The seventh month, weeks 25-28, is a period which completes the second trimester of your pregnancy, and in a sense, this is indeed a mysterious month. New life is developing and even trying to assert its rights, all the while, pushing its little heels into his/her mother’s belly.
The weight of the fetus in this period is 700 – 750 g, and the body length 30–32 cm. The face of the baby has a is starting to take on more familiar shapes: the cheeks, eyelids, eyebrows, and nose are clearly formed. The skin becomes more elastic due to the accumulation of the subcutaneous fat layer. Additionaly, the folds and wrinkles are gradually smoothing out.
The movements of your child become more distinct and rhythmic. By this time, the sleeping and awake times of your baby are starting to form, their sleep also has developed a fast and slow phase – just like in adults. The intensive development of the bones and joints continues. Bone is strengthened due to the accumulation of calcium, fluorine, magnesium, etc.
The general condition of the future mother does not undergo significant changes compared with previous weeks. Although, perhaps the growing uterus somewhat hampers movement, limiting the duration of walks and exercise. Properly chosen clothes, shoes and, if necessary, a pregnancy and leg bandages can significantly change the situation and provide you with comfort in your daily routine.
If your notice signs of rapid fatigue, shortness of breath, drowsiness, or frequent heartbeat, then you should pay attention to the level of hemoglobin in your next blood test. Such symptoms may indicate anemia (or iron-deficiency) in pregnant women.
Thanks to iron, hemoglobin binds oxygen and transports it from the lungs to the tissues. Oxygen is needed in every cell of the body for energy. In future mothers, iron consumption (through iron-rich food or tablets) is highly necessary due to the fact that large energy levels through iron are needed for the development of your baby. Pregnant women are especially at a risk of decreased iron levels due to your body needing it for your baby.
Anemia of pregnant women can be an additional risk factor for the development of a variety of complications: premature birth, fetal development disorders, late toxicosis, etc.
Anemia during pregnancy is not an independent disease, but rather it is called a physiological anemia. But if the level of hemoglobin falls to low values, then you might be prescribed iron tablets. Anemia of pregnant women may also show no symptoms, so it is extremely important to pass all blood and urine tests in a duely fashion in order to keep the situation under control.
Your baby’s height at this point is around 32–34 cm, with a weight somewhere around 850–900 g.
26 weeks is considered to be a special period, since at birth during this period the fetus has the opportunity to survive. Of course, it is worth noting that such chances are small and the vitality of the child, which is determined by his/her individual adaptive capabilities and the availability of special equipment, is of far greater importance.
The reproductive system of the fetus also undergoes important stages of development. At this time in boys, the testicles begin to descend into the scrotum. This process takes several weeks, and by the time of birth, the testicles should take their final place in the scrotum: this is one of the signs of a full term baby. In girls by the period of 26 weeks, the external genital organs and vagina have fully developed.
For the future mother, by 26 weeks of pregnancy the bottom of the uterus reaches 6 cm above the navel. The growth of the uterus is usually 1 cm per week. Usually, the height of the uterus corresponds to the gestational age in weeks. Thus, by 26 weeks, the bottom of the uterus rises above the pubis by 26 cm.
Fetal movements during this period are also very active – a sufficient amount of amniotic fluid allows the baby to make various large movements. Sometimes they can feel painful for you. The internal organs of the mother (such as the bladder, intestines, stomach, and liver) can feel pressurized by the growing uterus. More often than not, a change in body position can bring a sense of relief.
The weight of the fetus by week 27 is about 900–1000 g, and the height reaches 34 cm. The motor activity of the baby is still high, especially the strength of the movements of the arms and legs increases. This happens due to the increase in muscle mass and daily workouts. All this, in turn, helps the fetus prepare for childbirth, because the movements of the limbs – particularly the straightening of the legs – play a big role when passing through the birth canal of the mother.
By this time, important events take place in the organs of the endocrine system of the fetus: in its brain a growth hormone, somatotropin, begins to be produced. This hormone regulates metabolic processes in the cells, stimulating the growth of the body. The baby noticeably grows in length from this.
