It's a good time to start making a list of equipment you'll need to buy in the coming months. By starting early you can stagger the cost week by week or monthly. Family, friends and work colleagues often want to buy you or contribute towards the new born layette, so it's worth spending time researching and sizing up the things you would really like.
Your baby is around 200g (8 oz) in weight and about 14.5cm (just under six inches) long. Fat stores are being laid down to plump out the somewhat crinkly skin and the muscles in the neck are growing in strength all the time, ready to support the weight of the head. Your baby is beginning to produce meconium (the substance that will form his first bowel movements after birth) already, as well as vernix, a waxy, waterproof coating that forms over the skin. This is only as a protective measure for pregnancy and will disappear after birth.
On the outside
You might find yourself slightly thrown off balance as your centre of gravity is affected by your growing bump! Be careful to wear supportive shoes that are easy to walk in. If you're still into heels, go for a wedge, which supports the whole foot and gives more stability.
You should avoid lying flat on your back as this can compress a main blood vessel called the vena cava, affecting your baby's blood supply and it can also leave you feeling dizzy. Try to get into the habit of lying on your side to sleep or rest, but don't worry if you do turn over on to your back during the night for short periods – your baby won't come to harm. You could try using a pregnancy pillow which will help you to stay supported on your side.
If indigestion or heartburn are plaguing you, there are a few things you can do to avoid them or help relieve the symptoms:
• Wear unrestricted clothing that's loose around the waist.
• Don't eat late in the evening.
• Avoid rich, fatty, spicy foods and carbonated drinks.
• Eat small amounts more frequently rather than having three main meals a day.
• Eat slowly and chew your food well.
• Try drinking peppermint tea.
Things to think about
If you're working, how about asking your employer if you can change your hours if you're finding the journeys hard-going or if you're getting very tired? Perhaps you could work more flexibly, taking shorter lunch breaks but coming in a bit later in the mornings? Or working a bit later in exchange for more frequent breaks?
Your employer is also obliged, if possible, to provide a rest room for you, including a place where you can lie down. If there's no facility at the moment, see what you can do together to create one. You should at least be able to put your feet up and recline your chair a bit. A little nap of about 15-20 minutes can work wonders for refreshing and re-energising you!
See next week: 20 weeks pregnant
(Link to what essential new born baby gear to buy )