Pregnancy Week by Week (Weeks 25-28)

Week 25

Now your baby is filling up more of your bump, you’ll see ripples and undulations of movement on your belly. Lying in a warm bath, your bump emerging through the water, gives a good view of your baby’s gymnastics.

Your baby
Your baby is covered with waxy vernix, which stops him getting wrinkled from being in the watery womb for so long (think what your hands look like after spending a long time in the bath!). The vernix also stops the umbilical cord tangling around him. Some may remain on your baby’s skin at birth.

Alternative action
Planning on using complementary therapies during the birth? As some prepare the womb for labour, you’ll need to find a therapist well in advance. For others, you need to have a therapist with you at the birth. If this is the case, you’ll need to not only find a therapist, but also check with your midwife or hospital that this is allowed.

Know your rights
This is your qualifying week – the week by which you must tell your boss in writing that you are pregnant and planning to take maternity leave and claim Statutory Maternity Pay from a particular date. With your letter, remember to enclose form MATB1, which you will have got from your midwife about a month ago. Your partner will also need to tell his boss if he’s planning to take paternity leave.

ONE MUM SAYS… ‘Being pregnant brought me closer to my own mother. She knew exactly what I was going through, and I found it incredible thinking how she had carried me inside her for nine months.’

Week 26

As your womb expands, your ribs lift by 5cm (2in) constricting your lungs (which already have much more work to do than usual). The result? Even more breathlessness.

Your baby
Now measuring a whopping 36cm (14in) – the length (if not the width!) of a large cucumber – your baby’s hearing is developing swiftly. Mostly, he hears your body – the flow of your blood, the beat of your heart, the gurgling of your stomach. He also hears your voice and will recognise it at birth. Go to a firework display and he’ll jump at the bangs; play music repeatedly (whether it’s Haydn or Hard-Fi) and it will become familiar to him.

Don’t cramp your style
As you get heavier, you might start to suffer from cramp because your womb is pressing on the nerves to your legs. To help:
• With your leg straight, pull your toes up towards you. If you can’t reach your toes get a friend to help, or sit down on a chair and push the underside of your toes against the edge of a table, keeping your leg straight.
• Up your intake of calcium (in dairy foods, sardines and mackerel) and lower your intake of phosphorus (in processed meats and fizzy drinks).

ONE MUM SAYS… ‘My baby was so high, he was literally kicking me in the ribs. It didn’t ease until he descended near the end of the pregnancy.’

Week 27

Your womb contracts throughout pregnancy, but the hormone progesterone stops you going into labour. At this stage, you’ll start to notice these contractions (called Braxton Hicks) as a hardening across your bump. Don’t worry – you’re not about to give birth!

Your baby
Your baby can feel touch from the outside world. If you prod some protruding toes, he’ll snatch his foot away.

On tour
If you’re planning to have your baby in hospital, it’s a good idea to arrange to have a look around the delivery suites and postnatal wards. Then you’ll know what facilities are on offer. Most important, it will seem a little more familiar when you arrive here on the big day, which may help lessen any anxiety and make labour go more smoothly.

What’s in a name?
Make sure you’re thinking about names. Choosing – and, more to the point, agreeing – on the right one can take longer than you think. Have a list for both boys and girls (even if you were told the sex at a scan, they can get it wrong). And make sure a name fits with the surname – remember, alliteration (Marilyn Monroe) sounds good, rhyming (Tinky Winky) sounds silly and jokes (Logan Berry) are simply cruel!

ONE MUM SAYS… ‘Think about surnames too. My partner wants the baby to have his. I want the baby to have mine. The compromise we’ve reached is that if it’s a girl, she’ll take my name; if it’s a boy, he’ll take my partner’s.’

Week 28

This is the last week of the middle trimester and, with a fairly big bump, you may find your tummy button has popped outwards. You still have, however, a quarter of your total weight gain to come.

Your baby
Your baby knows which way up he is, because the balance function of his ears has kicked in. His eyelids have fluttered open and the focusing mechanism in his eyes is working. It’s also believed his brain now has the capacity to form memories.

Buying time
It’s worth looking around now at baby equipment as there’s an awful lot to get. You needn’t buy anything yet, but it pays to do your research well ahead so that you get the right basics that really suit your lifestyle.

The key major items are:
• Pushchair
• Crib or Moses basket, and cot
• Infant car seat

So start checking these out first (see our feature on choosing baby equipment), then move onto smaller items for feeding, bathing and dressing. Of course, if you are having twins or more, they’re likely to come early, so get organised soon.

Mum’s the word
With stores packed with all sorts of equipment and gadgets, it’s hard to know what you need and what you don’t. But the best people to ask are other mums. They’ll give you an honest opinion about what you really need…and what you really don’t.

MOTHERCARE TIP This is the last week most airlines will let you fly – so it’s train or car for any trips from now on. Some boat companies will not let you travel if you will be 28 weeks pregnant or more by the end of the trip, so make sure you check before you travel.

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