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4 Weeks Pregnant

Pregnancy Body Changes at Four Weeks Pregnant


Congratulations! Your focus from now on is to be healthy. Think, act, and eat healthy. Rest, eat right, and
exercise in moderation. You're doing everything for two, which means taking care of two people the very
best that you can.
At 4 weeks pregnant, you may be experiencing any of the following pregnancy symptoms: missed
period, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headaches, bloating, a feeling of fullness, light cramping, poor
appetite, frequent urination, and breast tenderness. If you've had some minor spotting in the past week, it
may be implantation bleeding, which is not a cause for concern.
Some women have no symptoms at all which is perfectly normal. As soon as you discover you are
pregnant, schedule your first appointment with your OB/GYN or midwife. Early prenatal care is important.
After 4 weeks of pregnancy, a test will probably be able to detect your pregnancy. Pregnancy tests look
for a special hormone in the urine or blood that is only there when a woman is pregnant. This hormone,
hCG, is the hormone that is measured in pregnancy tests.
The hCG levels increase drastically each day you are pregnant.

Your Baby's Growth and Development at 4 weeks pregnant

The baby's brain, spinal cord, heart, and other organs begin to form. Your baby is
now about 1/25 of an inch long (0.04 inches).
Four weeks into your pregnancy, your baby (called an embryo) consists of two layers of cells - the
epiblast and the hypoblast that will eventually develop into all of your baby's organs and body parts.
Two other structures that develop at this time are the amnion and the yolk sac. The amnion, filled with
amniotic fluid, will surround and protect the growing embryo. The yolk sac will produce blood and help
to nourish the embryo until the placenta takes over that role.
The placenta has also started to form -- it is producing hCG, among other hormones, which is an
important hormone in pregnancy.

5 Weeks Pregnant
Pregnancy Body Changes at Five Weeks Pregnant

Your body is creating a new life, and at 5 weeks pregnant you may be feeling exhausted and unusually
irritable or emotional. Your increased metabolism and growing uterus may be causing more frequent
urination. Your breasts may be particularly tender now and you may find that sleeping in a sports bra
helps. Support early will help you avoid pain and tenderness throughout your pregnancy.
During this trimester, your body is working extra hard so you may be feeling extra tired. You may be
feeling tenderness in your breasts as the milk glands multiply. Morning sickness could make its debut (if
it hasn't already), however some women never experience it afterimplantation. Going to the bathroom
more frequently is normal, as are headaches due to the rise in hormones. You may have all of
these pregnancy symptoms, some of them, or none at all. Each woman's pregnancy is different from
another woman's and even different from first pregnancy on to additional pregnancies in the same
woman.
Make sure you get plenty of rest to help your body do its job. Exercising can also help, keeping your
muscles strong and your body moving is important all throughout your pregnancy!

Your Baby's Development at 5 weeks pregnant


Your baby's heart will begin to beat this week! Your baby is now called an embryo and is about the size
of an apple seed.
Until now, the embryo has been a mass of cells; but starting at about week 5 of pregnancy, a distinct
shape begins to form. A front, back, top, and bottom are now apparent. Also, a bulge in the center of the
embryo develops into your baby's heart. The nervous system, muscles, and bones begin to develop.
Your placenta and the amniotic sac will also begin to develop, so many developments are happening all
at once!
Morning sickness may be rearing its ugly head at this point. Nausea affects one third to one half of all
pregnant women and usually subsides or even disappears by the start of thesecond trimester. It may be
caused by a higher level of estrogen, as well as the rapid expansion of the uterus.

During week six of your pregnancy, your body is working hard to produce what will be your baby, which
means that the symptoms of pregnancy can be more pronounced this week. Your nausea may get worse
this week as your hormone levels rise. Remember it's called morning sickness, but it can strike at any
point of the day. Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. Your breasts may tingle, feel heavy, and the
areola (dark nipple portion) may become darker. Food cravings and food aversions may develop. You
may feel the need to urinate more often.

If you have not already done so, schedule your first prenatal appointment with your health care provider.
Begin eating healthy if you haven't been, and avoid smoke, drugs, and alcohol.
Avoid changing cat litter for there is a risk of toxoplasmosis. Let someone else do this duty for a while.
Toxoplasmosis can cause pregnancy problems and problems in the newborn.

Your Baby's Growth and Development


By week 6, your baby's brain and nervous system are developing at a rapid pace. The larynx starts to
form as does the inner ear. Optic vesicles, which later form the eyes, begin to develop this week on the
side of the head, as do the passageways that will make up the inner ear. The head and tail of the embryo
are formed, limb buds are present, and basic facial features begin to appear.
Your baby's heart will begin to beat around this time, and the earliest forms of the digestive and
respiratory systems appear.
Because their legs are curled up against the torso for much of the pregnancy, making a full-length
measurement difficult, babies often are measured from the crown to rump rather than from head to toe.
In week 6 of pregnancy, your baby is 0.08 to 0.2 inches from crown to rump.

Pregnancy Body Changes

More symptoms of pregnancy may appear in when you are 7 weeks pregnant. Nausea and morning
sickness, constipation, vaginal discharge and excess saliva are some. Rapid acceleration of hormones
can cause your face to break out. Wash your face twice a day with a gentle cleaner and drink plenty of
water. Vitamin B6 not only helps with nausea, but you may find it also improves the condition of your
skin.
Your waist may already be expanding, causing your clothes to feel snug. You may
experience constipation and have occasional bouts of indigestion. Some women also feel a bit dizzy or
lightheaded at times. Persistent symptoms that concern you should be immediately reported to your
doctor.
You will develop a mucus plug around this time, which forms in the opening of the cervical canal and
seals off the uterus for protection. Eventually, you will lose this plug as your cervix dilates in preparation
for labor. If you haven't already, you should call your doctor for an OB appointment.

Your Baby's Development

The hand plates become present this week, and the baby is 0.2 to 0.52 inches long,
or about the size of a marble. He or she weighs about 0.03 ounces. The genital tubercle is present, but
you can't distinguish girls from boys by sight at this point. Nasal pits are forming.
Your baby will actually go through 3 sets of kidneys, very rapidly as they develop during this period. This
week the second of such sets will form. Your baby's heart becomes completely formed , the limb buds
are present and the eyes appear as dark spots with the eyelid folds forming. Your baby's tongue begins
to form and his or her trunk of their body elongates and straightens. The pituitary gland is forming in the
middle of the brain.
The stomach and esophagus begin to form and the umbilical cord, which is the link between your baby
and the placenta, is now clearly visible. Your baby's liver starts functioning also this week. Your baby will
also start producing red blood cells.

Pregnancy Body Changes

When you are 8 weeks pregnant, your uterus is now the size of an orange. You may
have early pregnancy symptoms such as acne, tender, swollen breasts, nausea, and extreme fatigue.
Indigestion and bloating are common complaints of pregnancy. A slowed digestive process causes these
symptoms and allows your bloodstream to better absorb nutrients that are then passed on to your baby.
Try wearing loose-fitting clothes, eating small, frequent meals, chewing your food thoroughly
and avoiding high fat foods. This discomfort is completely harmless to your baby.
Once you have confirmation of your pregnancy from a home pregnancy test or blood or urine test at the
doctor's office, you should call and schedule your first prenatal visit.
What to expect at the first visit:
Urine Sampled (protein, hCG, etc.)
Blood Pressure (baseline)
Weight (baseline)
Pelvic Exam (size of uterus, cysts, coloring of cervix)
Pap Smear (some practitioners do this now, others wait)
Blood (Rh factor, iron levels, immunities, specifically rubella)
Family History (complications that may be predictable)
Be sure to ask any questions that have you have, your care provider should always be your primary
source of answers for your pregnancy questions.

Your Baby's Growth and Development

During your eighth week of pregnancy, your baby will likely begin developing
webbed fingers and toes. This week your baby's gonads will become either testes or ovaries.

