27th – Twenty-seventh week of pregnancy

You have entered the seventh month and the first month of the third trimester of your pregnancy. So there are only thirteen weeks left until you meet your baby. In the meantime, it’s important that you continue to maintain a healthy lifestyle, get moderate but constant exercise, eat a nutritious diet, and watch out for any warning signs.

At this point it is good practice to have all the clinical documentation concerning the pregnancy ready, from the first tests to the  first ultrasounds  and up to the last checks. Commonly, between the 24th and 28th week, mothers are offered a screening for gestational diabetes. If diabetes is confirmed, you will be referred to a doctor or nutritionist for appropriate support. Also in these weeks, RH-negative mothers will be tested to avoid developing antibodies against their baby during childbirth.

So also to start thinking about filling the “birth bag” with everything you will need on the day of delivery and the subsequent stay in hospital.

Baby’s development at 27 weeks

The development of the brain

The brain and nervous system of the fetus continue to grow, which continue inside the belly to control the functioning of its organs, and the activities it carries out.

An important change this week is the development of the characteristic grooves and canals on the surface of the brain due to the formation of nerve tissue.

The development of internal organs

By this week, the fetus’s lungs have become larger, and they are able to inhale and exhale amniotic fluid.

If your baby were born this week, they would have an 80% chance of surviving, but they would have to spend several weeks in the NICU as their lungs are not yet able to function normally on their own.

The fetal heartbeat is now loud enough for your partner to hear when they put their ear to your tummy.

In this week, the testicles of the male fetus descend into the scrotum, while the female fetus develops all the follicles inside her growing ovaries.

The outward appearance

The baby’s outward appearance already looks like it will after birth, only then it will be much bigger and plumper.

The skin of the fetus is becoming duller as the layers of fat continue to form, layers that prepare to regulate its body temperature outside the uterus once the baby enters the world.

The development of the sensory organs

The development of its auditory nerve network allows the baby to hear and recognize the voices of both its parents.

However, all sounds he perceives are still muffled due to the vernix that coats his ears.

Even the fetal taste buds are fully developed: in this phase there are more of them than in the postpartum period.

Your little one is now able to open his eyes, and may even react to alarming noises by repeatedly blinking.

Around the twenty-seventh week, all its main optical structures are in place: that part of the brain that is responsible for vision is now active to the point of enabling it to vaguely distinguish what is around it.

The movements of the fetus

Around the  twenty-sixth  / twenty-seventh week, babies develop their own specific sleep-wake rhythm: most of them are more active in their mother’s tummy at night, often between nine in the evening and one in the morning, just when the mother is trying to sleep.

In the same way as newborn babies, by rocking they relax and fall asleep. It is no coincidence that the rocking chair for babies is one of those furnishing accessories that is rarely missing in a child’s bedroom.

All the movements and activities you do during the day are perceived by your baby, immersed in the amniotic fluid, as a gentle rocking and this makes him fall asleep.

At night, however, when you are resting, the child wakes up because he no longer feels those rhythmic movements.

Usually the movements of the fetus increase,

  • after you’ve had a cold drink,
  • after you have eaten something spicy or sweet (through the amniotic fluid, the baby is also able to taste the food you consume),
  • so does it after you exercise.

If, on the other hand, you hear small rhythmic movements that last a few minutes each time, it probably means that the baby has hiccups: these hiccups are due to involuntary movements of the fetal diaphragm caused by the maturation of his lungs.

Even the spicy foods you eat could trigger hiccups in your little one: however, hiccups are not annoying for him.

how big is your baby

Now the baby is the size of the head of a cauliflower: from head to toe it measures about 36 centimeters, and weighs about 900 grams.

The changes in the woman’s body

Your tummy is now the size of a basketball, and it continues to grow week by week to match your baby’s growth.

In the  third trimester  the swelling or edema in the woman’s legs could also worsen due to the effect,

  • fluid retention,
  • the increase in blood volume,
  • of the growing uterus which puts pressure on the vena cava (the vein that carries blood from the lower body to the heart), slowing blood flow.

Fluid retention could lead to swelling of the carpal tunnel: in fact, pressing on the nerves produces numbness and tingling in the hands (carpal tunnel syndrome).

