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First Trimester

The first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Pregnancy is measured in trimesters from the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP), totaling 40 weeks. The first trimester of pregnancy is week 1 through week 12, or about 3 months.

First Trimester The first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Pregnancy is measured in trimesters from the first

Early development

Your actual pregnancy begins at the time the egg is fertilized by a sperm cell. During the following week, the fertilized egg grows into a microscopic ball of cells (blastocyst), which implants on the wall of your uterus. This implantation triggers a series of hormonal and physical changes in your body.

The third through eighth weeks of growth are called the embryonic stage, during which the embryo develops most major body organs. During this process, the embryo is especially vulnerable to damaging substances, such as alcohol, radiation, and infectious diseases.

Having reached a little more than 1 in. (2.54 cm) in length by the ninth week of growth, the embryo is called a fetus. By now, the uterus has grown from about the size of a fist to about the size of a grapefruit.

Early signs of pregnancy

Your first sign of pregnancy may be a missed menstrual period. Other early signs of pregnancy, caused by hormonal changes, include:

Fatigue.

Breast tenderness.

Increased urination.

Fullness or mild aching in your lower abdomen.

Nausea with or without vomiting, also known as morning sickness.

Additional changes related to pregnancy

Throughout your pregnancy, you may notice a number of mild to severe effects, including:

Constipation, due to hormonal changes that slow down the normal function of your bowels. Iron in your prenatal vitamin can also cause constipation.

Mood swings, which can be caused by hormonal changes, extreme fatigue, or the stress of expecting a new baby.

Vaginal discharge changes. A thin, milky-white discharge (leukorrhea) si normal throughout pregnancy. Also, the tissues lining the vagina become thicker and less sensitive during pregnancy.

Vaginal yeast infections, which are more common in pregnancy because of the increased levels of hormones. Call your health professional if you have symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection or bacterial vaginal infection (bacterial vaginosis).

Vaginal bleeding. Spotting in early pregnancy may go away on its own, but it can be the start of a miscarriage. If you experience any vaginal bleeding during

pregnancy, contact your health professional.

First Trimester Pregnancy

What is it? (Overview)

The nine-month cycle of pregnancy is divided into three-month segments, called trimesters. The first trimester starts the moment of conception, when the egg and sperm first meet, and extends through the 12th week of pregnancy.

What changes will I experience? (Physical and Emotional Changes)

Your period will probably cease, though some women have what looks like a very light period the first month. This light spotting, with or without a yellowish discharge, occurs when the fertilized egg burrows down into the lining of your uterus.

Your breasts may feel swollen and tender and the skin around your nipples may darken as your body gears up for milk production. Your uterus becomes engorged with nutrient-rich blood and starts to expand to support your growing fetus. Since this puts pressure on your bladder, you'll feel the urge to urinate more often.

Up to 70% of women experience nausea and vomiting during the early months of pregnancy. The term "morning sickness" is a misnomer, since these symptoms can -- and do -- show up at any time of day or night. For most women, nausea and vomiting wane after the first trimester.

If you feel tired, it's no surprise -- your body is working overtime to create a home for your developing baby. Not only is the placenta (the organ that will nourish the fetus until birth) forming, but your body is making more blood and your heart is pumping faster.

Your fatigue may also be related to stress, since your mind is working overtime, too. You may be wondering if you're doing all the right things, if your baby will be healthy, if you'll be a good parent, and how a newborn will affect your relationships, career, and finances.

Some women feel like they're riding an emotional roller-coaster during the first trimester. It's hard to pinpoint the exact reason for each high or low, but hormonal fluctuations, increased stress and anxiety, and the physical discomforts of pregnancy all play key roles in these mood swings.

What kind of medical care do I need? (Prenatal Care)

Getting prenatal care as soon as you know you're pregnant (or, if possible, before you conceive) and seeing your provider regularly as your pregnancy progresses are vital to you and your baby's

health. During the first trimester, you'll probably have a checkup once a month. Here's what to expect during the first prenatal visit:

After a blood or urine test confirms your pregnancy, your caregiver will give you a complete medical exam. She'll also take a detailed medical history and asses any pregnancy risks. She'll need honest answers about your lifestyle, too. For example:

Do you drink wine, beer, or alcohol? If so, how often and how much?

Do you smoke? How much?

Do you take any medications or illegal drugs? Which ones?

Do you exercise regularly? What kind of exercise do you do?

Having a clear, complete picture of your medical history and lifestyle helps your caregiver provide the best care possible, so it's important not to leave out any details -- even embarrassing ones.

