Welcome to week 27
As your bump increases you might feel a bit off kilter and this can make you prone to falls. Tripping over might give you a shock, but is unlikely to do your baby any harm. The amniotic sac acts a bit like an airbag in a car, providing a cushion that will lessen the impact. The best type of shoes to wear to keep you steady on your feet aren't flats, surprisingly, but low-heeled (preferably wedge-heeled) shoes, which help to restore the equilibrium and will bear your weight in a more manageable way. If you're tackling any steep gradients, take up offers of support and lean on a friendly arm and always use the handrail when going up and down the stairs.
This week your baby hits 1kg in weight (that's around 2.2lb – the equivalent of a standard bag of sugar). Crown-to-rump length is around 24cm (around 9.5in). The eyelids, which have been fused shut all this time, could open this week or next, bringing an awareness of dim light and enabling your baby to practice blinking and focusing. It's an exciting development – and, if you were to have a scan around this time for any reason, you might even see your baby's eyes for the first time; you might also witness a spot of thumb-sucking and swallowing, and maybe even some twisting and turning around.
On the outside
At this stage of pregnancy many mums-to-be start to fret about how their lives will change when their babies are born. Will they be a good mum? How will they cope alone at home? What will happen to their jobs while they're on maternity leave? Will they ever feel ready to return to work once they've become mothers? All sorts of worries can start to plague you – and your partner might also be feeling anxious? Maybe he's worried about how the finances will stretch to accommodate a new baby; perhaps he fears the new baby will get all your attention; maybe he doesn't know how he'll manage to support you at the birth.
How about setting aside time together, just the two of you, focused on each other without the distractions of TV, household chores or texts from friends? Talk frankly about any hopes, fears and worries you each might have. This is the time to reassure and support each other – but do make sure you both talk and listen in equal measure so that you both get the benefit. A really good listening technique is to let your partner talk, then repeat back to them the message you've just heard (although obviously in your own words, not theirs!).
Things to think about
The time has come to make some decisions about who you'd like to be your birth partner. Although the majority of dads these days are present at the birth, it's not every man who feels he can cope with the sight of his partner in labour, and plenty of people are very squeamish about the sight of blood. If your partner feels he might be more of a hindrance than a help, it's probably best for him to stay out of the delivery room and for you to have someone with you who can offer really good support. Read: Should dads be present at the birth? Lots of mums-to-be choose women who have had babies of their own and who know what to expect: you might want to ask your mum, sister, best friend or someone else with whom you're happy to share the throes of labour!
Once you've settled on a birth partner it's a good idea to draw up a list of what support you think you'll want them to offer. You probably won't know until you're in labour what kind of physical comfort you'll appreciate (or reject completely!) on the day, but maybe you have a birth plan you'd like them to champion for you, or perhaps you already know that you'll want specific CDs playing during labour, and they could take charge of this. Make a list, too, of who they should phone with your news after the birth – and in what order.
See previous week: 26 weeks pregnant
See next week: 28 weeks pregnant