YOUR CHANGING LIFE
Learning to love your new puffy, swollen self
Welcome to week 27 of your pregnancy. Last week, you started to feel the weight of your growing baby in a big way, experiencing leg aches, headaches, cramps and fatigue. While you may have hoped that the worst was over, you were – unfortunately – just getting started.
In week 27, your symptoms will really start to run the gamut of the weird and wacky – as if they weren't already.
Around this time in your pregnancy, which is just about at the end of the second trimester, many women experience edema, or puffiness in the hands and feet. This can make even the simple act of moving around a tough experience and it occurs because of increased blood flow and the pressure your baby is putting on the vena cava, which is a vein that transmits blood to your heart from your lower limbs.
But that's not even the half of it! Countless women during week 27 begin to experience symptoms that, for some, can be very embarrassing, like frequent and uncontrollable flatulence. This happens because your baby is placing pressure on your rectum and your digestive system is working at a slower pace to accommodate the bun you've got baking in the oven.
Bleeding gums, restless leg syndrome and even nasal congestion can occur during this time and, while a little on the unusual side, are prevalent among moms-to-be.
Feeling dizzy, tired and just plain drained? This is totally normal during week 27 too, although you should probably consult with your healthcare provider if you're afraid that it could affect your concentration or ability to focus while operating heavy machinery, like a motor vehicle.
On the bright side, your baby is moving all the time now and you may be able to pick up on his or her emerging personality. Try playing a few songs or talking to the baby when you're all alone – this can strengthen the bond you share and be the stuff lasting memories are made of.
YOUR BABY THIS WEEK
From cucumber to cauliflower
Last week, your little guy or gal was barely bigger than a cucumber, weighing in at just about 2 pounds. By week 27, the baby has grown to a full 14 ½ inches and can stretch his or her arms out wide – your little one is also tipping the scales at just over 2 pounds now.
Your baby has mastered a range of exciting new movements, from sucking his or her thumb to opening and closing eyes. This is helpful, because your wee one is spending much of the day – and night – fast asleep. When the baby isn't catching some shut-eye, he or she is up and showing you just how strong he or she has become by moving around.
While the baby's kicks and general activity in the womb will feel very pronounced, if you start to feel tiny yet rhythmic flutters, this is likely the result of hiccups!
By week 27, your baby could be experiencing several episodes of hiccups that are sure to make you smile if you pick up on them. This is an indication that your little one's lungs are developing right on track, so you should take this as a great sign of things to come.
Make a concrete birthing plan
You're almost past the second trimester hump, which is a feat you should be proud of! Around week 27, you should strive to make your birthing plan more concrete. If you haven't consulted with your doctor about what options are the best fit for you and your partner, make this a top priority – you'll want to give yourself ample time to prepare before labor gets underway.
If you haven't been serious about your birthing plan until now, take this as an opportunity to sit down and compile a list of the things that are most important to you about the birth. Do you plan to give birth in bed, in water or while walking around? Do you want all your loved ones present, or just your partner and closest family members? These are just a couple of the questions you'll need to ask yourself at this time.
In addition, this can be a great time to sign up for classes that will provide you with invaluable skills before the baby arrives. A breastfeeding course can help you learn how to feed your little one and what best practices you should employ while nursing, while a Lamaze class can help you develop effective breathing techniques to use during labor.
A healthcare provider can give you helpful tips to get started on the process – you can also try reaching out to friends and family members with babies who may have experience with breastfeeding to gain useful knowledge about it.