Next, she'll give you a blood test to determine your Rh factor. Though it's rare, having a different Rh factor than your fetus can cause Rh disease, which may lead to serious illness or even death for your baby. This is easily prevented if Rh incompatibility is spotted early. Your doctor will check your blood for signs of exposure to syphilis, rubella, hepatitis B, and possibly HIV, too. Other lab work includes urine tests for infection or diabetes and a cervical culture to check for sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea and chlamydia.

Your caregiver will also talk about nutrition during pregnancy. In addition to warning you away from alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco, she may advise you to consume more protein, calcium, iron, and fluids. Since it can be hard to get enough of certain nutrients, such as folic acid, she may recommend that you take a daily prenatal vitamin to be on the safe side.

Unless a health condition prevents it, your caregiver will encourage you to exercise. Keeping fit during pregnancy helps you maintain your aerobic capacity, muscle strength, and flexibility -- not to mention gear up for the marathon of labor and delivery. Many women enjoy yoga, swimming, and brisk walking throughout their pregnancies. Now is not the time to embark on a challenging new program, though. If you haven't been exercising regularly, ask your caregiver to suggest a safe plan that starts out slowly.

What else can I do to have a healthy pregnancy? (Self-care)

Follow your caregiver's advice regarding nutrition, exercise, and other health matters, and let her know if frequent nausea robs your appetite or you simply can't keep anything down.

Also contact your caregiver right away if you have any worrisome symptoms, including heavy or prolonged (more than one day) bleeding, unusual vaginal discharge, abdominal cramping, severe or persistent headaches, dizziness, visual disturbances, fever, chills, and painful urination.

Get your caregiver's OK before taking any medication, including over-the-counter medicines or natural remedies. Even seemingly harmless medications can cause birth defects and other problems during pregnancy. And be sure to steer clear of alcohol, street drugs, and tobacco (including secondhand smoke).

Finally, since high body temperatures have been linked with neural tube defects, stay out of hot tubs and saunas while you're pregnant.

How is my baby growing? (Fetal Development)

By the end of the first trimester, the fetus is 2.5 to 3 inches long and weighs about an ounce. His heart is beating, his respiratory system is working, his liver is making bile, his kidneys are secreting urine, and his reproductive organs, bone cells, fingers, and toes are forming.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Q: How much weight should I gain during my pregnancy?

A: If your weight was normal before you conceived, your caregiver will probably recommend that you gain 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. You'll notice a little gain (about 2 pounds) during the first trimester, but most of the necessary bulking up happens later on. If you were underweight or overweight before getting pregnant, talk to your caregiver about how much weight to put on now.

Q: I'm having wild dreams. Is this normal?

A: Yes. Most women have much more vivid dreams during pregnancy, most likely due to the incredible physical and emotional changes they're experiencing.

Q: Which prescription drugs can harm my baby?

A: Some common teratogenic drugs (that is, drugs that can cause birth defects and other fetal malformations) include Accutane, an acne treatment; prednisone, a steroid; tetracycline, an antibiotic; Coumadin and other drugs used to prevent blood clots; anti-seizure medications; and drugs used to treat cancer. There are many more, though, so don't take any drug without your caregiver's OK (ideally, discuss the medicines you take with her before you get pregnant). And let anyone who prescribes medication to you (including your dentist or a doctor treating you for other health conditions) know that you're pregnant.

Week 1

Week 1 Overview of Female Pelvic Anatomy Mother Your last period has just started and you

Overview of Female Pelvic Anatomy

Mother

Your last period has just started and you may be considering a pregnancy. Preconceptional health planning is a good idea. However, if you haven't started before now, make sure that you "act pregnant" until you know other wise. Taking a prenatal vitamin (available at most drug or grocery stores), with .4 mg of folic acid (to help prevent neural tube defects) is a good idea. Discontinuing any form of chemical birth control, and avoiding other chemicals such as: alcohol, tobacco (even second hand smoke), x-rays, over the counter medications, and even discussing the prescription medications you are currently taking with your care provider.

Baby

 

As the uterus sheds it's lining, the hormones are preparing another egg for release.

Dad

Many fathers-to-be also begin watching what they eat and drink. The health of dad does play an important role in baby's health and development. Now is the ideal time to stop smoking, develop some better eating habits and other healthful goals.

Week 2

Week 2 This is a mature follicle getting ready to release the egg ... Mother Your

This is a mature follicle getting ready to release the egg ...

Mother

Your uterine lining is thickening, and ovulation is getting ready to occur. Some women will actually feel ovulation, with a one sided pain called mittleschmertz (literally meaning middle pain). Getting to know your family's medical history is very important. About 75% of complications with pregnancy and birth can be identified at the first visit. Also learn more about Getting pregnant and preconceptional health.

