Welcome to Week 25! It’s always fun to think about your baby’s growth and come up with funny comparisons to various foods (“This week my baby is a melon! A lemon!” “A rutabaga!”). The truth is, by week 25, your baby is already beginning to chart his or her unique course, which includes growing at his or her own pace. So even while we’re still going to come up with cool foods to compare your baby to, just keep in mind that these are all generalizations and as long as your healthcare provider is happy with your baby’s development, then whatever size he or she is will be the right size!
Somewhere between Week 24 and Week 28, your healthcare provider will recommend a glucose challenge. This test, which involves drinking a sugary drink and then having your blood drawn, is used to determine your blood sugar level, which is important in diagnosing gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that is caused by pregnancy hormones. When you’re pregnant, hormones disrupt the way your body uses insulin, which is the hormone that helps transport blood glucose into your cells, where it’s converted into energy. When your insulin isn’t as effective as it should be, your blood glucose levels can rise to dangerous levels, putting you and your baby at risk of health complications. Aside from pregnancy hormones, additional risk factors for gestational diabetes include obesity, being over age 30, carrying multiples, being Hispanic, and a history of having had gestational diabetes or delivering large babies in prior pregnancies (over 9.5 pounds).
It’s estimated that gestational diabetes affects 10 percent of pregnant women. If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, it’s very important to follow your healthcare provider’s advice on treatment and lifestyle changes to control blood sugar. Untreated gestational diabetes is linked to premature delivery, vision problems, increased risk of infections, an increased risk of C-section and having a larger baby, as well as long-term health complications for your baby.
The good news is that gestational diabetes can often be controlled through diet and exercise without any medications. If medication is necessary, you will likely be prescribed a pill to take or insulin shots, depending on how your blood sugars respond.
There are a variety of other tests that might be performed around now, including:
- A hematocrit/hemoglobin test for anemia.
- Rh antibody screening to determine if you need Rh immune globulin.
- If you’re at risk, a test for sexually transmitted diseases.
Your baby’s fetal age is now 23 weeks. At this stage, your baby is about 1.5 pounds, with a crown-to-rump length of between 9 and 10 inches. Your baby is roughly the size of a large ear of corn (we did promise to keep coming up with fun food comparisons!).
He or she is continuing to fill out with baby fat and the hair—which has likely been white due to lack of pigmentation—is finally beginning to get some color. In short, your baby is looking more and more like they will look on the big day. Right around this time, the nostrils are even opening up, so he or she will begin “breathing” amniotic fluid through the nose.
Developmentally, you might have noticed that your baby is much more responsive than ever before. He or she might react to your voice, to your partner’s voice, to particular types of music and sounds. You might notice increased activity after eating certain meals (but don’t worry—spicy food won’t hurt your baby).
“Testing for gestational diabetes stresses many pregnant women out. Here’s the good news: you’ll either have it or you won’t.”
Reviewed by Dr. Jen Lincoln, November 2018