30 Weeks Pregnant

What’s happening this week

Your baby…

  • may measure about 43 cm from top to toe
  • fat deposits are building up underneath the skin to insulate the baby against the abrupt change in temperature at birth
  • in preparation for birth your baby will mimic breathing movements by repeatedly moving the diaphragm.

You…

  • your joints and spine are softer than usual so you will need to take extra care when moving things around.
  • watch your posture as your centre of gravity continues to change.

Getting to sleep may be more difficult around now as your bump gets bigger. A few babies do arrive early, so it’s worth being prepared.

Practising for labour

If you start to notice your whole bump go hard and then relax again – yes, they’re practice runs for labour. These painless contractions are called ‘Braxton Hicks’ after the doctor who first described them. You can use them to practise breathing and relaxation techniques for labour. As your bump goes hard, sigh out and then take steady deep breathes. Let your body relax. When the practise contraction finishes take a deep breath, and smile.

Premature labour

About seven per cent of babies are born prematurely. There are some known risk factors for ‘prem’ babies like smoking, mums who are very underweight in pregnancy, and twin pregnancies. Bleeding in early pregnancy can also be an indicator of the baby being born early. Some mothers go into labour early because of a vaginal infection, and occasionally the waters break early after a vaginal or urine infection.

What happens?

If labour begins before 34 weeks, you may be given drugs to delay the birth while you are transferred to a hospital with a neonatal intensive care unit. You may also be given drugs which let your baby’s lungs reach greater maturity so that they are better prepared for breathing when your baby is born.

If your waters break and there are no contractions, you may be admitted to the maternity unit for observation until your baby is old enough to be born or labour has to be induced. Labour may be induced if you develop a raised temperature, which is usually a sign of infection.

If the baby is breech (bottom down) your doctor will discuss the mode of delivery with you.

Depending on how premature your baby is, and whether or not he is poorly, he may need help with:

  • temperature control – in which case he will be put in an incubator
  • fighting off infection
  • breathing
  • feeding (may need to be fed via a tube passed through the nose or mouth into the baby’s stomach or a drip until strong enough to go to the breast or take a bottle)
  • resting – the baby’s heartbeat and blood pressure are constantly measured.

If you have a premature baby, medical care staff will encourage you to give as much care to your baby as possible. Staff will show you what to do. Sick and premature babies need emotional as well as physical care… and this is best given by the parents. But you need support, too! You may need the help of friends and relatives to get to and from hospital, and to sit with your baby while you take a break.

Late ultrasound scans

Scans are sometimes used in late pregnancy to check on babies who don’t seem to be growing satisfactorily and who may need to be born early; the scan can measure blood flow through the umbilical arteries and through the placenta. If you’re booked for a late scan, consider taking a friend along with you for support.

Sleep problems

Somehow, no matter how tired you get, you may find it difficult to fall asleep, or stay asleep. You could:

  • find it hard to get into a comfortable position
  • need to go to the toilet frequently
  • have disturbing dreams
  • be woken by your baby kicking.

Try these techniques for calming before you go to bed:

  • have a warm bath.
  • have a milky drink.
  • go to the toilet
  • do some ankle exercise.

In bed:

  • Use pillows to make yourself more comfortable – in the small of your back and between your legs.
  • Your partner could sleep in another bed so that you can have all the room, and he can get a decent night’s sleep!

Don’t worry if you can’t sleep. Practise relaxation exercises. If you become really fidgety, get up and do something. Try and catch up on lost sleep the next day.