Week 25 – your second trimester

Welcome to week 25! You'll need to tell your employers now, if you haven't already, so that you can get maternity pay and benefits. It's very likely that they will have guessed anyway, but let them know in writing. If your partner plans to take paternity leave, they will need to tell their employer too – did you know that female partners are also entitled to paternity leave?

What's happening in my body?

You could be starting to get a bit puffy and swollen in your face, hands and feet. This is probably completely harmless and caused by water retention – but do mention it to your midwife or doctor. They will want to check your blood pressure, just in case it's a sign of a dangerous condition called pre-eclampsia. This tends to strike in the second half of pregnancy or after the baby is born. If you get any other signs, such as splitting headaches, vision problems, or pain just below the ribs, then call your doctor, midwife or NHS 111.

Pardon me!

Are you burping a lot? It's very common around now. You may also be struggling to eat your usual sized portions.

After eating or drinking you could get:

  • Burning in your chest
  • Bloating
  • Nausea

This is probably indigestion and heartburn. Your digestive problems are caused by your growing baby taking over some of the space where your stomach used to be. Your hormones and loosening muscles are also to blame.

It can help to:

  • Eat small meals, so you don't feel stuffed afterwards.
  • Eat healthily and avoid rich, spicy and fatty foods.
  • Cut back on drinks with caffeine (eg tea, coffee, cola and energy drinks).
  • Sit up straight when you eat.
  • Give up alcohol and cigarettes. Ask your doctor or midwife to help you quit.

Pregnant and single?

First of all, you're not the only single woman to have a baby, although it may seem that way at times! Around one in four families are headed up by single parents. You may be worried about money or how you'll cope, but there are always people to turn to during pregnancy and beyond. Don't be afraid to ask for help from your friends and family.

You can also talk to your doctor or midwife about local support groups. An organisation called Gingerbread can advise you on everything from benefits to childcare.

Get more advice on being a single parent on NHS.uk.

Second trimester pregnancy symptoms (at 25 weeks)

Your energy levels could be flagging now, and you might be struggling to digest large meals, as your baby takes over your belly.

This week, your signs of pregnancy could include:

Tommy's the baby charity has produced a pregnancy guide with a further list of symptoms.

What does my baby look like?

Your baby, or foetus, is around 34.6cm long from head to heel, and weighs about 660g. That's approximately the size of a head of cauliflower, and the weight of four jacket potatoes.

This is an active time for your baby, who will be throwing some crazy shapes inside you (kicking, punching and doing somersaults). A loud noise could make your baby jump and kick, which shouldn't hurt, but might take you by surprise. You might also feel the occasional hiccup!

Your baby is now weeing into the amniotic fluid. By now, most of the liquid around your baby is urine, which sounds disgusting, but don't knock it, as it's providing cushioning and helping to keep the temperature snug and stable.

Everything's in place now – including the brain, lungs and digestive system – but your bun needs a bit more time in the oven. Don't worry, that's what the next few weeks are all about…

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Action stations

Start thinking a bit more about what you'd ideally like to happen when your baby's born. What kind of pain relief would you like? Who do you want to have with you? You can download an NHS birth plan template which will help you think through some of the big issues.

This week you could also...

It's time to break the news, if you haven't already. The latest you can leave it is 15 weeks before the baby is due, which is around now. As soon as you tell your employer, you will have maternity rights and can attend antenatal appointments during paid work time. You can also ask for a risk assessment of your work place.

It’s a good time to tone up those muscles ‘down under’. Gentle exercises can help to prevent leakage when you laugh, sneeze, cough or jump around on your baby’s future trampoline. Get the muscles going by pretending that you’re having a wee and then stop the ‘urine’ in midflow. Visit Tommys.org for more ideas.

Ask your midwife or doctor about antenatal classes in your area, as they get booked up very quickly. You could also contact your local branch of the National Childbirth Trust. Why not ask your partner to go with you? Even if you’ve had children before, and been there, done that, they’re still worth going to, as you can meet other parents-to-be. Als, don’t expect this pregnancy to be just like your others – your baby could have other ideas.

Do your best to stop smoking, give up alcohol and go easy on the cappuccinos. We know that’s easy to say, but hard to do. Ask your midwife or GP for support.

During the winter, consider taking a daily dose of the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D. It’s recommended that you take 10 micrograms every day when you’re pregnant and breastfeeding. Find out if you’re entitled to free vitamins.

Get moving! It’s recommended that pregnant women do 150 minutes of exercise throughout the week. Perhaps take a brisk walk in the park, or go for a swim. If you start any classes, make sure the instructor knows that you’re pregnant. Don’t overdo it though – listen to your body.

Have a fit pregnancy and sign up for a free personal activity plan.

Don’t eat for two! Eat for you. You don’t need any extra calories until the third trimester, which starts in week 28. Try and eat healthily with plenty of fresh fruit and veg, and avoid processed, fatty and salty foods. You may be able to get free milk, fruit and veg through the Healthy Start scheme.

How are you today? If you’re feeling anxious or low, talk to your doctor or midwife who can point you in the right direction to get all the support you need. You could also discuss your worries with your partner, friends and family. You may be worried about your relationship, or money, or having somewhere permanent to live. Don’t bottle it up – you’re important, so ask for help if you need it!

Getting pregnant again is probably the last thing on your mind! However now is a good time to start planning what type of contraception you would like to use after your baby is born. Making this decision when you’re pregnant will give you one less thing to think about when you’re looking after a newborn baby. Getting pregnant again could happen sooner than you realise and too short a gap between babies is known to cause problems. Talk to your GP or midwife to help you decide and get everything in place.

This week's treat

Put your feet up, relax, and come up with a list of baby names that you really like. There are websites where you can tap in your favourite celebrities, books, and films, and out pops a list of suggestions. Or maybe you want to choose a family name, or something that's significant for you and your partner.

Some parents choose 'modern virtue' names such as Faith or Frank, while some names are popular these days for both boys and girls, such as Teddy and Carol. Others get inspiration from space (Lunar), nature (Sage) or books (Hero).

There's plenty of time to talk things over, and if you want to wait until your baby's born, that's fine too. After the birth, you'll have another 42 days to register the name.

Go back to week 24

Go to week 26

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