Pregnancy Body Changes

At 9 weeks pregnant, you may find yourself with a persistent stuffy nose. Nasal
congestion and nose bleeds are fairly common during pregnancy. Try using a vaporizer or humidifier to
help lessen thesymptoms of pregnancy. You continue to feel tired, nauseated, and possibly dizzy. You
also may be experiencing heartburn and indigestion, occasional food cravings and food aversions,
nausea, bloating, and mood swings and weepiness from the hormones raging and changing throughout
your body.
Your breasts may be feeling full and tender. This can be one of the earliest symptoms of pregnancy. The
areola typically darkens and Montgomery's glands, lubricating sweat glands on the areola, may become
prominent and more numerous. Especially for those with a light complexion, veins in the breast often
become more pronounced.
Your waistline may be expanding and you may even begin to show slightly. Each woman and each
pregnancy is different; don't worry if you aren't looking pregnant yet!

Your Baby's Development at 9 weeks of pregnancy


During pregnancy week 9 your baby may be roughly one inch long. Your baby also weighs in at roughly
one ounce. Your baby's physical body including her arms, legs and head has taken shape. The
embryonic tail at the bottom of your baby's spinal cord is shrinking, and your baby's head is now nearly
half the size of its entire body.
More fetal developments that typically occur during the ninth week of pregnancy are the formation of
nipple and hair follicles, the abdomen and chest cavities become separate, the eye muscles and upper lip
develop the nerve cells of the retinas form in the eyes and the semicircular canals of the ears form. At
this point, all your baby's fingers and toes are present. The urinary and rectal passages are completely
separate and the intestines start to move out of the umbilical cord and into the abdomen.

Elbows appear and the process of ossification (hardening of the bones) begins. The leg buds divide into
thigh, leg, and foot units and the arm buds divide into hand, arm, elbow, and shoulder units. Your baby's
arms and legs will begin to move spontaneously.
In week 8 of pregnancy, the baby's eyelids begin to form, the ears, upper lip, and tip of the nose become
recognizable and the tongue begins to develop. Teeth are developing under the gums.

Changes in your body that may start appearing in week 10 of your pregnancy include complexion
changes (blotchiness, acne), mood swings, and weight gain. Tiredness and nausea are very common
still. Your waist is starting to disappear.
Hormonal changes occur during pregnancy that can affect the gums. The gums may become swollen and
inflamed in response to bacteria along the gum line. This is called "pregnancy gingivitis." It usually
appears during the third to ninth month of pregnancy. Schedule an appointment with your dentist to keep
your teeth and gums healthy during your pregnancy.
Your care provider will be able to check for the baby's heartbeat using a Doppler stethoscope. This may
be the first visit you get to hear your baby's heartbeat!

Your Baby's Growth and Development

When you are at 10 weeks pregnant, your baby is now 1.25 to 1.68 inches long and
weighs approximately 0.18 ounces. In week 10 of pregnancy your baby now enters its fetal period. Tiny
toes have formed.
The eyes are largely open, are no longer transparent. External genitalia are beginning to differentiate.
External ears are completely formed, as well as the upper lip.
As external changes such as the separation of fingers and toes and the disappearance of the tail takes
place, internal developments are taking place too. Tooth buds form inside the mouth, and if you're having
a boy, his testes will begin producing the male hormone testosterone.
The two lobes of the lungs extend into many tiny tubes (bronchioles) and the diaphragm begins to
separate the heart and lungs from the stomach, which moves into its final position.

Pregnancy Body Changes

By 11 weeks of pregnancy most women have gained very little weight. It is important to
stick to (or start) eating a healthy diet. You will only need about 300-500 calories extra a day while you
are pregnant. Make those calories premium, they help your baby grow.
Avoid junk foods, and try to ensure that you are getting a variety of fruits and vegetables and protein.
One word about protein, even in pregnancy it does not have to come from meat. There are a lot of
successful vegetarian pregnancies.
It is important that you wear a well supporting bra throughout your pregnancy, which will give your
breasts plenty of support.

Other common body changes you may notice at 11 weeks of pregnancy include dizziness and nausea if
you haven't experienced them yet. By about this time your uterus is just thinking about popping up
above your pubic bone. Once this happens you will start showing a bit more. Many women start noticing
physical changes including rapidly growing hair and nails.
Some headaches appear as a result of the changes in your hormone levels. Prevent them before they
start by eating regularly, drinking plenty of fluids, getting adequate sleep and keeping stress levels low.
Ask your care provider if you can treat headaches with Tylenol (acetaminophen), a pain medication that
is considered safe for pregnant women. If you experience frequent headaches, if the headache is the byproduct of a fever, or if it causes visual disturbances or puffiness in the hands and face, call your doctor
immediately.

Your Baby's Development


During pregnancy week 11, your baby is almost large enough for you to nestle in your palm. Most babies
are just under 1 inches long by now and may weigh as much as .3 ounces. Your baby's skin is still
transparent, once your baby reaches full term he will start to fill out, and you will no longer be able to see
your baby's blood vessels showing through his skin. Most babies will double their size during the next
three weeks. The iris will begin to develop this week and finger nails appear.
Week 11 of pregnancy marks the end of the embryonic period. From now on, your baby is called a fetus.
It also marks the period when your baby is out of the danger zone for the development of most
congenital complications. Other developments that are happening around this time are the external
genitals move outside of the body, the hair follicles of the skin are forming , and teeth are beginning to
form.

Pregnancy Body Changes

You begin to have a "pregnant glow" by the time you are 12 weeks pregnant.
Increased blood volume and pregnancy hormones work together to give you that glow. The greater blood
volume brings more blood to the blood vessels and hormones increase oil gland secretion, resulting in a
flushed, plumper, smoother skin appearance. The increased oil gland secretion can also cause
temporary acne.
Some body changes that occur during week 12 of pregnancy include morning sicknessdiminishing or
disappearing, fatigue disappears or diminishes, and your waistline expands. You may experience
headaches or lightheadedness.
Your placenta will take over the production of hormones around this time. Your risk of miscarriage is
reduced even further this week.
Your uterus has risen above your pubic bone, and your obstetrician will be able to feel it during an
abdominal exam. Around this time, you may begin to show. For first-timer mothers, "showing" may occur
a bit later, as strong abdominal muscles hide your pregnancy longer.

Your Baby's Growth and Development at 12 weeks pregnant


By the time you are 12 weeks pregnant, your baby is about 2.5 inches long and weighs approximately 0.3
to 0.5 ounces. Your baby's brain continues to develop, and tiny fingernails and toenails start to form.
Vocal cords are formed this week, which is the last of your first trimester.

Your baby's kidneys are functioning, as is the liver. They thyroid gland and pancreas are also complete.
Your baby is now passing urine and the gall bladder secretes bile. After swallowing amniotic fluid, your
baby will now be able to pass it out of the body as urine. A skeleton made of cartilage is forming.

Pregnancy Body Changes at 13 weeks

During week 13 of pregnancy, many of your early pregnancy symptoms may have
subsided or will soon. Anxiety may also decrease because the risk of miscarriage is significantly less
after thetwelfth week of pregnancy. The second trimester most often the easiest trimester. This is
because women often regain energy, as their baby's vital organs have formed, giving their own bodies a
rest from production.
As you enter your second trimester, your nausea most likely is gone. You aren't very large or
uncomfortable, which is the perfect time to keep up with moderate exercise. You may feel absolutely
wonderful.
You may feel some abdominal pain during week 13 of pregnancy as the ligaments that hold up your
uterus stretch to accommodate it as it grows. This is called "round ligament pain." This is very normal
and typically associated with stretching necessary for your uterus to grow.
Round ligament pain should not persist. You can differentiate round ligament pain from other problems if
vomiting, cramping or bleeding accompanies your symptoms. If you do experience pain with any of
these symptoms be sure to contact your health care provider immediately.
Remember to rest if you are feeling tired; your body is still adjusting to the pregnancy. This is usually the
time when mothers feel their best. They are "over" the joys of early pregnancy and have more energy.
They are also beginning to feel pregnant.
Your prenatal appointments will now consist of:
Blood Pressure
Weight
Fundal Height (Growth of the Uterus)
Baby's Heart Tones
Urine

Your Baby's Growth and Development


Your baby is actually quite large by now, a whopping 3 inches long in some cases and weighs in at
roughly .7 ounces. By 13 weeks pregnant your baby's intestines are working on maturing and your
baby's tiny pancreas is working hard to produce insulin. This will help your baby regulate her blood
sugar levels in the months and years following delivery.
Your baby's eyes also start to move closer to the center of your baby's head. The head can move easily
from side to side and up and down, and the facial features are starting to form. Your baby's arms have
almost reached final proportion and length, though the legs are still quite short relative to the baby's
body. At 13 weeks pregnant, your baby can now probably flex its arms and kick its legs. He or she may

also be able to put a thumb in his or her mouth, although the sucking muscles are not yet completely
developed.
The sockets for all twenty teeth are formed in the gums, and vocal cords are beginning to form. Other
things happening at this time are the appearance of fingernails, the beginnings of fingerprints and
footprints, the start of vocal cord formation, the appearance of visible ribs. The trachea, lungs, stomach,
liver, pancreas, and intestines are developing into their final functioning form.
During week 14 of pregnancy, you should be experiencing less nausea and less frequent urination. Your
energy levels should be increasing. You may begin experiencing constipation due to hormones. If it
becomes a problem, add more fiber to your diet and make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids. You may
develop cravings or food aversions, loving foods you previously hated or vice versa. The changes in

your hormones are partly responsible for this.