Baby: Almost! Here is where sperm and egg meet. Dad
Baby:
Almost!
Here is where sperm and egg meet.
Dad

Did you know that wearing boxers can increase your sperm count? By wearing regular or tight underwear, even pants, you can over heat your testicles and that has an adverse effect of the sperm.

Twin Tips

If you ovulate more than one egg, chances are you'll get pregnant with multiples! The rate of naturally occurring twins is about 1 in 89 births.

Week 3

These are embryos at 3 weeks.
These are embryos at 3 weeks.

Mother

You have ovulated and some how been exposed to sperm! When the egg implants some women have a tiny bit of spotting called implantation bleeding, where the egg burrows into the uterine lining, shedding a bit. This is nothing to worry about. Your body also releases an immunosuppressant protein called Early Pregnancy Factor (EPF) to prevent your body from seeing the baby as an invader.

Baby

Implantation will occur this week! The egg and the sperm have met in your fallopian tube and will begin the 7-10 day journey to the uterus. Cell division begins immediately and continues throughout this journey. Once it has implanted your baby is called a blastocyst and is about 0.1-0.2 mm in diameter.

Week 3 These are embryos at 3 weeks. Mother You have ovulated and some how been

This is an egg five days after conception.

Dad:

You're probably blissfully unaware of what is going on at this point. Or you might be anxiously awaiting the results of the pregnancy test. Either way continue with good habits previously started or work towards forming new habits.

Twin Tips

If you're having fertility treatments your chances of having multiples is increased, depending one which treatment. The rate of twins can be as many as 1 in 40 pregnancies.

Your Baby: How Old is Your Baby?

To the surprise of many, the age of a fetus is calculated from the beginning of the last menstrual period - not from the actual date of conception, which usually happens two weeks later. That's why your due date is considered to be about 40 weeks after your last period, even though only 38 weeks will have passed since you conceived.

Your Body: The ABCs of Conception

Some women have no idea they've conceived at this early date, while others can tell the exact moment it happened. Either way, conception is a magical moment for a couple, especially a woman, whose body is going to grow and change in ways never thought possible.

If you're curious about conception, here's what you need to know in a nutshell. During ovulation, which usually happens mid-cycle (on day 14 of a 28-day cycle), one of your eggs is carried into the nearest Fallopian tube. If a man's sperm makes its way to the same spot within the next 12 to 24 hours, it may fertilize that egg. You're not actually pregnant until the fertilized ovum, called a zygote, travels the rest of the way down the Fallopian tube and attaches itself to the wall of your uterus.

The catch: The average egg lives only 24 hours and the average sperm lives for 24 to 48 hours, so they have to get acquainted during the first few hours after sex if you're going to conceive.

The moral of the story: If your goal is to get pregnant, you should aim to make love at least every other day during the middle of your cycle.

On That Note: Getting Graphic

The Female Reproductive System Tour shows just how far a woman's egg and a man's sperm have to travel before they actually meet up and connect to conceive a baby.

Weekly Tip:

It might be a few more weeks until you miss a period - or notice one of the other signs of pregnancy -- and suspect that you're with child. So have a home pregnancy test on hand, but hold off using it until four to seven days after you would expect your period to begin. Waiting it out will help ensure that you get the right results.

Week 4

These are embryos at 3 weeks.
These are embryos at 3 weeks.

Mother

Your body is figuring out what is going on! A urine pregnancy test would probably be positive by now. They measures the amounts of the pregnancy hormone, hCG, in your urine. Each test measures a different level. You are probably beginning to feel tired, urinate more frequently, experience mood swings, and possibly have tender or swollen breasts. If you have not been avoiding environmental hazards, begin doing so now. The first trimester is the most critical time for formation of your baby. This also includes avoiding alcohol, smoke (including second hand smoke), street drugs, limiting or avoiding caffeine. If you have any questions please contact your careprovider.

Baby:

The chorionic villi are fully formed by the end of this week. In one study, 100% of the transvaginal ultrasounds showed a gestational sac. The yolk sac that helps feed your baby until the placenta is fully functional is appearing as well.

Dad:

Do you have a plan on how you'll find out about the pregnancy? Will the test be a joint effort? Some moms choose to have dad go and read the results. Be sure you've read the instructions and know how to properly read the test results. The words you say will be remembered forever.

Twin Tips:

hCG levels in moms carrying multiples are often more elevated. This can often be the first sign that you have more than one on the way! An average hCG for a singleton at 18 days post-ovulation is about 70 mIU, a twin gestation is about 200 mIU at the same day. Though this is not a foolproof way to detect twins.

