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Your Pregnancy Week by Week: Weeks 26-30

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Week 28

Baby: Your baby measures about 10 inches from crown to rump, or a total length of about 15.75 inches from head to toe, and weighs about 2.4 pounds. Brain waves show rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which means your baby may be dreaming. Eyelids are opening. Branches of lungs are developing.

Mom-to-be: Your uterus extends well above your navel. As the baby gets bigger and stronger this month, you may be experiencing leg cramps and mild swelling of ankles and feet, difficulty sleeping, shortness of breath, lower abdominal achiness, clumsiness, or scattered Braxton Hicks contractions (hardening and relaxing of the uterus, like a rehearsal for labor). You may also be urinating more frequently again as the uterus continues to push on your bladder.

Tip of the Week: Even if your partner is planning on being with you in the delivery room, you might want to consider hiring a doula -- a professional labor assistant who provides support, but not medical aid, for the mother and her partner. Studies show that doulas can shorten a woman's labor and reduce the likelihood of needing pain medication, forceps or vacuum deliveries, or a cesarean section.

Week 29

Baby: Your baby's eyes are almost always blue and can distinguish bright sunlight or artificial light through the uterine wall. The baby is performing fewer acrobatics as conditions in the womb become more cramped, but he's still doing a lot of kicking and stretching.

Mom-to-be: You've probably gained 19-25 pounds. You still have some time to go, so you may want to remind yourself of signs of premature labor, including menstrual-like cramps or lower back pain, a trickle of amniotic fluid, or a watery pinkish or brownish discharge preceded sometimes by the passage of a thick, gelatinous mucus plug. Tell your health care provider ASAP if that happens -- they can sometimes stop labor from progressing with bed rest, medications, and possibly also hospitalization.

Tip of the Week: Your blood pressure typically may rise a little around the seventh month. Tell your health care provider if you get severe headaches; blurred vision; severe swelling of hands, feet, or ankles; or if you gain a lot of weight. These symptoms could signal the beginning of preeclampsia, a dangerous condition marked by high blood pressure and high levels of protein in the urine during pregnancy.

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