Your Pregnancy: Week 25
Your belly might be going through some rather unpleasant changes. While this doesn’t happen to every woman, you might start to see stretch marks as the skin accommodates your new resident. Stretch marks occur when the elastin in your skin can’t expand fast enough (a good reason to keep moisturized!), resulting in damage to the collagen below. The marks usually start off red or light pink, and eventually fade to white scars and/or pocked skin. Although the appearance will look better with time, you’ll most likely have these badges of motherhood forever.
There’s no proof that special lotions work to prevent them (although staying moisturized won’t hurt), and it’s believed to be genetic. You also have a higher chance of stretch marks if you’re carrying multiples or put on weight fast. So drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and exercise to moderate your weight gain.
As your stomach continues to stretch (and believe us, it will get bigger), you most likely will experience itchy skin. The itchiness is a consequence of your stretched abdominal skin and muscles, but can be relieved with cooling lotions. If the itching is particularly severe, talk to your doctor about taking an antihistamine.
On the fence about banking your child’s cord blood or donating to a public bank? Discuss the pros and cons with your doctor and family members before shelling out the cash for private banking.
Familiar with the “doula” profession? If not, research this potentially helpful option. If you and your partner decide to use one, start interviewing local doulas.
Register for baby shower gifts and/or start shopping for the baby. Shower invites can be sent out around now as well – which you can politely hint at if the shower-planning festivities are out of your hands.
Update your 401K and retirement beneficiaries.
This is a pretty big week for your baby’s nose and vocal cords. The nostrils are starting to open up now (they were plugged up before) so your baby will be taking some practice “breaths.” And since the vocal cords are officially functioning, prepare to feel a few hiccups here and there!
Advice from Dr. Shari E. Brasner
Premature delivery is something that all obstetricians work to avoid and something that I was quite afraid of myself when I was pregnant. If there is some inkling that a baby is going to arrive early – indicated either by the onset of premature labor or a past premature delivery – there are specific actions that can be taken to improve the outcome. One of the most powerful weapons in the obstetrician’s arsenal is to give a patient drugs known as antenatal steroids. Steroids have been shown to speed up fetal lung maturity. Steroids don’t seem to do any harm, and in fact those babies whose mothers were treated with steroids experience a lower rate of respiratory distress. If you have a risk factor for premature delivery, I strongly urge you to talk to your doctor about the possibility of receiving steroids.”
Babble recommends Dr. Brasner’s pregnancy book, Advice from a Pregnant Obstetrician.
Mom-To-Mom Advice: The Birth of a Baby Has Been Formally Celebrated Throughout History
Historians believe that ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all held parties coinciding with childbirth, but the baby shower as we know it today was popularized in the 1950s. In the atomic explosion of consumerism, the shower morphed from a ritual rite of passage to a way of “showering” mothers-to-be with stuff. It’s interesting to look at how this practice coincides with our reliance on products rather than the community support that used to be common.
Until relatively recently, celebrations were reserved for after the baby’s birth, most likely due to the sad reality of high infant mortality rates. Although odds are now remarkably good, some women still feel a bit skittish about literally counting their chickens before they’re hatched. The baby shower is frowned upon in some communities, who see any visible signs of preparation as a kind of tempting of fate.
But showers have become fairly ubiquitous, and women are often encouraged to accept any offers, if only to check off some of the many items on their must-buy list. But while a closet full of crib sheets makes some women feel prepared, others might feel overwhelmed. In some cases this can be related to the aforementioned superstition, in others it can just be about the onslaught of products and the upcoming onslaught they represent. Showers, especially traditional ones, can also bring up some issues about how a baby might change your milieu or even personality.
There’s also the matter of the feelings of whoever might want to throw you a shower. A baby is a big event for close friends and family, and it’s hard to say no when someone wants to throw you a party. There is something to be said for having others help you out with the heavy financial burden of baby prep. Lots of people depend on community dollars to help lay the nest (and buy the good stroller).
Ask yourself if a shower appeals to you. If so, great. If not, you can either skip it altogether or come up with the kind of celebration that makes sense to you. All kinds of interesting things can be done with baby showers. They can be co-ed, family affairs, work parties, nursery-painting parties, hosted by the couple themselves, etc. You can also pass on the party but still register or let family members know what you need. There’s something to celebrate and booty to gain – if and how you go about it is up to you.
Babble recommends From the Hips, by Rebecca Odes and Ceridwen Morris.