You may have developed a dark line down the middle of your abdomen to your pubic bone called a linea
negra. Your uterus is now the size of a grapefruit. The areolas (the darker colored part around your
nipple) of your breasts are darkening and growing larger in diameter. Your body is preparing for
breastfeeding by growing new milk ducts. Your nipples may also be more sensitive.

Your Baby's Growth and Development


When you are 14 weeks pregnant, your baby is about 3 to 4 inches long. He or she weighs about 1 ounce.
All of the baby's nourishment is being received from the placenta. The placenta has also taken over all
hormone production from the ovaries. These hormones will continue to play a vital role in maintaining
your pregnancy along with the changes in your body.
The baby is now about 12.5 cms or 4.92 inches. Your baby is now producing urine and actually urinating
into the amniotic fluid. It also can practice "breathing" the amniotic fluid in and out of its lungs.
Your baby will start to get covered with a soft, fine hair over its body called lanugo. The lanugo will be
shed before he or she is born and replaced with thicker, coarser hair. Your baby's sex organs have fully
differentiated into male or female.
Other fetal development that occur around week 14 of pregnancy include the ears having moved from the
neck onto the head, complete digestive glands, the thyroid starts to produce hormones, and the vocal
chords are complete. Your baby will begin to inhaling and exhaling.
At 15 weeks of pregnancy your uterus is just popping up above the pubic bone and you may begin to
show. There is a great variation in the time your pregnancy becomes visible. This usually occurs
between 14 and 20 weeks. If this is your second or third pregnancy, you are probably "showing" sooner

than a first-time mom because the muscles of your abdomen are a bit more relaxed, and the uterus tends

to fall forward more easily because of the relaxation of the supporting ligaments.
Along with looking pregnant, you may start feeling some of the side effects that come with pregnancy.
Pregnant women are also more susceptible to common illnesses, in part because their immune systems
are compromised during pregnancy. Take extra precautions to avoid germs that cause illnesses by
washing your hands after using public areas.

Some of the side effects that may show up are:


Urinary tract infection
Abdominal pain
Stuffy nose
Leaking breasts
Nosebleeds
Hair changes
Skin changes.
If you experience abdominal pain in your second trimester it is most likely caused by your enlarging
uterus. The pain usually occurs when you are sleeping or when you move quickly. This is common, and
you can ease the pain by applying heat, taking your time rising and sitting, and avoiding sudden
movement. If the pain persists or intensifies notify your care provider immediately.
Nosebleeds and stuffiness is due to the mucous membranes being soft and swollen due to the increased
flow of blood in your body brought on by pregnancy hormones. Try using a humidifier to keep the air
moist in your home.
Your skin may show some pigmentation. A dark line may appear down the centre of your abdomen, and
your nipples may darken. You're less likely to notice any of this if you are very fair-skinned. If you are
olive, black or brown skinned, the coloration will be visibly darker than the rest of your skin.
You may experience constipation during pregnancy. Increase your fluid and fiber intake, and eat more
fruit and vegetables. Prunes are excellent at helping with this.

Your Baby's Growth


Your baby is a about the size of an orange by pregnancy week 15, between 4 and 4 and inches long
and weighing more than 1 ounces. This week your baby will start producing lanugo, which is fine hair
that will cover your baby's body up until a few weeks before birth.
Your baby's bones are starting to get harder during pregnancy at 15 weeks and will continue to do so
throughout your pregnancy. Your baby is spending most of his time practicing breathing, by inhaling and
exhaling amniotic fluid. This helps your baby's air sacs develop during pregnancy.

Your baby continues to form taste buds at this point in time. Your baby s legs are longer than his arms
at this point. Eyebrows and hair may appear, and if your baby is going to have dark hair the hair cells
which color it will start to produce their color.
You may begin to feel the baby move at 16 weeks pregnant. However, many first time mothers do not
recognize fetal movements until 22 to 24 weeks. These first movements are called "quickening." You may
also begin experiencing a stuffy nose and nosebleeds, bleeding gums, pain in your abdomen from
stretching ligaments and swelling of your feet.
For some women, nasal congestion and nosebleeds are a side effect of pregnancy. This is due to altered
levels of hormones, which may cause the mucous membranes in your nose to swell. Increased blood
volume and softening of the tissues also contributes to this. Unfortunately, it may continue throughout
your pregnancy. A vitamin C deficiency may cause nosebleeds, so an increase in your consumption of
vitamin-C-rich foods may help. Do not use nose drops, other than saline, unless recommended by your
care provider.
Between weeks 16 and 18 of pregnancy, your health care provider may offer you the maternal
blood screening test, also known as a "triple marker" test or "triple screen," which measures the levels
of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), a protein produced by the fetus, and the pregnancy hormones hCG and estriol
in the mother's blood. The results of the triple marker test can tell whether your baby is at risk for
common pregnancy complications like neural tube defects such as spina bifida or chromosomal
abnormalities such as Down syndrome. The tests will only tell you if there is a risk, not if your baby has
the abnormalities. Talk to your health care provider about the risks and advantages of this test.

Your Baby's Growth and Development

By the time you are 16 weeks pregnant, your baby is between 4 and 4.5 inches from
crown to rump and weighs about 3 to 3.5 ounces. Your baby's nails are well formed, and some babies are
even in need of having their nails trimmed at birth. The ears have also moved from the neck to the head.
Your baby can hold his or her head erect, and the development of facial muscles allows for a variety of
expressions, such as squinting and frowning. The stomach is producing digestive juices and the kidneys
are producing urine. Your baby is well on its way to being a little person!
At 17 weeks pregnant, you may begin to feel your baby move. His or her muscles are now being used.
Your uterus is about 1 to 2 inches below your belly button.
Your breasts may be getting noticeably larger with visible veins. Hormones are preparing your breasts
for milk production, more blood is flowing to the breasts, and the glands that produce milk are growing
in preparation for breastfeeding.
Make sure you wear bras with enough support throughout your entire pregnancy. As your baby is
growing, your appetite may be also. You've probably gained about 10 pounds by now and your belly is
starting to protrude.

Your Baby's Growth and Development

Your baby is now 4.4 to 4.8 inches long and weighs about 4 ounces.
The placenta is growing to accommodate your baby's needs . It now contains thousands of blood
vessels that bring nutrients and oxygen from your body to your baby's developing body.
Other developments with your baby at 17 weeks include developing reflexes that will enable your baby to
swallow, blink and suck. The circulatory and urinary systems are working. Lanugo (a soft, fine hair)
covers your baby's shoulders, back, and temples.
When you are 18 weeks pregnant your uterus is about the size of a cantaloupe. Your uterus can be felt
just below your belly button. You may feel your baby move, and may even feel when he or she has
hiccups!
Your body is working harder to pump the extra blood in your system, and nourishing your growing baby,
causing you to feel dizzy, lightheaded, or faint. This is especially common when going from sitting or
lying down to standing.
These symptoms are not harmful unless they occur frequently or severely. To help minimize these
symptoms, dangle your legs over the side of the bed or chair for 20 seconds before standing up.

