Week-by-week guide to pregnancy
Our week-by-week pregnancy guide is full of essential information. From staying fit in pregnancy to advice on your maternity rights, you'll find it all here. Happy reading!
Week 25 – your second trimester
Welcome to week 25! You'll need to tell your employers now, if you haven't already, so that you can get maternity pay and benefits. It's very likely that they will have guessed anyway, but let them know in writing. If your partner plans to take paternity leave, they will need to tell their employer too – did you know that female partners are also entitled to paternity leave?
What's happening in my body?
You could be starting to get a bit puffy and swollen in your face, hands and feet. This is probably completely harmless and caused by water retention – but do mention it to your midwife or doctor. They will want to check your blood pressure, just in case it's a sign of a dangerous condition called pre-eclampsia. This tends to strike in the second half of pregnancy or after the baby is born. If you get any other signs, such as splitting headaches, vision problems, or pain just below the ribs, then call your doctor, midwife or NHS 111.
Are you burping a lot? It's very common around now. You may also be struggling to eat your usual sized portions.
After eating or drinking you could get:
- Burning in your chest
This is probably indigestion and heartburn. Your digestive problems are caused by your growing baby taking over some of the space where your stomach used to be. Your hormones and loosening muscles are also to blame.
It can help to:
- Eat small meals, so you don't feel stuffed afterwards.
- Eat healthily and avoid rich, spicy and fatty foods.
- Cut back on drinks with caffeine (eg tea, coffee, cola and energy drinks).
- Sit up straight when you eat.
- Give up alcohol and cigarettes. Ask your doctor or midwife to help you quit.
Pregnant and single?
First of all, you're not the only single woman to have a baby, although it may seem that way at times! Around one in four families are headed up by single parents. You may be worried about money or how you'll cope, but there are always people to turn to during pregnancy and beyond. Don't be afraid to ask for help from your friends and family. You can also talk to your doctor or midwife about local support groups. An organisation called Gingerbread can advise you on everything from benefits to childcare. Get more advice on being a single parent on NHS.uk.
Second trimester pregnancy symptoms (at 25 weeks)
Your energy levels could be flagging now, and you might be struggling to digest large meals, as your baby takes over your belly.
This week, your signs of pregnancy could include:
- tiredness and sleeping problems
- stretch marks
- swollen and bleeding gums
- pains on the side of your baby bump, caused by your expanding womb ('round ligament pains')
- indigestion and heartburn
- bloating and constipation
- leg cramps
- feeling hot
- swollen hands and feet
- urine infections
- vaginal infections
- darkened skin on your face or brown patches - this is known as chloasma or the 'mask of pregnancy'
- greasier, spotty skin
- thicker and shinier hair
- symptoms from earlier weeks, caused by pregnancy hormones, such as mood swings, morning sickness, weird pregnancy cravings, a heightened sense of smell, sore or leaky breasts, a white milky pregnancy discharge from your vagina and light spotting (seek medical advice for any bleeding)
Tommy's the baby charity has produced a pregnancy guide with a further list of symptoms.
What does my baby look like?
Your baby, or foetus, is around 34.6cm long from head to heel, and weighs about 660g. That's approximately the size of a head of cauliflower, and the weight of four jacket potatoes.
This is an active time for your baby, who will be throwing some crazy shapes inside you (kicking, punching and doing somersaults). A loud noise could make your baby jump and kick, which shouldn't hurt, but might take you by surprise. You might also feel the occasional hiccup!
Your baby is now weeing into the amniotic fluid. By now, most of the liquid around your baby is urine, which sounds disgusting, but don't knock it, as it's providing cushioning and helping to keep the temperature snug and stable.
Everything's in place now – including the brain, lungs and digestive system – but your bun needs a bit more time in the oven. Don't worry, that's what the next few weeks are all about…
Start thinking a bit more about what you'd ideally like to happen when your baby's born. What kind of pain relief would you like? Who do you want to have with you? You can download an NHS birth plan template which will help you think through some of the big issues.
This week you could also...
It's time to break the news, if you haven't already. The latest you can leave it is 15 weeks before the baby is due, which is around now. As soon as you tell your employer, you will have maternity rights and can attend antenatal appointments during paid work time. You can also ask for a risk assessment of your work place.
It's a good time to tone up those muscles 'down under'. Gentle exercises can help to prevent leakage when you laugh, sneeze, cough or jump around on your baby's future trampoline. Get the muscles going by pretending that you're having a wee and then stop the 'urine' in midflow. Visit Tommys.org for more ideas.
Ask your midwife or doctor about online antenatal classes – they may be able to recommend one. The charity Tommy's has lots of useful information on antenatal classes and preparing you for birth.
Ask your partner if they would like to take part in the antenatal classes. Even if you've had children before, they're still worth going to as you can meet other parents-to-be. The NCT offers online antenatal classes with small groups of people that live locally to you.
We can usually get enough vitamin D from sunlight, but as we are at home a lot more at the moment, you may not be getting enough. If you're pregnant, or breastfeeding, you should consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement. It's worth checking if you're entitled to free vitamins.
Get moving! It's recommended that pregnant women do 150 minutes of exercise throughout the week. You could start off with just 10 minutes of daily exercise - perhaps take a brisk walk outside. Check out Sport England's #StayInWorkOut online exercises (scroll to the pregnancy section). Listen to your body and do what feels right for you.
Don't eat for two! Eat for you. You don't need any extra calories until the third trimester, which starts in week 28. Try and eat healthily with plenty of fresh fruit and veg, and avoid processed, fatty and salty foods. You may be able to get free milk, fruit and veg through the Healthy Start scheme.
How are you today? If you're feeling anxious or low, talk to your doctor or midwife who can point you in the right direction to get all the support you need. You could also discuss your worries with your partner, friends and family. You may be worried about your relationship, or money, or having somewhere permanent to live. Don't bottle it up – you're important, so ask for help if you need it!
Getting pregnant again is probably the last thing on your mind! However now is a good time to start planning what type of contraception you would like to use after your baby is born. Making this decision when you're pregnant will give you one less thing to think about when you're looking after a newborn baby. Getting pregnant again could happen sooner than you realise and too short a gap between babies is known to cause problems. Talk to your GP or midwife to help you decide and get everything in place.
This week's treat
Put your feet up, relax, and come up with a list of baby names that you really like. There are websites where you can tap in your favourite celebrities, books, and films, and out pops a list of suggestions. Or maybe you want to choose a family name, or something that's significant for you and your partner.
Some parents choose 'modern virtue' names such as Faith or Frank, while some names are popular these days for both boys and girls, such as Teddy and Carol. Others get inspiration from space (Lunar), nature (Sage) or books (Hero).
There's plenty of time to talk things over, and if you want to wait until your baby's born, that's fine too. After the birth, you'll have another 42 days to register the name.