Pregnancy: Week 25
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Mom's Pregnancy Changes and Symptoms
At 25 weeks pregnant, you are positively glowing and in the prime of your pregnancy. You'll be measuring bigger, but you're not yet bulky. Your friends and family are probably showering you with plenty of attention. Embrace and love each minute of attention that's being poured on you.
If you have small children at home, they are probably just as eagerly anticipating the arrival of the newest member of the family as you are. Unfortunately, you still have several more weeks to wait, thus many women prefer to hold off having serious conversations with their children until closer to delivery. This is particularly the case with very young children, who may expect the baby to pop right out.
Make sure that you continue to talk to your baby on a regular basis. Your little bundle of joy can hear your voice, and the more that you speak to him or her, the more familiar your voice will be.
Have you started thinking about your labor and delivery? Although you still have 15 weeks to go before your estimated due date, it's never too soon to plan how you want your childbirth to proceed. Begin writing and planning your birth plan. Creating a birth plan can help you feel more prepared for your delivery, and it will nail down specifics on how you want your child's birth to go.
You have already passed the halfway mark of your pregnancy and it's time to start planning for maternity leave. Since your boss and your workplace already know that you're expecting (they can see by that round belly of yours), it's time to discuss the details of your upcoming maternity leave.
Although you are only in the second trimester of pregnancy, it's important to get these details fleshed out early. You want to be prepared for the event that your little one arrives a little early. You never know when you will go into labor in the third trimester. Only around five percent of babies actually arrive on their due dates.
At 25 weeks pregnant, your uterus continues to expand, and your center of gravity shifts upward and out. As a result, you may notice that you don't have the grace or balance that you used to have. Make sure that you're extra careful about where you step. You don't want to accidentally tumble or fall when you're pregnant.
Thicker hair is a common pregnancy experience. Many moms-to-be experience a fuller, thicker head of hair. While you're not actually growing more hair, you are not shedding the hairs you normally would. You can blame hormones for this change. Unfortunately, the same hormones that give you more voluminous hair also contribute to more body hair.
Shortness of breath is a normal sensation now. As your baby grows larger, the uterus places pressure on the wall between your abdomen and lungs. This can make it difficult for your lungs to fully expand, and consequently, you will be taking shallower and more frequent breaths. This is especially true for women carrying high or having twin babies. Feeling short of breath is typically harmless, but it can be a sign of a problem. For example, if your shortness of breath is sudden or severe, you'll want to get medical attention right away. This may be a sign of a serious complication.
Snoring might become a problem. Snoring can affect one-quarter of all pregnant women, especially in the late second and third trimesters. This pregnancy symptom is largely due to congestion (which is relatively common in expecting mothers). Although you can't completely prevent snoring, you may be able to reduce its severity by using a nasal breathe easy strip, sleeping on your left side and propping up your head with pillows.
Tingling and numbness in your hands are signs of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), which is a common problem. CTS is caused by swelling and inflammation of the carpal tunnel in your wrist. Symptoms typically begin or get worse in the second trimester, when you start retaining fluid. Carpal tunnel syndrome typically goes away after you have your baby, when the swelling you experienced in pregnancy disappears.
You continue to grow larger this week, as your baby packs on the pounds. Although your baby puts on a bulk of his weight in the third trimester, you are steadily gaining about a pound a week. Your pregnancy weight gain at 25 weeks pregnant may be around 17 or 18 pounds, if you are a normal-sized woman.
Pregnancy Health Section
Maternity Leave Guidelines
Different companies have different guidelines on maternity leave. Some companies allow their employees to take up to six weeks away from work after the arrival of a new baby. Your company may offer paid maternity leave, or it may offer unpaid leave. Talk to your human resources officer to discuss your individual company's policy.
The Family and Medical Leave Act, allows a pregnant mother or her partner to take up to 12 weeks of leave unpaid in the 12-month period following the birth of their baby. The law states that the employer must reinstate you to the same job or an equivalent job upon your return to work.
If your company doesn’t offer you maternity leave, you may be able to use a combination of short-term disability, personal days, vacation time, and sick leave to take care of your baby.
Learning about maternity leave now is a smart idea, because if your company does not completely cover your salary (most states only cover about 1/2 or 2/3rds of your salary), you can start some financial planning while you're still working.
Sciatica during Pregnancy
As your baby grows larger and the uterus expands to accommodate, you may start to experience pain, pressure, numbness, and/or tingling that starts in your buttocks and radiates down your leg. Sometimes the pain may feel very sharp and intense that it can feel unbearable. Doctors describe this pain as "sciatica."