Your Baby's Growth and Development

During week 18 of your pregnancy, your baby measures about 5 to 5.6 inches from
crown to rump and weighs about 5.25 ounces. The rapid growth spurt is slowing down during this time,
but your baby's reflexes are still developing quickly. Your baby can now yawn, stretch, and make facial
expressions.
Ears move to their final position and they stand out from the head. Your baby's eyes are also developing
- they're now facing forward rather than to the sides. The skeleton can be clearly outlined in the
ultrasound of the fetus, and the bones begin to harden. Make sure you are getting enough calcium!
Your baby's taste buds are beginning to develop and pads (the fatty, soft parts) are forming on the
fingertips and toes. If your baby is a boy, his prostate gland is beginning to develop. The bones in the
inner ear and the nerve endings from the brain are developed. This means that your baby will hear
sounds such as your heartbeat and blood moving through the umbilical cord.
Around 19 weeks pregnant, many women wonder whether having sex will hurt their developing baby, and
the answer is no. Sex is considered safe at all stages of pregnancy, as long as your pregnancy is normal.

Many expectant women find that their desire for sex fluctuates during the various stages of pregnancy,
depending on their fatigue, growing size, anxiousness over the birth, and a host of other body changes.
During your week 19 prenatal checkup, your doctor will likely check your weight, your blood pressure,
urine, your uterus, and your baby's heartbeat. Talk to your doctor about anemia, and signs to watch for.
You may start to notice blotchy patches on your forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin. You also may begin to
develop stretch marks and the dry, itchy skin that comes with them.

Your Baby's Growth and Development

Nineteen weeks into your pregnancy, your baby is about 5.2 to 6 inches long and
weighs about 7 ounces. Your baby is also getting a lot more active by kicking, turning, twisting, moving
its arms, and wiggling its fingers and toes. This may feel as if you have butterflies; a lot of first-time
mothers may not feel the classic kicking until they are 26 weeks pregnant.
At 19 weeks your baby starts to develop brown fat, which will help keep your baby warm after birth.
During the last trimester, your baby will add more layers of fat for warmth and protection.
Your baby is now covered with a white, waxy substance called vernix caseosa, which helps prevent
delicate skin from becoming chapped or scratched. Premature babies may be covered in this cheesy
coating at delivery.
The skin is developing and is transparent, appearing red because blood vessels are visible through it.
Your baby is developing nerves that connect the muscles to the brain.
When you are 20 weeks pregnant, you may notice a darkening of the line between your belly button and
pubic area (linea nigra). It will fade after delivery.
As your baby grows, pressure is being put on your lungs, stomach, bladder and kidneys; causing
frequent urination, a shortness of breath with exercise, and indigestion or heartburn. You may also be
perspiring more, as your thyroid is more active.
If you notice vaginal discharge that is thin, milky-colored, and has a slight odor do not be alarmed. This
is normal. However, call your care provider if your discharge becomes thick and yellowish, very watery,
or bloody -- these could be signs of a more serious problem.
If you haven't already had one, your health care provider may recommend that you receive anultrasound,
a diagnostic test that uses sound waves to create an image. An ultrasound can determine the size and
position of the fetus, and any structural abnormalities of bones and organs that are visible along with the
umbilical cord, placenta, and amniotic fluid.

Your Baby's Growth and Development

When you are 20 weeks pregnant, your baby measures about 5.6 to 6.4 inches and weighs
about 9 ounces. Your baby is starting to grow hair on his or her head, eyebrows are forming and if your
baby is a girl her uterus is now forming. Nail growth begins.
Your baby can hear sounds now, and it will cover its ears with its hands if a loud sound is made near you
or move if it is startled.
You're to 21 weeks pregnant! At your prenatal appointment your provider has probably been measuring
the height of your uterus (fundal height) since it appeared above your pubic bone. After about 20 weeks
pregnant, this measurement generally correlates with your due date. Fundal height measurements
assess growth from visit to visit. Ultrasound would be performed for any inconsistency in fundal height.
After about 36 weeks the measurement for fundal height becomes less accurate as your baby settles into
your pelvis.
As your pregnancy progresses, you're carrying more weight. Because this is pregnancy weight, it
changes your center of gravity. You may feel clumsier, and lose your balance much easier. Be careful!
Take extra precautions to make sure your steps are sure and steady. This is the time you start taking
things slower, for yours and your baby's safety.
Weight gain is on many pregnant women's minds; make sure you discuss this with your doctor. While
you don't want to obsess, you also don't want to let your weight get out of control, risking complications.
Weight gain is also a way for your doctor to decide if you are measuring right for your due date, and can
monitor your baby's growth.
You may be finding yourself out of breath more often; this is caused by your uterus pushing against your
diaphragm, leaving less space for your lungs.

Your Baby's Growth

Your baby could measure about 10 inches from head to toe and weighs about threequarters of a pound. The eyebrows and eyelids are fully developed and the fingernails cover the
fingertips. Babies are more active at this stage, as they still have lots of room to move around. You'll feel
a lot more movement from your little one.
You may want to start preparing for your baby's birth, by getting supplies together a little at a time.
Our Baby Needs Checklist is a complete printable list of everything you'll need to have on hand for your
new baby. By starting now, you'll be able to take advantage of coupons and freebies that manufacturer's
give away

You're to 21 weeks pregnant! At your prenatal appointment your provider has probably been measuring
the height of your uterus (fundal height) since it appeared above your pubic bone. After about 20 weeks
pregnant, this measurement generally correlates with your due date. Fundal height measurements
assess growth from visit to visit. Ultrasound would be performed for any inconsistency in fundal height.
After about 36 weeks the measurement for fundal height becomes less accurate as your baby settles into
your pelvis.
As your pregnancy progresses, you're carrying more weight. Because this is pregnancy weight, it
changes your center of gravity. You may feel clumsier, and lose your balance much easier. Be careful!
Take extra precautions to make sure your steps are sure and steady. This is the time you start taking
things slower, for yours and your baby's safety.
Weight gain is on many pregnant women's minds; make sure you discuss this with your doctor. While
you don't want to obsess, you also don't want to let your weight get out of control, risking complications.
Weight gain is also a way for your doctor to decide if you are measuring right for your due date, and can
monitor your baby's growth.
You may be finding yourself out of breath more often; this is caused by your uterus pushing against your
diaphragm, leaving less space for your lungs.

Your Baby's Growth

Your baby could measure about 10 inches from head to toe and weighs about threequarters of a pound. The eyebrows and eyelids are fully developed and the fingernails cover the
fingertips. Babies are more active at this stage, as they still have lots of room to move around. You'll feel
a lot more movement from your little one.
You may want to start preparing for your baby's birth, by getting supplies together a little at a time.
Our Baby Needs Checklist is a complete printable list of everything you'll need to have on hand for your
new baby. By starting now, you'll be able to take advantage of coupons and freebies that manufacturer's
give away.
At 22 weeks pregnant, you are still feeling pretty good and active. If you are still having aches and pains
or feel like you are slowing down you may want to look into some different remedies for the problems
you're experiencing. You will begin to gain weight more steadily as your baby continues to fill out. The
extra weight gain may cause additional strain in your lower back. This can be eased by wearing lowheeled shoes and avoiding sitting or standing for long periods of time.
Your uterus has risen to roughly of an inch above your navel. While your belly isn't tremendous yet, it
certain changes your profile. Many women start noticing stretch marks at or around this time, though
some won't notice them until the third trimester and still others will barely get any stretch marks during
pregnancy.
Roughly half of all pregnant women develop stretch marks during their pregnancy. Many women develop
them on their bellies, breasts, thighs and even buttocks during pregnancy.

In the second trimester libido is usually increased. With the increase blood flow and secretions in the
vagina and clitoris, some women become orgasmic or multi-orgasmic for the first time.
There is no way that you are going to harm the baby during intercourse, although this is a common fear.
The baby is well surrounded by the amniotic sac and totally unaware of your actions. Unless you have
been told by your practitioner that you should abstain from sex, it is a healthy activity to engage in while
pregnant.

