Month 7: Weeks 25-28

Doctor visits

Female doctor examining pregnant womanYou will undergo several important tests during this month’s visit. These tests will help your doctor identify potentially dangerous conditions that could cause problems for you or your baby. 

Fetal kick count 

Fetal kick count is a method of measuring your baby’s movement. 

  • You should time how long it takes to feel 10 kicks, flutters, swishes or rolls. 
  • You want to feel at least 10 movements within two hours. 
  • Many women feel 10 movements in much less than two hours. 

Glucose challenge testing

This test is usually done within weeks 26–28, although your doctor may have done it earlier if she had some reason to think you are a candidate for gestational diabetes. You will drink a full glass of a sweet glucose solution one hour before having some blood drawn. After one hour, if your blood work shows elevated levels of glucose, it’s possible that not enough insulin is being produced to process the extra glucose. For more information about gestational diabetes and glucose testing, go to www.uamshealth.com/healthlibrary/Default.aspx?ContentTypeId=85&ContentId....

Rh antibody testing

Your doctor will test your blood to check for Rh incompatibility, a very serious but treatable condition in which a baby’s blood type and Rh factor are incompatible with the mother’s. If you’re Rh negative, you’ll need an Rh immune globulin injection before delivery.

Your baby 

Month 7 baby progress illustrationBy the end of the seventh month, your baby weighs around 2 pounds and is about 10 inches long. You may notice he has developed a sleep pattern. Babies in the womb usually sleep for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. His hands are fully developed and functional; he has fingerprints and footprints; and his eyes are beginning to open and close. Although his brain is developing rapidly, his lungs, liver and immune system need more time to develop before delivery. 

Do your Kegel exercises every day

Kegels are a simple exercise to increase circulation and strengthen and tone muscles, which can help your body prepare for labor and recover after you give birth.

To do Kegels:

  • Firmly tense the muscles around the vagina and anus
  • Hold them as long as possible
  • Slowly release the muscles

For a complete discussion of Kegel exercises for women and how to do them correctly, go to www.mayoclinic.com/health/kegel-exercises/WO00119.

Inducing birth before 39 weeks is not OK!

Too often the decision to induce labor or deliver by C-section before a woman reaches 39 weeks is made for the convenience of the mother or doctor. Convenience (or impatience) is not a good enough reason to sacrifice the life of your baby or his long-term health. Unless you’re having twins or triplets, or there’s a medically indicated reason to deliver early, don’t even think about it! Cutting your pregnancy short can have very serious, even fatal, consequences for your baby. Babies born before 39 weeks are more likely to have vision and hearing problems after birth and need special medical care. And because brain development is not complete, they are at higher risk for learning and behavioral problems later. For more information on the dangers of premature birth, go to www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/getready_atleast39weeks.html.

Preterm labor

Preterm labor means you go into labor before the 37th week of pregnancy. Preterm labor can lead to preterm birth. Death and serious, long-term illness are often seen when babies are born too early. Be alert to signs of preterm labor.

Call your doctor immediately or go to a hospital emergency room if any of the following signs appear before the 37th week:

  • Uterus or womb tightens or gets hard every 10 minutes or less. (This may be painless, or it may feel like the womb is tightening or the baby is curling up into a ball.)
  • Period-like cramps felt in lower abdomen; may come and go or be constant.
  • Low, dull backache felt below waist; may come and go or be constant.
  • Pressure that feels like the baby is pushing down; pressure comes and goes.
  • Stomach cramping with or without diarrhea.
  • Vaginal discharge increases or changes into watery or light bloody discharge.
  • Bladder or kidney infection.

Premature birth 

A birth is considered “premature” when the baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy have been completed. This is a serious complication. It happens most often with twins, triplets and other multiple deliveries. 

Premature (also called preterm) babies are born before their brains and their digestive and respiratory systems are developed enough to survive outside of the womb. They need special care and will stay in the hospital for a few days or weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Premature babies require special care, so it would be a good idea to read up on how to care for your premature baby. If you would like to know more, the March of Dimes, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Pediatrics are excellent sources of information on preterm labor and birth.

 

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