Only 10 weeks to go! Can you believe you’re 30 weeks pregnant? With the right neonatal care, there’s a very good chance your baby would survive if born now. Rest assured that as the next few weeks go by your baby is growing even stronger.
Your baby’s development
This week your baby is the size of a… coconut.
Now that your baby has gained some body fat, he is better able to regulate his own body temperature and so the fine hair (lanugo) covering his body will slowly start disappearing. Also in this week:
· Bone marrow is producing red blood cells
· His brain is continuing to develop
· Nails are growing
· More fat is being laid down
You may also notice that the position your baby is lying in will change over the next week or so. Room is fast running out and these are the last opportunities for your baby to move about before the birth.
Your physical pregnancy changes
There will be no extra noticeable changes this week, just the same gradual growth, difficulty in sleeping and need to visit the bathroom regularly! You may also still be suffering from the same pregnancy complaints you were last week: heartburn, indigestion, constipation and haemorrhoids.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, try turning on your left side, as it will allow your blood flow to remain unobstructed and so you’ll be less likely to wake you.
Read on to read more about the common pregnancy complaints and symptoms bothering you and what you can do to relieve them. Most of the issues you face when you are pregnant are annoying rather than life threatening.
Anaemia (lack of iron)
As well as providing for your baby when you’re pregnant your blood flow will increase, which means you need more iron. If you don’t get enough iron during your pregnancy you may feel tired and breathless or suffer from headaches and palpitations.
Do: eat plenty of iron-rich foods, such as red meat (up to 500g per week), wholemeal bread, iron-fortified cereals, eggs, dark green leafy veg and dried fruit. Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron, so drink a little orange juice with your meals, and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. Consult your doctor if symptoms persist.
It’s good to be aware that your body is changing and straining hormone-softened ligaments and the position of your baby can all put pressure on the nerves in your spine. While back pain is common in pregnancy it’s not easy to live with so consult an osteopath or chiropractor if you’re in pain.
Do: use a lumbar support when sitting, take regular exercise and remember to rest. Lift heavy objects correctly, and squat or kneel down when you’re picking up toys from the floor.
Bleeding gums are a sign of gingivitis, caused by sticky plaque that accumulates on teeth and gums.Higher levels of progesterone in pregnancy can make gums sensitive to bacteria and plaque.
Do: brush your teeth gently, upwards towards the gums, twice a day or after every meal. Make an appointment to see your dentist if bleeding persists.
Many pregnant women complain of constipation and hormones are to blame here.
Do: keep your water intake up and eat more fruit and veggies.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
Although it is rare the risk of developing blood clots and/or DVT begins in the first few weeks of pregnancy and may continue after your baby is born. Signs of DVT include leg pain, swelling, pain, tenderness, redness or skin that is warmer than normal on your leg. In pregnant women it is often more common in the left leg, rather than the right. See your doctor immediately if you have any of these symptoms.
Do: regular gentle exercise and stay hydrated.
Dizziness and fainting
Feeling dizzy and fainting are common but if you do faint or experience constant dizziness go and see your doctor as soon as possible.
Do: wear layers so you don’t become overheated, eat regularly to keep your blood sugar levels up and drink plenty of water. Get up slowly from sitting or lying down. If you feel dizzy, lie down on your left side, or sit and put your head between your knees. If you’re driving, pull over straight away.
Your body is working hard to create a baby so it’s not surprising you’re feeling more tired than usual.
Do: delegate jobs. Ask your partner to cook dinner while you put your feet up; order your groceries online; take naps on the weekend, and if you have a toddler, sleep when they sleep. Remember, book ‘me’ time into your diary – getting lots of rest is good for you and your unborn baby. If someone offers to help, say ‘Yes, please!’
Bad headaches could be a sign of high blood pressure. See your doctor immediately if you are getting headaches.
Do: rest and drink plenty of water.
High blood pressure
A number of things can cause high blood pressure, including being overweight, alcohol consumption, lack of exercise and a diet high in fat and cholesterol. Your blood pressure will be checked at every prenatal appointment and your doctor will be able to measure it for conditions such as preeclampsia.
Do: try to eat as much healthy, fresh food as you can and maintain some regular exercise. Rest if you need to and do your best to avoid stressful situations.
Gas, bloating and heartburn
Pregnant women often complain of these three issues which all occur due to high levels of progesterone in your body.