Your Baby's Development

Your baby is about 7.6 inches long and weighs about 12.3 ounces. Your baby's
muscles are developing and becoming stronger week by week. During week 22 of pregnancy, your baby
will respond regularly to sound, rhythm, and melody. The sounds that your baby hears in your womb will
soothe him or her after birth.
At this point in your pregnancy, your baby's brain and nerve endings are formed just enough so that the
baby can feel touch. Other developments include the eyelids and eyebrows becoming well developed,
the fingernails are completely formed, and taste buds have started to form on your baby's tongue. Baby
boys' testes have begun to descend from the abdomen to the scrotum and baby girls uterus and ovaries
are in place and the vagina is developed.
At 23 weeks pregnant, Braxton Hicks contractions may start appearing now. They are usually tightenings
in your lower abdomen similar to menstrual cramps. These contractions may last from 15 seconds to one
minute, keep track of them. You need to inform your doctor if they last longer than an hour or become
more intense. Their purpose is to begin preparing your body for labor and birth.
As you get closer to your delivery date you may have trouble sleeping. Anxiety, frequent urination,
heartburn, indigestion, leg cramps, and general discomfort can contribute to sleeplessness. Because
your hormones are in overdrive, you may also be experiencingmood swings. As your belly grows, your
skin may become dry and itchy. Remember to hydrate yourself and your skin. Drink lots of water and use
a good lotion on your belly to help prevent itching and stretch marks.
Many doctors recommend that pregnant women sleep on their sides (not their backs or their stomachs),
so that blood flow to the placenta is not restricted. If you find this uncomfortable, try placing a pillow
between your knees to relieve the pressure of your weight while lying on your side. A pregnancy pillow is
wonderful for this, they are specifically designed for a pregnant woman's body and provide comfort to
the places you need it most.
If you are experiencing aches in the small of your back, lying down, getting massages, and applying a
heating pad or hot water bottle to the area can help.

Your Baby's Growth


At 23 weeks pregnant, your baby weighs a little over one pound and measures about 11.5 inches from
head to toe. Your baby will begin to move the muscles in its fingers, toes, arms, and legs more regularly,

which may cause you to feel more forceful movements in your abdomen. From this point on your baby
will start gaining approximately 6 ounces of weight per week.
Your baby's eyebrows and eyelashes are forming, and the facial features such as lips and eyes are
becoming more distinct. The bones in your baby's middle ear begin to harden. Your baby's body is
becoming more proportioned.
At 24 weeks pregnant the top of your uterus reaches just above your navel. Your baby's movements are
obvious at this point in your pregnancy.
You may be starting to gain quite a bit of weight. Keep concentrating on healthy foods and low impact
exercising. The average weight gain based completely on baby weight and extra fluids should be
anywhere from 20-35 pounds. Excessive weight gain or too little weight gain can be signals of problems,
which should be discussed with your doctor or healthcare provider.
You may be noticing faint stretch marks on your abdomen, hips and breasts. Wear a supportive bra to
help prevent or minimize them on your breasts. Almost 90 per cent of women get stretch marks which
eventually fade after giving birth.
You may be given the glucose screening test by your doctor this week. The glucose screening is an
important prenatal test. It is usually done sometime during your pregnancy between week 24 and week
28. This prenatal test checks for gestational diabetes which is a temporary type of diabetes that occurs
during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes can cause your newborn to be born with low blood sugar and
may also increase the chances needing a cesarean section as it can lead to the hormonal growth of
unusually large babies (macrosomia).

Your Baby's Growth

Your baby is approximately 1 1/4 pounds and is 8"-10" in length. This is an active time,
with lots of movement going on.
With a handheld Fetal Doppler, your healthcare provider will be able to pick up the heartbeat of your
baby. This common, painless test uses sound waves to listen to the blood going through your baby's
heart, allowing you to listen to the heartbeat. It is without a doubt, one of the sweetest sounds of
pregnancy. Your baby's heartbeat will be very fast -- it is usually twice the average rate of an adult,
varying between 110 bpm and 170 bpm (beats per minute).
If you have a high risk pregnancy, you may be prescribed a Fetal Doppler to use at home. They are only
available via prescription and are monitored by the FDA.
Your baby's brain is really beginning to mature, his lungs are forming and will be producing surfactant in
the near future. Surfactant keeps the air sacs in our lungs from collapsing and from sticking together
upon exhalation, thus allowing us to breathe properly.
Your baby is almost completely formed, and is beginning to deposit fat on his or her body. Newborns
have a difficult time regulating body temperature, the fat helps to retain heat.

Babies born at this point have some chances of survival with very special care. They will be in the
Intensive Care Unit, usually until their due date. A major problem with premature babies is lung
development. If preterm labor is detected early enough a steroid shot can sometimes be given to
enhance lung development.
It is important to recognize the signs of premature labor, which is more common in the summer months
but can happen during any season. Premature labor can be caused by dehydration in some women, so
keep yourself hydrated with water. Call your doctor if you have any of the following:
Contractions or cramps, more than 5 in one hour
Bright red blood from your vagina
Swelling or puffiness of the face or hands, a sign of preeclampsia
Pain during urination, possible urinary tract, bladder or kidney infection
Sharp or prolonged pain in your stomach (preeclampsia signs)
Acute or continuous vomiting (preeclampsia signs)
Sudden gush of clear, watery fluid from your vagina
Low, dull backache
Intense pelvic pressure
Remember, if you have any of the above signs call your doctor immediately. It is always better to be safe
than sorry!
During week 25 of pregnancy, you will be starting to show more and your skin begins stretching to
accommodate your changing body. Make sure you keep your skin hydrated to ease or avoid itching
associated with your enlarged belly.
When you're 25 weeks pregnant, you may also experience a few more not so wonderful side effects of
pregnancy (hopefully not all of them!). You may be constipated, have frequent indigestion or heartburn,
increased sweating, vivid dreams, and forgetfulness. Hemorrhoids may develop, which are dilated blood
vessels in the rectal area. Let your care provider know, there are many options available to soothe
hemorrhoids, they will offer the best solution for you. This too shall pass, but mention anything unusual
(or even worrisome to you) to your doctor or health care provider.
As your uterus continues to grow it places some pressure on your back and pelvis. Because of this,
some women will experience a condition called sciatica. This often happens when the baby's head
presses against the pelvic bones causing the nerves in your lower back and legs to be compressed.
Severe pain often results and can occur in the lower back, leg or legs and even buttocks. Some women
will also experience numbness or tingling in the legs.
Some suggestions to help ease pain and discomfort caused by sciatica:
Apply a hot or ice pack for 10 minutes to the area that is most painful.
Avoid sitting for long periods of time.
Avoid frequent bending at the waist.
Don't engage in movements that make the pain worse.
Use support cushions and a full body pillow in bed.
Don't lift anything heavy and when you do lift be sure to bend from the knees.

In many cases the pain subsides within 1-2 weeks, though it may not disappear completely until after
delivery.

Your Baby's Growth

When you are 25 weeks pregnant, your baby is starting to gain weight. By pregnancy
week 25 your baby is approximately 1 pounds and just under 9 inches long. From this point on
however your baby's weight and length may vary somewhat. Every baby is different as you'll soon realize
during your pregnancy week by week. Other fetal development that is occurring when you are 25 weeks
pregnant includes the following:
The structure of the spine begins to form
Taste buds are forming
If you are having a boy, his testes have dropped into the scrotum
If you are having a girl, the vagina has hollowed out
The hands are fully developed -- fingerprints and all!
The blood vessels of the lungs are developing
The nostrils are beginning to open.
At 26 weeks pregnant, your uterus is now about 2 inches above your belly button. Your weight gain will
increase to about a pound per week. You may also experience rib pain, indigestion, heartburn, or stitchlike pains down the sides of your abdomen as your uterine muscle stretches.
You may begin to feel Braxton Hicks contractions more regularly. These contractions are painless, but
feel similar to menstrual cramps, and occur at irregular intervals. Braxton Hicks contractions are your
body's way of practicing for delivery and will help to tone your uterus for labor.

