You're almost at the end of your second trimester now, just another couple of weeks to go before you're there. While you may have been feeling lively and full of energy at the start of your second trimester, now you're near the end you may be feeling more tired and sluggish as your baby grows bigger and puts more strain on your body.
If you've got a rhesus negative blood type, you may be offered an anti-d shot this week to protect you and your baby should any blood pass between the two of you during labor. You may also be offered a further shot at 34 weeks, although not all hospitals find this necessary.
Baby: What's Happening?
It's a big week for your baby this week as the eyes finally begin to open. Until now, the eyes have been fused shut and have been busy developing, but now they're ready to see the world. Unfortunately for your baby, he or she isn't met with much of a view in your uterus! However, your baby will be able to better sense light and dark, and may react to a torch shining on your belly. Once your baby arrives, his or her eyesight will be much the same as it is now, they won't be able to see much for a while, but may react to flashing lights and bold colors.
Your baby is continuing to put on weight, and grow in length, and is likely to weigh somewhere between 1.5 and 2 lbs, and measure roughly 14 inches from head to toe. He or she will be nicely curled up in there so will actually be taking up much less space than that, but to you they might seem massive! Your baby's lungs are perfecting their processes and, with assistance, your baby should be able to breathe if born now. It's best if he or she stays put for a while longer, though.
If you're having a baby boy, he goes through some rather manly changes this week as his testicles descend into the scrotum. The process takes a few days and is the final step towards development of the genetalia. If you're having a baby girl, all her bits and pieces will already be in place - after all, girls do tend to mature quicker than boys!
You: What's Happening?
With your uterus now measuring about 26 cm, or just over 10 inches, you're probably starting to notice than your center of gravity has changed dramatically. In fact, you've probably been aware of it well before now! This could cause some backache which isn't pleasant, but it's a normal part of the late second/early third trimester.
As bizarre as it may seem, you could find that your teeth and gums are much more sensitive than usual, and they may bleed when you brush. Don't worry, if you've been looking after your mouth well then you probably don't have gum disease; it's more likely to be a symptom of pregnancy. You've got much more blood in your system so you can nourish your baby, and more blood means more blood vessels. Those in your gums are especially vulnerable. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider as some countries offer free dental care for pregnant women.
With your third trimester approaching, you may be feeling a bit more stressed, anxious or generally just a little "on edge" about the birth, especially if you're expecting twins or multiples who may be delivered within the next few weeks. It's normal to be feeling this way. Try a mommy-to-be massage, or take up an antenatal exercise class to help with relaxation.
If you need to go for an anti-d shot and you're worried, there's no harm in taking someone with you! Grab your partner, your Mom, your friend, whoever! The shot itself is usually given in the arm or the bum, and shouldn't hurt too much, but taking an over-the-counter painkiller beforehand may help manage any lingering aches.
Once you've had your shot, don't go racing out of the hospital. Hang around for a while, stop for a coffee or a snack. Anti-d shots are comprised of human blood product, and while there's rarely any issues, there is a chance that you could experience a bad reaction. Stay close by for 15 minutes and if you feel fine, then you can get on your way. If you feel a bit "off", if you're warm or sweaty or dizzy, get yourself checked over.
Be sure to make a note of when you had your anti-d shot, especially if you give blood regularly (which is very important if you're rhesus negative!). You should be fine to give blood within 6-12 months after giving birth, but as you will have received human blood product, be sure to make this known, and state the date you received it.