Sunday, May 21, 2006

Baby Jackson @ 20 Weeks

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

19 Weeks

How your baby's growing: Your baby weighs about 8 1/2 ounces, and he measures 6 inches, head to bottom — about the length of a small zucchini. His arms and legs are in the right proportions to each other and the rest of his body now. His kidneys continue to make urine, and the hair on his scalp is sprouting. This is a crucial time for sensory development: Your baby's brain is designating specialized areas for smell, taste, hearing, vision, and touch. If your baby is a girl, she has an astonishing six million eggs in her ovaries. They'll dwindle to fewer than two million by the time she's born.

• 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: You're just a week shy of the halfway mark. You may notice some achiness in your lower abdomen (perhaps extending to your groin) or even a quick, sharp, stabbing pain on one or both sides, especially when you change position or at the end of an active day. This is round ligament pain, and it's caused by the stretching of the muscles and ligaments that support your growing uterus. It's nothing to be alarmed about, but if the pain continues even when you're resting or becomes persistent and severe, call your practitioner.

You may also have noticed some skin changes lately. Are the palms of your hands red? Nothing to worry about — it's from increased estrogen. Patches of darkened skin are also common during pregnancy. When they show up around your upper lip, upper cheeks and forehead, they're called chloasma, or the "mask of pregnancy." You may see these splotches on your arms or other areas that have been exposed to the sun. Your nipples, freckles, scars, underarms, inner thighs, and vulva may also darken during pregnancy. That darkened line running from your belly button to your pubic bone is called the linea nigra, or "dark line." All of this darkening is due to a temporary increase in melanin, the substance that colors your hair, skin, and eyes. For most women, these darkened spots will fade shortly after delivery. In the meantime, protect yourself from the sun, which intensifies the pigment changes. Cover up, wear a brimmed hat, and use sunscreen when you're outdoors. And if you're self-conscious about your "mask," a little concealing makeup can work wonders.

Pregnancy Tip: Soothe achy muscles "Try gently massaging your achy ligaments, or use a heat pad or warm facecloth where it hurts." — Anonymous


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Week 18

How your baby's growing: Head to bottom, your baby is approximately 5 1/2 inches long (about the length of a large sweet potato) and she weighs almost 7 ounces. She's busy flexing her arms and legs — movements that you'll likely start noticing more and more. Her blood vessels are visible through her thin skin and her ears are now in position and stand out from her head. Myelin (a protective covering) is beginning to form around her nerves, a process that will continue for a year after she's born. If you're having a girl, her uterus and Fallopian tubes are formed and in place. If your baby is a boy, his genitals are noticeable, though he may hide them from you during an ultrasound.
• 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: Bigger, more comfortable clothes are a must now as your appetite and waistline increase. Look for specially designed maternity clothes that can accommodate your expanding belly.You may have heard that it's best to lie on your left side during your last two trimesters. Here's why: When you lie on your back, your uterus can compress your pelvic veins — in particular, the inferior vena cava, the vein that returns blood from the lower half of your body back to your heart. Lying on your left side helps remove this pressure. Try placing a pillow behind you, or under your hip or leg for comfort.Your cardiovascular system is undergoing dramatic changes, and during your second trimester your blood pressure is probably lower than usual. Don't spring up too fast from a lying or sitting position or you might feel a little dizzy.If you haven't already, you'll probably have an ultrasound done sometime this trimester (usually between 16 and 20 weeks). This painless procedure helps your practitioner check how your baby's growing, screen for certain birth defects, check the placenta and umbilical cord, determine whether the due date you're working with is accurate, and see how many babies you're carrying. During the exam, you might see your baby moving around or sucking her thumb. Bring your partner along, and be sure to ask for a printout for your baby's first photo album!Pregnancy Tip: Afternoon energy booster "If you're finding it hard to get through an afternoon at work without a little nap, find a place you can escape for 15 to 20 minutes at work (close your office door, use a conference room, even sit in your car). Bring a small travel alarm clock and set it for 15 minutes." — Laura

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