Hello, 25 weeks! You're halfway through month six, and your baby's body is taking leaps and bounds toward the first breath, the first cry and the first grip on your finger. Motherhood is close.
That's the good news.
On the somewhat less sunny side, you might be pretty uncomfortable, with sleep becoming a progressively tricky endeavor.
Still. You're getting close.
Here, what you might be feeling, what your baby is probably doing, and which items belong -- and don't belong -- on your to-worry-about list.
First, the part of the equation you're already pretty aware of (but it's nice to know you're in good company): the symptoms of week 25.
What You Might Be Feeling
If, up to now, pregnancy barely slowed you down, chances are your pace will start taking a hit soon. How much of a hit varies dramatically among pregnant women, but you may want to be prepared to spend less time on your feet.
In addition to the standard fare -- heartburn, skin tags, swollen ankles and perhaps the occasional headache or dizzy spell -- you might be experiencing some more novel sensations right about now, including:
- Back pain -- The bigger your uterus gets, the more strain it puts on your back. Try to rest when it starts to ache.
- Pelvic discomfort -- As the ligaments holding your pelvic joints in place continue to loosen up, those joints can get a little out of whack, causing pain in the area. (This is different from cramping. If you feel cramps in your pelvis, call your doctor immediately, as it could indicate preterm labor.)
- Carpal tunnel -- Increased blood flow through the body can cause swelling that presses on nerves in the wrists, resulting in numbness, achiness or tingling in the wrists and hands. If it's bothering you a lot, mention it to your doctor. He or she can recommend appropriate treatment.
- Hemorrhoids getting worse -- Your uterus is bigger and heavier than ever, meaning it's pressing downward with more force. This can exacerbate the hemorrhoids you have or trigger the condition if you've escaped it up to now.
It's not all physical, though. You could be feeling some anxiety now, along with growing excitement. And if you keep dreaming of ex-boyfriends, don't feel bad -- it's a pretty common occurrence in ladies rapidly approaching a stunning new level of commitment.
Indeed, your little bun is practically browning at the edges …
What's Going On In Your Body
Length: About 9 inches (head to rump). Weight: About 2 pounds. Capillaries: Forming.
If you could peek inside your uterus this week, you'd be amazed: What started as an egg in your ovary now looks like an incredibly tiny newborn baby. It has that newborn-baby face and hair. Hands, arms, legs and body are in totally human proportion.
One of the bigger changes this week is the development of capillaries, the body's smallest blood vessels, under the skin. They will also come to form in the air sacs the lungs are building this week, ever closer to the first intake of air, now 12 short weeks away.
Other in-utero changes in week 25 may include:
- Nostrils and eyelids are starting to open up.
- Vocal chords are prepared for that first cry.
- Skin is starting to turn opaque, and hair is beginning to develop pigment.
It's a lot to wonder about (Is that hair black or blond? What will that first cry sound like?), and the best thing you can do right now is wonder aloud, since someone else may be thinking the same things …
What Your Partner Should Know
Starting around this week, a partner's involvement in the pregnancy can take a turn toward the intimate: It may be possible to hear the baby's heartbeat from the outside.
Sometimes, you can hear it now by placing an ear to the pregnant belly -- but not always. The easiest way to hear it is with a stethoscope, so ask the doctor at your next visit. It's a chance to experience this pregnancy in a sensory way that you, unlike mom, probably haven't been able to do up to now. You'll probably find it increases your excitement, your connection to your baby (will he have my hair?), and your bonding with your partner considerably.
Speaking of your plans for the next doctor visit, some other things to keep in mind …
Some Things to Consider
As you near trimester three, you might want to shift some of your focus toward the moment of truth, which may not have been foremost on your mind up to now.
Some things to consider this week include:
- Will you draw up a "birth plan?" Some people like to go into delivery with their wants, needs and preferences in writing, so they only need to deal with the task at hand.
- Will you "go natural?" Some people use natural pain management during delivery, while others get some help in the form of anesthetic. There's no right way, but you'll probably want to decide before labor starts, since it can get pretty intense.
- Will you have help at home? The first days and weeks after you bring your tiny, helpless, very needy baby home can be a blur of sleepless nights and sore nipples. If you plan to have a family member, a friend or a doula at home with you, start looking into that now.
- Will you breastfeed? You'll need to know this as soon as you deliver, so it's best to know well beforehand whether you plan to breastfeed or bottle feed. Each can require stocking the nursery with different accessories, too.
It's certainly not necessary to know all the answers this week, but it's a good time to start talking about it. It may take some time to figure out what you want and come to a consensus, especially if some of your decisions require research. You don't want to have to make these choices in between contractions.
Although, if it comes to that …
Don't Worry If …
You may be surprised how things tend to fall into place. You've probably been collecting onesies, reading car-seat reviews and comparing strollers for months now, and that's a great way to prepare. But it's not something that should keep you up nights (unless you're up anyway, then by all means). Don't worry too much if:
- You don't yet have a birth plan, don't know if you'll go natural, and have no idea if your mom can stay for a week after delivery. You have time (and anyway, "the best laid plans … "). Chances are, you'll know what feels right when the time comes.
- You don't know a good pediatrician. Why would you, if this is your first? Ask your doctor, your midwife, your friends or at the local hospital. You'll get lots of recommendations you can choose from.
- You're exercising less. This is actually a good thing, since your body is under more stress than ever. Don't feel you need to push it -- what was healthy exertion two weeks ago may feel like too much now. Listen to your body and to your doctor.
In the end, whether you worry or don't worry will have little impact on what happens when your contractions start, so make it easy on yourself. Make a list, make decisions to the best of your ability (and together), and get as much sleep as you can. The next trimester will be tiring.
For more information on pregnancy, parenting and related topics, look over the links on the next page.
- Guide to Being One Week Pregnant
- Guide to Being Two Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being Three Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being Four Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being Five Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being Six Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being Seven Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being Eight Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being Nine Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 10 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 11 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 12 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 13 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 14 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 15 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 16 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 17 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 18 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 19 Weeks Pregnant
- Guide to Being 20 Weeks Pregnant
- Quiz: Pregnancy Myths
More Great Links
- "Pregnancy week by week: Fetal development: The second trimester." (May 26, 2011)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fetal-development/PR00113/NSECTIONGROUP=2
- "Week 25 of Pregnancy." What To Expect. (May 26, 2011)http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/week-by-week/week-25.aspx
- "Your pregnancy: 25 weeks." BabyCenter. (May 26, 2011)http://www.babycenter.com/6_your-pregnancy-25-weeks_1114.bc
- "Your Pregnancy Week by Week: Weeks 21-25." WebMD. (May 26, 2011)http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/your-pregnancy-week-by-week-weeks-21-25?page=2