Your Baby: On Becoming a Blastocyst

The zygote begins to develop rapidly within a day after it is fertilized. In three days time, a cluster of cells, called a morula, will exit the Fallopian tube and enter the uterus. Then a fluid-filled cavity will form as the morula grows. The fertilized egg - now called a blastocyst - starts dividing into hundreds of cells by the eighth day post-fertilization. Once safely in the uterus, it embeds itself, adhering tightly to the top of the uterine lining.

Your Body: A Gut Feeling

Pregnancy - in all its accompanying signs and symptoms and surprises - is different for every woman, especially in the first trimester. Some feel physically out of sorts, while others experience emotional upsets as if they were premenstrual. For the more fortunate, the only sign of having conceived is the absence of menstruation.

So if you think you may be pregnant, be on the lookout for any or all of these telltale signs: fatigue and sleepiness, frequent urination, nausea and vomiting, excessive salivation, heartburn, indigestion, bloating, food aversions and cravings, and any kind of breast changes (heaviness, fullness, tenderness, tingling, or darkening of the areola).

On the emotional end, you may feel weepy, unstable, irrational, and all-around irritable. If you're more prone to mood swings, you may feel joy and elation on a good day and, on a less-than-cheery one, misgivings or fear. These feelings may set in as early as the first month of pregnancy, or they may develop sometime in the second. And if you're really lucky, they may not affect you at all.

Note: If you have any bleeding, pelvic pain, non-stop vomiting (more than two to three times a day), painful urination, or sudden swelling of your hands, feet, or face, you should call your doctor immediately.

On A Different Note: Nutritious News

Planning on being pregnant or hoping you already are? If so, you need to eat accordingly. That means getting the correct amount of the correct foods. To see what your nutrition needs are during the next nine months.

Weekly Tip:

If you're trying to conceive or think you may be pregnant, you should start taking a prenatal vitamin ASAP. Though there is some dispute about whether these nutritional supplements are really necessary, research does show that they may help prevent birth defects.

Pregnancy Month One

Pregnancy Month One Physical Changes in Pregnancy As your last period starts you are not pregnant.

Physical Changes in Pregnancy

As your last period starts you are not pregnant. After ovulation, the egg and sperm join and begin the journey to the uterus. As you miss your first period, or even a few days before, you may begin to suspect you are pregnant. Take a pregnancy test.

Week 5

Week 5 Mother If you are in your fifth week, you might not be able to

Mother

If you are in your fifth week, you might not be able to stop yawning long enough to read this! Sleeping in a jog bra can help the breast soreness. Many of your symptoms are the same as last week. Some women may also get headaches from the rise in hormones.

There are also a lot of women who will have none of these symptoms. They will sail through early pregnancy without vomiting or being light headed. For a lot of women this can be normal as well. Do not panic if you do not have pregnancy symptoms, although you should contact your care provider if you suddenly lose your pregnancy symptoms.

You And Your Body

This

is

the

week

when

you

will

miss your scheduled period and will be

able to confirm your

pregnancy officially using a test. You will also be able to calculate your due date.

Although some women sail through the early days of pregnancy, some may start feeling the pregnancy sensations from the very start. These may include:

You may start feeling very tired even at this early stage.

Breasts may be tingling or very tender.

Nipples may start to appear darker than usual.

Veins in the breasts may become more prominent.

Strange metallic taste in the mouth.

Going off tea and coffee.

Morning (or anytime) sickness or a general feeling of nausea.

Increased urge to urinate.

All in all, your body is gearing up for the next nine months ahead!

Baby

The heart will begin to beat this week! It's amazing how much is happening so quickly. A transvaginal ultrasound will show about 90% of the yolk sacs. It is now possible to differentiate between the head and the tail of the baby now. By the end of the week that folic acid will be paying off as the neural folds begin to fuse. Your baby is now an embryo! Average length is 1.5 - 2.5 mm.

Your baby is only just visible to the naked eye and measures only about 4mm in length. The spinal cord and brain have started to grow and the beginnings of the heart is laid down in the form of a blood vessel.

Dad

Whether you're bursting to tell or planning to wait to spread the good news, the first few weeks of pregnancy are weird. She's not feeling particularly pregnant or different, you're definitely not feeling anything, and life is plain weird. It's also normal to have feelings of ambivalence, even if you've planned the pregnancy. It's important to start talking about how you feel with your partner.

Twin Tips

Early pregnancy ultrasound can usually diagnose multiple gestational sacs, and there by you know early on. However, early ultrasound can also miss an early multiple gestation. Some reports say that the appearance of sacs via ultrasound can be different by up to 4 days. Early ultrasound is also more helpful in determining how many sacs are present and whether or not your babies share the same sac (monoamniotic). Monoamniotic sacs occur only in identical babies and places the pregnancy at a higher risk for problems like cord entanglement.

