At a glance:
- Your baby is preparing to breath
- You may start having piles
- You must inform your employer that you are pregnant
What’s happening to your baby
Your baby will measure approximately 30cm and weight about 1lb 5oz – he’ll continue to put on about 3-3½ ounces per week until full term. Your baby’s lungs are maturing every day and they begin to produce a substance called surfactant, which helps to keep the alveoli (tiny air sacs in the lung) open.
When he takes his first breath after he’s born, it helps to stop them collapsing, and your baby will practise the breathing action while he’s in the womb – moving his chest up and down and exhaling amniotic fluid.
Even though your baby is still tiny and developing, he has now reached a stage of potential viability – which basically means he may be able to survive outside the womb if he’s born early. He would of course have to stay in a special neonatal ventilator, but after 24 weeks, his arrival will be registered as an official birth. Read more to understand the risks and signs of premature labour.
What’s happening to you
Oh, it’s not something you really want to think about, but unfortunately, piles – or haemorrhoids as your doctor would call them – are common in pregnancy. They’re basically varicose veins in your bottom. Like the veins in your legs, the ones in your bottom can stretch so that blood starts to collect in them, causing pain and swelling.
The reason they’re so common in pregnancy? It’s down to those pesky hormones, again – they can sluggish digestion and constipation, meaning you strain when you go to the loo, putting extra pressure on the veins around your bottom. You may notice itchy bumps around your anus and bright, red blood in the toilet bowl and on the loo paper.
Piles can be treated easily with haemorrhoid creams to numb the pain and itching, so book an appointment with your GP for advice.
What you may consider doing
Also, if you haven’t told them already your employer must be informed that you are pregnant now – this is known as the notification week, or the 15th week prior to the week your baby is due. You’ll probably have told your line manager before this point, especially if you’ve been taking time off for antenatal appointments.
Image courtesy of Your Pregnancy Day-By-Day by Professor Stuart Campbell, published by Carroll & Brown, £9.99