Do: avoid spicy, rich, fatty and fried foods. Eat small, frequent meals, sip peppermint tea and try not to drink too much liquid when you are eating. You may also find it helps to sleep propped up on pillows.
Stress incontinence is common in pregnancy with four in ten pregnant women suffering from it. When you become pregnant and as your body prepares for birth, hormones cause the tissues and muscles in your pelvic floor to stretch, which can lead to weakness in the muscles that control the release of urine from your bladder. If these muscles are weak you may find that sneezing, coughing or laughing causes urine to leak without you being able to control it.
Do: regular pelvic floor exercises during your pregnancy and after the birth, wear a panty liner if you need to and remember to visit the bathroom regularly.
There are many reasons a woman may have trouble sleeping when she’s pregnant. Sometimes it’s physical – she can’t find a comfortable sleeping position or constantly needs the bathroom. Other times it’s psychological – her mind is busy with plans, emotions and nerves that she can’t switch off.
Do: try to wind down by listening to calm music, doing gentle exercise (such as prenatal yoga) or have a bath before bed. Adding 2-3 drops of lavender, chamomile or ylang ylang oil into your bath will also help you to relax. Use lavender oil with care in your first trimester and always talk to your midwife or doctor before using essential oils.
It’s normal to feel itchy in pregnancy as your skin is growing and stretching. Excessive itchiness however could be a sign of obstetric cholestasis (a liver disorder) for which you should see your doctor immediately.
Do: wear loose, natural fibres and moisturise your skin.
This leakage of colostrum (the first yellowish milk your breasts produce) is a normal part of pregnancy. If it’s bloodstained then see your doctor.
Do: wear breast pads in case your breasts start leaking when you’re out and about.
Ligament pain and leg cramps
Stretching of the round ligaments that support your growing belly can cause sharp pains, or a duller pain in the lower abdomen that usually begins in the second trimester. Leg cramps are common due to the veins dilating, being low in magnesium or calcium and because you’re carrying extra weight.
Do: regular, gentle exercise. Rest with a pillow between your legs when you’re in bed. If you have leg cramps, stretch your calves regularly (especially before you go to sleep at night), keep your fluid intake up and try not to stand or have your legs crossed for long periods. See your doctor if sharp pains persist.
Increased levels of oestrogen and hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropins) are the most likely cause of morning sickness. Twelve weeks is the turning point for most women because your hormones are at capacity and the placenta takes over feeding your baby. Low blood sugar and tiredness contribute to nausea and as senses are heightened don’t be surprised if strong smells set you off.
Do: munch on a plain biscuit or cracker before getting out of bed. Eating small, regular meals and snacks will also help. Ginger will also help – add it to your morning juice or try Twinings Lemon and Ginger Tea. Ice-cold water with a splash of lemon can really take the edge off too. Limit fatty and spicy foods and choose those high in protein and carbohydrates. Check with your doctor if morning sickness results in severe vomiting or weight loss.
Your increased blood supply can cause the delicate blood vessels in your nose to expand, making them rupture more easily. They are more likely to occur when you have a cold or allergy, or when your nose swells or dries out, such as in cold weather.
Do: blow your nose gently, drink plenty of water and keep your mouth open when you sneeze.
Piles can be one of the most painful parts of pregnancy (when veins become dilated) and are common in the third trimester and after birth. They are varicose veins of the rectum, which cause itching, pain and sometimes bleeding.
Do: eat a high-fibre diet and drink plenty of water to avoid constipation, which can make haemorrhoids worse. Steer clear of fizzy drinks, alcohol and caffeine, spicy and fatty foods and do your pelvic floor exercises to help boost blood circulation. A warm bath can help, as can icepacks. Be sure to see your doctor if you experience any rectal bleeding.
Stretch marks (striae) caused by lack of elasticity in the skin. Ninety per cent of women get them so don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Do: eat a healthy diet to maintain skin elasticity, drinking plenty of water and exercising regularly.
In pregnancy, it’s normal to have some swelling because the body retains more fluid, but as your baby grows, pressure is put on the veins that carry blood from the lower limbs to the heart. This causes blood to pool, which forces fluid from the veins into the tissue around your feet and ankles. (Severe swelling in your hands and face could be a sign of the serious condition preeclampsia – call your midwife or doctor immediately)
Do: keep active and eat well. Walking is great, but standing around all day makes swelling worse. Elevate your feet when you can or gently rotate your ankles when sitting down to keep the circulation going. Celery, apples and citrus fruits all act as a natural diuretic and help circulation. Support stockings will also help relieve tired, sore and swollen legs.
