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Pregnancy: Week 30

The countdown has almost begun. You’re now three quarters of the way through your pregnancy and you’ll be amazed at how quickly the remaining 10 weeks will go by. What once seemed so far away is really getting closer with every passing day.

Feeling extra empathetic?

By now you are probably feeling a bit of an emotional shift within yourself. You're starting to notice other pregnant women, babies and young children and taking an interest in other women's pregnancy experiences.

Even if you don’t usually show your emotions, by 30 weeks pregnant you may be. Watching the news or listening to sad stories can prompt a surge of empathy and a fresh batch of tears. Somehow, the human experience seems so much more intense and personal when you're pregnant. This doesn’t mean you’re a candidate for postpartum depression or at more risk than any other new mother. It’s completely normal to feel more emotionally fragile at this stage. Nature has a way of softening mothers so that they can be more sensitively attuned to their babies and better able to nurture them.

Your physical changes this week

You may be wanting to go to the bathroom more frequently from now on. Your baby is getting bigger and his close vicinity to your bladder i.e., on top, means that it won’t take much urine volume to make you feel uncomfortable. Try not to rush out of the bathroom too quickly though. It's important to completely empty your bladder each time you go to avoid the risk of developing a urinary tract infection.

Nighttime insomnia may plague you now, despite how tired you are when you go to bed. This is a common condition in the third trimester and there is little which can be done about it. Other than trying to keep a regular pre-bed routine, avoiding caffeine in the afternoons, relaxing before bed, and ensuring a supportive, comfortable bed, most women find there’s little else they can try. Some white noise, such as a whirring fan or playing relaxing music can be helpful.

Sedation is not recommended during pregnancy and taking sleep medication can be risky. Instead, try drinking a glass of milk, experiment with lots of pillows in your bed, lie on your side and rest your upper leg on a long pillow. Try moving your computer and cell phone out of the bedroom as well and avoid looking at a phone or computer screen for an hour or more before you go to bed. Declutter your bedroom if it’s a dumping station. It needs to be restful and serene.

You may be noticing varicose veins in your legs now. They’re not helped by the pressure of your uterus on the major blood vessels in your pelvis. Unfortunately, they’re likely to get worse before they get better. Some women develop varicose veins in their vulva, a particularly uncomfortable condition especially if combined with hemorrhoids. Supportive underwear with a Lycra component, support pantyhose, cooling baths and showers, and avoiding standing for long periods can all help. Be mindful of your weight gain and elevate your legs and feet whenever you can. There’s usually relief from varicose veins after birth, though some women can continue to experience them.

Your emotional changes this week

If you have older children to look after, you won’t be able to take much of a break! Try to have an afternoon rest if you can and synchronize a nap when the children do. Negotiate with your partner about sharing the children's care so you can have some time off. Fatigue can lead to emotional melt downs for everybody in the household.

Keep your partner up to date with what you're feeling. You've been pregnant for a while now and your partner’s initial delight may have turned just a little ho hum. Aim to go to prenatal appointments together and talk with them about the sort of parent you see them being. Your partner's relationship with the baby is so important and like your own, has started from the moment you conceived.

Having trouble staying focused? If you’re studying, you’ll find your mind wandering anywhere but on your books. Concentrating on the task at hand can take some mental strength when you're in your 3rd trimester. If you're procrastinating and finding every excuse to do something other than what you should be, try using an egg timer as a prompt. Make a deal with yourself that you’ll focus for an hour and then have a break. It really works!

Your baby's changes this week

Baby is around 17 inches this week, from its crown to its heel and weighs approximately 3 pounds, 5 ounces. From now until the next few weeks your baby will literally pack on weight. Enjoy your food and take pleasure in it. You can eat anything in moderation and that includes the occasional treat. If you're craving particular foods, give in to them. If you don’t you’ll find they are all you can think about. Just remember to avoid foods which may contain Listeria.

More fat is forming under baby’s skin and she is starting to look rounder and less frail than she has been. The loose folds of skin over her limbs and body are being filled out from the inside until birth when her skin will be smooth and even a little plump.

Baby’s brain has grown, and her nervous system is almost mature. At birth, she will have millions of neurons just waiting for lots of loving interaction and stimulation from you, to help her form the synapses which will link the neurons together.

Don’t wait until she is born before you start communicating with her. Talking, singing, massaging your belly and visualizing what your baby will look like will all help you form an early emotional connection. Think about keeping a pregnancy journal for the last few weeks. Looking back on this in the years to come will give you and your child something special to share.

Baby may be lying any which way this week, head up, head down, to the side, and even across your belly. The opportunity for her to do complete somersaults is quickly disappearing as she continues to grow and take up space in your uterus.

Her fingernails are almost at the end of the fingertips this week. Some babies need their nails cut in the first few days after birth, otherwise they scratch their little adorable faces.

Hints for the week

Make a list of questions for when you go to your prenatal appointments. Having pregnancy brain can cause your brain to be as retentive as a sieve. Forgetting what seemed so important can cause you to feel frustrated and angry with yourself. Instead, jot down the queries you have as they crop up. Never feel embarrassed to ask your pregnancy care provider a question. You can be guaranteed it's been asked a million times before.

Read as much as you want about pregnancy, parenthood, and babies. Now is the time to boost your knowledge and build your own, early philosophies on how you want to raise your baby.

Start preparing Baby's nursery by organizing the crib or bassinet, stroller, baby bath and baby clothing. It may still be a little early to do the big wash and fold but there's so much delight to be had in sorting out those tiny sizes. Make sure your relatives with knitting skills know there's a baby coming and will need some booties.

Week 31 coming next!

The information of this article has been reviewed by nursing experts of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). The content should not substitute medical advice from your personal healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations/diagnosis or treatment. For more advice from AWHONN nurses, visit Healthy Mom&Baby at health4mom.org.