Women's Healthcare Topics
James Brann, MD. Ob/Gyn

30 Weeks Pregnant

Pregnant Belly Changes

You may have noticed that your baby has a regular sleep-wake cycle now. There are times during the day and night when your baby is active and other times when your baby is moving less. Once you understand your baby's movement patterns, you may want to start paying attention to them.

If you notice a decrease in your baby's movement, you should contact your healthcare provider right away. This may be a sign of a problem.

At 30 weeks pregnant, you are quickly approaching the end of your pregnancy. Are you ready for your baby's birth? It will be here before you know it.

Your uterus is about 4 inches above your belly button. With less than 10 weeks until your estimated due date, you may find that you're quickly running out of room to expand and you may find that bending over is impossible.

Your third trimester pregnancy symptoms are going strong, which usually include back and hip pain, Braxton Hicks contractions, and swollen feet and ankles (edema).

Leaking breasts may begin to annoy you now. In the weeks before delivery, it's normal for your breasts to leak colostrum (thick, creamy pre-milk that will nourish your baby in the first few days of life). Although having leaky breasts is a nuisance, it's your body's way of preparing for breastfeeding. If the leakage bothers you, make sure that you use nursing pads to protect your clothes.

Difficulty sleeping becomes a way of life during the third trimester. Your huge belly makes it hard for you to find a comfortable position to sleep. You can't sleep on your back, and even side sleeping might not even be that comfy. Plus, you're probably running to the bathroom to urinate every hour. Your dreams and nightmares are becoming more vivid and memorable.

Relaxation or breathing exercises may help lull you to sleep when you're pregnant. Even listening to soothing music, or reading a book might just do the trick. If you still can't sleep for long stretches of time, try to take a nap or two during the day.

If you're experience swelling (edema) in your feet and ankles, you may have noticed that you have a larger foot size than before you were pregnant. Some women even go up an entire shoe size, and unfortunately, unlike other pregnancy symptoms, your larger foot may stay with you even after your baby is born. During pregnancy, hormonal changes cause the ligaments and joints to loosen. As a result, you have wider and slightly longer feet.

Your pregnancy weight gain at 30 weeks pregnant may be between 23 and 24 pounds, if you are a normal weight.

Mood swings should be expected now and throughout the third trimester. Since your belly is rather large, and you're feeling quite uncomfortable, it's no wonder that you're feeling moody and irritable. On top of that, if you're worried about being a good mother, or you're nervous about childbirth, this can also cause you to be extra emotional. Remember that it's always important for you to voice your feelings and concerns with a loved one. It may help you feel better.

You may also be feeling Braxton-Hicks contractions (false labor pains) pretty regularly. These false contractions are helping prepare your body for labor and delivery. When you experience them, you may notice that the lower part of your belly temporarily tightens and releases. As long as these contractions come and go at unusual intervals, you shouldn't worry.

Braxton-Hicks contractions will continue throughout the rest of your pregnancy until you give birth to your baby.

Pregnancy Health Section

At 30 weeks pregnant, it won't be long before your baby makes his or her grand appearance into your world. In fact, there's a small chance that your baby may arrive early.

According to the March of Dimes, in the United States, an estimated 12.8 percent of babies are born premature. Out of this 12.8 percent, only about 10 percent of these preemies are born between 28 weeks and 31 weeks.

Fortunately, if your pregnancy has been healthy and uncomplicated, there's a good chance that your baby will be born full-term. But you should start preparing for your labor and delivery as soon as possible, just in case!

As you are thinking about your baby's arrival, you should seriously consider creating a birth plan. A birth plan is basically a written document that details how you want your baby's birth to be handled.

As you are thinking about what you want in a birth plan, just remember that you won’t be able to control everything that occurs during labor and delivery. Possible complications can happen at the last moment, even in the most uncomplicated, low-risk pregnancies.

Some things to think about when creating your personalized birth plan:

  • Where do you plan to deliver your baby?

  • Who will assist with the labor and deliver; an obstetrician, certified nurse-midwife, or family practitioner?

  • Do you want to a vaginal birth, or a planned cesarean section?

  • What are your thoughts on pain medication? Or would you prefer to attempt natural methods of pain management?

  • What are your feelings on an episiotomy?

  • Do you have a preference on what birthing position you take?

  • Are you okay with labor induction if it is necessary?

  • How do you want your baby handled after he or she is born?

(Women's Healthcare Topics has created an interactive personalized birth plan template that will give you a good outline for your birth plan. Our birth plan template can be found here.

After you create your birth plan, you should discuss your wishes with your healthcare provider. As the two of you are going over the plan, you may realize that there are certain aspects of your birth plan that your doctor cannot honor. You should make adjustments as needed.

Remember that your personalized birth plan is merely a guideline of your preferences. It is not a contract and is not set in stone. You may even find that you change your mind about certain aspects as you get closer to your due date.

Pain Relief Options during Labor

There are many pain relief options for the laboring mother. It is important that you know your options prior to delivery, so you can make an informed decision and birth plan before you deliver. Here is a brief summary of some of the more common forms of pain relief available:

Natural Birth - Just as it sounds, natural birth means no pain relief. Most 'natural' mothers prefer to use meditation and breathing and relaxation techniques to reduce their pain during delivery. Some mothers even choose to use alternative methods of pain control including hypnosis. Many laboring women decide on a natural birth, only to find that they need some form of pain control later in the labor and delivery process. Fortunately, modern technology has afforded women a lot of safe and reliable pain control options during labor.

Analgesics and Narcotics - These medications include butorphanol (Stadol), meperidine (Demerol) and nalbuphine (Nubain). They are injected right into a muscle, most commonly the buttocks or they can be delivered intravenously during labor and delivery. The duration of the effects of these medications typically range between a few minutes to few hours. Unfortunately, they can't be administered in the final stages of labor when pain is most severe, because they may pass on to the baby, causing drowsiness or depressed respiration (slowed breathing) after delivery.

Pudendal Block - This is a medication that can be injected into the vaginal wall just before delivery, and it helps block pain between the vagina and perineum (the skin between the opening of the vagina and anus). It can help relieve pain associated with an episiotomy or tear. It is short lasting, generally lasting anywhere from several minutes to an hour. A pudendal block offers only local pain relief for delivery of the baby through the vaginal opening. A pudendal block is not used for pain control during labor.

Epidural - This is the most common form of pain control used during labor and delivery. It can be given during active labor or just before a c-section. The medicine is administered into your lower back, into the area surrounding your spinal column, called the "epidural space." In a traditional epidural procedure, you will receive pain medicine at a continuous stream throughout labor. If delivery is imminent, your doctor may opt to use a combined spinal-epidural (CSE) technique for labor pains. A CSE will relieve pain quicker than a traditional epidural; you'll feel pain relief within five minutes of administration.

Baby Section

Growth and Development of Baby

At 30 weeks pregnant, your baby weighs almost 3 pounds and he or she is 15.7 inches long. According to the March of Dimes, if your baby was born premature this week, he or she has a 96 percent chance of survival.

The bridge of your baby's "button" nose is more apparent now than in earlier weeks. The tip of your little one's nose still looks upturned, but as your pregnancy continues, your baby's face will lengthen and the tip of the nose will make a downward tilt.

The nerve cells in your baby's brain continue to mature this week. The neurons of the brain's cortex (the area of the brain that controls memory, coordinated movement, vision, emotion, and thought processes) start to develop into six distinct layers, each with specific functions. (next week)


Doctor's Corner

Pregnancy Week by Week - Women's Healthcare Topics