Your Pregnancy, Week 27

Week 27 is generally considered to be the beginning of the third trimester; so, congratulations, you are finally on the homestretch! Now is a great time to start thinking seriously about the logistics of the big day. This article gives you some ideas of a few things to start planning, or reviewing, as the time approaches.

Your Body

At 27 weeks pregnant, you have likely gained in the region of 7 to 8 KG. You might be experiencing more regular cramps now, as the strain placed on your muscles increases. You might also start to experience swelling in your hands and feet. Not surprisingly, both of these symptoms can be attributed to the basketball-sized uterus currently lodged under your diaphragm and extending down to your pubic bone. This ever-expanding organ is putting increasing weight on the veins that drain blood from your extremities. Coupled with an increase in blood volume, swelling and cramping may be uncomfortable and inconvenient, but it is also entirely normal from this stage of pregnancy onwards. As with all pregnancy symptoms though, if you are worried about it, or if it seems particularly severe and is only occurring in isolated limbs, talk to your healthcare provider. Some swelling and cramping is normal, but severe swelling can be a sign of an underlying issue.

Exercise is a great way to relieve some of these symptoms. It increases blood flow and maintains strength and flexibility. Although by week 27 you will already be starting to notice that your choice of activities is somewhat limited, try to keep active and speak to a professional about what exercises you can undertake safely.

Whilst exercising, it might be a good time to start thinking about your birth plan. A birth plan is essentially a document stating your wishes and preferences for the end of your pregnancy and during labour and delivery. Sometimes developed in conjunction with a healthcare provider, birth plans are a great way to make your opinions known ahead of time.

-Do you want an epidural or any kind of pain relief?
-An episiotomy?
-Who should be allowed in the room?
-What are your preferences if complications arise?
-What positions do you plan on using whilst in labour?
-Is there any particular music you would prefer to listen to?

These and other questions are all perfect for your birth plan. It is a good idea to also review the policies of the hospital or birthing center where you plan on delivering to make sure that your ideas can be realised; for example, not all facilities have the capability to provide tanks for water births. If having a water birth is important to you, now would be a good time to reassess where you plan to deliver. Many hospitals will arrange a tour of the delivery suite, so you can see firsthand where you will be giving birth and what facilities are available. Week 27 might be a good time to arrange tours of the local birthing centres. If you see anything you are uncomfortable with, bring it up with your healthcare provider. Communication is key to a successful relationship with the person who will be delivering your baby.

As a final point, try to keep your birth plan flexible and remain open-minded. Births do not always go exactly as planned and, whilst your preferences should always be taken into account, what matters most is having a safe, healthy delivery, without risking the well-being of you or your baby. Even if this does mean deviating slightly from your original birth plan.

Your Baby

Your baby is now 25 weeks old. Babies at 27 weeks can survive outside the womb, although they would require substantial medical care and a lengthy hospital stay. At this point, your baby weighs between 900g and 1 KG and his or her total length, from head to toe, is about 38cm. They will now be about the size of a large cabbage.

By week 27, life for your baby is a continual journey of discovery. It wasn’t so long ago that he or she first started hearing noises, and even more recently that his or her eyelids opened up. Things have moved quickly since then, it is very possible that your baby will start to recognise your voice or that of your partner. He or she may even start to respond to the sound of your voice.

The rest of the senses are also continuing to develop. Your baby has been consuming amniotic fluid for some time now and you might notice that he or she responds to certain foods (although it will be delayed by a few hours). It is possible for the amniotic fluid to absorb some of the flavours of the foods that you eat, so it is not too surprising that your baby is already expressing preferences for certain flavours.

Babies at this age can also be champion hiccupers. You might notice the skin of your belly moving with every hiccup. This may feel strange and, depending on the time of day or night, distract you from your regular activities or from getting a decent sleep, but it is also completely normal and nothing to be concerned about.

It is very common for expectant mothers to worry about their babies movements. The truth is, every baby has a different level of activity, and every woman’s sensitivity to activity in their uterus is different. Babies can go through quieter periods, although if you are used to them moving a lot, this can be concerning. Try not to worry though and, as a first step, monitor the movements yourself. Count how many times you feel the baby move in an hour or time how long it takes to get to ten movements. In general, an active, healthy baby is one that moves 10 times within 2 hours. If movement has reduced significantly, or you are still worried, visit your doctor or midwife; they have the necessary equipment to check your baby and will be able to help put your mind at rest.

Doctor’s tip:
“So much can be unknown before you give birth for the first time and if you get hung up on very strict birth plan ‘rules’, you might end up with unnecessary guilt or disappointment afterward.”

Your Pregnancy, Week 26 <> Your Pregnancy, Week 28

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