Most of the endocrine glands of the fetus have already formed, but from 27 weeks there is a significant increase in the activity of the organs of the endocrine system. Thus, the thyroid gland begins to produce three major hormones – thyroxin, triiodothyronine and calcitonin, which participate in all major metabolic processes. These hormones regulate brain activity, cardiovascular and respiratory systems, and more. Until this time, all these hormones have been functioning, but the main function was performed by the hormones of the mother. Now, your baby’s hormones provide their needs independently.
Similarily, the immune system, stress response, adaptability – all these specific individual orgns begin independently functioning from the mother.
During the 27th week of pregnancy, women note an improvement in their state of health, and this is also associated with the peculiarities of the endocrine system of your baby. The thyroid gland of the mother stops working “for two”, which significantly improves the condition of the mother, where before there might have been difficulties in regulating hormones.
At about 27–28 weeks, many pregnant women begin to experience unusual sensations that were not there before, such as tingling in the hands and feet, goosebumps, or a ultra sensitivity in their bodies. The most frequent manifestations of this kind are alsoleg cramps. Painful cramps most often occur in the calf muscles, in the evening or at night, and last several minutes. These ailments are associated with changes in the exchange of magnesium and potassium in the muscles, as well as with the feature of blood circulation during pregnancy. The blood flow in the small vessels of the peripheral organs – in the arms and legs – in expectant mothers often suffer. These are not pathological, and often do not require serious treatment. They usually disappear after childbirth.
In addition to leg cramps, pregnant women may also experience varicose veins in their legs, lack of calcium or magnesium in their blood, pressure from the womb, etc. When these symptoms appear, it’s best if you change the position of your body, by slowly bending the leg at the knee and lifting it up. You can rub the painful area of the skin or hold a towel soaked in cold water over it.
You can also notify your doctor of such problems during your next visit: your may be go through additional examination or given specific prescriptions.
By the end of 28 weeks, the baby has reached a height of 35 cm, with a weight around 1100–1200 g. The body of the fetus takes on an increasingly rounded appearance. Soft, fluffy hair covering the baby’s body begins to slowly fall out and remain in small amounts on the shoulders, back and waist. The hairs on the head and eyebrows darken, which gives the fetus a more “adult” look. During the 28th week of pregnancy, your baby will often open his/her eyes, and continuously blink. Their hearing also improves.
A period of 28 weeks is especially important for pregnant women who have Rh-negative blood, due to what is known as “Rhesus conflict”. This is a pathological condition which can occur between a Rh-negative mother and Rh-positive fetus. If the blood of a Rh-positive person enters the blood of a Rh-negative, then the body perceives these same Rh-proteins as foreign and produces antibodies fighting against them as a “protection”.
The defeat of the baby’s growing tissues occurs during Rh-conflict due to the fact that the mom’s antibodies destroy the red blood cells of the fetus. However, for the development of a rhesus conflict, a significant accumulation of antibodies in the mother’s blood is necessary, which occurs during pregnancy only with a Rh-positive fetus. Thus, during the first part of the pregnancy the risk of the conflict developing is low.
It is during the 29th week that the first injection of anti-rhesus immunoglobulin is recommended. This is a special “vaccination” against the development of Rhesus conflict in the future. Anti-Rh immunoglobulin binds fetal red blood cells and prevents the mother’s body from producing antibodies against the baby.
The second vaccination of immunoglobulin is carried out in the hospital, in the first 72 hours after birth, if there is an absence of Rh antibodies in the blood of a pregnant woman. The administration of anti-rhesus immunoglobulin can also prevents the occurrence of rhesus conflict in future pregnancies.
If there is an increase in antibody over time, this may indicate the development of the Rhesus conflict. In this case, the pregnant woman may be taken to the maternity hospital, where constant monitoring of the condition of the mother and baby will take place – with blood tests, ultrasound, dopplers, CTG, amniotic fluid test, etc.
Specific treatment of rhesus-conflict does not exist. Treatment measures may take form as: intra-uterine blood transfusion, plasmapheresis, plasma immunosorption, etc. These are aimed at weakening the immune response of the expectant mother.