This week your little baby-to-be is about the size of a butternut squash. Just like a squash, I’m starting to ‘harden up’ – that uber-flexible skeleton of mine is firming so I won’t be quite so fragile and jelly-like outside of the womb. Because my skeleton is almost done taking shape, I’m basically at the length I’ll be when you give birth to me. Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m done growing. I’m still going to be gaining plenty of weight and filling out as my due date comes closer. The good news for you? As I grow bigger and more rigid, there’s less room for me to throw a party in your belly – expect those sharp little jabs and kicks to start being less painful as I run out of space.
Even though I’m kicking less, those belly punts are still really important. After 28 weeks, your doctor may ask you to keep tabs on how often I’m moving. I’m not saying you have to count every single punt, but pay attention to two or three kicking fests per day. If I’m racking up at least 10 movements – whether rolling, kicking, or shifting – over the course of an hour, everything’s great. Of course, I might be a little sluggish if you catch me at an off time. Try eating a piece of fruit to spike your blood sugar or taking a little walk to get me going. If even that doesn’t perk me up and I’m not moving at least 10 times over 2 hours, it’s time to put in a call to your doctor.
Are you feeling a little forgetful right about now? Many moms suffer from what’s called, rather lightheartedly, ‘pregnancy brain’. As per usual, it’s those crazy pregnancy hormones wreaking havoc – only this time not on your body, but your mind. If you feel like you’re walking around in a bit of a fog, you’re not alone; in fact, your brain cell volume actually drops down once you’ve hit the third trimester. But, just like all those other pregnancy side effects, the good news is once I’m born, your mind should kick right back into high gear (if you can get over the sleep deprivation of course). In the meantime, try writing those essential things down: appointments, shopping lists, to-do items, you name it. Consider creating checklists for yourself to further cut down on mini-mishaps; one for when you leave the house (did you turn off the oven?) and one for when you come home (did you put your keys on the front hall table?)
There is so much going on in your body right now, both in helping me get through these final weeks, and maybe driving you a little bit crazy. Just remember, “Giving birth and being born brings us into the essence of creation, where the human spirit is courageous and bold, and the body, a miracle of wisdom.” – Harriette Hartigan (Birth Photographer & Author)