How your baby's growing:This week, your baby weighs almost 2 pounds (like a head of cauliflower) and is about 14 1/2 inches long with her legs extended. She's sleeping and waking at regular intervals, opening and closing her eyes, and perhaps even sucking her fingers. With more brain tissue developing, your baby's brain is very active now. While her lungs are still immature, they would be capable of functioning — with a lot of medical help — if she were to be born now. Chalk up any tiny rhythmic movements you may be feeling to a case of baby hiccups, which may be common from now on. Each episode usually lasts only a few moments, and they don't bother her, so just relax and enjoy the tickle.
How your life's changing:The second trimester is drawing to a close, but as your body gears up for the final lap, you may start noticing some new symptoms. Along with an aching back, for example, you may find that your leg muscles cramp up now and then. They're carrying extra weight, after all, and your expanding uterus is putting pressure on the veins that return blood from your legs to your heart as well as on the nerves leading from your trunk to your legs. Unfortunately, the cramps may get worse as your pregnancy progresses. Leg cramps are more common at night but can also happen during the day. When a cramp strikes, stretching the calf muscle should give you some relief. Straighten your leg and then gently flex your toes back toward your shin. Walking for a few minutes or massaging your calf sometimes helps, too.
It may be the furthest thing from your mind right now, but it's not too soon to think about family planning. You'll want to have made some decisions about postpartum birth control before your baby arrives. If you're considering a tubal ligation, be aware that most states require you to sign a consent form at least 30 days beforehand. So if you'd like the option of having the surgery during your postpartum hospital stay, don't wait too much longer to discuss it with your caregiver. (You can still change your mind later.)