A quick snapshot
Your baby is really pushing the boundaries of their accommodation and your uterus 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 aching and sore because of the effects of your pregnancy hormones on all your connective tissues.
If this is your first pregnancy, every new twinge or symptom will probably have you running for the reference books. 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.
What’s changing in your body
- As your tummy is expanding, so is your rib cage. It needs to so that your uterus has more room to lift upwards and outwards. You may find yourself getting breathless around now because your lungs don't have their usual space to expand down into. You might find yourself needing to take occasional deep breaths. 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 work 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.
- You could find yourself going to bed very tired but just unable to drift off when you want to. You're probably finding you still need to get up and go to the toilet a couple of times and that's not helping your insomnia. 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 and a pile of supportive pillows can all be helpful.
- Even if you're longing for an afternoon lie down, try to resist the temptation if you’re having trouble sleeping at night. Instead, go to bed early and use your body's tired signals to their maximum advantage. Try having a regular bed-time routine and avoid using your computer just before going to bed. You want to deactivate the stimulus in your environment, not switch it 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.
How your emotions are affected
- You are probably getting excited at this stage. If you are working, you might want to plan your maternity leave soon. 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.
How your baby is growing
Second Trimester: Week 27
- Your baby can be measured from head to heels from this week on because they are spending less of their time curled up. An average length at 27 weeks gestation is 38cm. Your baby is growing quickly, with more fat forming under their skin and around their vital organs.
- Big changes with 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 their thumb when they want to. This simple pleasure is not so much an involuntary act from 27 weeks on. They are still breathing the amniotic fluid in and out of their lungs, practicing for those first breaths when they are born. All of your baby's oxygen needs are still being catered for by the placenta.
Tips for the week
- Think about how you would like to feed your baby. One of the major indicators for successful breastfeeding is a positive attitude from the mother during her pregnancy. Other influences are a supportive partner, positive attitude from a woman's mother and/or her mother-in-law and the general attitudes towards breastfeeding in a woman's family and community.
- Book a tour of the hospital and labour ward where you plan to deliver. If you haven't already made a booking for your due date, check out what's involved.
- Do some research on baby car seats and what will fit securely into the make and model of your car.