My premature baby's development in the womb - week 30

If you have been told you are at risk of a premature birth, you may be feeling anxious. Here’s some information about your baby’s development this week.

This information is for women who have been told that they are at risk of a premature birth

If you are not at risk of having a premature baby, we have information for you in our pregnancy calendar - our week-by-week guide to the stages of pregnancy.

Your baby's development this week

Your baby is not breathing air because the placenta is still supplying all the oxygen your baby requires. However, they have started making breathing movements as they start preparing to be born. The lungs are maturing very fast between 30-35 weeks that every day that passes reduces the time that your baby is likely to need help a lot of help with their breathing.

Your pregnancy symptoms

Vaginal discharge

Having more vaginal discharge during pregnancy is common. Healthy vaginal discharge is usually thin, clear or milky white and shouldn’t be smelly. 

Call your midwife if you have vaginal discharge and:

  • it is smelly 
  • is green, brown or yellow
  • you feel itchy or sore around your vagina
  • you have pain when you wee.  

More discharge can be common in pregnancy but you will need to call your maternity unit and get checked urgently if:

  • your discharge is watery 
  • your discharge changes
  • you’re bleeding
  • your baby is moving less than usual.

Your waters may have broken if you are leaking or gushing clear or pinkish liquid. Call your maternity unit immediately if this happens as you may be going into labour. Tell them if your waters are green, brown or contain blood as they may need to prepare for an emergency delivery. 

Find out more about discharge in pregnancy

Other symptoms

If you are at risk of giving birth early, it’s important to take care of yourself. There are also some things you can do to try and reduce the risk of giving birth early.

Tell your midwife or doctor if you have any symptoms that you are worried about. Do not worry if you've talked about it before and don't be concerned about whether you're wasting anyone's time. This is your pregnancy and it's important to trust your own instincts if you feel something isn't right.

You can also call the Tommy’s midwives on 0800 014 7800 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm), or email us at [email protected].

Symptoms of early labour

Call your midwife or hospital maternity unit straight away if you think you are in early labour. It may be a false alarm, but it’s best to get checked out. Find out more about the symptoms of early labour

Your mental health

If you have been told that you are at increased risk of giving birth early, it’s important to try and reduce stress and take care of your emotional health. Find out more about coping with the idea of a premature birth.

What may happen if your baby is born this week

If your baby was born this week, they would be classed as very preterm. 

If your baby is born now, the medical conditions associated with severe prematurity become less serious or may not exist at all. But they will still need specialist care in the neonatal baby unit. 

It’s unlikely that babies born now will have severe breathing problems that need intubation in the delivery room (where a breathing tube passed through their mouth or nose and into their lungs).

Most babies will not need a ventilator but will still need help with their breathing. Instead they will have small prongs into their nostrils or a mask over their nose connected to a machine (called ‘CPAP’) that provides air or oxygen with pressure to make the effort of breathing easier for them.  Your baby may be given some medicine into their lungs, called surfactant, to help with their breathing.

The healthcare team may recommend caffeine treatment to help reduce or treat apnoea. Apnoea is a common condition where a baby may pause their breathing for a variable amount of time.  

It’s still important to prevent hypothermia, at birth they will be placed into a plastic bag up to their neck to help keep them warm and protect their fragile skin, on the neonatal unit they will be placed in an incubator.

They will need a thin tube passed through their nose or mouth into their tummy that milk can be given through. They will also need fluids or nutrition (a ‘drip’) through a thin tube into a vein (intravenous or IV line). 

If you have any questions about your pregnancy or risk of premature birth please talk to your doctor or midwife.

You can also call the Tommy’s midwives on 0800 014 7800 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm), or email us at [email protected].

Regan, Lesley (2019) Your pregnancy week by week, Penguin Random House, London

NICE (2017). Antenatal care: NICE clinical guideline 62. National Institute for health and care excellence.

Macdonald, Sue (2017) Mayes’ Midwifery. London, Elsevier Health Sciences UK

Bamat N et al. (2019) Positive end‐expiratory pressure for preterm infants requiring conventional mechanical ventilation for respiratory distress syndrome or bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2019; Issue 2. Art. No.: CD004500. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004500.pub3.

NICE (2019) Specialist neonatal respiratory care for babies born preterm. NICE guideline 124. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

Moschino L et al. (2020) Caffeine in preterm infants: where are we in 2020? ERJ Open Res. 2020; 6(1): 00330-2019.

Ballout RA et al. (2017) Body positioning for spontaneously breathing preterm infants with apnoea. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2017; Issue 1. Art. No.: CD004951. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004951.pub3.

Review dates
Reviewed: 23 August 2021
Next review: 23 August 2024