For some women, sciatica during pregnancy is not a problem, because the pain is mild and doesn't last long. However, for other women, this pain can be excruciatingly painful.
What Causes Pregnancy Sciatica?
Sciatica in pregnancy may be caused by your baby's head resting on the sciatic nerve, located in the lower part of your spine. Once your baby changes position, the sciatica pain will disappear.
Hip Pain in Pregnancy
At 25 weeks pregnant, you may also experience general hip pain, due to the softening of your pelvic bones ligaments and the pressure of a rapidly expanding uterus.
Although hip pain and sciatica shouldn't cause you any concern, you may want to mention these symptoms at your next doctor's appointment.
Tips to Relieve Sciatica and Hip Pain
When sciatica or hip pain strikes, you may want to try the following techniques to help get some relief:
- To reduce the pressure in your leg, sit back and prop your feet up. Try to prop your feet above your heart to reduce discomfort.
- Use a heating pad to the affected muscles.
- Sleep on a firm mattress.
- Avoid rapid movements, or lots of bending, because these can place extra pressure on the nerves in your body.
- When sleeping, make sure to side sleep and use a full body pillow, so that you can rest comfortably.
Though sciatica and hip pain are uncomfortable, these symptoms will subside shortly after your deliver your baby.
Between 24 and 28 weeks pregnant, you will undergo a routine glucose screening test for gestational diabetes - a high blood sugar condition that occurs during pregnancy. It's estimated that between 3 and 5 percent of pregnant women will develop this condition.
Complications from Gestational Diabetes
Doctors recommend that all pregnant women get screened for gestational diabetes so that you can reduce your risk of complications. Gestational diabetes puts you at increased risk of:
- Delivering a large baby (a baby that weighs over 9 pounds)
- Pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure and protein in the urine)
- Physical trauma to mom or baby during delivery, due to the larger size of the baby
- An increased risk of delivering via c-section
You may undergo a glucose screening test anytime between 24 and 28 weeks. However, in some cases, you may be screened earlier in your pregnancy if you are at risk of developing the condition.
Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes
You may be at risk for getting gestational diabetes if you have a history of gestational diabetes in previous pregnancies, you are obese, you have levels of glucose (sugar) in your urine, or if you have a family history of diabetes.
Glucose Screening Tests
A glucose screening test will not diagnose you with gestational diabetes. It only identifies whether or not you may have a problem with your blood sugar levels. A positive result doesn't mean that you have the Diabetes. In fact, only about one-third of women who receive a positive result from the test actually have the Gestational Diabetes.
During a glucose screening test, you will be asked to drink 50 grams of a glucose solution, which often tastes like a special orange or cola drink. You must drink all of the solution within several minutes. Afterwards, you wait around for an hour. Then, your blood will be drawn to measure your blood sugar level. If your blood sugar levels are considered high (over 130 to 140 mg/dL), you will undergo further testing to see if you have gestational diabetes.
What Happens if You Get an Abnormal Result?
If you receive an abnormal result at your glucose screening test, you will have to take another test, called an oral glucose tolerance test. You will be required to fast (abstain from eating) for this test, which takes three hours to complete.
During an oral glucose tolerance test, you will drink 100 grams of a glucose solution, and your blood will be taken after one hour, two hours, and three hours. If your doctor diagnoses you with gestational diabetes, he or she will give you recommendations on how to manage your condition to avoid complications.
Gestational Diabetes Recurrence in Future Pregnancies
Pregnant women with gestational diabetes have a one-third to two-third risk of getting the condition again in future pregnancies. You are also at increased risk of getting type 2 diabetes later in your life.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that women with a history of gestational diabetes undergo testing for type 2 diabetes every three years after pregnancy.
Growth and Development of Baby
Fat continues to be laid down in your baby's body, and his arms and legs look more rounded than in previous weeks of your pregnancy!
Be careful of loud noises this week. Your little one's hearing is acute now, and loud noises may startle him.
Your baby is often yawning now. Although researchers are not sure why babies yawn so much in utero, they hypothesize that yawning may help regulate the amount of fluid or blood flow in the baby's lungs.
Your baby's capillaries are also forming this week. Capillaries are the tiny blood vessels that move blood from the heart to tissues in the body. Also air sacs and blood vessels in your baby's lungs will develop, getting him or her ready for that first breath.
At this point in your pregnancy, your baby's temperature is well regulated by the blood flow through the umbilical cord and placenta.
So far in your pregnancy, your little one's nostrils have been plugged up, but they are now beginning to open.
With the advances in technology, if your baby were to be born early now, he or she has up to an 82 percent chance of survival with aggressive NICU treatment.