In weeks 23-27 of your pregnancy, you may:
- Feel your baby movie many times each day – pause for a moment to enjoy the experience!
- Feel dizzy or lightheaded – as your growing uterus presses on a large vein in your abdomen. When sleeping or relaxing, lie on your sides and avoid resting on your back. When you get up, stand up slowly.
- Experience heartburn – Cut back on caffeinated drinks and greasy or spicy foods. Avoid lying down right after eating. If you smoke, that can make heartburn worse… in case you needed another reason to quit!
- Notice the beginning of irregular and occasional tightening of the uterus. These are called Braxton Hicks contractions and are a normal part of pregnancy. It is important to know the difference between Braxton Hicks and the signs of pre-term labor. (Read more about pre-term labor below.)
I am 11 to 14 inches long and weigh one to one-and-one-half pounds My skin is red, wrinkled, and covered with fine hair. My eyelashes and eyebrows are growing. I can open and close my eyes and hear sounds. I can also hiccup!
1. Know the signs of pre-term labor.
Premature labor occurs when uterine contractions or tightening cause the cervix to open earlier than normal. These contractions are usually regular and gradually become more painful and frequent. A baby born too early can have problems eating, breathing, and keeping warm. Call your health care provider if you experience any of the following symptoms.
• Four or more contractions in one hour
• Menstrual-like cramps low in abdomen
• Pelvic pressure – feels like baby is pushing down (constant or on-and-off)
• Low, dull backache (constant or on-and-off)
• Water leaking from vagina
• Red, brown, or pink vaginal discharge
• Abdominal cramps, with or without diarrhea
Many women experience Braxton Hicks contractions, which can be easily mistaken with pre-term labor. However, these are a normal part of pregnancy, as the uterus prepares for labor. These contractions occur at irregular intervals and the intensity is variable. They are usually felt over the abdomen and may be relieved by walking or a change in your position.
2. Start planning your shopping or baby shower wish list.
Some of the items you may need include:
• Car seat
• Breast pump (many insurance companies now provide electric breast pumps)
• Tummy-time mat
• Books to read to your growing baby
Some baby items to avoid include:
• Sleep hazards such as bumper pads, crib blankets and quilts
• Sleep positioners
• DVDs and TV shows made for babies
• Baby walkers and saucers
• Baby jumpers
• Upright infant seats like the Bumbo
For more information, visit greatstartkids.com.
3. Keep eating a healthy diet that includes enough fluids.
Getting enough to drink is very important to a healthy pregnancy. In general, thirst is an appropriate guide to fluid needs for healthy women. In most cases, eight 8-ounce cups of fluid a day is adequate. But not all fluids are equally beneficial. Water is a pure source of fluids and should be preferred over drinks with caffeine and added sugar like pop and fruit drinks or juice. Lowfat milk is a good choice since it also contains protein, calcium, and Vitamin D.
4. Start making plans for child care.
For more information about quality providers near you, visit greatstarttoquality.org, or call 1-877-614-7328 or search on Healthy Futures.
5. Sign up for prenatal classes.
The information in these classes can help you have a healthier pregnancy and prepare you for birth, breastfeeding and postpartum. They can be a lot of fun and a great chance to meet other expecting families too. For information on classes available in your area, talk with your health care provider or Healthy Futures nurse. Classes fill up fast, so don’t delay. Find childbirth classes near you.
6. Walk around and stretch every 1-2 hours – especially if you are seated for long periods.
7. Keep wearing your seatbelt but place the lap belt below your abdomen.
Questions to Ask your Health Care Provider
Keep a list of questions you’d like to ask your health provider. It is normal to have many questions and concerns. Here are a few important topics you may want to discuss at this stage of your pregnancy.
1. Discuss family planning with your health care provider.
They can help discuss your options so you can plan in advance. [#18]
2. Gestational Diabetes – Between 24-28 weeks of pregnancy your health care provider will test for gestational diabetes.
This type of diabetes is found usually during the second half of pregnancy. If not controlled, gestational diabetes can hurt both mom and baby. If diagnosed with gestational diabetes, your health care provider will tell you about treatment to keep both you and your baby safe and healthy. [#82]
Your Healthy Futures Nurse is also here for you. Contact your Healthy Futures nurse if you have any questions or concerns.