Pregnancy - 24-28 weeks
What is happening to mother
Your monthly antenatal checks with your midwife begin at around 25 weeks (although this can vary from area to area). She will take your blood pressure, test your urine for protein and sugar, check you for any swelling around your feet, ankles and hands and chat with you about any concerns you may have. She will also check that you are feeling your baby move around plenty and she will assess the growth of your baby at each visit.
She may offer you information about pre-eclampsia so that you know to alert her should you begin to suffer any of the symptoms between now and when your baby is due. She may also advise you about your baby's normal movement patterns, again so that you know to contact her should you notice this deviate from what you usually experience.
What is happening to baby
Your baby now has eyebrows and eyelashes, she can open her eyelids and her retina is sensitive to light. Her nervous system has developed to the stage where she is able to practice breathing and swallowing movements. By 28 weeks gestation she measures around 23cms and weighs around 1.22kg.
Things to think about
Around this time, you and the father of your baby or other birth partner will be invited to attend parent education classes provided by the midwives at the birthing centre or hospital where you are planning to have your baby, or at the maternity unit that is local to your house if you are planning to have your baby at home. These will usually be a set of 6 weekly sessions, one of which will include a tour of the labour suite so that you are familiar with where you may be coming to when you are in labour.
Some women find that these NHS classes address the more routine aspects of care during labour and birth and choose to attend independent birth preparation sessions as well, or instead. The National Childbirth Trust (NCT) may run a similar block of classes in your area, or there may be an Active Birth teacher or other Holistic Birth educator running weekly or even once off weekend workshops locally to you.
Either way, attending a birth preparation group can be a useful way of exploring what your expectations, hopes and fears are and discovering ways of working towards preparing for the kind of birth you want for your baby.