This week your baby is about the size of a head of cauliflower. She’s about 36.6cm long from head to toe, and weighs about 875g.
At the moment your baby has close to 15% fat on their body, but this will nearer 30% when she is born. Your baby is an astounding four times as long this week as he was in week 12. Her long bones are continuing to make red blood cells.
Brain development continues during the course of this week and the grooves on the surface of the brain are starting to form as more and more brain tissue is developing. She is now developing her immune system with natural antibodies passing from your blood stream to them through the placenta.
You’re in your third and final trimester! Having a chat with your friends who’ve recently had babies will be really helpful at this stage – even if they do have a few horror stories! Remember to read up on positive experiences too so that your view is balanced. The odds of having a healthy baby are overwhelmingly in most women’s favour but it’s natural to feel anxious because this is not guaranteed. It’s a completely new experience if this is your first baby, and it’s completely natural to have various scenarios going on in your head.
A lot of pregnant women experience the embarrassing case of sneezing and peeing themselves a little in the process. You may be experiencing it more at this stage as your baby is putting a lot of pressure on your bladder. Doing your pelvic floor exercises will help and making sure you go to the toilet regularly.
Assuming you are managing to get enough sleep, you may find you are no longer the most alluring of sleeping partners. The combination of extra weight and swollen mucus membranes in your nose disturbing the air-flow makes snoring almost inevitable.
Have you set a date for when you will stop working or studying? Depending on your circumstances, this may be several weeks before your baby is due, or perhaps as close to the due date as possible. If you are feeling well with your commitments and the pregnancy is progressing normally, you might feel happy to only finish a week before the due date. Although bear in mind that your planned ‘week off’ may turn out to be a couple of days if your baby decides to come early!
Speaking of due dates, now might be a good time to book a tour of the hospital and labour ward, or birth centre, where you plan to deliver.
If this is your first pregnancy, every new twinge or symptom will probably have you Google-ing. But if you’ve done it all before, you’re probably a little less concerned. Some level of worry is normal in pregnancy because it serves to put a stop to potentially risky behaviours. However, if you are feeling overwhelmed by anxiety, make sure you talk to someone.
Your tummy could be getting itchy this week, as if ants are crawling all over it. This is probably due to the collagen fibres in the middle layer of your skin stretching. Rub some moisturising cream into your tummy after showering or having a bath may help. Avoid water temperature extremes and soaps that will dry your skin out. Try to wear only cotton or natural fibres against your skin and avoid overheating.
If you have a fall in pregnancy, you’re unlikely to do serious damage to yourself or the baby as the amniotic fluid, and the location of the uterus within the bony pelvis, protect your baby. If you have a serious fall, look out for signs of serious damage, such as severe abdominal pain, bleeding and ruptured membranes (indicated by a spurt of fluid from the vagina).
You may be starting to think about the changes the baby will bring in your relationship with your partner. When two becomes three, there is always some rearranging and reestablishment of roles. If you already have older children, this realignment of personalities in the family will become more complex. Things will be different between both of you but they need to be to allow you to look after the new arrival.