Your second trimester is almost coming to an end and you will be amazed to know that your baby measures 14 ½ inches by now and is almost a foot long. That lean baby of yours is now putting on weight an incredible pace because he obviously wants to look adorable enough for you when he is born. A more practical approach would be to say that your baby needs the fat stores to be able to survive the temperature outside the womb. Inside the uterus, the amniotic fluid keeps adjusting the temperature to ensure that your baby is safe and comfortable all through. At this phase of pregnancy, your baby is curled up in the famous fetal position. It would look more like snuggling inside the womb if you could have a picture of your baby right now. Let us take a look at what else is in store for you and your baby in the 27th week of pregnancy.
Your Baby At 27 Weeks
Almost the size of a cauliflower, your baby has fixed schedules to follow by this week. He is sleeping, waking up and sucking on his fingers while following a pattern. This might sound really comfortable because if he is doing that now, wouldn’t he continue to do the same when he is born? Unfortunately, a baby’s sleep cycle changes drastically after he is born because of the availability of external factors. Inside the womb, your baby has nothing to feel distracted by and all he can do is nudge, kick and make you feel his presence from inside. When he is outside, he would be able to draw your attention in a number of ways that you will find adorable as well as difficult to handle, depending on the situation you are in.
With a brain highly active at this point in time, your baby is capable of functioning in ways that you had never imagined. Furthermore, with her lungs developing rapidly in these weeks, if she were to be born prematurely, she will have high chances of survival with proper medical intervention.
What else is she doing this week? She is making sure she practices a good number of hiccups before she makes the grand entry. This is to help her lungs develop further and for her to rehearse the first breath she takes as soon as she is born. You might feel the hiccups often and even if you can’t differentiate between a hiccup and a kick, you will still feel as adorable as you should.
Your baby knows your voice by now. Isn’t that an amazing thing to happen? Although the vernix1 that covers his ears muddles the voices a tad bit, he can still make out that your voice is unique. He might also be able to connect to his father’s voice, especially if you two continue to connect with him from outside the womb via conversations, songs and lullabies.
Both you and your partner will be thrilled to know the fact that your baby’s heartbeat can be heard if your partner presses his ears against your stomach. It is that audible now and your baby has really grown so much by now.
Your Baby’s Taste Buds Are On A Roll
Whether you are relishing that bowl of hot soup or indulging in a plate of fries without feeling an iota of guilt, your baby knows it all. He is also probably relishing the taste while the amniotic fluid changes in taste as per the kind of food you eat. Since your baby is gulping a tiny bit of amniotic fluid every day, he will be able to get a taste of what you have been eating. If you have been consuming very spicy food, you might sense your baby hiccupping in response to it. While this might seem disturbing to you, it hardly affects him at all. He is neither stressed nor needs any relief. It is his body’s natural response mechanism.
Your Body At 27 Weeks
Not only is your baby reaching milestones, so is your body. There is swelling of all sorts in different areas of your body and you might have stopped keeping count of the places. Your uterus is overcrowding your stomach cavity and you still have three more months to cover. Just when you thought, your belly couldn’t grow any bigger, your skin started stretching a little more and this will continue to happen till the day you deliver. Your body is capable of stretching its limits because it has been designed to hold and nourish a baby till full term.
Edema2 will strike yet again and this time with a renewed vigor. You might not be able to see your ankles and feet but those who can, might keep asking you to get some rest or place your feet up while sitting down. Your extremities are in terrible shape and with further fluid accumulation in the lower half of your body, nothing seems to help with the swelling.
The only thing that will bring some relief is sitting in the right posture and using a number of pillows to support your changing body. You might also be dealing with new troubles like finding it hard to squeeze your finger into your engagement ring or wearing your favorite watch any more. This is because the swelling is everywhere on your body. If the weight gain is normal, this is absolutely harmless but if you find accelerated weight gain accompanied with elevated blood pressure and protein in your urine sample, you will need to speak to your health practitioner regarding the symptoms.
By now you are probably aware of the symptoms of preeclampsia and your doctor might have suggested you ways in which you can make out the difference. If you feel and if the doctor reassures you that it is edema, you can rest assured that these symptoms will fade away soon after birth. Till then, you could try light to moderate exercises, swimming, brisk walking and taking frequent breaks from your work to help ease your discomfort.
