This week your baby weighs a whopping 10 times more than he did at week 17, around 1kg and measuring 37.6cm in length.
Her bone structures are now fully formed – the bones are starting to harden although they will not harden fully until after birth.
Your little one’s brain is also continuing its development and the thalamocortical complex, the part of the brain thought to be responsible for consciousness, begins to be active. In two months’ time, an EEG, which measures brain rhythm, would show how the nerves in her brain are interconnected.
Inside the uterus the formation of tiny capillaries is ensuring that your baby’s skin has a healthy pink glow. Antibodies are being soaked up from your blood to strengthen your baby’s immune system and prepare for fighting disease after birth.
If you’re getting sciatica, you’re not alone – it’s fairly common during the latter stages of pregnancy. It happens because the weight of the uterus, and/or the baby’s head, puts pressure on the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve runs through the lower back and legs and pressure on the nerve can cause shooting pains in the back and legs. To combat this problem, change your position frequently and get plenty of rest. Speak to your midwife or doctor if you have any concerns.
You will be due to have a routine antenatal appointment around this time. During this appointment, you will have your blood pressure checked and your midwife will check for swelling in your feet and ankles. Both of these checks are to rule out pre-eclampsia.
Friendships with your friends who don’t have children can sometimes feel strained at this time. You might feel as though you are growing apart and entering a new phase of your life or they feel pushed out. Tell them how weird this is for both of you and explain that you need them to support you.
As well as carrying the weight of your growing baby, you’re also carrying the added weight of the placenta, amniotic fluid and extra blood your body’s pumping around your system. You may be craving a curry, but spicy, fried and very rich foods can also make heart burn worse. Avoid eating late at night, too. The good news is that antacids are one of the few medicines that are safe to take in pregnancy, so see your GP if you’re suffering.
Have you got any more ideas on birth names? Remember to think about initials: Max Alfie Day would make MAD, and Sienna Thandie Davies is STD. Make sure you check it sounds right with your surname.
Start monitoring your baby’s kicks. If they slow down or stop, contact your midwife straight away. Your baby’s movements should have developed a regular pattern by this stage. If you notice any change in the movements you should contact your midwife or the hospital immediately as it could be a sign that your baby is in distress. It’s important to seek advice as soon as you feel any changes rather than wait until the next day.
About three out of four mums-to-be get brown patches of pigmentation appearing on their forehead, cheeks and neck. Called ‘melasma’, ‘chloasma’ or hyperpigmentation, it can be a worrying symptom. During pregnancy, your body makes extra melanin, which is the tanning hormone that your body produces to protect your skin from ultraviolet (UV) light.
Usually you will be offered blood tests to recheck your iron level and an antibody screen. If you have risk factors for diabetes you will be offered a glucose tolerance test to look for diabetes in pregnancy– a condition called gestational diabetes. Also, if you have Rhesus negative blood you will be offered an injection of Rh immunoglobulin to prevent your body from developing antibodies that might attack your baby’s blood. You will be offered a whooping cough vaccine between now and 32 weeks of pregnancy.
Around 28 weeks pregnant some women experience restless leg syndrome, a restless feeling in their lower legs when relaxing. It is not known why some pregnant women experience this but it is relatively common.
Are you as interested in learning about childbirth and labour pain-management techniques as your partner? Check out some links and articles from partners or Dads who have been there, done that and have great advice to share.