Your Baby: Getting the Circulation Going

Inside the uterus, the blastocyst (the rapidly dividing fertilized egg) continues to divide and develop at great speed, growing 40 times larger during the first month. At this point, the fertilized egg, or zygote, becomes an embryo, which measures about 1/17 inches long. The embryo divides into three layers where organs and tissues grow. In the top layer of cells, a groove, called the neural tube, begins to emerge. Over time, the brain, spinal cord, spinal nerves, and backbone will develop from this area. In the middle layer, the heart and the makings of the circulatory system - blood cells, blood and lymph vessels - are starting to form. By the end of this week, circulation will begin and the heart will develop quickly.

Your Body: Pregnancy Pendulum

For many women, learning that they're pregnant is a mixed bag. Planned or unplanned, they may feel ambivalent - unsure about what lies ahead, how it will transfigure their lives, if they're ready for parenthood, and so on. While many moms-to-be are excited about conceiving and entering this new stage in life, some are overcome by anxiety that something can go wrong or hurt the fetus. Having conflicted feelings about your pregnancy is perfectly normal.

You may have fears about whether the baby will be healthy and how you'll adjust to motherhood. You may be concerned about the purely practical aspects of parenthood; i.e., the added expense of raising a child. You may question what you want to do in life - go back to work or stay at home. Or, you may just float on a cloud for the next nine months as you accept all your bodily changes and anxiously await your baby's arrival.

On A Different Note: Calculating Your Due Date

If you can't live another moment without knowing your due date, you can figure it out yourself. To calculate your estimated date of delivery, just take the date of the first day or your last normal menstrual period (LNMP) and add 7 to it. To that date, add 9 months to get your due date. Say your last period started on September 11. Add 7 to 11, which brings you to September 18, then add 9 months. Your due date would be June 18. If you want to double check your due date, simply click here to calculate it due date calculator.

Weekly Tip: One mother of three recommends keeping a journal of your pregnancy from the beginning. Write down what's going on physically as well as emotionally. Make a narrative of it. Sometimes letting it all out - even on paper - can help. And it's a great souvenir for your child later in life.

Week 6

Here you can see the baby, and the yolk sac.
Here you can see the baby, and
the yolk sac.

Mother

Your nausea may actually 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. Your breasts may tingle, feel heavy, the areola (dark nipple portion) may become darker.

Avoid changing cat litter for there is a risk of toxoplasmosis. Let someone else do this duty for while. Toxoplasmosis can cause genetic defects, but most women who have cats have already had toxoplasmosis, and just believed it to be the flu. So don't get rid of the cat, just let someone else change the litter.

You And Your Body

If you are suffering from nausea or morning sickness, you may find that it starts to get worse. This is due to the increased levels of the pregnancy hormone in your body now. You may also start to feel tired and irritable.

Your skin will become either spotty or extremely dry. This is natural. Its just the hormones at work again!

Baby

This week is another busy one for your baby. By the end of the week your baby will be 4-6 mm Crown to Rump (CR). The larynx starts to form as does the inner ear. The lining of the placenta begins developing but the placenta will not take over production of the hormones until about week

12.

The heart is bulging from the body and blood circulation is well established. Upper and lower limb buds will appear this week. And the primordia of the liver, pancreas, lungs, and stomach are evident. Transvaginal ultrasound can pick up 86% of the fetal poles with heart motion, and 100% of the yolk sacs at this point.

Your baby is the size of an apple pip now and measures about 6mm in length.

The heart, whose foundations were laid down last week, starts to beat and doesn't stop

for the rest of your baby's life. Beginnings of the mouth, ears, eyes, jaw, digestive system have been laid down and

four tiny buds have developed which will develop into the arms and legs. Your baby's movements can now be picked up on an ultrasound scan. However, these

movements are too weak to be felt by you yet. The umbilical cord has begun to develop.

Your baby also has a distinct tail at this stage which is why your baby doesn't look quite so human yet.

Dad

It's not easy watching the mom-to-be in your life feel ill. Be sure to ask her what you can do to help. Sometimes a cool wash cloth for her face and neck is helpful, sometimes bringing her a snack before she gets out of bed can help and sometimes she just wants to be alone.

Twin Tips

Nausea and vomiting may be multiplied if you're carrying more than one baby. Though the standard remedies can still be helpful.