You might have an idea that the swelling will be enhanced if you drink more water but that is a misconception. Water retention happens when you drink lesser amount of water. You will only worsen the situation if you restrict your water intake now. You could also cause a urinary tract infection if your water intake goes down now. Your body needs to be replenished with fluids every now and then because your baby needs the amniotic fluid to be in perfect condition to survive. To some extent, the volume of your amniotic fluid is also impacted by the amount of water you are talking in.
Leg Cramps At Night
They have happened to you before and you are aware of how scary they can be; especially when they happen in the middle of the night. Along with your back, your legs are also carrying a good amount of weight and it is but obvious that they will feel the stress often. To take the weight off your legs, you will need to get adequate rest now and then. The growing uterus is also placing a considerable amount of pressure on the nerves and blood vessels that run to and from the legs.
It is a bitter truth that your cramps will worsen as time passes because the weight on your legs will only increase. Get your potassium and magnesium levels checked if the cramps are too severe. Having bananas help to balance the levels and keep the cramps away. If they do strike at night, stretching your calves gently will help keep away the pain.
Dental Problems This Week Onwards
You are more likely to have swollen and bleeding gums in pregnancy because like all other parts of your body, your gums are also being impacted by the pregnancy hormones. You might find blood on your brush and in the sink every morning but whatever happens, always remember that the only way to maintain oral hygiene is to brush and floss your teeth regularly. Use a brush with softer bristles and use good anti-bacterial toothpaste. Your teeth are also more exposed to problems like gingivitis, plaque etc because with the current conditions within your mouth, there is a good chance for bacteria to breed and multiply.
If you continue to ignore dental issues, you might end up with tooth decay but it is not limited to that alone. You might also be more prone to preterm labor and premature birth. Bad oral hygiene is directly linked to preeclampsia and low birth weight babies. Hence, this is more reason for you to get in touch with a dentist as soon as possible.
If you notice a small bump like nodule on your gums, it could be a pregnancy canker sore. It might sound scary but it is rather benign. You might also find these small bumps like things on your body but they are harmless as long as they are not painful or bleeding. Extreme cases might need surgical intervention but otherwise they are best left untreated.
Have You Thought Of Birth Control Yet?
Yes, this might sound like a far-fetched thing to you, now that you are pregnant but it is never too early to decide birth control. You might want to discuss this with your doctor as well because this would mean taking measures beforehand. If you want your tubes to be tied4, you will need consent, a written application and your insurance policy to be able to cover these aspects. You will be operated on while you are staying back in the hospital to heal after childbirth. It is mostly a painless procedure nowadays and most women recover within a day or two and can go back home.
If your husband decides to get a procedure done at his end, you can discuss the same with your doctor so that things can be carried out as soon as possible. You wouldn’t want your husband to spend time recovering in the hospital when the baby is here. It is a wise idea to think about all your possibilities beforehand.
What Are The Symptoms You Should Never Ignore Now?
There is a host of new symptoms creeping up every week and now that you are inching closer to the due date, there is nothing that you should ignore, if it happens to cause you any discomfort. The only problem is how most of the symptoms could seem overlapping but if you need to be aware of what indicates trouble; you should be able to keep a track of your symptoms.
Listed below are the symptoms that you should not ignore under any condition.
- If you have been experiencing pelvic pain or pressure before reaching the 37th week, you need to rush to your doctor immediately. It may or may not be associated with pain. It could indicate a urinary infection, a premature labor or anything else but you will need to address this immediately.
- If you have more than 4 contractions in less than an hour. While Braxton Hicks contractions3 are normal, they will be spaced out and will not be as frequent. Your prenatal birth classes will help you to identify the difference.
- If at any time during the pregnancy, your vaginal discharge changes its consistency, color or frequency, you need to let your doctor know. If there is water like discharge that you can differentiate from urine leakage, rush to ER immediately. Your amniotic sac could have been ruptured before maturity.
- If your discharge is blood streaked or mucus like, you could have lost your mucus plug. While this is a good symptom if you have reached 37 weeks, it is definitely not something to look forward to when you are 27 weeks.
- If your baby’s movements have not been felt in more than an hour. It could be that your baby is taking a nap. However, you will need to keep a track of the movements all the time as you near the third trimester.
