Pregnancy week 27

Week 27 of Your Pregnancy

At 27 weeks, you're in the last week of the second trimester. Learn more about week 27 of pregnancy, from common questions and symptoms to fetal development.

It's week 27 of your pregnancy. You are in the last week of the second trimester, and you're probably dealing with some new symptoms as your body prepares for childbirth in three months! Read more about what to expect and some things to consider for your big doctor's appointment next week.

Pregnancy Week 27 Quick Facts

  • At 27 weeks, you're six months pregnant
  • You have 13 weeks until your due date
  • You're in the last week of your second trimester

Your Unborn Baby's Size at 27 Weeks

At 27 weeks, your fetus is about 14.41 inches long and weighs about 1.93 pounds. They're starting to pack on the weight and are nearly as big as a cauliflower!

how big is baby week 27

Pregnancy Symptoms Week 27

As your body prepares for childbirth, you'll likely be experiencing some new symptoms. Over the next few weeks, common symptoms include:

At this point, you may start to see your feet puff up. Some swelling, also called edema, can be normal. If it's uncomfortable, put your feet up daily and consider reducing the amount of sodium and sugar you eat. You can also wear compression hose or socks. Swelling is serious when it accompanies a condition called preeclampsia.

"The symptoms of preeclampsia could include a headache, or changes in vision—like having floaters—pain underneath the ribs on the right hand side, difficulty breathing, or newer, different swelling," says Alex Peahl, M.D., MSc, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan and co-director of the Michigan Plan for Appropriate Tailored Healthcare in pregnancy. "It's not just a little swelling in their feet, but suddenly, their face looks different, or they're swelling in their hands." If you have these symptoms, talk to your health care as soon as possible.

Swelling and the expansion of the bones of the feet due to pregnancy hormones and the added weight on them can cause foot changes that make your shoes uncomfortable. Do yourself a favor and get elastic laces on a pair of comfortable sneakers to make it easier to get them on and off. Also, don’t be frightened if you have to move up a half or full size in shoes—that happens and can remain that way postpartum. That was the case for me and I still wear my elastic-laced sneakers from my pregnancy four years ago every day!

Another complication of swelling can be carpal tunnel syndrome. "With swelling, particularly in the hands, people can get some numbness and tingling of their fingers that's most commonly caused by carpal tunnel syndrome,” says Dr. Peahl. An over-the-counter splint that people can wear at night can help with alleviating those symptoms.

Back pain and general discomfort from the second trimester generally ramp up too. "All of those bones are starting to stretch and the joints are relaxing in preparation for childbirth. And that can cause a lot of back pain and pubic symphysis pain," says Dr. Peahl. "A pregnancy support belt can be really helpful for both of those conditions."

Pregnancy symptoms vary from person to person so if you have a symptom that is making you worried, make sure to call your health care provider.

Developmental Milestones

During week 27, the fetal brain grows rapidly, adding new neurons and neural connections. The tiny air sacs in the lungs (called alveoli) are expanding. The immature respiratory system starts to make a substance called surfactant that helps the air sacs fill with air.

You may start to feel the fetus hiccuping. The involuntary movements of the diaphragm trigger hiccups. You should be able to see your belly jump when this happens.

Prenatal Tests and Doctor's Appointments

Most people will have a doctor's appointment at 26 or 28 weeks, so you're not likely booked in for an appointment this week. If you do have a doctor's appointment at 27 weeks, they'll likely test a few things leading up to that third-trimester transition:

  • Glucose tolerance test to screen for gestational diabetes (Keep in mind, this test only needs to be performed once between weeks 24 to 28. If the one-hour test is abnormal, a three-hour test is then recommended.)
  • Blood count to test for anemia
  • Infectious disease screening for HIV, hepatitis, and syphilis
  • A blood test for Rh antibodies, if you are Rh negative
  • Depression screening and checking for mood issues

In addition to these tests, you'll also want to get a Tdap vaccine any time after 27 weeks. This vaccine protects the baby against whooping cough.

"If you give that Tdap vaccine to a pregnant person, those antibodies will cross over to the placenta and provide protection to the baby the first few months of life until they can get the Tdap vaccine," says Jeanne Sheffield, M.D., professor and director of maternal-fetal medicine at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore. 