Your Baby: Forming New Features

It's been four weeks since you conceived, and the embryo is now six weeks old. (Remember, the age of a fetus is calculated from the beginning of the last menstrual period - not from the actual date of conception, which usually happens two weeks later.) Still less than _ of an inch long (4 to 5 millimeters), it's tripled in size and is starting to look somewhat familiar. The brain is developing distinct areas, and the eyes and ears are beginning to take shape. And at this early date, the heart is starting to pump blood. The backbone, ribs, and muscles of the back and sides will grow out of 40 small blocks of tissue that are developing along the midline.

Your Body: Deciding on a Doctor

Nothing is more crucial to your pregnancy than getting good prenatal care. That means choosing a compatible health-care provider, someone you can trust and can call when you have questions or concerns - about you or your baby. In today's world, everything counts: bedside manner, philosophy, type of practice, and medical credentials. For some people, it's the qualifications that count the most.

The Obstetrician (OB) is trained to handle every possible complication of pregnancy, labor, and delivery.

The Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist, or perinatologist, is an OB who has received special training to care for high-risk pregnancies. Women who have had a prior complicated pregnancy, are carrying multiples, or have preexisting medical conditions, might see this specialist for part or all of their pregnancy.

The Family Physician (FP)

wears

a

lot

of

different hats

- obstetrician, internist, and

pediatrician - and sees the whole family as well. Ideally, an FP will take a keen interest in

all aspects of your health and will consider pregnancy a normal part of the life cycle, not an illness.

The Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) is a medical professional, trained to tend to women with low-risk pregnancies and uncomplicated births. The focus is on you as an individual, not on you as a patient.

Each type of medical practitioner will treat you and your pregnancy differently. So before you decide on "the one," research each practitioner and practice as extensively as you can.

On That Note: Choosing Dr. Right

Looking for the everything-you-need-to-know-to-choose-the-perfect-doctor checklist? Then click here to use our handy checklist that will help you determine what type of practitioner is the perfect fit for you.

Weekly Tip:

The telltale sign of pregnancy - morning sickness - may set in this week. To ease your queasy tummy, try keeping it full at all times. Eat small meals every two to three hours, drink lots of water, and never leave home without a healthy snack in your bag. Some mothers' favorites include power bars, graham crackers, plain crackers, and dried fruits and nuts. Even if you do end up vomiting, at least you won't end up dehydrated.

Week 7

Right in the center is a baby, notice the arm buds.
Right in the center is a baby,
notice the arm buds.

Mother

Your face may break out due to the changes in hormones. So even though you may feel like a teenager again, you are not alone.

There are usually early pregnancy classes that are available for you and your partner. This can help make the transition to pregnancy more real for the partner and give you both some idea of what is to come. Contact your local hospital, birth centers, midwives, childbirth educators for a list of current classes.

You And Your Body

You may start to feel dizzy or faint in crowded places or if you stand for too long.

Tiredness will be a problem, so try and get as much rest as possible.

You will notice that you may start to lose interest in sex as tiredness and nausea take

over your body. This is perfectly normal and most women feel this way during the first trimester of their pregnancy.

Baby

The hand plates become present this week, and the baby is about 7-9 mm CRL by the end of the week. 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. With a trans vaginal ultrasound, one study shows that 100% of the ultrasounds will be show a fetal pole with heart motion.

Your baby is now called the foetus which literally means the young one.

Your baby's length is about 1.3cm now, roughly the size of a small grape.

Your baby has clearly visible arms and legs and the future toes and fingers can be seen at the end of them as clefts.

Nostrils, lips, tongue and teeth are beginning to form and the embryonic lungs are also developing.

Your baby's heart has has now started to circulate blood around the baby's body. The spine and brain are almost fully developed.

Although not fully formed, your baby already has internal sex organs, kidneys, lungs and intestines.

The shape of the tail can still be seen clearly

Dad

What about sex? It's definitely not a thing of the past, but libido issues are certainly big throughout pregnancy. You might have strange feelings about having sex with a pregnant woman, but rest assured it's perfectly fine to have sex assuming there are no problems with the pregnancy. The key here will be that, particularly during the first trimester, there are many reasons why she may not be interested. Don't let this cause a ruffle in the relationship. Talk to her about your feelings and desires and be equally willing to listen to hers. Most women find a dramatic increase in their libido as the second trimester approaches and the fatigue and ill feelings fade.

Twin Tips

Your diet is of particular importance with a multiple gestation. Some practitioners believe that the more weight gain you do early is a better chance you have of having healthy babies, since multiples are more likely to be born early.

Your Baby: Looking Familiar

The embryo is about one-third of an inch or 5 to 9 millimeters long. The brain is growing more complex as cavities and passages necessary for the circulation of spinal fluid take shape. The lenses of the eyes are developing, and the middle part of the ears continues to grow. The outer extremities - arms, legs, hands, and feet - are in the making. Overall, this little being is becoming more and more recognizable.

