It's a good time to start thinking about the birth and whether you want to deliver in a birthing unit, labour ward or at home. Home birth might suit you if your previous labour was very fast or you would prefer to give birth in your own environment. Home birth is believed to be perfectly safe for women with healthy pregnancies. You don't need the permission or approval of your GP: you can discuss your birth plans and book a home birth directly with your midwife. Keep an open mind just in case complications arise that would be better dealt with in hospital.
This week sees your baby reaching 700g (around 1.5lb) in weight and 22cm (almost 9in) in crown-to-rump length. Your baby is probably very active and the movements feeling more like a series of kicks and jabs as space gets more restricted in your womb. Your baby will continue to turn somersaults at this stage, but because of increasing bulk you'll feel every movement more strongly. Encourage your partner to feel your bump when your baby is active. Some men are exhilarated by the experience; others are turned right off by it; try not to take it personally – and remember that your experience of pregnancy is more intimate than your partner's, and potentially more fascinating!
On the outside
The top of your uterus is now about 25cm (10in) above your pubic bone and your bump will have taken on the approximate shape and dimensions of an average football! You might feel that you have reached the ideal size and secretly hope not to grow too much more: forget it! Your baby has plenty more growing to do yet, and if you've kept a track of your weight gain to date and you compare it with the average total weight gain in pregnancy, which is 12.5kg (27.6lb), you'll see that you have a way to go. By now, people might be speculating about whether you're expecting a boy or a girl, but there's no science to support the theory that carrying high or low, or having a round or oval bump, or carrying it 'all out at the front' has any bearing on an unborn baby's gender.
Things to think about
Even though you won't start your antenatal classes until around weeks 30-32 of pregnancy, start making enquiries if you haven't already signed up. Every mum-to-be is entitled to 10 free Parentcraft antenatal classes, which are run by NHS midwives. However, in reality, some women find that the classes are either over-subscribed or that the next available course comes at the wrong time of pregnancy for them. The NCT (National Childbirth Trust) runs popular antenatal classes too.
Even if you think you'll get all the information you need from websites and books, there's no substitute for attending an antenatal class. it's a forum for discussing anything and everything to do with pregnancy, birth and life with a baby. Additionally you'll meet other like-minded parents, who could become part of your support group for pregnancy and after the birth. Your partner might appreciate the opportunity to meet other dads-to-be who are going through a similar experience too.
At the end of this week, you will qualify for your maternity leave and allowances - as long as you've been in continuous employment with the same boss for 26 weeks up to and including this week. You're legally obliged to let your employer know by the end of this week that you're intending to take maternity leave.