Your Baby's Growth and Development


At 26 weeks pregnant, your baby will be about 9.2 inches long and will weigh around 2 pounds. He or she
is still wrinkly, but will continue to gain weight and fill out as time goes on.
Although your baby's eyes have been sealed shut for the last few months to allow the retinas to develop,
they are likely opening and beginning to blink during week 26 of pregnancy.
Your baby begins to make breathing movements (although there is no air in the lungs) and will respond
to touch. The eyelids, eyebrows, and fingernails are still developing.
At 27 weeks pregnant, you are getting larger which means your pelvic muscles are strained. To keep
them strengthened, which will assist tremendously in the birth process, practice Kegel exercises. They
also strengthen the bladder muscles, which can help alleviate incontinence.

To help identify the muscles involved, think about the muscles that you would use to stop your urine
stream. Practice slowly squeezing the same muscle throughout the day. Work up to 50 repetitions and
hold the muscle tight for 8 to 10 seconds.
Your uterus continues to grow and develop; now reaching roughly 2.8 inches above your navel. You may
start noticing around this time your energy starts dropping. Your body is working hard to create a new
life; this is the period of time your baby is growing quite a lot. Because your uterus is moving closer to
your rib cage, it can be difficult for your lungs to fully expand. This does not mean your baby is being
deprived of oxygen. The pregnancy hormones have helped you out -- they are causing your circulatory
system to work more efficiently, pumping more oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to you and your baby. To
help alleviate shortness of breath, slow down, reduce stress, and decrease your activity.
You probably weigh 16 to 22 pounds more than your pre-pregnancy weight. You may feel off balance as
you get bigger, which is normal. Remember to take it slow. Stretch marks may become visible as your
uterus continues to expand. The placenta is producing more hormones, including progesterone, which is
vital in helping your uterine muscles relax. While these hormones do wonderful things for your baby and
your body, they may have an effect on your moods. If you experience mood swings, try to relax and ride
them out. Don't take them too seriously; most are caused by hormonal shifts.
Some women are candidates for home uterine monitoring after 27 weeks pregnant. These include women
who have a history of premature labor or those at risk for premature labor. High-risk complications can
often place a woman at risk for premature labor. In these cases it helps to monitor the uterus for
contractions to help prevent a delivery that is too early. Your care provider will discuss this with you if
they feel it is necessary.

Your Baby's Growth


Your baby is over 2 pounds and is almost 15 inches long. Your baby is now perfectly formed, though she
still has a lot of growing to do in the upcoming weeks. The internal organs and systems continue to
grow, mature and develop. Around this time your baby's eyelids will open (up until this point in time they
were fused together). Sometime around weeks 27 to 28 they finally open. During this time the retina of
the eye also starts maturing, allowing your baby's eyes to finally receive light and translate images.
The forebrain grows to cover the rest of the brain, resulting in some important brain development. Your
baby's muscle coordination will allow him or her to start thumb sucking. This activity calms your baby
and strengthens cheek and jaw muscles for nursing. Your baby will be taking some breaths, and
although breathing in, it is good practice for the lungs. Your baby may be able to recognize your voice
and your partner's voice.
If you have a high risk pregnancy, you may be prescribed a Fetal Doppler to use at home. They are only
available via prescription and are monitored by the FDA. However, a woman with a routine low risk
pregnancy may want to listen to her baby in utero.
When you are 28 weeks pregnant, you have probably gained between 15 and 25 pounds. You may be
experiencing leg cramps and mild swelling of ankles and feet, shortness of breath, lower abdominal pain,
varicose veins, heartburn and indigestion. You may also be feeling Braxton Hicks contractions in
preparation for labor. Hemorrhoids may develop around this time.
You will probably begin seeing your health care provider every two weeks at this point. He or she
probably sent you for some blood tests early in your pregnancy. One thing blood tests measure is the Rh

factor, a substance found in the red blood cells of most people. If you don't have it (if you're Rh negative)
but your baby does (is Rh positive), there is potential for your baby to have health problems, such as
jaundice and anemia. Your doctor can prevent these problems by giving you a vaccine called Rh immune
globulin at 28 weeks and again after delivery. Your doctor may also schedule a glucose tolerance test.

Your Baby's Growth and Development

During week 28 of pregnancy, your baby now weighs about 2 to 3 pounds and
measures about 15 inches from head to toe. During this week, your baby will grow another one-half inch
in size.
At your next prenatal appointment, your health care provider may tell you whether your baby is headfirst
or feet- or bottom-first (called breech position) in the womb. Babies who are in the breech position may
need to be delivered by cesarean section. Your baby still has 2 months to change position, though, so
don't worry if your baby is in the breech position right now. Most babies will switch positions on their
own.
The folds and grooves of your baby's brain continue to develop and expand. In addition, your baby
continues to add layers of fat and has continued hair growth. The baby's eyes can now open and close
and their muscle tone is increasing.
Although lungs are still immature, they are capable of sustaining life in the event of a premature birth
(with some medical help).
At 29 weeks pregnant your uterus is now about 3 and a half to four inches above your belly button. You
should be paying attention to your baby's movements, you will notice patterns of rest and wakefulness in
your baby. If you notice any abnormal movement patterns or a substantial reduction in movement be
sure to contact your healthcare provider immediately.
Your blood volume has doubled, and you've gained 15 to 20 pounds. Keep your calcium and iron intake
high - you need it, and so does your baby! Now more than ever it is important that you eat several small
meals per day. Your baby needs the nutrients, and your digestive processes have slowed tremendously
due to rising levels of progesterone and the decreasing space in your belly. It is also important that you
drink plenty of water during thethird trimester to help ward off constipation, which can result in
hemorrhoids.
Don't stop exercising. Walking (or swimming) is important and can make you feel more energetic.
Exercises designed for strengthening the abdominal muscles, which support the back, can help. After
the fourth month of pregnancy, you should avoid exercising while lying on your back, according to
recent guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Take special care in
practicing proper posture to avoid back pain. Most women gain the most amount of weight during their
third trimester. Sometimes this is due to the baby's growth spurt, whereas at other times it is due to
increasing levels of water retention. Don't be alarmed if you notice a sudden weight jump within a twoweek period.

There are times however during the third trimester when a sudden weight jump may be cause for alarm. If
for example, you gain several pounds within a couple of days, accompanied by high blood pressure,
increased swelling of the hands and face and a terrible or debilitating headache, you may be at risk for
preeclampsia. If this is the case, your doctor will have to monitor you very closely for complications to
ensure a healthy and safe delivery for you and your baby. If you experience premature labor (some signs
are menstrual-like cramps or lower back pain, a trickle of amniotic fluid, or a watery pinkish or brownish
discharge preceded sometimes by the passage of a thick, gelatinous mucus plug) call your care provider
immediately. They can often stop labor from progressing with bed rest or other drugs, possibly requiring
hospitalization.
More Information About:
Gestational Diabetes
Preeclampsia

Your Baby's Growth


Your baby now weighs around 2.5 pounds and measures about 13-15 inches long from head to toe. At
this stage a fetus's eyes are almost always blue and can distinguish bright sunlight or artificial light
through the uterine wall. Your baby's movements may not be as acrobatic since space has become more
cramped, but you will still feel a lot of kicking and stretching. In boys, testicles descend from near the
kidneys through the groin en route to the scrotum. In girls, the clitoris is relatively prominent because it's
not yet covered by the still-small labia. These will grow to cover it in the last few weeks before birth.
Your baby's head is getting bigger, and brain growth is very rapid at this time. Nearly all babies react to
sound by 30 weeks. Your baby's nutritional needs reach their peak during the third trimester. You'll need
plenty ofprotein, vitamin C, folic acid, iron, and calcium (about 200 milligrams is deposited in your baby's
skeleton every day), so eat foods rich in these nutrients. The skeleton hardens even more and the brain,
muscles, and lungs continue to mature.
At 30 weeks pregnant, you may be experiencing constipation. Constipation is a common complaint of
pregnancy. The pregnancy hormones that allow you to maintain your pregnancy also slow the digestive
process considerably. Exercising regularly and eating foods high in fiber is important and will help keep
you regular.
At this point you probably have stretch marks. Approximately 50 percent of pregnant women will get
stretch marks. Stretch marks are streaks that can be pale, dark red, or purple. Stretch marks occur when
the skin stretches to accommodate the growth of the belly.
You may also be experiencing swelling in your hands, feet, face and ankles caused by water retention. A
good way to keep water from building up is to drink lots of water, which will help flush out your system.
To help with the discomfort, you can raise your legs or lie down when you can, preferably on your left
side. Also avoid stockings or elastic-top socks.
However, if swelling appears overnight, you should call your healthcare provider immediately because
swelling can be a sign of high blood pressure and preeclampsia.

