OB Pre-Natal Care

Weeks 23-27

At about six months pregnant, you are finishing up the second trimester. Along with the rapid growth of the last trimester can come growing pains like backaches and leg cramps. Avoid all hot tubs, saunas, and heated yoga classes during this time since these can raise your body temperature and harm your baby. Instead, kick your feet up and use either a cold compress or a heating pad on your ankles and shins to alleviate the pain. Another way to practice self-care is by eating more natural, minimally processed foods rich in flavor and nutrients. Keep in mind that what you eat during pregnancy has the power to shape your baby’s food and flavor preferences into infancy. So, get started now on introducing your baby to delicious, whole foods.

Developmental Milestones

  • My Baby: They have grown to about the size of an eggplant and can open their eyes. Your baby can also see light around this time.
  • My Body: Stretch marks may start to appear. Lotion or creams can help to soothe your skin. It is okay also to feel hungrier and eat more often throughout the day.

Nutrition Needs

Ultra-Processed Foods

Ultra-processed foods undergo many changes to create food products that do not look like how they were naturally grown. These foods are usually dense in calories and often have added salt, fat, or sugar, which can lead to harmful medical conditions when eaten in excess. Ultra-processed foods also have few vitamins and minerals needed to support healthy development for both mom and baby. Eating too many ultra-processed foods can potentially lead to complications throughout pregnancy and poor health outcomes for your baby, too.

    • Examples of ultra-processed foods include candies, sweetened breakfast cereals, flavored potato chips, ice cream, and soft drinks.

The next time hunger strikes, think about the type of food you are reaching for. Does it look different than how it is grown? Is it only satisfying for a short period of time before you are hungry again? Does it lack vitamins and minerals? Is it ultra-processed? If you answered “yes” to any of these answers, then consider swamping out these foods for other options that can better meet your nutritional needs.

Minimally Processed Foods

Minimally processed foods are the parts of plants and animals that have been slightly altered to preserve food without changing or adding to its nutritional content. Minimally processed foods are rich in flavor, vitamins, and minerals and have the added benefit of being environmentally friendly. Since little to no processing is involved for these foods, not as many resources are needed to produce and transport them. Eating in-season produce is an easy way to include minimally processed foods picked at peak ripeness and usually harvested in bulk, making it easier to find at the grocery store for a lower price.

    • Examples of minimally processed foods include fresh, frozen, juiced, or dried fruits and vegetables, beans, eggs, pasteurized milk, and whole grains.

Nutrition Facts Labels

Another way to make an informed decision about the food you eat is by reading the Nutrition Facts Label on the back of cans, boxes, and bags of food. The label offers information on the serving size, including how much of the food counts as a serving and how many servings are in the entire container. The amount of energy per serving is measured in calories on the label and is usually easy to find in bold. Underneath the calories is a list of how the energy is broken down between carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Vitamins and minerals within each food are usually described at the bottom of the label and can help you find foods that meet your pregnancy nutrient needs. Last but not least is the list of ingredients. Ingredients are listed in order from greatest to least, meaning that the first ingredient is in greater amounts compared to the last ingredient.

    • One rule of thumb for eating minimally processed is to avoid all ingredients you do not know how to pronounce or do not know what it is.

Family Engagement Activity

  • The best way to find in-season, minimally processed foods is by visiting your local Farmer’s Market. The San Antonio Food Bank is another great resource that can help you get access to fresh, in-season produce grown locally.
  • For a list of when your favorite produce is in season, check out the Texas Department of Agriculture’s GO TEXAN Produce Availability chart here.

Caregiver's Corner

Discomfort During Pregnancy

In this section’s Caregiver’s Corner, Jana Sullivan, a Certified Nurse Midwife from CHRISTUS Children’s, shares that discomfort during pregnancy is normal and can vary from trimester to trimester. Jana also offers some advice on how to alleviate these concerns.

Some common symptoms you may experience are:

    • Braxton Hicks Contractions, also known as “false labor pains,” are contractions that you can feel as early as 6 weeks into pregnancy, but are more common around the second and third trimesters. These labor pains are not strong enough to start active labor but can cause you some discomfort with muscles strangely tightening or twisting.
    • Round Ligament Pain is the discomfort that comes from the pelvic ligaments softening and stretching to support the rapid growth of pregnancy. You may feel sharp pain in the lower abdomen or groin area as early as 14 weeks, which lasts for a few seconds to minutes at a time.
    • Sciatica is a more severe version of common lower back pain experienced during pregnancy. Sciatica can be a sharp, shooting pain that starts in your lower back and radiates down your legs. This pain usually starts later in pregnancy from the additional weight of your baby on your sciatic nerve.

How to Manage Pain

Here are some Do’s and Don’ts when It comes to managing your pain.

    • Do discuss new symptoms, pain management techniques, and new medications before taking them with your health provider to confirm your safety.
    • Don’t use hot tubs or saunas, as this can raise your body temperature and be harmful to your baby.
    • Do use hot packs or warm baths to soothe and alleviate sore muscles.
    • Don’t use aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve) throughout your pregnancy, especially during the first 20 weeks. Studies have shown that there is a potential risk of miscarriage when taking NSAIDS or Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs.
    • Do use acetaminophen (Tylenol) since it is one of the safest pain relievers to take during pregnancy.
    • Do contact your provider immediately if you begin bleeding, feel like your water broke, or do not feel your baby move for an extended period after 28 weeks gestation.