Week 29: More Mommy Symptoms

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This is your Pea in the Podcast for week 29 of your pregnancy. I'm Bonnie Petrie joined by Dr. Laurie Swaim, an obstetrician with Houston Women's Care Associates in Houston, Texas.

Well this week you may be pleased to know, using the word 'pleased' sarcastically of course, that you have cankles. You know, where your calf meets your foot and there's not even a suggestion of where your ankles used to be. Yeah, you're swollen and Dr. Swaim says it's normal. "I think one of the important things about swelling to note is that pregnancy swelling it happens, it does not necessarily signify pathology. Here's the other thing, drinking water will not make your swelling go away. I don't know where that myth got started but it makes no sense whatsoever but I have lots of patients that come in and they're like 'well I've been drinking 10 glasses of water a day to make my swelling better'. I'm like 'what? you're probably just pouring more water into your feet, knock it off'. I mean when you are pregnant you should drink when you are thirsty. If you want to drink, drink but don't necessarily drink extra because you think it's going to help your swelling because it's not."

Other people may suggest you avoid salt when you start to swell, Dr. Swaim says that won't help either, "I wouldn't add extra salt to your food, that's good advice for anyone, but I wouldn't eat low salt foods. It doesn't have much to do with the amount of salt in your fluids, it has to do with the pressure of the baby on your abdomen and on the veins coming back from your legs." So what do you do? Well you put your feet up when you can otherwise get used to those lovely cankles and your Fred Flintstone feet, they're going to be around for a while.

And, sorry to say, swelling won't be your only problem from here on out. You may start to feel like you're falling apart a little bit. There's a long list of complaints women have in the third trimester, "Hip pain, lower back pain, sciatica, reflux, lower pelvic pain, those are probably the most common ones." If you're in a lot of pain, talk to your doctor, they may be able to hook you up with a physical therapist that can help. Also with regard to heartburn you should probably try to eat several small meals a day, the small meals will be easier for your sluggish system to digest and again if you're having a lot of reflux pain, talk to your doctor, they can help.

Now with all the agonies there are so many joys in the third trimester of pregnancy. Even feeling your baby dance for many weeks and people have been able to feel them move from the outside too which is thrilling. Now Dr. Swaim says you may even be able to see the baby move from the outside, "Depends on the size of the mother but yes if she's thin. You can definitely see it better 5 to 10 weeks from now but 29 or 30 weeks if the mom is really thin you should be able to see it though." Of course all this activity could lead to another complaint, your little kicker could decide to kick you in the ribs taking your breath away or the bladder or all kinds of uncomfortable places. Write it down, you need to start gathering your emotional blackmail now so you're ready when they get to high school. You may also be feeling butterflies in your belly, your baby probably has the hiccups, it's pretty common and nothing to worry about. Also this week your baby's bones are fully developed, of course they're remain pliable now to ease their exit through the birth canal. Oh they're now also responding to light if you move a flashlight around your belly you may feel the baby move around in response to the light. Now we mentioned a couple of weeks back that your heads up baby may be slowly starting to turn itself around so it will be head down in time for birth and your baby may well be doing that. But many babies are still perfectly happy heads up which is the breech position, they'll stay that way for a while. That does not mean that you should prepare for a breech birth or schedule a C-section or anything like that, there is still plenty of time for your baby to turn between weeks 38 and 40. Only 3% - 5% of babies remain breech.

Now despite the joys and strains attending with third trimester pregnancy all of this activity is encouraging. Your baby is getting bigger and stronger and now if it were born its outlook is improving every day. "The risk for intraventricular hemorrhage goes down after 28 weeks, their risk for what we call necrotising enterocolitis, which is an intestinal problem which is very severe, has gone down appreciably. Now their greatest risks are respiratory complications, I think the vast majority of 29 weekers require ventilators. Then complications there of: they'll all turn jaundiced, they won't be able to eat , but like I said the neonatologist can feed them, and they have infection risk, etc. I think overall 29 weekers probably do very well as long as they were born in an environment although they started off okay. If you deliver a 29 weeker through septic it's not going to do as well as the 29 weeker who was born because mom had idiopathic preterm labor. If you deliver a 29 weeker because of severe preeclamsia and it is growth restricted then it is probably not going to do as well as a fat 29 weeker who wants to get popped out by his mom for no reason." But we're still hoping to bake that baby for a while yet, you're 29 weeks pregnant, you have 11 weeks to go until week 40.

That's your Pea in the Podcast for week 29 of your pregnancy. Dr. Swaim and I look forward to talking to you again next week. Enjoy this week. For a transcript of any of our Pea in the Podcasts go to our website peainthepodcast.com. For Pea in the Podcast, I'm Bonnie Petrie, thanks for listening.