At 26 weeks
Welcome to the start of your 3rd trimester!
Whoever said that pregnancy was a breeze? Week by week your growing baby’s putting more and more stresses and strains on your body so it’s important to know what to expect and act accordingly. This blog is to help you.
So, how are you doing?
The aches and pains you’re feeling are the sign that progesterone has loosened your ligaments in preparation for birth, especially in the pelvis and back, so there’s more strain on your joints than usual. Now’s the time to put those fancy heels to the back of the wardrobe and wear sensible flatties, I’m afraid! And you really must avoid:
- heavy lifting
- awkward bending
- stretching or doing anything that’ll throw you off balance – and that includes some sports like skiing and cycling.
If you have to lift something, keep your back straight and use your thigh muscles. It’s more important than ever to keep good posture.
You may feel faint or have dizzy spells. As your uterus expands, it can compress the large vein that carries blood from your legs back to your heart (the inferior vena cava), particularly when you lie down. If this happens, you might feel a bit wobbly. Standing up again will help, as will sleeping propped on your side.
You might also feel some rib pain (as your uterus expands) and notice your gums bleed when you brush your teeth (it’s ok – they’ve also been softened by your pregnancy hormones). Swollen ankles may bother you at the end of the day (so put your feet up whenever you can). Varicose veins and piles get worse, or appear for the first time, due to the pressure of the baby.
All of which means it’s really time to look after yourself. Get lots of rest, take sensible exercise daily, wear loose clothes, keep eating well and drink lots of fluids from now on. My motto is – never stand when you can sit. Never sit when you can lie.
… and how’s your partner doing?
You can take part in your partner’s preparation for the birth.
Antenatal classes give you the chance to learn techniques that will prepare your partner for labour and birth well in advance.
You can practice different techniques for relieving pain during the first stage such as supporting your partner in her most comfortable position and massaging her in different labour positions.
You’ll also find it useful talking to other expectant dads about their experiences. You’ll only be able to do that if you go the antenatal classes especially for dads.
…and how’s your baby doing?
With each passing week, your baby’s lungs are maturing and she’s laying down more and more body fat, all the time increasing her chances of survival if she’s born early. But she’s still much better off in there for now!
Her nostrils have opened and she’s doing lots of breathing practice. Aware of light outside the womb, she’s developed distinct sleep and waking patterns – no doubt waking when you’re asleep and sleeping when you’re awake!
Your baby weighs around a kilo – maybe slightly less or slightly more by week 27, and she’s about 26 centimetres in length. She’s beginning to run out of room in there and won’t be able to move around quite as gymnastically as she used to. If you sit in an uncomfortable position for her, she’ll wriggle around and let you know!
Rights and Benefits
Working out what benefits and rights you’re entitled to and making the claims can be complicated. Remember you can get help with this form various places, such as Jobcentre Plus, Citizen’s Advice Bureaux or your local social services department.
Some important reminders for this stage of your pregnancy –
- It’s around this time in your pregnancy that you should obtain your maternity certificate, from MATB1, from your doctor or midwife.
- Remember, if you’re working, that you’ll need to inform you employer in writing at least 3 weeks before you stop work.
- If you’re claiming Statutory Maternity Pay, you will also need to write to your employer at least 3 weeks before you stop work.
- If you’re claiming Maternity Allowance, do so as soon you can after you’re 26 weeks pregnant.
Bye for now!
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Copyright Miriam Stoppard 2012