You are 25 Weeks and 3 Days 102 days to go…

Going to prenatal classes together is a good way for your partner to stay closely involved with your pregnancy.

Your baby today

This baby has her hands held up in front of her face. In the top right-hand corner, the curved inner lining of the uterus can be seen. Shadows in the image give the impression of hair but ultrasound is not detailed enough to show hair—even if there was any to see at this stage.

Not all dads-to-be are eager to go to prenatal classes. They might not feel the classes apply to them, and may fear that they will be asked to do exercises that they find embarrassing.

If your partner is reluctant, discuss it with him, pointing out what the classes are for and why you feel that you need his support. You could explain that you want him to be informed about labor so that he is not anxious in the delivery room. He might find it useful to talk to male friends who went to classes when they were expectant dads.

Classes may include some sessions with men and women together and others where the women go on their own, for example to practice breathing techniques, while the men have a separate session where they can share any concerns. If time off work is an issue for your partner, ask for a list of what topics will be covered each week and pick those sessions that you think are the most relevant for him. If your partner is well informed, he’ll feel more involved in the pregnancy and more confident in helping you during labor and birth.

What you learn at prenatal classes may bring you closer. Try to stay in touch with each other at home, spending time relaxing together and feeling your baby moving.

Family leave

Thanks to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), most companies must give employees (men and women) up to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave after your baby is born. The rules: If your company has fewer than 50 employees, they don’t have to offer FMLA. Also, you must have worked for the company for at least one year. It’s a good idea to ask your human resources department about your company’s policy about leave and have your partner do the same.

… Relationships
Anticipating changes in your relationship

It might seem obvious, but once your baby is born your relationship won’t just be about you and your partner any more. Suddenly there is a tiny new person around, who wakes during the night and who has her own needs. By necessity, after your baby is born you and your partner will pay less attention to each other. There may also be less physical intimacy between the two of you, not least because you both will be very tired.

It’s best to talk about, and acknowledge, these issues before the birth. This way, you and your partner will better accept that these factors are a normal part of making the life change from coupledom to being a family.

You are 25 Weeks and 4 Days 101 days to go…

All the nerve cells are now on the surface of your baby’s brain; what they need to do next is make connections with each other.

Your baby today

This 3D image shows the back of the baby, taken using a scanner setting that enhances the reflections from the skeleton. The back of the spine, ribs, and shoulder blades are clear: this technique has opened up many new possibilities for visualizing your baby’s development.

Your baby’s brain is so complex that it needs the entire length of your pregnancy not only to grow, but also to mature. It is continually forming new connections and sensory pathways.

The nerves that make up the brain’s gray matter started in the center of the brain on the outer surface of the lateral ventricles (there is one ventricle in each hemisphere of the brain). The lateral ventricles contain the part of the brain known as the choroid plexus, a loose, seaweedlike structure that produces the fluid that bathes your baby’s brain and spinal cord. Constantly circulating around the brain, this fluid protects and buffers the brain from the harder structure of the bones of the surrounding skull.

The gradual, wavelike, outward movement of nerve cells in the gray matter, which started more than 12 weeks ago, is now complete. Coming to rest close to the brain’s surface, these cells need to mature, branching out to make multiple connections, or “synapses,” with other nerve cells.

The surface of your baby’s brain is very smooth at this stage but as the cortex matures, beginning to form six clear layers, it takes on its familiar wrinkled appearance.

… Your belly
Your belly: to show or not to show?

Whether you want to clothe your belly in figure-hugging fabrics and proudly show it off, or choose looser styles that may fit you longer and obscure just how pregnant you are, is a personal choice.

  • If you’re fine showing your belly, you may feel comfortable in stretchy fabrics that can expand as your belly does. The downside to wearing tight clothing is that your skin may be sensitive to anything snug-fitting. Tight tops will also bring attention to your breasts.

  • If you feel more comfortable not showing the profile of your belly, choose baggier clothes, such as tunics, smocks, and overshirts. These may be more comfortable and will cloak your belly longer.

  • If you want to bare your belly, do so when the weather is warm enough. One advantage is you may find you can wear some pre-pregnancy tops.

… Doctor
Q: I’m getting quite big—should I adapt my swimming style?
A: You may find that in these final couple of months, you need to change your swimming style to one that is more comfortable; many women opt for breaststroke, which can also help to get the baby in to an optimum position .

If you don’t feel up to swimming laps, just relax in the pool instead. Being in the water will relieve pressure on your abdomen and help to ease lower back pain.

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