- If you have unexplained abdominal pain that does not seem like constipation, gas or bloating, let your doctor know about it.
- If any of the symptoms like burning sensation in your urinary tract, fever, nausea are present, check with your doctor to rule out UTI. Urinary infections at this point in time could prove to be dangerous.
- If you have fever that refuses to die down despite your repeated attempts.
- Any kind of sudden swelling could mean a number of things. Instead of making assumptions, speak to your doctor about it and get it checked out.
- If you feel breathless at any point in time or feel too dizzy to stand up, grab something sugary to eat and call for help.
- Any other symptom that makes you feel uncomfortable and apprehensive, stop living in the unpredictability of it and let your health practitioner know about it.
How Often Will Your Doctor See You Now?
Your doctor will want to see you once in every two weeks, now that you are nearing your third trimester. If you have a high-risk pregnancy, she might want to see you more frequently to keep a track of how things are progressing. Listed below are the things that you can expect at each appointment:
Asking About Your Psychological Health
With pregnancy blues and depression on the rise, it is but natural that your doctor will discuss your mind with you. She might want to know how you and your partner are taking this pregnancy and if you are both on the same page for this.
Your Baby’s Movements
This is one of the most significant things that your doctor will ask you about. She will ask you to keep a track of the movements and will teach you ways to do it conveniently. She may also ask you to count the number of moves you feel.
Your Samples Will Be Checked
You will be checked for anemia, protein in your urine and your blood sugar will also be tested. If you have a history of GD, preeclampsia or any other pregnancy induced disorder, you might need to visit more frequently for further tests.
Your Weight Gain Will Be Monitored
In order to keep a track of how much you are gaining through the pregnancy, your doctor will not only weigh it at every visit but also expect you to keep a track of the same. Accelerated weight gain at any point in time could mean trouble and your doctor will expect you to keep her informed.
Your Cervix Will Be Checked
Depending on the type of your pregnancy, your cervix will be checked via an internal or an external examination. This is done earlier to rule out the possibilities of preterm labor and is done after the due date to find out if the cervix is matured enough for labor to be imminent any time now.
Your Baby’s Positioning
This is also an important factor that your doctor will check at every visit. Along with the heartbeat that he will listen to with a Doppler, he will also physically check how the baby is positioned in the womb. This will help him to have an idea of the kind of birth you could have. However, this subject to controversies since it has been seen that babies can turn into a more favorable position for birth even at the last moment and doctors have been known to perform surgeries for no good reason.
Discuss Your Plans
You will not be meeting the doctor only to discuss your current physical state but also to talk about future plans. If you have doubts regarding breastfeeding or formula feeding your baby, post birth control measures etc, this is the time to talk about everything. Get your basics sorted so that you can add these to your birth plan as and when you come across a certain set of information.
Have You Considered A Breastfeeding Counselor?
Unlike popular belief, breastfeeding does not come naturally to all women. It is the most natural phenomenon but it could be a journey way more exhausting than pregnancy is. It could be quite frustrating too; especially when you get a feeling that your body is not adequate enough to nourish your baby. It is advisable that you meet a proper lactation consultant in advance so that you are aware of what exactly to expect. We often end up with unrealistic expectations when it comes to breastfeeding your baby. If you have flat nipples, speak to the consultant about it so that measures can be taken to rectify them before your baby arrives. Do not try anything by yourself because stimulation of nipples could trigger labor. You might also start leaking colostrum5 this week. If you don’t there is nothing to worry about. It is not an indicator of your ability to breastfeed your baby.
What Can You Do For Your Pregnant Spouse This Week?
You are already holding your hands efficiently. It is just a matter of time when you will have a pair of tiny hands to hold on to as well. Till then, you can try and make her feel important, wanted and loved like you have been doing all this while. You can add an element of surprise by taking her out to shop for maternity wear and also for newborn clothes. Always remember that she continues to be at the brink of her energy and patience most of the time these days and she might not be comfortable with the idea of long hours at the shopping mall. It is advisable not to take thing to heart even if she is going through the worst of her mood swings. You can also help her in getting an appointment with a lactation consultant and you can accompany her to get to know what is expected of a father in the journey of breastfeeding. A father might not have breasts to nourish a baby but is equally important in helping the bond to deepen with each passing day.