You are twenty-six weeks pregnant now. Next week you will start your third trimester You may have most of your baby’s items purchased or you may still be scrambling to purchase everything. Many moms will have a baby shower before baby’s arrival. Customarily, baby showers are hosted by a good friend or a coworker of the mom to be, but having a family member host your baby shower is okay too.
Most baby showers are given a month or two before baby’s birth, however, it is not uncommon to have a baby shower after the baby is born. Traditions for baby showers vary from place to place. In this week’s newsletter we are going to talk about baby showers and baby shower etiquette. We will try to answer your baby shower questions and also give you some fun ideas for things to do at your baby shower.
The baby’s growth and development are picking up again at week twenty-six. The baby is about 9 to 10 inches in length and the baby weighs about 2 pounds by now. The baby is measured from crown to rump (head to bottom). The baby will soon start to open their eyes and they can even blink too. The eye development at this stage is now complete. The eye color is a pre-determined blue but after the baby is born the eye color can change.
If you have another sonogram at this stage of pregnancy, you will see that your baby actually looks like a baby. The baby’s development that is taking place this week is sense of touch and reacting to touch. The heart has started to pump blood and a more prominent heartbeat can be heard. The lungs are starting to develop blood vessels and the baby is making breathing movements like the chest moving up and down.
The circulation system of the baby is 100% fully functional. The umbilical cord has grown in size and is circulating blood to the baby. The placenta has become the size of the baby now. If the baby is a boy, the testicles will drop down to the scrotum down.
How Your Life’s Changing
Are you rushing around trying to get to childbirth classes and prepare your baby’s room while still taking care of all your other daily tasks? Make sure that you also continue to eat well and get plenty of rest. Around this time, your blood pressure may be increasing slightly, although it’s probably still lower than it was before you got pregnant. (Typically, blood pressure falls toward the end of the first trimester, and it tends to reach a low at about 22 to 24 weeks.)
Preeclampsia – a serious disorder characterized by high blood pressure and protein in your urine – most often shows up after 37 weeks, but it can happen earlier so it’s important to be aware of the warning signs of this condition. Call your caregiver if you have swelling in your face or puffiness around your eyes, more than slight swelling of your hands, excessive or sudden swelling of your feet or ankles, or rapid weight gain (more than 4 pounds in a week).
With more severe preeclampsia, you may experience other symptoms. Let your caregiver know immediately if you have a severe or persistent headache, vision changes (including double or blurred vision, seeing spots or flashing lights, sensitivity to light, or temporary loss of vision), intense pain or tenderness in your upper abdomen, or vomiting.
If your lower back seems a little achy lately, you can thank both your growing uterus – which shifts your center of gravity, stretches out and weakens your abdominal muscles, and may be pressing on a nerve – as well as hormonal changes that loosen your joints and ligaments. Plus, the extra weight you’re carrying means more work for your muscles and increased stress on your joints, which is why you may feel worse at the end of the day. Walking, standing, or sitting for long periods, as well as bending and lifting can all put a strain on your back.
A warm bath or hot compress might bring relief. (Some women, though, find cool compresses more comforting.) Try to maintain good posture during the day, avoid activities that require bending and twisting at the same time, take frequent breaks when sitting or standing, and sleep on your side with one or both knees bent with a pillow between your legs, using another pillow (or wedge) to support your abdomen.
Aches And Pains Of Pregnancy
Pregnant women are subject to many unusual aches and pains. Some women for example complain of pain around or right under their ribs during pregnancy. This can occur as your little baby gets stronger and sticks a foot or hand under your rib. Simply changing positions may relieve this pain. Other women find light exercise or yoga helps calm their baby and move them into a more comfortable position. A maternity support belt will help support your growing tummy and easy the strain placed on your lower back.
Other women experience on and off pain in their lower back, buttocks or legs during pregnancy. This may simply be the result of cramping, the stress of added weight, round ligament pain or pain associated with sciatica during pregnancy. There are various steps you can take to reduce pain. I always found a monthly visit to the chiropractor extremely beneficial for combating the minor aches and pains of pregnancy.
Still other women combat frequent or chronic headaches during pregnancy. This is another normal side effect of pregnancy. What can you do about pregnancy induced headaches? Most doctors will recommend rest, stress reduction and a little Tylenol. A bag of frozen peas on your head may also help constrict dilated blood vessels. If nothing else it is fun to try. Frozen corn works just as well (take this coming from a women who experienced a lot of pregnancy related headaches).
One unexpected way to help relieve headaches is by using a supportive pregnancy pillow throughout your pregnancy, and especially after you deliver and begin feeding or nursing your baby. Pregnancy pillows like Snoozer pregnancy pillows help support the head and neck while resting. They also may help promote circulation, and this can result in greater muscle relaxation. Sometimes headaches arise from tense muscles.
When you nurse or feed your baby, you often place strain on your neck and shoulders. For many women, this strain results in daily headaches, which, if not treated, can become debilitating. One of the best suggestions my doctor offered during my pregnancy, because I already suffered from headaches, was to use a pregnancy full body pillow as a nursing pillow.
This alleviates most of the strain in your neck and shoulders as you lean forward to feed your baby. You may also find reducing stress improves your mood and this can lead to fewer tension headaches if you are prone to them. So why not try a full body pregnancy pillow? It certainly can’t hurt, and if nothing else, you will find they are tremendously helpful if you are having a hard time sleeping.
Of course, any pain that you consider unusual or out of the ordinary you should ask your doctor about immediately. There are times when pain may be a sign something is out of order. Never hesitate to call your doctor when in doubt, or when traditional remedies don’t alleviate your pain or discomfort in any way.
Now is a very critical stage in your pregnancy. If the doctor offers you advice or gives you some orders to follow, do them. You may feel like you can accomplish anything, you may feel great but the more stress that is put on the body is put on the baby. Remember you don’t have to superwoman; it is ok to rest every now and then.