Pregnancy Calendar: 30 Weeks Pregnant

How big is baby? This week baby is teetering at about 3 pounds (1.3 kg) and measuring 15.75 inches (40 cm) from head to toe tip. He or she is about the size of a large cabbage.

What’s new this week? Hospitals and how they handle labor, delivery and recovery may vary from one healthcare system to the next. It is important to understand where you will be and when.

What’s next? No matter your situation, you will need help caring for your child at some point. Now is the time to make sure your childcare needs, whether you need it five days a week or five hours a month, are met.

As baby (and your belly!) continue to grow, you will want to ensure you are comfortable with every predictable situation coming your way. Start by getting a grip on your hospital stay and childcare.

What’s happening with my baby?

Baby will continue adding fat for warmth and survival outside the womb. His or her eyesight also continues to develop and will continue to do so for several months after birth. Newborns only have about 20/400 vision, which means they can only see clearly objects and faces that are close to their own. Eye development, including eye-hand coordination, eye-body coordination, color and depth perception, should be fully developed by the time baby is two years of age.

How big is my belly?

At 30 weeks pregnant, you may feel like you are running out of room in your belly, and you couldn’t possibly be pregnant for another 10 weeks. Your uterus has now expanded to about 4 inches (10 cm) above your bellybutton, and you can expect to continue gaining about 1 pound each week. At least half of this weight is your growing baby along with the uterus, placenta and increasing amniotic fluid. As your belly continues to grow, you may become increasingly uncomfortable.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Pregnancy

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder that presents in the large intestine and causes abdominal pain (upset stomach) and abnormal bowel movements—either diarrhea or constipation. The condition is not necessarily chronic, is not harmful and does not necessarily lead to more serious conditions. Nearly one in five American adults has symptoms of IBS, so it is common for pregnant women to experience the disorder.

Symptoms of IBS include pain, bloating, cramping, constipation or diarrhea and gas. In severe cases it may cause depression. Stress, medications and certain foods can exacerbate these symptoms. Pregnancy can also make these symptoms worse, increasing in severity throughout the each trimester.

To negate symptoms during pregnancy, ensure you are eating a healthful diet and continuing a moderate exercise routine. Drink enough water and eat fiber-rich foods throughout the day. If symptoms become severe, work with your medical care team to identify a safe solution to control IBS symptoms during pregnancy.

Understanding Hospital Setups

Different healthcare systems often have different setups for labor, delivery and recovery, ranging from one room for each phase to up to four different rooms! It is important that you and your partner feel comfortable throughout the delivery and birthing process, so find out which setup you can expect at your hospital of choice. Here are a few potential setups:

  • Labor, Delivery, Recovery and Postpartum (LDRP): With this setup, you are in the same room from check in to check out. You will labor, deliver, recover and rest in this room during your entire hospital stay.
  • Birthing Room: A birthing room is used for labor and delivery of your baby. You will be moved elsewhere in the hospital for recovery.
  • Labor and Delivery Suite: You may find that the hospital you check in to will have you labor in one room, move to a separate room for delivery, and a third room for postpartum care.

Additionally, most hospitals will start you in a small, separate room to determine that you are, indeed, in labor. If you are experiencing false labor or your contractions are not far enough along yet, you may be sent back home.

Finally, your baby should be allowed in your room as much as you would like him or her to be. When you rest, baby may be taken to the nursery for care. Discuss your wishes with your medical care team.

Delivering Twins

Contrary to (recent) popular belief, delivering twins does not absolutely mean you will require a Cesarean delivery (c-section). It all comes down to timing and positioning. Most physicians will encourage a natural, vaginal birth if both babies are head down and there are no conditions requiring a c-section. However, if your lower baby is is not positioned with his or her head down, if babies share an amniotic sac or you are carrying more than two babies, you will require a c-section.

If the first baby’s head is facing down, but the second baby’s is not, you and your physician will need to make a decision about whether to attempt a vaginal delivery or plan a c-section. Additionally, even if you are able to deliver your first baby vaginally, your second baby may require a c-section.

Because twins increase the possibility for complications, it is highly recommended you labor and deliver in a hospital.

Finally, there is risk of stillborn babies the longer twins stay in the womb: risk is increased 13 times if twins share a placenta and increased five times if they each have a placenta. Your physician will likely require you to deliver twins between 36 and 37 weeks rather than waiting the full 40 weeks. If you have not gone into labor by the point, you may be induced or your doctor may schedule a c-section.

Did you know? Fraternal twins occur in 1 out of every 100 births. Identical twins occur in 1 out of every 250 births. Additionally, if you have given birth to a set of fraternal twins, your chances of having another set quadruples!

Considering Childcare

Whether you will need full time daycare once your maternity leave is over, or you will be staying home with your child and only need a babysitter occasionally, it is important to get proper childcare setup before baby arrives. First and foremost, find a person or people you trust. Here are a few other guidelines for finding and securing childcare:

  • Determine if you will need in-home care, a one-on-one nanny or a group setting.
  • Find caretakers who are not afraid to get on the floor and play with children or hold them in their lap. A close touch is paramount for baby’s early development.
  • Find caregivers who plan to stick around for a while. Ask for a one-year commitment if you are hiring an individual, or if you are heading to a daycare center, ask about staff turnover.
  • Ask as many questions you can think of to ensure your child care choice aligns with your parenting objectives. Discuss discipline techniques, screentime, safety and anything else that is important to you.
  • Anyone watching your child should welcome you stopping by anytime. Daycare centers should have an open-door policy for moms to pop by or nurse baby during lunch hour.
  • Look for caretakers who will supply you with some sort of report on your baby’s day. Whether it is a verbal account or a “daily diary” of eating and diaper habits, you should know everything your child did that day.
  • Cleanliness matters. Enough said.
  • Safety is paramount. Ensure the area your child will be in has childproof outlets, no strings hanging from blinds and no access to cleaning chemicals.
  • The bottom line often comes down to your gut feeling; if you are uneasy (not just sad) leaving your little one somewhere or with someone, you probably shouldn’t do it.

Daycare centers often book up months ahead of time, so if you have not already secured your spot now is the time to do it. And if you are looking for a babysitter, start testing out applicants now. You never know when you will need to make a quick run to the store or require a mental break.