You’re almost three-quarters of the way through your pregnancy now and may even be experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions as your body prepares to give birth. Here at NearlyBorn, we have gathered some details of what you can expect this week.
Your baby weighs almost 2 pounds by this week and is almost 14.5 inches long, and due to their brain waves beginning to form sleep cycles around this time, your baby may also be beginning to dream. Your baby’s eyes will also be beginning to open and close in preparation for being in the outside world. Your baby will also now be able to hiccup, which although you will not be able to hear them, you may very well feel a slight jolt or jump each time your baby hiccups.
Your baby’s hearing is now more developed as well, it’s around this week that your baby is able to distinguish between yours and your partner’s voices, so keep up those conversations you’re both having with your bump. Your baby’s heartbeat may well now be loud enough to hear without a fetal doppler so if someone presses their ear to your bump in a quiet room they may be able to hear the baby’s heartbeat.
Finally, your baby’s brain is now almost fully developed; although their brain is not completely functioning yet your baby’s brain stem is in place and almost fully developed. With the brain stem in place, your baby is now controlling its own breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate.
Your baby will be moving a lot more by this stage of your pregnancy, and you will be able to feel each movement more distinctively. You can by this week, begin to track your baby’s growth and development quite easily. To do this set aside some time, it’s best to pick a time you can use each day, so evening or morning may be easiest, sit and relax and count the number of times you feel your baby move. A healthy amount is at least 10 separate movements in a 2 hour period, and we recommend you keep track of how long it takes to get to 10 each day – you should quickly begin to see your baby’s regular pattern of movement to keep track of their wellbeing.
By now you will be feeling Braxton Hicks contractions, and although they may be more often they should not be constant; if they are, try resting more and drinking more to hydrate yourself. However, if you are experiencing more than 4 Braxton Hicks contractions in an hour we recommend you seek medical advice.
- Although you will have had lower than normal blood pressure throughout your pregnancy so far, your blood pressure will now be increasing steadily; your doctor will be keeping a careful watch of this as if it is increasing too sharply it can be a sign of complications such as pre-eclampsia.
- Your mood may also be changing, your hormone levels have been fluctuating throughout your pregnancy which some will attribute your changing mood to. However, there is a really good reason for this mood change; your mood may at this time become more aggressive as your body and brain prepare for the primal changes in your needs to protect your new baby.
- The abdominal pain you will have been experiencing up until now will still be in place, due to the increasing growth of your bump, your abdominal ligaments will be continuing to stretch to allow your baby enough space to grow and develop. Another common reason for abdominal pain at this stage of your pregnancy are gas and constipation, all of which are normal. However, you should be seen by a doctor if you are experiencing constant, or sharp, pain, or anything that feels like low menstrual cramps or a need to bear down.
- Your legs may well have stopped cramping by this stage in your pregnancy, however, they are in for a new development – you may have heard of restless leg syndrome. This is an inability to keep your legs still when relaxing, it can materialize as a crawling sensation throughout your legs. If you do experience this we recommend a nice warm bath or shower to help to relax your muscles or a soothing massage with nice scented oils that can improve your symptoms. Do speak to your doctor if you experience this as a deficiency in some nutrients can cause this – ensure you only need medication which has been prescribed by a professional while pregnant.
You are now approaching the final week of your second trimester and now is the time to stock up on sleep, take long sleeps wherever possible, you aren’t going to be able to do this for much longer so ensure you relax as much as you can when you can.
Increase your preparations for your new post-birth reality, are you planning to breastfeed? If you are, you may be surprised to find out this isn’t as easy and natural as some women make it out to be. We recommend you begin researching breastfeeding, and how to help your baby to latch – it is not an automatic process that your baby can do on their own immediately post-birth. You should also read up on negatives that can impact on your breastfeeding experience, knowing about and being prepared for troubles with breastfeeding will help to keep you calm if the situation arises once your baby is here.
It is normal to see an increase in your weight gain around this week in your pregnancy, your doctor will be checking your measurements and the size of your bump to ensure adequate growth of your baby and the right levels of amniotic fluid are present. Although weight gain is a normal and expected aspect of pregnancy it is best for both you and your baby if you continue to make good, healthy choices regarding your nutrition and food intake and also that you complete as much gentle exercise as is comfortable and possible.
Drinking a warm mug of a supplement drink which includes a dosage of magnesium can help with muscle relaxing and reduce symptoms of restless leg syndrome, giving you a better night’s sleep. These are available but should be in the correct dosage and for the supplements so if you are finding sleep and relaxation difficult at this point speak to your medical practitioner for which supplements you can and should be taking.
Take toilet breaks as often as you can, while your uterus grows, the space for other organs in your abdomen diminishes – so while you may not feel that you need to go, we guarantee as soon as you are away from a bathroom you will need to. Frequent trips as you pass bathrooms is, therefore, a must at this stage and for the remainder of your pregnancy.