By now, your baby weighs 3.75 pounds (pick up a large jicama) and is about 16.7 inches long, taking up a lot of space in your uterus.
How your baby’s growing:
You’re gaining about a pound a week and roughly half of that goes right to your baby. In fact, she’ll gain a third to half of her birth weight during the next 7 weeks as she fattens up for survival outside the womb. She now has toenails, fingernails, and real hair (or at least respectable peach fuzz). Her skin is becoming soft and smooth as she plumps up in preparation for birth.
How your life’s changing:
To accommodate you and your baby’s growing needs, your blood volume has increased 40 to 50 percent since you got pregnant. With your uterus pushing up near your diaphragm and crowding your stomach, the consequences may be shortness of breath and heartburn. To help relieve your discomfort, try sleeping propped up with pillows and eating smaller meals more often.
You may have lower-back pain as your pregnancy advances. If you do, let your caregiver know right away, particularly if you haven’t had back pain before, since it can be a sign of preterm labor.
Assuming it’s not preterm labor that’s ailing you, you can probably blame your growing uterus and hormonal changes for your aching back. Your expanding uterus shifts your center of gravity and stretches out and weakens your abdominal muscles, changing your posture and putting a strain on your back. Hormonal changes in pregnancy loosen your joints and the ligaments that attach your pelvic bones to your spine. This can make you feel less stable and cause pain when you walk, stand, sit for long periods, roll over in bed, get out of a low chair or the tub, bend, or lift things.
This Week’s Activity:
Start lining up helpers. Your friends and family will want to pitch in after your baby’s born, but many new moms are too overwhelmed to direct household help.
How to prepare now:
- If anyone offers to help during the newborn weeks, write down their name and number.
- Select one friend to set up a schedule so that all the friends who wish to help are given a date on which they can bring you a meal.
- Create a master grocery list so you can hand it off to a friend.
- Create a childcare or ride schedule for older children.
- Line up a friend or neighbor to take out your garbage, walk your dog or feed your pets