Friday, June 09, 2006

Week 23

How your baby's growing: Your baby is more than 11 inches long and weighs just over a pound. His skin is red and wrinkled. Blood vessels in his lungs are developing to prepare him for breathing. He can swallow, but he normally won't pass his first stool (called meconium) until after birth. Loud noises heard often in utero — such as your dog barking or the roar of a vacuum cleaner — probably won't faze your baby when he hears them outside the womb.
• Note: Experts say every baby develops differently — even in the womb. This developmental information is designed to give you a general idea of how your baby is growing.How your life's changing: If you dealt with headaches in your first trimester, they might be subsiding now. (Many women have headaches in early pregnancy, thanks to pregnancy hormones, changes in circulation, and/or sinus congestion.)You may notice some mild swelling sometime during your pregnancy, especially in your ankles and feet. It's called edema, and it happens because changes in your blood chemistry cause fluid to shift into your tissue and because your enlarging uterus puts pressure on the veins returning blood from the lower half of your body, slowing circulation in your legs. Edema is often worse at the end of the day and in the summer. Your body will eliminate the extra fluid after you have your baby (which is why you may urinate often and sweat a lot for a few days after delivery). In the meantime, put your feet up when you can, stretch out your legs when you sit, avoid sitting still for long periods, exercise regularly to increase circulation, and wear support stockings (put them on first thing in the morning). You may be tempted to skimp on liquids, but you need to drink plenty of water, because keeping hydrated actually helps prevent swelling. If you notice severe or sudden swelling in your hands and face, be sure to call your midwife or doctor because it may be a sign of a serious condition called preeclampsia.Pregnancy Tip: Exercise helps you sleep "When I started having trouble sleeping during my pregnancy, I asked my friends what to do. One suggested I take a half-hour walk during the day. It really helped me sleep better, and it felt great to have a little time for myself." — Linda

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