Check out what happened last week with your baby's development.
Temperature control. "How does it stay so warm in here?" This week marks an important milestone in your baby's brain development: The brain has matured to the point where it can help regulate body temperature. Of course, your little one isn't ready to do it all on her own yet; she still needs the warmth of your body to keep her toasty until birth. She also continues to develop nerve cells in her brain. By the time she's born, she'll have hundreds of billions of them. That seems like a lot, but she needs to stock up, since she won't produce any more after birth.
Puttin' on padding. Your baby is looking more like a full-term baby, too. She's plumping up nicely; the surface of her skin is smoother and paler because of the fat she's starting to gain. This fat will be an important factor in her ability to keep warm. Your baby also has eyelashes; she may be batting them at you right now!
Measuring up. Despite the increase in fat, your little one is still pretty thin—only about 2 to 3 percent of her 2.7 pounds is made up of fat. Crown to rump, she measures 10.4 inches, but if you stretched her out, she'd be more than 16 inches long.
Weighty matters. You're in the home stretch now—11 more weeks to go! Your baby will be putting on most of his weight over the next three months, and so will you. You can probably expect to add about 11 pounds in the last trimester, about a pound a week.
Third-trimester complaint. Are you waking up suddenly with cramps in your calves? Leg cramps are a common complaint during pregnancy, though not every woman gets them. Experts aren't sure exactly what causes them; some say it's the added weight on your legs, while others think the pain may signal a calcium or potassium shortage. They may also be the result of the pressure of your uterus on the nerves running to the legs.
Coping with leg cramps. If you do get a cramp, stretch your leg gently, flexing your foot and pulling your toes back toward you. Stretching throughout the day and just before you go to bed may help too. Make sure you load up on calcium-rich foods (dairy products are your best bet), as well as those that contain a lot of potassium, like bananas.
From the experts. As your due date approaches, you'll want to consider which, if any, procedures you'd like to be used during labor. "Around 80 to 90 percent of women in the U.S. get an episiotomy during the birth of their first baby," says Elaine Zwelling, R.N., Ph.D. "An episiotomy is a small surgical incision made in the tissues of the perineal floor to enlarge the vaginal opening and help the baby be born more easily." To learn more from Dr. Zwelling on the benefits and risks of having this procedure, click here.