Week 27 pregnant
There’s lots of movements and activity this week, with regular bursts of kicking and stretching. Your baby is still practicing breathing, though if it were born this week, it would most certainly need help to breathe. Watch and feel your tummy jumping rhythmically; it could be baby hiccupping.
Baby baby, it’s getting a little cramped in there. Your baby is really pushing the boundaries of its accommodation and your womb needs to expand a little more every day just to fit it all in.
This will inevitably mean you’ll feel some ligament and muscle discomfort when you are 27 weeks pregnant. Your back, pelvis, sides of your belly and even your legs could be feeling achy and sore because of the effects your pregnancy hormones are having on all your connective tissues.
Gaining excess weight will not help your comfort levels. An average total weight gain over the 40 weeks of gestation is around 12 kg. The baby, its placenta and the amniotic fluid, your increased blood volume, extra circulating fluid, your breasts and a little extra fat are all responsible for adding up the kilograms.
Ouch! What’s that?
If this is your first pregnancy, every new twinge or symptom will probably have you running for the reference books, or calling your mom asking: Is this normal? Should I be feeling like this? Will my baby be alright? But, if you’ve done it all before and have the benefit of experience behind you, you’re probably a little less concerned.
Some level of worry is normal in pregnancy because it serves to put a stop to potentially risky behaviours. However, if you are feeling overwhelmed by anxiety and it is affecting your enjoyment of everyday life, it is time to speak with someone.
Your physical changes this week
As your tummy is expanding, so is your rib cage. It needs to, so that your womb has more room to lift upwards and outwards. You may find yourself getting breathless because your lungs don’t have their usual space to expand down into. You probably need to take the occasional deep breath. Talking on the phone, climbing a steep flight of stairs or walking quickly can all mean your breathing rate increases. Watch your posture and avoid slouching, give your lungs as much room as they need, to do their job of oxygenating you and your baby.
Your tummy could be getting itchy this week, with a sensation of ants crawling over it. This is probably due to the collagen fibres in the middle layer of your skin stretching. Rubbing some moisturising cream into your belly after showering may help. Avoid water temperature extremes and drying soaps. Aim to wear only cotton or natural fibres against your skin and avoid overheating.
Sleep may escape you when you are 27 weeks pregnant. You could find yourself going to bed very tired but just unable to drift off when you want to. Your brain could be flooded with thoughts keeping you up most of the night. You probably will still need to get up and go to the toilet a couple of times a night and that’s not helping your insomnia. There’s no point lying in bed tossing and turning for hours. If this happens, get up for a while. Watch some television, have a glass of milk, take a shower or read a book. Small comfort measures like clean sheets, fresh air, a fan blowing across you or a pile of supportive pillows can all be helpful.
Even if you’re longing for an afternoon nap, if you’re having trouble sleeping at night then try to resist the temptation. Instead, go to bed early and use your body’s tired signals to their maximum advantage. Try having a regular bedtime routine and avoid using your computer just before going to bed. You want to deactivate stimuli in your environment, not switch them on.
You could be feeling irritated by Carpal Tunnel Syndrome this week. Fluid retention causes the carpal tunnel in your wrist to swell, placing pressure on the nerves which supply each hand. Physiotherapy can be very effective, so can a wrist splint which may need to be organised by your physiotherapist. If you are bothered by these symptoms, try sleeping with the affected hand elevated on a pillow. This will help drain your hand of excess fluid.
Your emotional changes this week
You are probably getting excited at this stage. If you are working, you will need to lodge your application forms for maternity leave soon, if you’ve not already done this. Do some preliminary research into your leave entitlements, your planned return to work and your employer’s arrangements for taking maternity leave. Having a definite date in mind for when to finish work can be something to mentally work towards when you feel as if you’re getting nowhere.
You may be starting to think about the changes the baby will bring in your relationship with your partner. When a duo becomes a trio, there is always some shuffling and reestablishment of roles. If you already have older children, this realignment of personalities in the family will become more complex. Yes, things will be different between both of you but they need to be. Parenthood is so significant and momentous that there need to be big changes in order to do it well.
Your baby’s changes this week
Your baby can be measured from its head to its heels from this week on. It’s spending less of its time curled up and more time unfurled. An average length at 27 weeks gestation is 38 cm. Your baby is growing quickly, with more of the all important fat forming under the skin and around vital organs. Baby is less skinny than before and is filling out.
Big changes to your baby’s eyes this week, with more maturation of their retinas. This important light sensitive portion of the eye is essential for your baby to see properly. They’ve been able to open and close their eyes for a couple of weeks now, so there’s lots of visual development all around.
Your baby has learnt how to soothe itself and can now suck its thumb when it wants to. This simple pleasure is not so much an involuntary act from 27 weeks on. It is still breathing the amniotic fluid in and out of its lungs, practicing for those all important first breaths when it is born. All of your baby’s oxygen needs are still being catered for by the placenta.
Hints for the week
It is now a good time to take a tour of the hospital and labour ward where you plan to deliver. Many women have a set due date (determined by their obstetrician), others rely on Mother Nature to let them know when baby is coming and a few get caught unawares weeks before then. Whatever the case might be, check out what’s involved and find out what your HMO will or won’t cover if you have one.
If you have a car, do some research on baby car seats and what will fit securely into the make and model of your car.
One trimester left to go. Third Trimester up next!
The 40 weeks leading up to the birth of your baby are full of fascinating milestones, physical transformations that will amaze you, and a sense of anticipation that grows as the big day approaches.