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Week #27 of Pregnancy

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Your Pregnancy: Week 27

By Erin Horner, edHelperBaby

Your Baby
           This week your little one weighs approximately 2 pounds and is 14 1/2 inches long.  Her skin is red and wrinkled from spending the last 27 weeks swimming in amniotic fluid. Can you imagine what your fingers would look like after a 27 minute bath, let alone one that lasted 27 weeks?   Her retina, the area of her eye that will receive light images, is developing its normal layers.  She is also beginning to sleep and wake in normal intervals and her brain is very active.  Have you been feeling some rhythmic movement lately?  If so, you are probably feeling your baby hiccup.  When you feel your little one start to hiccup, stop what you are doing, place your hand on your belly, and enjoy each movement.  These special moments and movements shared just between you and your baby won't last for much longer, so savor each one and marvel at the miracle growing within you.


Your Body
           Welcome to your third trimester, mom!  You are two-thirds of the way through this exciting journey.  Over the next three months you will probably begin to notice the return of some pregnancy symptoms that may have plagued you early on in your pregnancy but gave you a much needed reprieve during your second trimester.  The third trimester of pregnancy normally brings with it some sleep issues, heartburn, and exhaustion.  Remember, though, this trimester also brings you closer and closer to your all important due date!

       As you begin this third and final trimester, it is important to take some time and familiarize yourself with some of the signs of pre-term labor.  While there may be days over the next few months where you feel as though you can't handle being pregnant for one more day, you don't want your baby to arrive before he or she is physically ready.  Some of the most important developments for life outside your womb, such as the ability to breathe and suck, occur during the last few weeks of gestation.  If over the next thirteen weeks you notice any of the following symptoms, be sure to contact your health care provider:
  • Bright red vaginal bleeding
  • Sudden gush of clear fluid
  • Intense pelvic pain
  • Dull backache
  • Contractions (more than 4 in one hour)
  • Pain during urination
  • Sudden swelling or puffiness of the hands and face
  • Sharp, prolonged pain in the abdomen

       While these symptoms may indicate that you are beginning to experience pre-term labor, they may simply be indicators of an infection or illness.  At this stage of your pregnancy, it is best to err on the side of caution and put a call in to your physician if you suspect that any of your symptoms are unusual or particularly bothersome.


  You're Wondering. . .
           I'm in a bit of a bind....the digestive kind.  Any tips on easing constipation?

       As your pregnancy progresses an increase in progesterone may be to blame for this new found pregnancy annoyance.  Progesterone slows down the digestive process, which in turn makes it more difficult to go to the bathroom.  By the third trimester, the pressure that your growing uterus is putting on your rectum may also be to blame.  Many women also find that iron supplements or iron fortified pre-natal vitamins cause constipation.  Try the following to help ease the discomfort you may be feeling:
  • Fill up on fiber.   As you prepare your meals and snacks for the day, become aware of the amount of fiber that you are consuming.  Be sure to eat plenty of vegetables, raw fruit (anything with skin or pulp is an excellent choice), whole grains and prunes.
  • Warm-up with exercise.  One of the best ways to encourage your digestive tract to get moving is to get the rest of your body moving too!  Try yoga, walking, swimming or any other type of exercise that is safe during pregnancy.  This will not only help to ease constipation, but also a myriad of other symptoms as well.
  • Drink up.  Water, that is!  Be sure to drink at least 6-8 eight ounce glasses of water everyday.  The slowdown in your digestive track may in part be caused by a lack of hydration.  Give your body all the help that you can by drinking plenty of water.

       If your constipation is still particularly bothersome, ask your doctor about the safety of an over-the-counter stool softener or for any other suggestions to ease your discomfort.


  Your "To-Do" List
           Start playing the name game.  If you and your partner have not already been discussing a name for your little one, now is a good time to start.  Remember, giving your child a name is quite an honor.  Fair, or not, their name will often be the world's first impression of who they are.  Here are a few things to consider when deciding on your baby's name:

       Her future.  As you think about the names that you like for your little boy or girl, remember that what is "cute" now might not be "classy" later.  If your last name is Snap, Ginger might be a fun name now, but will your little girl want to hear "Miss Ginger Snap" read aloud at her college graduation?  One fun way to think this through is to daydream about your little one's future and finish the following statements:
  • All rise.  The court is now in session, the honorable________________ now presiding.
  • Now up to bat for the New York Yankees ___________________________________.
  • Hello, I'm Doctor_______________________________________________________.
  • I now present your class valedictorian_______________________________________.

       Spelling.  Some parents like to come up with creative ways to spell their child's name.  If the spelling is too different, however, many people may not be able to pronounce it.  Imagine your child's first day of school.  Will he really want to have to teach his teacher how to pronounce his name?  Another thought to consider, children love to see their name in print.  Will your little one be able to find pencils, stickers, or those little license plates at the toy store with his or her name on them?

       Meaning.  Be sure to take the time to research the meaning of any name you may be considering for your little one.  My husband and I had found a beautiful name for our daughter, but when we learned that it meant "crooked stick" we decided to keep looking!  While the ancient meaning of a name does not in any way directly impact your child's future, it's good to know the history behind any word that will follow your child throughout his or her life.

       If you are having a hard time agreeing on a name for your baby try taking a few moments to yourself and writing down your top ten favorite names.  Have your partner do the same.  Then, exchange lists and see if any match.  If they don't, allow these lists to be a conversation starter.  You each may have written down a name that the other likes, but just had not yet thought of.   Ultimately, pick a name that you both like and remember: who your child is will be more impacted by the type of parents that he or she has than by the name that those well meaning parents gave him.


Your Homework: Preparing For Parenthood
           Television and the media at large are constantly bombarding us with messages and advertisements designed to tell us what a parent should do, say, and buy.  Find some time this week and watch an episode of one of the different "nanny" television shows.  In these series a family, facing some particularly difficult discipline situations with their children, calls in an outside expert to come in and help teach them how to better assist their children with their behavior.  As you watch the show, take note of the different strategies that were used.  Next, talk with your partner about what you saw.  Did you agree with the child expert?  What would you have done differently?  Are there any behavior management strategies that you think you will want to try and implement with your child?  Allow this 30 minute program to be the starting point for some good discussion about what your family discipline policies will be.


  My Experience
           On occasion my husband and I will watch one of these shows.  When we do I am always reminded of two things:  1) I have great kids!  2)  I have a lot to learn when it comes to discipline.  Both of these are exciting thoughts.  First of all, I do have great kids, and thankfully the discipline issues that we face are usually never as extreme as those demonstrated on the show.  Secondly, I am thankful that I have a lot to learn about discipline and parenthood in general.  I hope that I never come to the place where I think that I know all that there is to know about being a mother.  Whenever I watch one of these episodes, I come away determined to try a new technique or behavior strategy to help my children.  Often I can try the same behavior strategy, in a slightly new way, and it will suddenly "click" for my kids.  As with life, it is often not what is said that makes the difference, but how it is said.  I guess I owe the nanny, and her British accent a thank you for teaching me a different way to say the same thing.


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