t sound like you, don’t worry! As long as your healthcare provider is happy with your progress, you should be, too.
While things are getting achier and less comfortable, it might help to put things in perspective. Your uterus, which was about the size of a walnut when this pregnancy started, is now a whopping 12 inches above your pubic bone. This makes it about the size of a basketball, which helps explain why you probably lost sight of your feet a while ago.
Hopefully you’ve been paying close attention to your diet throughout, and now is no time to take it easy. As your baby grows, his or her need for nutrients and calories is also increasing. This is especially important when it comes to calcium, which your baby is using to build a strong skeleton. Unfortunately, if you’re not getting enough calcium, your baby will draw the calcium needed from your bones, causing a loss of bone mass. In very extreme cases, women can develop osteoporosis during pregnancy due to calcium deficiency.
But there is good news: your body has developed a number of ways to protect your bones during pregnancy, according to the National Institutes of Health. First, pregnant women actually absorb calcium better than non-pregnant people, in part because of the increased need for calcium. Second, you’re producing more estrogen, which is known to protect bones. And finally, multiple studies have shown that bone mass typically recovers from pregnancy shortly after the baby is born or you stop breastfeeding.
Your baby’s fetal age is now 27 weeks. He or she weighs somewhere between 2.5 and 3 pounds and is about 15.5 inches long from head to toe. The main change that’s occurred in the past week is gaining some serious fat. If you were to look inside your uterus up until now, your baby would appear wrinkled and very thin. That’s all changing now, as he or she begins to really pack on the fat under the skin. This will cause the skin to plump out, losing all the wrinkles and getting smooth.
No doubt your baby is still very active—if you haven’t done a kick count yet, you should start paying attention now. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions on how to do this, and make sure to note any irregularities.
Otherwise, it’s safe to say that it’s time for the “finishing touches,” and most of the major work is done. At this point, the sex organs are fully formed, the sensory organs are working, and the nervous system is highly developed. Right around now, even the permanent teeth buds form for the distant day when the Tooth Fairy will start to visit.
Still, even with all this going on, your baby still has a long way to go. Babies born at Week 29 are considered very premature and often face many medical challenges. Your healthcare provider will no doubt be looking for signs and symptoms of premature labor, especially if you have any risk factors such as smoking cigarettes, are pregnant with multiples, have had any serious bleeding, have a significant family history of premature labor, or other possible factors.