Where did I put my shopping list?
Oh, look at that!
baby clothing sizes. Become familiar with how sizes correlate with age. It is incredibly tempting to start buying at least a few baby clothes around now. You may find them impossible to resist, especially when those pregnancy hormones are urging you to get organized and create a "nest" for your little one. Avoid leaving everything to the last minute. But likewise, you don t need to have everything ready too soon because this can make the latter stages of pregnancy seem to last forever. Involve your partner in the decision making as well and get excited together. Looking at a growing collection of baby-related items really drives home the message that you are going to have a baby of your own.
Your physical changes this week
Those ligaments and muscles supporting your expanding uterus are getting a workout. Progesterone and relaxin, those all-important pregnancy hormones, are working their magic by loosening and relaxing the tight fibers. This is so your body can prepare for childbirth, but it also has the bonus of making everything a little looser. Warm baths, tummy massage or even physical therapy can be useful in relieving discomfort.
Opening the fridge constantly? Feeling as if you're never full? Always on the lookout for something to eat? If you're finding it difficult to satisfy your appetite, then think about the foods you are eating. Cookies and cakes may be calling your name but they're not doing you or your baby any favors. Your body will digest them quickly and before you know it, you’ll be looking longingly into the fridge for inspiration again. Go for wholegrain bread, muffins, fruit, milk drinks, and good quality cereals drenched in milk with some fruit on the top. Think quality, not quantity. There is no need to starve yourself but avoid empty nutrition which won’t help your baby to grow.
Your emotional changes this week
You’ll probably be getting lots of interesting advice these days and not always from sources you’d expect. Everyone's an expert when it comes to pregnancy and will have some wisdom to share. If you're not interested, then politely excuse yourself or create some urgent task which requires your immediate attention.
It's getting harder to remember when you weren’t pregnant and you're wondering what on earth you used to think about. Your baby has started to become a very important part of you and its increasingly hard to just think of yourself as an individual, separate from the baby.
If you've previously had a baby who was born early you may worry about having preterm labor again. Your pregnancy provider will have taken a thorough history from you at your first appointment but remind them if you are concerned about this happening again.
Your baby's changes this week
Your baby may be lying in a breech position, i.e. with its bottom pointing down and its head up under your ribs. Or be lying transverse; sideways or oblique; diagonally across your uterus. At this stage there is still plenty of room for the baby to move freely about in your uterus and to find its own comfortable positions.
Think about investing in a baby calendar and follow the changes in your baby as you head towards your due date. Remember your baby is unique and although it may be similar in lots of ways to other babies, it is its own little person.
If you're having a prenatal appointment this week, listen to your baby's heartbeat. On average, a baby's heart will beat twice as many times per minute as its mother’s. There’s something deeply reassuring about hearing that repetitive thumping sound.
Hints for the week
If someone around you is smoking, move away. Secondhand smoke is almost as toxic as first hand smoking and your placenta will not filter all the carbon monoxide or other chemicals which you are passively inhaling. If you’re still smoking, do everything you can to try to stop. Consider hypnotherapy, acupuncture, or a support group. All of these have proven benefits which will optimize your chances of successfully quitting.
Get into the habit of lying on your left side, rather than flat on your back. Your heavy uterus may compress important blood vessels which supply the placenta and baby of oxygen. You may also feel lightheaded and faint if you lie prone for any period of time. Remember to invest in some good quality pillows and arrange them for optimal comfort in your bed. Don t forget to leave a little room for your partner though.
Make sure you're aware of risky foods you need to avoid. Listeria is a rare but dangerous bacterium which is found in some foods. Soft cheeses, coleslaw, pate, unpasteurized milk, sliced cold meats, sushi and raw meat all pose a risk. Watch your kitchen hygiene and wash your hands well after handling raw meat.
Any pain, bleeding, or unusual symptoms you have need to be checked by your provider. Some women are more prone to premature labor and its onset can be vague. Don’t hesitate to have a check-up even if you feel you want reassurance.
Week 26 coming next!
For more information see Pregnancy Week by Week.
The information of this article has been reviewed by nursing experts of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). The content should not substitute medical advice from your personal healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations/diagnosis or treatment. For more advice from AWHONN nurses, visit Healthy Mom&Baby at health4mom.org.