The spine continues to strengthen in the 25th week of gestation. When complete, the spine will be made up of 1000 ligaments, 150 joints, and 33 rings. The process seems complicated, but the female body has all the instructions down pat. Lungs also continue to grow with blood vessel winding through lung tissue. The nostrils have been closed to this point, but now they start to open just a bit.
The abdomen is now about the size of a soccer ball. While many outsiders think the growing pregnancy belly is cute, you may feel a bit different. The pressure on ligaments, lower back muscles, and joints all create pain on a regular basis. Resting regularly and taking warm baths may help to ease the pain a bit.
While the body and fetus still have 15 weeks of growth, in some cases the uterus decides it is time to start labor before the fetus is ready. This is called preterm labor. Preterm labor is especially dangerous for pregnant women carrying multiples. The most common signs of preterm labor include period-like cramping, pressure in the pelvic region, and contractions of the uterus.
At the prenatal visit
A glucose challenge test is usually done between 24 and 28 weeks to screen for diabetes.
As the pregnancy grows closer to the third trimester, pregnant women often start thinking about how long they will work outside the home until taking off for maternity leave. There are several options available for maternity leave through small and large companies. Some will allow pregnant employees to work from home while others pay workers during maternity leave.
If dad works outside the home, the time has come to starting planning out how work will proceed after the baby is born. Dad may be able to take time off thanks to the Family Medical Leave Act, but not every company will qualify so it is important to ask. If finances require Dad to continue working immediately after birth, some employers will allow employees to work from home or change scheduled times to support mom and baby.
Tips for this week
Keep attending prenatal classes including lactation classes if breastfeeding. Reading is another pastime that provides some support for expectant women. Some women also feel comfortable joining a local parenting group and meeting to discuss parenting trials and tribulations.