Your baby could probably survive an early birth now, but will be healthier when born at full term (between 37 and 42 weeks).
About your baby
Your baby’s eyes are able to open and close, skin is becoming smooth, and hair is getting longer. The lanugo, a soft, fine downy hair that once covered your baby, is beginning to disappear. The vernix caseosa, a white creamy substance that protects the skin from long exposure to amniotic fluid, still covers baby’s body. The lungs are maturing and your baby is starting to practice breathing.
In your seventh month, your baby continues to put on a lot of weight. By the end of week 28, your baby weighs about 2 to 2.5 pounds and measures about 11 to 14 inches long.
As your second trimester ends, new symptoms may begin: aching back, leg cramps, minor swelling, and sleep problems, to name a few. Continue to get moderate exercise, which can help prevent and relieve some of these symptoms.
Feel as if you can’t catch your breath? It’s your growing uterus pressing up on your diaphragm and crowding your lungs. Relief usually comes when your baby settles into the pelvis.
- Your blood pressure may increase slightly, returning to its normal pre-pregnancy state.
- Sometimes your baby settles into a position that is uncomfortable for you. Kicks and twists can be strong, very noticeable, and sometimes painful.
- You may feel pelvic pressure or pain if your baby’s head is low in the pelvis. Lying on your side may help relieve this discomfort.
You can enjoy a sexual relationship with your partner throughout pregnancy, unless you have been told that you’re at high risk for preterm labor or that your placenta is over your cervix (placenta previa). If you have either of these conditions, talk with your practitioner.
Tips for staying healthy
- You may have hemorrhoids because of the amount of pressure your uterus is placing on the veins in your rectum. Talk to your practitioner about your treatment options. Eat a high-fiber diet, drink water, and avoid sitting or standing for long stretches of time.
- Drink plenty of fluids and avoid processed foods and other super-salty snacks to prevent swelling in the legs and fingers.
- Make sure to get the nutrients that will fuel your growing baby and keep you healthy: protein, iron, and calcium.
- Be aware of the warning signs of preeclampsia.
- Lying on your side (especially your left side) promotes good circulation and improves oxygen flow to your baby. Use pillows for comfort and support.
Your to-do list
- Select a pediatrician for your new baby. Get recommendations from friends and family.
- Keep track of your baby’s movements.
- Talk with your spouse or partner about how you’re feeling and your expectations of family.
- Take your childbirth preparation class and learn all you can about labor and childbirth, including your pain management options.
- Accept your growing body as beautiful.