This is a week of rapid weight gain for you as well as your baby. The baby’s lungs and digestive tract are nearly mature by
now and the baby is be able to open and shut its eyes. The baby’s demands for nutrients are the greatest in the last few weeks and you might love or hate the size of your body as it keeps growing. Your skin and face will be glowing during this time and you will be enjoying the pregnancy. You can take this chance to pamper yourself with scented baths or gentle massages provide by a doula.
Pregnancy is nature’s way of making you feel good about putting on weight. Do not regret the weight that you have put on at this time because your healthy eating habits will go a long way in helping you get right back into shape soon after delivery. Breast feeding is also known to have positive effects on regaining your original weight. That’s just one good reason to choose it over bottle feeding the baby. Breast feeding is best for the baby as well as the mother. This is the time to get maternity gowns stitched to accommodate your increasing weight and make you feel comfortable.
Your Symptoms: Fatigue may be back in full force, and this may be compounded by difficulty sleeping.
Baby’s Development: The pituitary gland is now releasing insulin and growth factor. The skin is thicker and less translucent.
Baby’s Size: 38.6 cm, 1.1 kg.
To Do: Think about whether you want to use cloth or disposable diapers and whether you want to breast or formula feed.
The baby is growing very rapidly and has reached 15 inches in length and weighs around 3 ½ to 4 pounds which is more than half of the size it will be at birth. The baby continues developing a layer of fat under the skin. In the coming weeks, the baby will put on a lot of weight.
This week, the baby’s lungs undergo an incredible amount of development as they will be able to inflate properly from now onwards. The lungs start producing surfactant which prevents the baby’s lungs from collapsing. The baby starts breathing smoothly after delivery. The fetal ear is completely developed from the inside as well as outside. The baby can hear your voice as well as other familiar voices before she/he is born. The baby’s skin is pink in color instead of red at this point. The baby has well developed finger nails and might scratch itself in the womb.
The baby’s bones are growing stronger and will require calcium to grow well. The baby is receiving all the nutrients through the placenta. Placental blood flow enables the baby to make urine. The baby urinates about half a liter of urine every day and also swallows some of the amniotic fluid which is replaced a few times daily. The amniotic fluid needs to be measured as a routine to detect any problems. If there is too much fluid in the amniotic sac, it could indicate that the baby is not swallowing properly or is having a gastrointestinal difficulty. If there is less fluid in the amniotic sac, it could indicate that the baby is not urinating enough nor has a problem with its kidneys.
Changes with your body
The average weight gain at this point is between 21 and 27 pounds. This weight gain is more due to the baby’s weight, placenta, fat, water storage, uterus and the amniotic fluid. The ligaments and muscles supporting the back relax and loosen to prepare for childbirth making backaches more severe now. You will notice changes in your breast size and shape as they get ready for lactation. A thick creamy yellowish substance might leak from the breasts. This is known as colostrum or pre-milk. It occurs during pregnancy and lasts for several days after the birth of the baby. Not all women experience this, but it is considered normal so there is no reason to worry.
Many women experience Braxton Hicks contractions as the pregnancy approaches the end. Some feel these contractions from the second trimester of pregnancy, but generally they are more common in the third trimester. Hemorrhoids or piles are quite common during pregnancy and these occur in the third trimester due to the pressure on the rectum as well as due to the effect of constipation. Prolonged standing can contribute to the growth of hemorrhoids. They are more common the older the woman is. Expect the hemorrhoids to generally reduce or disappear after delivery. To reduce their formation, avoid constipation by eating a high fiber diet. Taking warm baths with baking soda in the water may also help. Tucks pads or some lotions can reduce the swelling or bleeding.
What to expect
The baby will be taking in all the nutrition from the food that the mother has, so it is sensible to continue having a healthy diet until the end of the term. It is not too late to stop smoking if you are still smoking as the baby will benefit from an increased supply of oxygen that desperately requires. Encourage people around you not to smoke as because research shows that the baby is at a higher risk of early death if a parent or caregiver around them smokes.
Getting a sound sleep will become more difficult as the pregnancy advances and your weight increases. Frequent urination also creates problems especially when you have to get up a number of times in the night. Vivid dreams can also affect the quality of your sleep and can leave you feeling disturbed. Sleeping on the side, especially on the left side, can be beneficial as this will avoid putting pressure on the baby and improve circulation as well. Sleeping on the back should also be avoided as the baby will not receive the supply of nutrients that it requires.
The position of the baby keeps changing and some women might not feel the movements as the baby also has sleeping and waking patterns which might be different from yours. As long as the weekly check ups are alright and the baby shows movement in the sonogram, there is no reason to worry.