• This week your baby weighs in at about 700 g (1.5 lbs). From the top of his head to the bottom of his buttocks, he’s about 22 cm (8.8 in) long — about the size (and shape) of an eggplant.
• Though he’s still very small, if your baby were born right now, he might be able to survive. Modern medicine has made great strides in improving the survival rates of premature babies with ventilators, monitors, and medication. But even so, your baby would be at risk for complications and infections and most likely would spend several months in the hospital before he was ready to come home.
Would you believe your uterus is now the size of a soccer ball? Hey, that’s no joke! You’ll find that the top of your uterus is midway between your bellybutton and your sternum (the bone where your ribs join together).
You’ve probably gained about 12 to 15 pounds by now and from here on in, you will start to gain weight more steadily — about half a pound or so a week. As the skin on your abdomen stretches tight, it may become itchy. In fact, some pregnant women find that they feel itchy all over, even on their palms and the soles of their feet.
If you’ve got a case of the twentysomething week itch, a rich moisturizer applied daily may help. Or try taking a warm oatmeal bath for a little relief. If the itchiness persists, ask your caregiver to recommend a remedy.
Read more: Late pregnancy aches and pains>
Your brain on pregnancy
Has anyone said you must have “mommy brain” when you space out at a meeting or can’t remember what you were going to say? Your brain is embarking on an impressive learning curve that will continue after your baby is born.
Read more: Mommy brain>
You said it! Advice from real moms
“Rest as much as possible and attend La Leche League meetings to prepare for breastfeeding.” – Anne
Stretch marks: Mom’s battle scars
If stretch marks show up on your abdomen, breasts, hips, or buttocks, don’t hit the panic button. These pink, reddish brown, or dark brown streaks affect about half of all pregnant women. Nobody really knows why some women get stretch marks and others don’t. Unfortunately, despite what you may have heard about “miracle” creams and oils, there is no known way to prevent stretch marks from forming, though keeping your skin well-lubricated can’t hurt. Luckily, they will fade to a silvery colour over time and become much less noticeable.
Read more: The truth about stretch marks>
What’s a doula?
You’re probably thinking about who you would like to have with you during the birth of your baby. If you like the idea of constant, one-on-one support from a trained labour companion, you may want to look into hiring a doula. Unlike a midwife, a doula can’t deliver the baby or provide any medical interventions, but she will stay with you throughout your labour and often provide postpartum support as well.
Read more: Doulas: What you need to know>
Will a doula push dad out of the picture? Absolutely not. In fact, because she is highly skilled, but will be less emotionally-charged than your partner during the birth of your baby, doulas and dads may be the perfect support team.