Pregnancy Calendar: 27 Weeks Pregnant

How big is baby? As you enter your third trimester, baby has become big enough to measure in his or her entirety, from head to toe. Crown-to-rump length is about 9.66 inches (24 cm), and total length is 14.33 inches (36 cm). Little one weighs a bit more than 2 pounds (875 g).

What’s new this week? If you have not already, you may start experiencing leg cramps. These painful aches occur most often in the calves and, unfortunately, make their appearance most often in the night.

What’s next? You should be feeling baby moving now! Your medical care provider may ask you to perform kick count tests every now and then to ensure baby remains active.

Baby is growing and dancing in your belly! But pregnancy symptoms like leg cramps may have you dancing during the night, too, but not in a joyous way. Find out what the start of your third trimester brings.

What’s happening with my baby?

Baby’s eyes are developing and can now sense bright light. Specifically, the retina, the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye, is forming. Once the retina “receives” light, it transmits it to the brain for interpretation. This is what we consider “sight.”

If you or your partner shines a bright flashlight at your tummy, you may feel baby react as he or she senses the change.

Leg Cramps During Pregnancy

Unfortunately, the medical community still is not sure what causes leg cramps during pregnancy. These involuntary contractions can be extremely painful. While they occur most often at night, there are steps you can take during the day to decrease the likeliness of leg cramps:

  • Stretch your calf muscles before bed. To do so, the Mayo Clinic recommends standing about arm-length away from a sturdy wall or chair. Place your hands on the wall or chair and move your right foot back. Slowly bend your left knee forward keeping your right knee straight and your right heel on the floor. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.
  • Continue with your moderate exercise routine in your third trimester
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent cramps
  • Eat foods rich in potassium like bananas and raisins
  • Eat foods rich in magnesium like whole grains, beans, dried fruits, nuts and seeds
  • Talk to your medical care team about a magnesium supplement

If a leg cramp does wake you, ask your partner to massage the affected area or try to stretch your leg. Walking or a warm shower may also help.

MRSA and GBS

Pregnancy is known to lower immunity in women, putting them at greater risk for infections, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA pronounced mer-sa). This infection is immune to antibiotics and is passed from person to person, most often through poor hygiene. To avoid the infection, wash your hands with soap or hand sanitizer and don’t share towels or other personal items. Keep wounds dry and covered. Even if you develop MRSA, your baby is not likely at risk.

Group-B streptococcus (GBS) is a type of bacteria found in about 40 percent of pregnant women, though it does not often cause issues or symptoms. Even though a GBS infection is not harmful to you, it may be detrimental to a newborn baby. If passed to your baby during birth, GBS can cause blood infection, meningitis or pneumonia in your baby.

You should be tested for GBS (vaginal and rectal swab) between 35 and 37 weeks of pregnancy. If you have the bacteria (referred to as being colonized), your physician will prescribe antibiotics to reduce the risk of passing the infection to your baby.

Dad Tip: Time to think about your schedule! If you travel for work, ask if you can remain close to home as your partner’s due date approaches. Additionally, ask about your employer’s paternity leave offerings, if any. Otherwise you may want to schedule some time off.

Stretch Marks

Many moms consider stretch marks their “war wounds” of pregnancy, wearing them proudly. Stretch marks form when your body grows faster than your skin can keep up with. And gaining 30 pounds in just 9 months certainly qualifies! Those tiny elastic fibers under the surface of the skin break under the pressure, and the result is a long line of off-color skin.

Stretch marks most commonly form on the belly and breasts, since those areas grow rapidly during pregnancy. But these scars can also appear on the thighs, butt or upper arms. Stretch marks start as a reddish or purple hue then fade to white after delivery.

While it may be impossible to avoid stretch marks entirely—about 90 percent of pregnant women get them!—you can help lessen your chances of getting them by gaining only the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy and gaining it gradually rather than in quick spurts. You can also moisturize the skin on your belly regularly. However, stretch marks are believed to be hereditary, so these measures may not eliminate them entirely.

There are several treatments that can help stretch marks fade. From over-the-counter gels and creams to in-office collagen and dermabrasion treatments, talk to your physician about what may be right for you. But know these marks are not harmful, so don’t be afraid to show them off. Your body did essentially perform a miracle, and now you’ve got the marks to prove it!

Note: It is recommended pregnant women avoid green tea during pregnancy. Studies have shown just one to two cups a day during the first trimester could increase risks of neural tube defects. How? The antioxidants in the tea interfere with baby’s absorption folic acid.

Kick Count

As your baby grows and you get to know him or her better, you will start to become familiar with their patterns. Over time, you will come to know when your baby prefers to sleep, what triggers movement and when he or she is most active.

While usually only recommended for high-risk pregnancies, performing a “kick count” test on a regular basis may help identify potential problems and prevent a stillbirth. Here’s how to count fetal movements, starting around week 28 of pregnancy:

Identify a time when baby seems to be most active each day. This may be after you eat a meal or drink some juice. Or perhaps it is after your workout routine. It is common for baby to be active between 9pm and 1am when your blood sugar level is declining, as well. Once you identify these times of activity, find somewhere comfortable to sit or lie. Many medical professionals have different opinions on how many movements you should feel in different amounts of time.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends you track how long it takes you to feel 10 kicks, flutters, swishes or rolls. Ideally you should feel at least 10 movements in 2 hours. It will likely take less than 120 minutes to feel 10 movements.

It may be helpful to keep a log of these movements. SImply write down the time of the first movement you feel then make a check mark for each additional movement up to 10. With the tenth movement, again record the time. If you do not count 10 movements within two hours, drink some juice and try again.

Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or notice significant deviations from your baby’s regular pattern over three to four days.

Relaxation Techniques

As your due date approaches, you may become more uncomfortable or experience more anxiety. It is imperative you take time to relax and recharge. Here are some guidelines for relaxing during pregnancy:

  • Go to dinner with girlfriends
  • Try a prenatal yoga class
  • Meditate
  • Avoid saunas and hot tubs
  • Get a prenatal massage
  • Pack a picnic and enjoy the great outdoors
  • Read

Tip: While nature offers a fantastic way to get some fresh air and forget your troubles, you absolutely cannot forget your bug spray. Those nasty little creatures are not only annoying, they can be carrying dangerous diseases, especially for a pregnant woman. To protect you and baby, spray bug spray on your clothes, not your skin. Then breathe easy and enjoy the great outdoors.

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