Pregnancy is divided into three chunks, called trimesters. Next week, when you enter the third trimester, you'll be into the final furlong. There are still a few more fences to jump over, but the finish line is in sight…
You're probably putting on a few pounds now, and your waist is a distant memory. You could be feeling bloated and constipated, and having problems keeping down food. This is partly because your stomach is being squeezed by your growing baby, and also due to the pregnancy hormone, progesterone. It might help if you drink lots of water, choose high fibre options (such as brown bread, rather than white) and eat lots of fresh fruit and veg.
Should you sleep on your back or side? The American Pregnancy Association recommends sleeping on your left side, as this will "increase the amount of blood and nutrients that reach the placenta". The NHS guidance is that sleeping on either side is better than sleeping on your back.
That's because after week 28, research suggests that sleeping on your back can double the risk of stillbirth. It's also more likely to give you backache, constipation and piles.
Here are some tips for a safe and sound night's sleep:
Support your baby bump with a pillow.
Keep your knees and legs bent.
Put another pillow between your legs.
If you roll onto your back, don't worry, just roll back onto your side again.
Are you fit to fly?
This is probably the last week you can fly anywhere without a 'fitness to fly note' from your midwife or GP. If you have a note, which confirms that your pregnancy is uncomplicated, then you can usually travel by plane up until the end of week 36 if you're having a single baby, or the end of week 32 if you're having a multiple birth. Double check the cut-offs with your airline. NB: You may be charged for your note.
Find out more about travel during pregnancy.
You could be feeling tired now, so nap when you can in the day. Your partner might mention that you're snoring more. Snoring is very common in pregnancy as your nasal passages are more likely to become swollen and blocked. Keep the peace and buy your partner earplugs!
Tommy's the baby charity has produced a pregnancy guide with a further list of symptoms.
Your baby, or foetus, is around 36.6cm long from head to heel, and weighs about 875g. That's approximately the size of a big leek, and the weight of a head of cauliflower.
Your baby's lungs are now capable of breathing – and that's a big deal. Your baby is also getting plumper by the day. A few weeks ago, your baby looked a bit like a wrinkled prune. Now the folds of skin are being filled out by fat, and all their organs are maturing, as your baby prepares for life outside the womb.
Do you know where you would like to give birth? Arrange to have a look around, if you haven't already, so you can ask questions and get to know where everything is. This will help to give you more confidence when the big day arrives.
This week you could also...
You have maternity rights and if you're worried about your safety at work, then talk to your employer. You shouldn't be lugging anything around, and you may need extra breaks and somewhere to sit. You can also attend antenatal appointments during paid work time.
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 future baby’s trampoline. Get the muscles going by pretending that you’re having a wee and then stop the ‘urine’ in midflow. Visit Tommy’s.org for more ideas about pelvic floor exercises.
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. Also don’t expect this pregnancy to be just like your others - your baby could have other ideas.
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, then talk to your doctor or midwife who can point you in the right direction to get all the support that 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.
Do something that stretches your brain. Maybe you could cook a new recipe, rediscover an old hobby, or sign up for a course at your local night school. Keeping your mind active has all kinds of benefits, including reducing stress and helping you to get the most from life. Find out other ways you can keep your mind healthy.