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Baby's third trimester
 
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Up to 30 Weeks

Your baby's now so big that when a doctor or midwife examines you she can check his position and the way he's lying. This is the last month he can turn a somersault.

Your baby at 30 weeks of pregnancy

Up to 30 Weeks
© DK

Your baby's progress

Great changes take place in your baby's nervous system this month. His brain grows larger (to fit inside the skull, it has to fold over and wrinkle up until it looks like a walnut), and his brain cells and nerve circuits are all fully linked and active.

Also, a protective fatty sheath begins to form around his nerve fibres, just as a similar sheath formed earlier around his spinal cord. This fatty sheath keeps on developing until early adulthood. Thanks to this, nerve impulses can travel faster and your baby is now able to cope with more complex types of learning and movement.

Your baby starts getting ready for birth. (If he were to be born prematurely at this stage, he'd have an excellent chance of survival. Even though he might have some breathing problems and difficulty in keeping himself warm, modern special care facilities would help him thrive.) He's beginning to gain some fat underneath his skin, which starts to smooth out, lose its wrinkles, and look more rounded. His coat of hairy lanugo may reduce to just a patch on his back and shoulders. The membranes that sealed and protected his eyes while they were growing will have fulfilled their function by the beginning of this month. His eyes are now fully formed and his eyelids have separated, allowing his eyes to open. He continues to develop the swallowing and sucking skills that he'll need as soon as he's born.

His breathing

Your baby has developed his mature breathing rhythm, and the air sacs in his lungs are starting to get ready for the first breath he'll take in the world outside your uterus. The air sacs line themselves with a coating of special cells and a fluid (surfactant) that will prevent them from collapsing.

His movements

He'll find he has less room to move about in and may move around less. He'll wriggle uncomfortably if you're in a position that doesn't suit him (see Changing position and emotional reactions).

Orientation

During his weeks of “gymnastics practice”, your baby has done more than increase his muscle tone - he's developed the ability to position himself in space. He'll probably continue to lie with his head upwards during this month, although if he's maturing fast he may turn upside down and settle into place ready for delivery (engage) rather earlier than usual. This is more common in first babies. Babies can continue turning up to 36 weeks.

Up to 30 Weeks - (next) ►

Posted 30.06.2010

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