Your baby is at a point of rapid brain growth, and he still needs to mature several systems. The lungs and liver are continuing their development, and the immune system is improving.
The rapid brain growth that started last week is continuing. Not only is the amount of brain tissue increasing, but the brain design is becoming more mature. It is forming the grooves and indentations characteristic of a human brain.
Your baby will continue to accumulate fat this week which will help to plump him up. If you could look at him, you would notice that his eyes can now move in the sockets – he can look around without turning his head.
While she practices working her muscles, her lungs continue to build a supply of surfactant. There is a protein in the surfactant that some experts believe triggers hormonal changes in the mother and baby. These hormonal changes are the beginning stages of your body preparing to give birth. This week your baby is about 3 pounds (1360 grams) and is about 17 inches (38 cm) total length. From head to rump she is about 11 inches (28 cm). Over the next few weeks she will continue to gain weight as her body prepares for life outside the womb.
As you make the move to the third trimester, the large size of the uterus is forcing it to take up room in the pelvic area again, which may bring back frequent urination. The increasing size of the uterus also may begin to cause some back pain. Good posture, low heeled shoes and pelvic rocking will help to minimize backaches.
Your increased size brings with it some difficulty sleeping. Use extra pillows to make yourself comfortable, or try other sleeping arrangements such as a couch or a guest bed.
Even if you are not leaking fluid, the colostrum has formed in your breasts. It is not complete, however. The antibiotic properties for which colostrum is famous will not appear until some time during labor.
Heartburn and Indigestion
Shortness of Breath
- You should begin your childbirth education classes far enough in advance that you have time to practice the comfort measures you are learning, but not so far that you forget them before labor starts. If this is not your first baby, you may want to take a refresher course to brush up on your labor coping skills.
- If you are on the fence about breastfeeding, now is the time to get answers to the questions you still have. Talk to your midwife, a lactation consulatant or attend a La Leche League meeting to get the information you need to make the right decision for your family.
- Now is the time to find out what options are available for your birth plan. Tour local hospitals and birth centers to find out what services they offer. At this point, you are probably comfortable with your health care provider, but you may still have several options about where and how to give birth.
- Now is the time to hire a doula to help you during labor. Studies have shown that having a doula at your labor reduces requests for pain medication and reduces the need for cesarean and forceps deliveries. Be sure to interview several candidates because doulas all have different personalities and styles. Selecting from several choices makes sure you get the doula you can work the best with.