Your Body: Off to the Office

Now that you're pregnant, you're going to have to take exceptionally good care of yourself and your growing baby. That means getting good prenatal care - and that means going to your health-care provider (OB/GYN, Family Practitioner, or Certified Nurse-Midwife) on a regular basis.

Ideally, you should visit your health-care provider when you are in the baby-planning phase. But if that isn't possible, the next critical time to pay a visit is after you think you've conceived. That way you can confirm your pregnancy and do a physical examination to make sure there aren't any problems that require extra attention. Once you are indeed pregnant, let the visits begin.

If you are otherwise healthy and your pregnancy seems uncomplicated, you can count on going to the doctor once a month for the first 32 weeks, at which point you'll go every two weeks until week 36, and then weekly until you deliver. The actual schedule varies, however, depending upon your health-care provider, and if you are in a high- or low-risk category.

On A Different Note: Morning Sickness Ad Nauseam

If you're like the other 70% of pregnant women, you'll probably experience a bout of nausea and vomiting - more commonly referred to as morning sickness- during the first 12 weeks.

Weekly Tip: You have a lot of appointments ahead of you - between the regular prenatal visits, blood and other lab tests, as well as the ultrasounds, you'll no doubt be doing a lot of waiting in hospital reception areas. That being the case, one seasoned mother recommends bringing a book with you at all times so you can catch up on some reading while you wait.

Week 8

This little one is waving at us!
This little one is waving at us!

Mother

You have probably scheduled the first office visit by now. Some practitioners do not want to see you for your first visit until after you've missed two periods. This will decrease the numbers of false pregnancies and miscarriages. Many things will take place 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)

Every practitioner has a different schedule and each visit will not be as lengthy as this initial visit. This is a good time to ask any questions that have come up or to go over the list of questions for choosing a care provider.

You And Your Body

Although you may still not appear pregnant to the rest of the world, you will start to see some visible changes in your body now.

Your breasts and nipples will enlarge.

Your clothes may also begin to feel tighter around the waistline although you will still be able to fit into your old clothes.

You will not be able to see it but the colour of vagina will change from light pink to dark pink around this time.

What you may notice, however, will be an increase in vaginal discharge.

Baby

Your baby will be about 8-11 mm CR by the end of the week. The baby's hind brain is clearly visible. This week the baby's gonads will become either testes or ovaries. And spontaneous movement begins! There are a lot of things that we do know about life before birth. Bones and joints this week have many things going on. Elbows appear and the process of ossification (hardening of the bones) begins. Toe rays become present, almost ready for you to count!

Your baby is now about 2.5cm long, roughly the size of a strawberry.

It is surprising how something so small has all the major organs present already, though not fully formed yet.

Your baby's eyes are still very wide apart on the sides of her head and it will be a while before they settle into the correct position.

The heart is now pumping with a regular beat.

The intestines in the foetus's body are so long that they cannot fit into the body and some of them project out into the umbilical cord.

Your baby's arms and legs are longer and although your baby is kicking with them, she is too small for you to feel her movements.

Dad:

Looking for a way to treat her? Why not fix dinner and offer her a nap in the afternoon? The fatigue of the first trimester is really hard on most women, particularly if they normally are very active. Getting extra rest helps. If a nap isn't possible perhaps you could tuck other children in bed or close the house up for the night while she runs to bed a bit earlier. Or the opposite, you can get everyone up or fix breakfast, allowing her to sleep in for a few minutes. These will be much appreciated.

Twin Tips : Indigestion and other gastrointestinal problems can start earlier when there is more than one baby.

Your Baby: In a Heartbeat

It's been six weeks since conception and the embryo is just over 3/4 of an inch long or 22 to 24 millimeters. Its head is quite large compared with the rest of the body, but the body will catch up in another couple of months. Its ears and eyelids are beginning to develop, as are its fingers and toes. Its arms are growing and wrists and elbows are visible. Its heartbeat is fast -- about 150 a minute -- twice that of an adult's.

Your Body: Think Twice

Now that you're pregnant, it's important to pay extra attention to what you do day in and day out because much of what you do - good or bad - affects your growing baby. For most women, that means reconsidering some simple pleasures - drinking a glass of wine at dinner, downing more than one or two espressos, dunking in a hot tub. Like most expectant mothers, you probably wonder which of these activities, among others, may or may not harm the new life inside you.

Without a doubt, you should give up alcohol, smoking, and using recreational drugs. For everything else, your best bet is to check in with your health care provider and read up on the dos and don'ts during pregnancy. Caffeine, for instance, probably won't harm your growing fetus if you keep your intake moderate.