Why is this so important? "When babies get whooping cough, they can actually die, and they're not able to be vaccinated immediately after birth,” explains Dr. Peahl. “So pregnant people are vaccinated every pregnancy, even if they had it a year or two ago, to help give that immunity to the baby.”

If you've taken the one-hour glucose tolerance test early and “failed,” you'll likely need to take the three-hour test now to see if you have gestational diabetes. "Most people that screen positive don't have [gestational diabetes]," says Dr. Sheffield. “I always tell people, when they screen positive, don't panic; we'll do the diagnostic test and see.”

Another test that happens during this time is for Rh antibodies. Rh is a protein on red blood cells that some people have. "Patients who don't have that protein run a risk of developing antibodies to that protein if they're exposed to it. And the main way they get exposed to the protein is if the baby has the protein," says Dr. Sheffield. "Sometimes, if a baby has that protein, the mom will end up developing antibodies during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy, and that can be deadly to a kid."

People that develop antibodies can get a medication that reduces the risk of these complications.

Common Questions at This Pregnancy Stage

Can I bike ride?

When it comes to exercise, avoid anything that places you flat on your back like sit-ups and anything that increases your chances of falling. So if you’re someone who loves to bike ride, it’s best to avoid that for now. "A stationary bike is OK. Regular bikes are not recommended,” says Dr. Peahl.

When should I start sleeping on my side?

"The reason we worry about sleeping on your back is that as the belly gets bigger, the uterus can put pressure on the veins that return blood to the heart,” says Dr. Peahl. “Stopping that blood flow could stop blood flow to mom's brain as well as to the pregnancy."

But, the reality is “people will wake up and turn over if that's something that's going on,” adds Dr. Peahl. Pregnant people don’t really need to use special pillows so that they are sleeping in a particular position. “Especially with the insomnia of pregnancy, however you can sleep is great,” says Dr. Peahl. 

What do I do about back pain?

If you're having back pain, "using mechanical heat on the back is completely safe–and that can help to relax the muscles," says Cassandra Blot Simmons, M.D., chief of general obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. "If it's more of a bone pain, then you can use an ice pack on the back."

Chemical heat in the form of ointments and patches works well too. Using a pregnancy belt helps, as well as working in some yoga or pilates.

"You can actually positively affect the way in which your body centers its gravity by really strengthening your core muscles," says Dr. Simmons. "Yoga and pilates are a really great way to keep yourself strong without doing exercises like sit-ups that we actually don't recommend."

Things You Might Consider This Week

As you get your Tdap shot, you'll want to talk to your loved ones and any of the baby's caregivers about getting it if they’ve never had it or if they need their booster (that’s needed every 10 years). Having everyone vaccinated creates a circle of protection around the baby, called cocooning.

While conditions like diabetes, obesity, and hypertension are often talked about during this stage of pregnancy, mental health is also critical. You'll also want to be aware of your anxiety levels. If you're feeling anxious, talk to your health care provider or a therapist. "Around this time, I really try to remind patients to be mindful of the anxiety that they may develop and the ways in which they can mitigate it,” says Dr. Simmons. The same goes for patients who are feeling depressed. 

“There's a large proportion of patients that really suffer because of the postpartum blues, depression, or anxiety," adds Dr. Simmons. "It's a huge part of maternal morbidity that we don't talk about."

You'll also want to start thinking about your birth plan. Schedule a tour of the labor and delivery unit at your hospital. You'll want to ask about their visitor's policy and if you will have a private or shared room. Ask your health care provider where you should go when you’re in labor since every hospital is different.

Support You May Need This Week

As you enter your third trimester, you may want to start preparing for your parental leave, if you’re employed and will be taking time off of work. Learn what paperwork you need to fill out and what the entire process consists of. "That's just one less stressor that people don't need as they enter the postpartum period,” says Dr. Peahl.

Talk to your partner if you have one about their employer's time off policies as well. Do they need any paperwork done? Revisit your finances and think about how much time you can afford to take off and how you'll match up the timing of the leave with your due date and your partner's leave.

"You want to give yourself enough time before the baby comes to plan and prepare with your employer if you can," says Dr. Simmons. "Consider your finances and how much time you're going to take off afterwards."

This is also a great time to start thinking about child care and what options you have for when the baby arrives. If loved ones will help out, speak with them about your arrangements. If you’re going to hire a caregiver, it’s important to begin looking into options, and same goes for daycare. (This guide can help!)  

Head over to week 28 of pregnancy

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