You will probably notice your discharge increases throughout pregnancy, which is completely normal and caused by the extra blood flow to the area. It is usually milky white (leukorrhea) or clear and mucous-like. While your discharge may have a different odour from what you are used to it should not be offensive, irritating, sore or make you itch as these could be signs of an infection. Bleeding is possibly a sign of something more serious.
Do: keep your body clean, wear cotton underwear and avoid tight underwear or deodorant soaps. Eat live yoghurt every day as it contains lactobacillus acidophilus, which fights infection. And cut down on refined sugar in your diet. If you have any concerns consult your doctor or midwife.
These veins are most common in the legs though they can appear around the vulva (vaginal opening).
Do: avoid standing for too long, putting on too much weight, and sitting with your legs crossed. Try to put your feet up as much as possible, take regular gentle exercise and sleep on your left side.
Your health and fitness during pregnancy
You still need to be keeping away from any kind of raw foods such as sushi, pates and anything from the deli counter, as you are still susceptible to food poisoning.
Insomnia can lead to exhaustion so stay away from caffeinated drinks, avoid napping for long periods during the day and make sure you keep up with a little bit of gentle exercise.
Watch out for symptoms of pre-eclampsia – an extremely dangerous condition if left untreated which occurs in a small percentage of women. Just be aware of the symptoms and contact your doctor immediately if you begin to suffer any of the following:
· Severe swelling
· Sudden weight gain
· High blood pressure
And remember that it’s always better to visit your doctor and find out there was nothing wrong after all, than not go for fear of wasting their time.
Knowing what to eat when you’re pregnant is one thing, but knowing how to store and cook food safely is another matter altogether. Follow these four preparation and food storage recommendations to help keep you and your unborn baby healthy.
It’s easier to pick up foodborne illnesses and infections during pregnancy as hormonal changes make your immune system less effective. This is partly due to your body’s resources being stretched to protect your growing baby’s health as well as your own. With this in mind, it’s even more important to maintain high food safety standards to stay safe and well for the nine months prior to your baby’s birth. Follow these rules from NSW Food Authority and you’ll be well on the way to three healthy trimesters.
Keep it cold
Refrigerating food at a temperature below the ‘danger zone’ of 5°C helps slow the growth of bacteria, which can cause illness. Remember:
· Put any cold food that needs to be kept that way in the fridge straight away. If you are refrigerating hot food, wait for it to cool fully before storing it – if you put it in the fridge while it’s still hot it affects the internal temperature of the fridge, which in turn affects the other contents.
· Don’t eat any food that should be stored in the fridge if it’s been left out for more than two hours.
· Defrost and marinate food (especially meats) in the fridge – do not leave them out on the bench.
· Shop with a cooler bag, picnic with an esky.
Keep it hot
Cooking food until it’s hot, rather than just warm, kills harmful bacteria so:
· Cook food until it’s steaming hot. The same goes for any food that’s being reheated.
· When cooking meat, makes sure there’s no pink flesh left.
· Test for clear juices before serving or eating chicken or pork.
· Heat all marinades that contain meat juices to boiling point before serving.
Keep it clean
The saying goes that cleanliness is next to godliness, so become a kitchen goddess by keeping on top of spillages and preventing cross-contamination between food. You can do this by:
· Washing and drying hands thoroughly before preparing or eating food – even snacks
· Keeping benches, kitchen equipment and tableware clean
· Avoiding cross-contamination by using separate chopping boards and knives for raw and cooked food
· Not letting raw juices drip on other food
· Avoiding food prepared by someone who’s sick – such as with diarrhoea
Check the label
Labelling is there for a reason – to keep you safe and prevent food-related illness. When your body is so sensitive to ingredients during pregnancy, it’s even more important to keep an eye on those dates and instructions.
· Don’t eat food that’s past its use-by date, and note the best before date.
· Follow storage and cooking instructions.
· Ask for information about unpackaged foods.
Your week 30 pregnancy checklist
· Eat plenty of carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables to help your baby pack on the weight
· Take this time to sing, talk and play music to your bump. It’ll help build a connection between your baby and you, your partner and family members’ voices when he decides to enter the real world
· Check with your doctor before taking anything for any discomforts
· Keep an eye out for symptoms of pre-eclampsia