Your pregnancy: 27 weeks

Congratulations, you’ve entered your last trimester! Your growing babe is taking a lot of developmental strides as he prepares to enter the world.

Felt slice of pizza used to show how big baby is at 27 weeks

Photo: Mandy Milks, Erik Putz, Anthony Swaneveld. Felt: thefeltstore.com

WHAT’S GOING ON IN THERE?
This is the last week of your second trimester. At 27 weeks pregnant, the baby is now as big as a slice of pizza—about 37 centimetres (14.5 inches) long with her legs stretched out—and she weighs about 862 grams (1.9 pounds). Her brain is becoming more active, her eyes are opening and closing, and she is probably sucking her fingers from time to time, too.

YOUR SYMPTOMS
Sleep problems
Did you assume that sleep deprivation wouldn’t kick in until after your baby arrives? Nope. Chances are, by 27 weeks you’re already struggling to get enough shuteye. Between being restricted to sleeping on your side (your practitioner may recommend your left side, which keeps the weight of your uterus off your liver and improves circulation and blood flow to the baby), restless legs syndrome (RLS), instant heartburn when you lie down and leg cramps (see below), it can be hard to catch enough zzzs. When you finally do drift off, you might be having intense dreams, too.

Notably disturbing dreams are common at this stage of pregnancy. They’re likely triggered by anxiety about anything and everything, from juggling finances to caring for a newborn to imagining what delivery will be like. It can be easier said than done, but the best thing you can do is to relax before bed. Quiet your mind with meditation, a warm bath or whatever works for you. Making a maternity-leave budget, signing up for a prenatal class or packing your hospital bag can also help you address what’s worrying you in the wee hours.

If RLS (which can affect about 15 to 25 percent of pregnant women) is keeping you awake, it can be minimized by upping your iron and folate intake with a supplement or eating more leafy greens and fortified grains. Reduce nighttime heartburn by avoiding trigger foods, eating a smaller dinner several hours before bed and propping yourself up when you lie down. Lots of strategically placed pillows will make sleeping on your side more comfy, too. To get support in all the right places, put one pillow between your knees, another behind your back and a smaller one under the side of your belly for maximum comfort.

Leg cramps
At this stage, it’s common to start experiencing cramping in your legs. Cramps are more common at night, but they can happen at any time. You’re carrying a lot of extra weight now, and your ever-expanding uterus is putting increasing pressure on the veins and nerves that run to your legs. Dehydration is often the culprit, so be sure to drink lots of water. Unfortunately, this symptom is likely to get worse before it gets better. Until your baby arrives, stop and stretch whenever a cramp strikes: Sit or stand, holding a counter, a desk or the back of a chair to keep you steady. Extend your leg and flex your foot, pointing your toes back toward your shin, and hold for a few seconds until the cramped muscles relax.

Baby hiccups
Those little rhythmic bumps you’re feeling every so often are your baby’s first hiccups. Even though she isn’t breathing yet, her diaphragm is getting ready to work outside the womb, and stimulation or irritation can cause those sudden contractions. Don’t worry: They won’t last long, and they don’t bother baby one bit.  

pregnant woman having dreams5 weird pregnancy dreams and what they mean

ON YOUR MIND
On the move
Keeping track of fetal movement is one way to determine if your baby is doing well, but counting kicks can be tricky—and stressful. As you’ve probably noticed, there may be some discernible patterns to your baby’s movement, but little ones aren’t totally predictable. She may be dancing up a storm one day, giving you jabs to the ribs and kicks to the bladder or cervix, and then nothing. Depending on how she is positioned, you just might not be able to feel them as much or she could be resting more one day than the next. During a time when your baby is typically active, prop yourself up with pillows behind you so that you’re at a 45-degree angle (and not lying totally flat) in a comfortable position. See how long it takes to log six to 10 movements or kicks—in general, you should feel about six to 10 movements over the course of two hours. (You can also try lying on your left side to encourage more activity because it allows for the best circulation.) If you’re concerned that fetal movement may have dropped off, keep track for a few days by writing down when you feel her and how many movements you count. If you notice a sharp decline, call your practitioner.

JUST FOR KICKS
Go on a date night
Once your baby arrives, one-on-one time with your better half will be scarce, so get some quality grownup time in now. Check out a new resto, go to the movies, hit up a gallery or do whatever you both enjoy doing. If you can, keep all talk of baby off limits and make it just about the two of you.

BABY NAMES
Feeling uninspired? Nine different parents share the stories behind how they named their babies here.

TO DO THIS WEEK
Crack open a book
Do you have a stack of pregnancy and labour books on your bedside table? Now is a good time to start reading all of those birthing and baby care books you’ve accumulated. Encourage your partner to dive in, too. If you’re planning to breastfeed your baby and you’re a first-time mom, consider taking a breastfeeding basics class ahead of time or research local lactation consultants who will do home visits in the first week or two postpartum. Ask your doctor or midwife for resources in your area or contact your local La Leche League.

Read more:
What not to bring to the hospital
Doulas: What you need to know
Next up: 28 weeks pregnant

 

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