You have now entered the seventh month of your pregnancy and the first month of the third trimester. So, just 13 more weeks left till you get to meet your baby. In the meantime, maintain a healthy lifestyle, follow a nutritious diet and watch out for any warning signs.
The brain and nervous system continues to grow and control the fetal organs and activities. One important change this week is the development of the characteristic grooves or channels on the surface of the brain as the brain tissues are forming .
The fetal lungs are quite mature by this week, practicing breathing in and out amniotic fluid . Although your baby would have about 90% chances of survival if you were to give birth this week , he would need to spend several weeks in the neonatal intensive care as the lungs are still not able to function on their own. The fetal heartbeat is now strong enough to be heard by your partner by placing his ears to your belly .
In a male fetus, the testes descend into the scrotum this week, while a female fetus develops all the follicles in the growing ovaries .
His appearance already resembles what he is going to look like after birth, only much bigger and plumper . Your baby’s skin is turning opaque as the fat layers continue to form and prepare for regulating his body temperature once he enters the world outside your womb .
The developing network of auditory nerves enables the baby to hear and recognize both his parents’ voices. However, all the sounds he hears now are muffled due to the vernix caseosa covering the ears. The fetal taste buds are also fully developed with their number being higher at this stage than it will be after birth .
Your little one can now open those tiny eyes  and might even respond to startling noises with a few blinks . The part of the brain responsible for vision becomes active around the 27th week with all the principal eye structures in place, enabling your baby to make out his surroundings (vaguely) .
Babies develop a specific sleep-and-wake cycle by the 26th-27th week, with most babies becoming more active at night, often between 9 pm and 1 am , when you try to get some sleep. Like newborn infants, babies in the womb get relaxed and sleepy by rocking. All your movements and activities during daytime feel like gentle rocking to your baby floating in amniotic fluid, lulling him to sleep. However at night, when you are resting, your baby wakes up because he cannot feel the rhythmic movement anymore .
Usually, the fetal movement increases after you drink something cold or eat something spicy or sweet (as your baby can now taste the foods through the amniotic fluid) as well as after you work out . If you feel rhythmic small movements that last for a few minutes at a time, your baby is probably hiccupping. Hiccups occur due to involuntary movements of the fetal diaphragm as his lungs mature . Having spicy foods might also trigger hiccups in your little one; but, they are in no way annoying to him.
The baby is now as big as the head of a cauliflower , measuring around 14.5 inches (36.83 cm) from crown to ankle, weighing about 2 pounds (907 gm) .
Your belly is now as big as a basketball and growing every week to accommodate your baby as he experiences his growth spurt .
Swelling or edema of your legs might get worse in the third trimester due to fluid retention, increased blood volume and the growing uterus putting pressure on the vena cava (the nerve that carries blood from the lower body back to the heart), slowing down the blood flow . Fluid retention in your arms and wrist might lead to swelling of the carpal tunnel, pressing on the nerves, causing numbness and tingling sensations in your hands (carpal tunnel syndrome) .
An ultrasound performed this week will show your baby kicking, punching, yawning, sucking on those little thumbs or even blinking his tiny eyes.
Routine prenatal visits to your doctor now involve weekly diabetes and blood pressure checks. Women found to be Rh-negative in previous pregnancies are usually examined for Rh antibodies around the 27th week. An anti-D injection can be administered to fight the incompatibility and ascertain proper fetal health. A repeat injection might be offered during the 34th week .
In a twin pregnancy, the babies are viewed separately on ultrasound so your doctor can better check their growth and health or detect any problem. The amniotic fluid levels are assessed while the relative size and growth rate of the babies are evaluated as well.
Published on July 31st 2014 by Pregmed Editorial Team.
Article was last reviewed on 13th August 2014.