Week 29 is the earliest you can start maternity leave in the UK, though in reality for many, they’ll be waiting a fair few weeks before taking their maternity leave. It’s an individual decision – and of course depends on the kind of work you do, if you have support at home, and practical things like what your commute into work is like.
In certain jobs you may need to have another risk assessment as you are now in your third trimester to determine if any adjustments need to be made to your work life in these final weeks – or you may want to discuss with your employer options for hybrid / working from home if that is a possibility for you.
It’s also a great opportunity to discuss plans for who (if anyone) is covering your role whilst you are on leave and if there is a period of handover etc. This will help you feel a lot more prepared and relaxed going into your leave and give you time to enjoy your last few weeks at work too.
How big is my baby at 29 weeks?
At 29 weeks your baby has now grown over another cm and is approximately 39cm in length from top to toe. They’ve also grown in weight too – weighing roughly around 1.2kg – about the weight and size of a butternut squash!
What happens in week 29 of pregnancy?
As baby continues to grow and prepare for meeting you, around now, their bones continue to harden thanks to you. Your baby needs around 200mg of calcium to be deposited in their skeleton daily, which comes from you and the calcium you are ingesting. Worry not though – a small glass of milk is about the same as 200mg of calcium, or if you aren’t a fan of milk then a 150g pot of plain yoghurt.
If you are intolerant to dairy or vegan based products, then you need 700mg of calcium from a fortified plant-based milk.
Your baby is also learning this week to regulate their own temperature – though will rely on lots of skin to skin from you after birth too.
Week 29 pregnancy symptoms
Pelvic Pain – If you’ve had pain lower down in your bump – just under your bikini line area, you may be experiencing a common pregnancy related condition sometimes called ‘pelvic girdle pain (PGP)’. In the past it was called symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD).
Whatever name you call it, it is pain that you feel in the pelvic area in pregnancy.
This is caused by the uneven movement of joints in your pelvis – which is made up of two bones that are joined together in a circle to make up your pelvic girdle. These joints are normally very stiff and have very little movement in them, but in pregnancy, they can loosen up, and may also move unevenly causing you pelvic pain.
The reasons for the joint loosening (resulting in PGP/SPD during pregnancy) aren’t fully understood, but experts believe it’s down to a combination of some or all of the following factors:
- Hormonal changes: In pregnancy your body releases a hormone called relaxin to help relax your muscles and joints as your pregnancy progresses and leading up to the birth of your baby.
- Pelvic floor muscles weakening: Another change during pregnancy that happens is your pelvic floor muscles stretching out and becoming weaker, which means your has less support and adds extra pressure on the pelvic joints.
- Pregnancy posture: As your centre of gravity changes in pregnancy, you adjust your posture to compensate for this which leads to extra strain on your pelvic joints and muscles.
- Pre-existing condition: If you’ve had issues or any injuries with your back or pelvis, this can cause PGP to flair up in pregnancy.
- PGP in a previous pregnancy: If you have had PGP before you know what signs to look out for and sadly, research indicates that you are more at risk of having PGP in another pregnancy.
PGP varies from being mild to severe, mainly felt in the front and / or back of your pelvis, but can also radiate to your hips or thighs too. Symptoms of PGP range from:
- Lower pelvic pain
- Feeling a clicking sensation in your pelvis when you move
- A grinding feeling in your pelvic area
- Lower back pain
- Hips, thigh or groin pain
- Difficulty and pain when moving or separating your legs, such as getting out of a car or putting on socks.
- Finding it painful when getting out of bed or going up or down stairs.
Reassuringly, PGP doesn’t cause any harm to your baby, but can be very difficult for you in pregnancy, so getting support and help early is key in helping you.
If you find that you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is essential you discuss them with your midwife – the sooner the better, so they can get you the right help quickly. This will often mean getting referred to a specialist physiotherapist who can diagnose and advise you on PGP.
Whilst resting, being careful how you move, strengthening your pelvic floor etc are all things your physiotherapist will advise, they may also suggest other treatments such as:
- Wearing a pelvic support belt
- Manual therapies by trained experts such as a physiotherapist, an osteopath or chiropractor
- Water Therapy and exercise (hydrotherapy)
PGP can really affect your pregnancy mobility and leave you feeling in pain and upset. But help is available, and you don’t need to suffer alone, your midwife and GP are both great sources of help in getting you the right care.
Week 29 pregnancy tips
- Pregnancy yoga or exercise such as aqua-natal classes can really help with strengthening muscles and helping you get fitter and stronger, as well as prepare for labour and birth. Have a look at what is available locally – some leisure centres have classes, or you may want to follow an online class.
- Keep an eye on how you are sitting and moving – especially if you have PGP. Taking your time to get out of bed, being careful not to overstretch. Listening to your body will help you adjust to your changing shape.
- Your changing shape and the changes to how you move, walk, and how agile you are can all have an impact on your emotional wellbeing too. Take time to focus on your mental wellbeing as well as your physical – talk to your partner or friends, look back at how much has changed and how this is all part of the amazing journey ahead.