If you are experiencing frequent indigestion and heartburn, now is the time to pay attention to what you
eat. Eat smaller meals, healthy foods, and drink lots of water. Stay away from spicy foods. If it becomes
very uncomfortable, talk to your doctor about medications for heartburn or indigestion.

Your Baby's Growth and Development


Your baby weighs about 3 pounds and measures about 10.8 inches from crown to rump, your baby
continues to gain weight and layers of fat. From this point on your baby will gain about a half a pound a
week.
In male babies, the testicles move from near the kidneys through the groin en route to the scrotum. In
female babies, the clitoris appears large and exposed because it is not yet covered by the folds of the
skin called the labia.
Your baby's head is getting larger, more in proportion with its body. Your baby's eyelids now open and
close. The bone marrow is now responsible for making red blood cells.
At 31 weeks pregnant, the waiting (and sometimes anxiety) begins. You're a few short weeks away
from giving birth, and may be having mixed emotions. This is completely normal, especially for a first
timer. Talk about it with your care provider if you feel especially overwhelmed.
You'll need additional stores of iron during the third trimester to help build your baby's oxygen supply.
The best sources are dark green, leafy vegetables, as well as lean red meat, dried beans, and dried fruits.
It's also important to drink at least eight 8 oz. glasses of fluids each day. Fluids are essential for building
new cells, maintaining increased blood volume, and decreasing water retention.
At this late stage of your pregnancy and with your belly being the size it is, you may find yourself
spending many hours awake at night as you battle to find a comfortable position for you to sleep in.
Pregnancy body pillows are a godsend, they realign your body and give you and your tummy extra
support exactly where you need it. You may find yourself using it long after pregnancy, they are a great
product for helping to avoid those morning aches and pains.
Some more tips to help you sleep:
* Go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday.
* Don't drink to much fluid at night, or you will be in the bathroom the whole night.
* Avoid any caffeine after 2 p.m..

Your Baby's Growth at 31 weeks pregnant

Your baby is entering a growth spurt. For the next eight weeks, he'll gain weight
faster than he increases in length, at the rate of about half a pound a week. The bigger he gets, the harder
it will be to "see" him on ultrasound and get a good estimate of his size--the margin of error increases to
15 percent by the end of the third trimester.

He's definitely growing fast, and you'll notice that his kicks will start to feel more like squirming as he
runs out of room to roam. Your baby will be weighing in at around 3 1/2 pounds and measures nearly 14
1/2 inches from head to toe.
Your baby's growth weight may begin to slow down a little now, but although it is slowing down the
internal organs will continue to grow and develop.
You may want to start preparing for your baby's birth, by getting supplies together a little at a time.
Our Baby Needs Checklist is a complete printable list of everything you'll need to have on hand for your
new baby.
At 32 weeks pregnant, your uterus is measuring about 5 inches above your navel and is pushing your
organs every which way (wherever there is room). This may cause heartburn orconstipation.
In order to lessen the symptoms of constipation, drink lots of water and eat plenty of fiber. If it gets really
uncomfortable and you are unable to have a bowel movement without pain, talk to your healthcare
provider about stool softeners.
Heartburn may become more of a problem as the uterus pushes up on the stomach. In order to minimize
heartburn and indigestion, eat frequent small meals instead of fewer larger ones.
You may be experiencing breathlessness and fluid retention. Varicose veins, swollen ankles, hands and
face are all symptoms of fluid retention. If the swelling is sudden it can be a sign of preeclampsia.
This condition causes high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Be sure to tell your healthcare
provider if you experience any of these symptoms, since this condition can affect both the mother and
fetus during the second half of pregnancy.

Your Baby's Growth and Development

During week 32 of pregnancy, your baby is about 4 pounds and 11.4 inches from
crown to rump, your baby would have an excellent chance of survival outside the womb if you delivered
now.
Your baby is larger, so there will be less room for him or her to move around. His or her kicks or
movements may be less frequent.
The final touches are being placed on your baby masterpiece. Eyelashes, eyebrows, and the hair on your
baby's head are evident. The lanugo hair that has covered your baby since the beginning of the second
trimester is falling off, although some may remain on the shoulders and back at birth.
By the time you are 32 weeks pregnant, all of your baby's five senses are also functional, including
hearing. This means that your baby is becoming familiar with all sorts of noises within his or her
surroundings, including your heartbeat and digestion.

Your baby's arms and legs are fully proportioned in relation to the size of the head. His or her hair on
their head continues to grow while the lanugo continues to fall off.
By week 33 of pregnancy, about half a pound a week of your weight gain is going to your baby. You may
be feeling very tired, and have Braxton Hicks contractions in preparation for labor.
Your pelvis may feel pressure from your baby, causing aches and discomfort. Your belly button may pop
out, but it will return to normal after delivery.
You may want to begin reading up on labor and delivery, attending a childbirth class, and creating a birth
plan if you have not already done so.

Your Baby's Growth and Development


When you're 33 weeks pregnant, your baby measures about 12 inches from crown to rump and weighs
about 4.4 pounds
Throughout the next few weeks, your baby will gain more than half of his or her birth weight. Some
babies have full heads of hair by now; others have only a bit of fuzz.
If your baby is a boy, the testicles are descending into the scrotum. All five senses are developed and
your baby can listen, feel, and see. Your baby's eyes can detect light and the pupils can constrict and
dilate in response to light.
Your baby's lungs are almost completely matured. Fat will continue to be deposited on your baby's body
for protection and warmth. Babies gain a good deal of their weight in the final few weeks before birth.
Around this time your baby's skin color turns from red to pink.
During week 34 of pregnancy, you might notice more swelling than you had before, especially in your
ankles, fingers, and face. Continue to drink lots of fluids (water is best), and rest when you can with your
feet elevated.
Remember, if you notice sudden, extreme swelling in any of these areas, or you have a rapid significant
weight gain, call your healthcare provider right away. This could be a sign ofpreeclampsia or toxemia.
Fatigue is a common complaint of late pregnancy. Difficulty sleeping, aches and pains, weight gain, and
anxiety about labor, delivery, and taking care of a newborn may contribute to your exhaustion. Rest as
much as you can and take naps if possible.
Braxton Hicks contractions may be starting or continuing, and you may be experiencing pelvic aches, a
sore rib cage and general discomfort as you get larger.

Your Baby's Growth and Development


When you're 34 weeks pregnant, your baby now measures about 12.8 inches, crown to rump, and weighs
about 5 pounds.
The vernix coating on the baby's skin is becoming thicker, whereas lanugo hair is almost completely
gone. The skeleton is finishing hardening, and your baby is developing immunities to fight infections.
Your baby's fingernails have reached the tips of their fingers.

By now most babies will be in position for delivery. Your health care provider can tell you if your baby is
positioned head down or breech (bottom-first). Babies who are born at 34 weeks can usually survive
outside of the womb without extensive medical intervention
Around 35 weeks pregnant, you also might be experiencing more discomfort from hemorrhoids caused
by the increased pressure of your growing baby on the veins in your rectum. You might also
be constipated, which makes hemorrhoids worse because you might strain for a bowel movement.
Try to avoid hemorrhoids by drinking lots of fluids and eating plenty of whole grains, raw or cooked leafy
green vegetables, and fruits. Try not to strain for bowel movements, and always talk with your doctor
before taking a laxative.
Your overall physical discomfort is increasing as your baby puts more pressure on your body as he or
she grows to full size.