The ultrasound this week

Ultrasounds done this week show a baby kicking, punching, yawning, sucking his thumbs and even blinking.

In the case of a  twin pregnancy  , the babies are examined separately with an ultrasound, so as to better monitor their growth and health, and to better identify any problems they may have.

On this occasion, the levels of amniotic fluid, the measures of the baby, the rhythm of its growth are also evaluated.

Symptoms in the 27th week

During this week you can have,

  • frequent urination due to the pressure the baby puts on your bladder;
  • shortness of breath and pain under the ribs
  • joint pain in the thighs, hips and back;
  • bloating, indigestion and bloating;
  • a constipation,
  • Braxton contractions, or false contractions
  • itchy skin especially around the belly, back and breasts;
  • leg cramps;
  • varicose veins and hemorrhoids;
  • strange and vivid dreams (probably due to increased hormone levels although – it should be noted – doctors are still trying to understand the cause);
  • pain in the pelvic girdle (or pelvic girdle) and tailbone;
  • a dysfunction of the symphysis pubis (fibro-cartilaginous joint located in the center of the pelvis);
  • of pains in the round ligament of the uterus;
  • sleep disturbances (insomnia);
  • hot flashes alternating with shivering;
  • restless legs syndrome;
  • swollen and bleeding gums;
  • food cravings ;
  • mood swings;
  • a stuffy nose and/or sore throat.

Symptoms to pay particular attention to

Pay particular attention to any of the following symptoms:

  • frequent contractions associated with a change in secretions, vaginal bleeding, menstrual-like cramps, feeling of pressure in the pelvic area, back pain, loose and copious, watery and clear secretions (may be signs of a premature birth);
  • burning or pain when urinating, foul-smelling, gelatinous and yellowish or thick and white discharge, lower back pain, abdominal pain, fever, chills and nausea, as these may indicate a kidney infection, gastrointestinal tract infection urinary tract, or candidiasis;
  • extreme fatigue and lightheadedness, associated with blurry vision, persistent headaches , feeling short of breath, upper abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, sudden swelling of hands, feet and face, all of which could indicate hypertension;
  • copious watery, yellowish or clear discharge, which could be amniotic fluid leakage;
  • extreme thirst and too frequent urination with or without sudden changes in vision, excessive tiredness and intense nausea which could indicate gestational diabetes;
  • severe nausea, vomiting and diarrhea lasting more than 24 hours;
  • no fetal movement for more than 4-5 hours.

Useful tips for a healthy pregnancy and baby

Here are some tips that will certainly be useful.

  • In recent years, as in other countries – in relation to all Rh negative women – the practice (suggested by the Ministry of Health in its Guidelines for physiological pregnancy ) of carrying out a “routine ” already during the 28/30th week. This is because it has been found that, already in the third trimester (i.e. before giving birth), a substantial number of primiparas manufacture antibodies against the blood of their – possibly – RH positive child.
  • Follow a diet that includes foods that contain large amounts of iron, protein, vitamins A, B, C and D: fruit and vegetables, such as currants, oranges, avocados, spinach, curly kale; and also lean meat, fish, etc.;
  • Going to sleep at the same time every day and avoiding watching television or using the computer immediately before going to bed can help you better manage any sleep disturbances.
  • If you have trouble sleeping, avoiding afternoon naps may help.
  • When lying down, keep your hands raised above the rest of your body to drain excess fluids and reduce swelling and numbness.
  • Consult your doctor about the reliability of any physical therapy given by someone qualified to treat pelvic pain, back pain and edema.
  • Continue to follow a healthy diet in order to avoid excessive weight gain: now you only need 300 additional calories a day for your baby to receive the necessary nourishment: 500-600 calories instead if you are carrying twins;
  • Talk to your doctor or midwife about the possible risks of a premature birth and whether to take preventative measures.
  • This is particularly true in the case of a multiple pregnancy (because twin pregnancies have a higher risk of preterm birth).

Katherine Johnson, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with clinical expertise in general obstetrics and gynecology, family planning, women’s health, and gynecology.

She is affiliated with the Obstetrics and Gynecology division at an undisclosed healthcare institution and the online platform, Maternicity.com.

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