25 weeks pregnant
The end of the second trimester is fast approaching, but, if you’ve been lucky, you might still have been feeling pretty good these last few weeks. Make the most of every moment – not many women make it through the whole 40 weeks without the odd niggle or irritation.
Your baby at 25 weeks
Your baby is becoming more and more capable by the day. This week, his brain is developing rapidly and he becomes able to control some of the things we do all the time, such as breathing in a regular way. He’s also becoming a lot more ‘bouncing’, too, thwacking on the weight at an impressive rate and starting to become more bonny, less scrawny.
Here are some of the highlights from week 25:
- He'll be able to open and close his eyelids and will be more sensitive to bright light, especially if it's close to your body, because the retina – the part of the eye that responds to light – is developing now.
- His spine (which already has 150 joints and is incredibly supple) is getting stronger as the joints, ligaments and bones that protect the spinal column with all its nerves are developing more fully.
- Your baby will also be developing proper swallowing reflexes, so for example, swallowing when something gets to the back of his throat rather than just swallowing because he can, or as practice for when he breaks out of there in 15 weeks’ time.
- The spleen is producing white blood cells to fight off infections.
- He will be getting more and more cuddly as he continues to store fat under his skin. At this stage, less than 4% of his body weight will be made up of fat. However, his head will, more or less, be in proportion to his body.
- You will feel your baby’s movements more strongly now. A well-aimed unexpected kick (and they are always unexpected) can really make you jump. Then there’s that toe-curlingly uncomfortable feeling you might experience in a few weeks when he manages to wedge a tiny foot between two of your ribs. Eeeeeeeeee!
- He is developing a sense of balance and already has a ‘righting reflex’, which means he knows where he ‘should be’ so if you move suddenly, turning him upside down, he might right himself again.
- He has a good response to movement, and enjoys the feeling of motion, which may explain why after he's born you’ll be able to comfort him by rocking.
What size is the baby at 25 weeks?
This week, your baby is 34.6cm from head to heel and weighs about 660g – approximately the same as a swede.
How is your body changing at 25 weeks pregnant?
At week 25, if you're lucky, you will be feeling pretty tip-top, be patting your bump fondly and not feel too physically inconvenienced.
If you haven't already, you should start to bloom as pregnancy hormones make your skin plump and rosy and your hair thick and glossy. If you're lucky, pregnancy can give you the equivalent of a facelift for five months – if you ignore the black shadows under the eyes from interrupted sleep.
That’s not to say this stage of pregnancy is all roses, however. At some stage, carrying a growing baby that kicks your bladder and bowels, and increasingly presses up against your ribcage and lungs is going to begin to feel ‘inconvenient’, at the very least. Comfort yourself with the thought that at least right now you know where the little monkey is… Something you won’t be able to guarantee a year from now.
Pregnancy symptoms in week 25
Here are just some of the changes you can expect in week 25.
If you’ve never before experienced cramp in your calf before, you’re in for a shock. During pregnancy, you can suddenly feel as though your lower leg has been clamped in a vice. Leg cramps are painful spasms in your calf. It isn't clear what causes them, although it's definitely a good idea not to point your toes in bed, as this seems to bring it on.
Some people suggest reaching for milk (for the calcium it contains) or a banana (for the potassium) can help, but it isn't really clear if a shortage of these minerals is to blame or not.
Once you have cramp you need to stretch the muscle by firmly flexing your ankle up towards you. Standing on a cold floor also seems to help. If you’re being struck down by it regularly, it’s worth having a word with your doctor.
If you are heavily pregnant in summer, then sod’s law dictates: It Shalt Be A Scorcher. Your metabolism has got much faster so you are expending more energy than usual and this makes you warmer. During pregnancy your body is about half a degree higher than normal anyway, and once you add in the extra blood volume and additional weight you’re carrying, it’s all suddenly rather hot and bothersome.
Half a degree might not sound like a lot but is enough for you to really feel it. Drink enough water (a little bit more than just quenching your thirst but you don't need to be necking extra litres), wear loose, cotton clothes that are breathable, have showers (not freezing, just lukewarm) if you’re feeling really warm and maybe even go for a swim – exercise in pregnancy is always a bonus anyway.
On really hot days try to stick to the shade and keep as cool as possible. Sunbathing is up there on the list of pregnancy no-nos, too. Lower the blinds, switch on a fan and take to your bed – it might be your last chance for an undisturbed siesta for a while anyway.
Things to think about during week 25 of pregnancy
You might be blooming, but don’t get too complacent, there. Particularly if you had any weaknesses or pain in your hips or back pre-pregnancy, it’s worth being ready for any related problems that might crop up now.
Coping with pelvic girdle pain
With a bit of luck you won’t be struck down by PGP (pelvic girdle pain) but it’s worth knowing the symptoms and risk factors just in case. It’s also often known as symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD). Whatever name it goes by, it bloody hurts.
It can start any time in your pregnancy and usually causes pubic pain and tenderness, difficulty walking – especially going up stairs – getting up from a chair, or if you lift something heavy (like a toddler). It can hurt when you roll over in bed, make you waddle when you walk and give you lower back pain and knee pain, too.
The symptoms are partly caused by the hormone relaxin softening the pelvic ligaments. There are other factors, however, such as your pelvic floor muscles being stretched and less effective at supporting your pelvis, and the pelvic joint at the front of the pelvis widening in pregnancy – although the amount of widening is not directly related to pelvic pain. If you have had lower back pain or pelvic pain before pregnancy, you have an increased risk of developing pelvic girdle pain.
Should you be affected, special exercises from a physiotherapist can help, as can a pelvic support belt – speak to your GP about both of those.
This condition will not affect your ability to give birth safely but you can make it a more comfortable experience by moving within your pain limits and exercising gently in water – avoid breaststroke with its froggy leg movements, though. The pain should disappear a few weeks after birth. But it can be really miserable and overshadow your pregnancy, so make sure you get physiotherapy help and advice. No point suffering in silence.