Your Baby's Growth and Development


At 35 weeks pregnant, your baby now measures about 12 inches from crown to rump and likely weighs
more than 5 pounds, 5 ounces. This week begins your baby's most rapid period of weight gain about 8
to 12 each week. Babies who are born during this week or after have a 99 percent chance of survival.
If your baby is a boy, his testes have completed their descent. He or she is continuing to gain weight and
store fat all over his or her body. The lungs are almost fully developed.
When you are 36 weeks pregnant, you may begin to see your health care provider every week. Your
doctor may give you an internal exam to determine if cervical effacement (thinning of the cervix)
or cervical dilation (opening of the cervix) has begun.
Lightening (also called engagement) may occur this week. Lightening is when the baby's presenting part
(usually the head) drops down into the pelvis as a first step in preparation for birth.
After lightening occurs, the pressure on your lungs and stomach will be relieved and your appetite may
increase. However, mothers may now feel a tingling sensation or numbness in the pelvic region, which is
caused by the pressure of the baby on the nerves in the legs and pelvis.
As your baby moves down into the pelvic area, the pressure may cause hemorrhoids, a condition in
which the veins around the anus or lower rectum become swollen or inflamed. Tell your doctor if you
experience hemorrhoids.

Your Baby's Growth and Development


When you're 36 weeks pregnant, your baby is now probably about 13 inches long from crown to rump
and weighs about 6 pounds.
Your baby is filling out, with very little wrinkling left. . There is fat on your baby's cheeks, and powerful
sucking muscles also contribute to your baby's full face.
By this week your baby's gums have become rigid and their sucking muscles are fully developed. The
brain is developing at an amazing pace. Your baby is finishing the final touches in preparation for birth.

By 37 weeks of pregnancy, most pregnancies are considered "full term." In most cases, nothing will be
done to stop your labor once it starts. If you are having your first baby your baby may have "dropped"
lower into your pelvis.
Usually, in a woman who has already given birth, this happens at the start of labor. True engagement is
the fixing of the fetal presenting part -- usually the head -- at the level of the mid pelvis, or at the level of
the ischial spines.
Your cervix may start to dilate in preparation for labor. This means that the mucus plug that seals off
your uterus from infection and bacteria will discharge from your body. The plug can discharge from your
body weeks, days, or hours before you go into labor.
The mucus plug is thick, yellowish, and may be tinged with blood. Always alert your care provider about
any discharge.
Make sure you are wearing supportive bras, as your breasts are preparing for breastfeeding by growing
larger and fuller. You may want to start using breast cream to prepare your nipples and avoid cracking or
dryness.
If you are going to breastfeed, get the supplies you need ready now. The breastfeeding checklist is
invaluable for preparation.
It's a good idea to start preparing for delivery and the birth of your new baby. If you haven't already done
so, pack your hospital bag. Use the what to take to the hospital checklist to make sure you have
everything you and your baby will need.
More Information About:
Labor and Delivery

Your Baby's Growth


Your baby weighs close to 6.5 pounds and may be about 20 inches long from head to toe. Your baby's
head is now cradled in your pelvic cavity -- surrounded and protected by your pelvic bones. This position
clears some much-needed space for her growing legs and buttocks.
Many babies now have a full head of hair, with locks maybe around one inch / 2.5 centimeters long. But
don't be surprised if her hair isn't the same color as yours. Dark-haired couples are sometimes taken
aback when their children are born with bright red or blond hair, and fair-haired couples likewise can
produce babies with dark hair. And then, of course, some babies don't have any hair at all.
The coating of lanugo that covered your baby from 26 weeks has disappeared, and so has most of the
vernix caseosa, the whitish substance that also covers her.
Your baby will continue to develop about a half an ounce of fat a day, and is getting rounder and pinker.
She is still practicing breathing, in preparation for life outside the womb.
By the time you are 38 weeks pregnant, you may be going to the bathroom more than ever. Your bladder
is extremely compressed as your baby is pressing on it

As your due date approaches, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with what to expect in during labor
and birth. Do not wait for your water to break, as only 10 percent of women have their water break on its
own.
Labor can come in three forms; pre-term labor, false labor, and actual labor.
Pre-labor is the time before actual labor when the body prepares for childbirth.
Prelabor occurs when the baby's head drops down into the pelvis, Braxton Hicks contractions become
more frequent, and there is an increase in vaginal discharge.
False labor feels like the real thing but labor contractions are irregular and painful. You may feel them in
various parts of your body (such as the back, lower abdomen, and pelvis). You may be experiencing false
labor if your contractions stay the same in intensity (that is, they don't get worse) and come in uneven
intervals with pain in your lower back vs. your abdomen. The contractions may also stop if you change
position.
Actual labor can be determined by contractions that occur at regular intervals and are coming closer
together. The contractions start at the top of your uterus and then spread over the entire uterus, through
your lower back, and into the pelvis, increasing in intensity. You may feel very strong menstrual-like
cramps accompanied by back pain. Your contractions will become stronger and more painful and won't
be alleviated by changing position.

Your Baby's Growth and Development


When you are 38 weeks pregnant, your baby can measure anywhere from 19 inches to 21 inches. Your
baby weighs about 6 pounds, 6 ounces by now. Fat is still accumulating, although growth is slower now.
Since your baby has had the muscles to suck and swallow amniotic fluid, waste material has been
accumulating in his or her intestines. Cells shed from the intestines, dead skin cells, and lanugo hair are
some of the waste products that contribute to meconium, a greenish-black substance that constitutes
your baby's first bowel movement.
Your baby is now full term, which means that if your baby were born today, he or she would be
considered a full-grown baby. Your baby is still growing an ounce a day at 38 weeks pregnant.
At 39 weeks pregnant, you should be watching for signs of labor. False labor contractions, which may be
as painful and as strong as labor contractions, may begin this week. False labor contractions can get
better if you change positions.
Braxton Hicks contractions may become more pronounced. These contractions may be as painful and
strong as true labor contractions but do not become regular and do not increase in frequency as true
contractions do.
Your water may break at any time. Some women experience a large gush of water and some feel a steady
trickle when their water breaks. Only 10 percent of all women have their water break on its own. If you
think your water has broken or you are experiencing regular contractions, contact your doctor
immediately.
Most of the pregnancy discomforts you may be feeling by now have appeared in earlier weeks, such as
hemorrhoids, constipation, increased urination, swelling, varicose veins, and heartburn and indigestion.
Almost all will disappear with delivery of your baby.

Your Baby's Growth and Development


By the time you are 39 weeks pregnant, your baby is likely between 19.5 and 21.5 inches long from head
to toe and may weigh around 7 pounds.
While your baby has very little room to move around if you notice absence of movement completely, call
your doctor or midwife immediately.
During week 39 of pregnancy, the placenta will continue to supply your baby with antibodies. These
antibodies will help your baby fight infection the first 6 months to 12 months of life. The umbilical cord
that carried nutrients from the placenta to your baby is now 20 inches long and half an inch thick.
By now your baby's arm and leg muscles are quite strong. All of your baby's organs are fully functional.
Your baby's lungs are getting stronger in preparation for life outside the womb.
Now that you're 40 weeks pregnant, you've made it to your due date. 95 percent of babies are born either
in the two week period before or after their due date.
Each care provider has specific instructions about when to call and when to come in to the birthing
center or hospital, as well as what to eat or drink in early labor. If no instructions have been provided,
now is the time to ask for them.
Usually care providers want to see you when your contractions are regular and less than four to five
minutes apart.
At the end of your 42nd week, your pregnancy is post term. Your doctor will probably order testing, just
to be certain that there is still good utero-placental circulation.
This testing can involve a non-stress test and/or a contraction stress test or a biophysical profile.
After nine months of doctor's visits, large clothing, physical discomfort and joyous expectation you are
finally reaching the last stages of pregnancy - labor and delivery. Click below for information from the
medical panel of specialists as they take you step by step through the process of labor and birth.

Your Baby's Growth


By the beginning of this trimester your baby will be building fat stores and muscle mass. Your baby's
hair will be growing, replacing the lanugo that protected her skin in the womb.
By the end of this trimester your baby will be approximately 7 pounds in weight and about 20 inches
long. Your baby's lungs mature right up to birth.
If you haven't packed your hospital bag, now is the time to do it. Our Labor-Delivery Needs Checklist is a
complete printable list of everything you'll need to have on hand for your labor and hospital stay.
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