Friday, June 09, 2006

How is mommy doing?

For those of you who read this blog please remember to give a call to the Mommy to be.

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

Week 22

How your baby's growing: Your baby now looks like a miniature newborn, checking in at 10.9 inches and almost 1 pound. Her skin will continue to appear wrinkled until she gains enough weight to fill it out, and the fine hair (lanugo) that covers her head and body is now visible. Her lips are becoming more distinct, and the first signs of teeth are appearing as buds beneath her gum line. Her eyes are developed, though the iris (the colored part of the eye) still lacks pigment. Eyelids and eyebrows are in place, and her pancreas, essential for hormone production, is developing steadily.
• 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 may start to notice stretch marks on your skin as your abdomen expands to accommodate your growing baby. Some pregnant women never get stretch marks, but at least half do. These small streaks of differently textured skin can range from pink to dark brown (depending on your skin color), and they become more apparent as pregnancy progresses. They can appear not only on your tummy, but also on your buttocks, thighs, hips, and breasts. Lotions won't prevent or eliminate them, but they help with any itching. Also, you may no longer be an "innie" — your navel is flat and may soon pop out. It will revert to its usual shape after birth.Another interesting skin quirk you may notice during pregnancy is something called vascular spiders. These are little areas of raised, reddish skin, with tiny branches. Commonly found on the face, neck, upper chest, and arms, they're caused by the higher levels of estrogen in pregnancy, and they usually disappear after delivery.Pregnancy Tip: Write it down "I kept a journal for my son while I was pregnant, and I brought it to the hospital with me so I could write in it as soon as I was up to it. It really helped to share all the feelings I was having." — Anonymous

Week 21

How your baby's growing: Your baby now weighs about three-quarters of a pound and is approximately 10 1/2 inches long. His eyebrows and eyelids are fully developed. And you can certainly feel him move. He's oblivious to your schedule, though, so don't be surprised if he starts working out just when you're settling down for the night. If you're having a girl, her vagina is formed now, though it will continue to develop until birth.
• 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 probably feeling pretty comfortable these days. You're not too big yet, and the usual aches and pains associated with early pregnancy are, for the most part, gone. Relax and enjoy it while you can — the third trimester will bring some mild discomfort from carrying a baby who is nearly full-term.That's not to say you don't have some minor glitches to deal with now. Increased oil production may have given you a mild case of acne, for example. If that's the case, be diligent about washing well with a gentle soap and water twice a day, but don't take any oral acne medications — or even use any topical acne products — without checking with your practitioner first.You're also prone to varicose veins now (especially if your mom has them). That's because pregnancy puts added pressure on the veins in your legs. (Your blood volume is increased and your uterus puts pressure on the inferior vena cava, the large vein that returns blood from the lower half of your body to your heart.) As if that's not enough, an increase in the hormone progesterone causes the walls of your blood vessels to relax, so as your baby and uterus grow, the veins can become more and more prominent. Varicose veins tend to worsen with each pregnancy, and while they're most likely to show up in your legs, they can also appear on your vulva.If your legs ache, put maternity support hose on first thing in the morning. Increasing your circulation with a brisk walk each day can also help, as can elevating your legs and sleeping on your left side with your feet propped up with a pillow.Pregnancy Tip: Hit the garage sales "I saved a ton of money on baby gear, nursery furniture, and toys by going to garage sales a few months before my baby was due. Many of the items I found were as good as new!" --Becca

20 Weeks

How your baby's growing: Your baby weighs about 10 1/2 ounces now. She's also around 6 1/2 inches long from head to bottom, and about 10 inches from head to heel. (For the first 20 weeks, we use measurements taken from the top of the baby's head to her bottom — known as the "crown to rump" measurement. After that, we use measurements from head to toe. This is because a baby's legs are curled up against her torso during the first half of pregnancy and are very hard to measure.)A greasy white substance called vernix caseosa coats her entire body to protect her skin during its long submersion in amniotic fluid. (This slick coating also eases the journey down the birth canal.)Your baby is swallowing more, which is good practice for her digestive system. She's also producing meconium, a black, sticky substance that's the result of cell loss, digestive secretion, and swallowed amniotic fluid. This meconium will accumulate in her bowels, and you'll see it in her first messy diaper (although a few babies pass it in utero or during delivery).
• 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've made it to the halfway mark — Congratulations! The top of your uterus is at the level of your belly button now, and you've likely gained about 10 pounds. Expect to gain an average of about another pound each week from now on. (If you started your pregnancy underweight, you may need to gain a bit more; if you were overweight, perhaps a bit less.) Make sure you're getting enough iron, a mineral that's used primarily to make hemoglobin (the part of your red blood cells that carries oxygen). During pregnancy, your body needs more iron for your developing baby and the placenta, and to keep up with your expanding blood volume. Iron-rich foods include lean red meat, poultry, fish, lentils and other legumes, spinach, and iron-fortified cereals.If you haven't already signed up for a childbirth education class, you may want to look into one. Whether you're a first-timer or a pro, you can benefit from a structured class that helps prepare you for the rigors of labor and delivery. Most hospitals and birth centers offer classes, either as weekly meetings or as a single intensive, all-day session. Ask your doctor or midwife for a recommendation. At 37 weeks, you'll be considered full-term, so plan to be done with classes by then.Pregnancy Tip: Sweet treat "Instead of your morning coffee, try a cup of steamed milk with a shot of flavored syrup. Delicious — and good for you and your baby!" --Tracy