On That Note:

 

Another

big

question

you might

have

is

if you can take any over-the-counter

or prescribed

medications.

 

In general and in brief, medicines should not be used unless needed. That said, there are some that are safe - and others that are not. Consult with your doctor to see what's okay to take when.

Weekly Tip:

Pamper yourself while you can. Put your feet up, take a bath, read a book, get a manicure, rent your favorite romantic comedy, or go away for the weekend with your spouse. A little self-indulgence never hurt anyone!

Pregnancy Month Two

Pregnancy Month Two Physical Changes in Pregnancy A positive pregnancy test by blood or urine is

Physical Changes in Pregnancy

A positive pregnancy test by blood or urine is possible as soon as you miss your period.

In the beginning many women experience nausea and vomiting.

You may feel really, incredibly tired.

You may feel like you're about to start your period, even down to the mild cramping.

Week 9

Not only can you see the arms, but look at the legs
Not only can you see the arms, but look
at the legs

Mother

You may find yourself with a stuffy nose. Nasal congestion and nose bleeds are fairly common during pregnancy. Try using a vaporizer or humidifier to help lessen the symptoms. You continue to feel tired, nauseated, and possibly dizzy. Making a baby is hard work!

You And Your Body

You will notice an increase in your weight.

The pregnancy hormone, hCG (Human Chorionic

Gonadotrophin)

is

at

its

peak,

so

anything unusual that you may be feeling can be blamed to it.

 

Your hair will become less oily.

Breasts may be fuller and feel lumpy or tender at times.

Hormonal changes cause your gums to become softer and thicker. Pay special attention to oral hygiene.

Baby

We have elbows! Your baby is now approximately 13-17 mm crown to rump length, or about 0.51 - 0.66 inches. S/he also weighs in at 1 gram! Toe rays are present as the toes begin to form. Gonads have become testes (for boys) or ovaries (for girls). Baby will move away if touched through the uterine wall, and can spontaneously move as well. Ossification (hardening) of the bones may begin.

Your baby is about 3cm long now

Face is developing and the mouth and nose are clearly visible.

Arms and legs are growing rapidly.

Tail begins to shrink relative to the rest of the body.

Dad

Don't worry if she cries at commercial or seemingly for no reason. These are simply hormones. The same ones that might cause her to be more irritable. And if you think it's bad being on the receiving end, let us assure you that it's not very pleasant to feel like your body has been taken over. Again, the good news is that as the placenta matures and begins to take over production of some of these hormones, mom-to-be feels better.

Twin Tips

Weight gain in a multiple pregnancy is going to be a big issue. By 24 weeks Dr. Luke in her book, When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets or Quadruplets suggests by 24 weeks that a twin mom gain 24 lbs, a triplet mom gain 36 lbs and a quadruplet mom gain 50 lbs. After that the rate of weight gain should be about 1/2 lb per week, per baby.

Your Baby: Gender Differences

The growing embryo is about 1 inch long or 25.4 millimeters. As its embryonic tail disappears and the face rounds out, the embryo is looking more human in shape. On the outside, hands and feet that looked like paddles just a week ago are now forming fingers and toes. On the inside, the pancreas, bile ducts, and gallbladder have formed, and the reproductive organs are starting to develop as male or female.

Your Body: Worries, Concerns, and Fears

Most pregnant women - regardless if it's baby number 1 or baby number 9 - are anxious about the child growing inside. Will he be healthy? Will she have 10 fingers and 10 toes? It's perfectly normal and understandable to be concerned. After all, life takes on a new meaning when you're with child.

Some women distract themselves by diving into work or starting new projects. Others proceed with caution and purposely don't make plans - holding off on buying furniture, choosing names, and decorating the nursery - until the baby is born. Whatever you do to assuage your fears, you should know that the odds of having a totally normal baby have never been better. In the United States, the infant mortality rate is the lowest in history, down to a little over 9 per 1,000 births. Similarly, the percentage of birth defects also appears to be declining.

Every mother-to-be worries to a certain extent. But if you're so worried that it interferes with work, sleeping, or eating, you should take action. Try talking with your spouse, confiding in friends, consulting your doctor, or reading up on pregnancy and parenting. If none of these provide the comfort you need, you should consider seeking professional help.

On a Different Note:

Ever wish you could be on the outside looking in? With this interactive tool, you can take a visual tour of the female reproductive system and better understand what's going on inside your body - baby and all.

Weekly Tip:

Try to incorporate an exercise routine into your daily agenda. It might be as simple as taking

a

walk

around

the

block

on

your

lunch

break

or

as

subtle

as

doing

50

kegels at your desk. Do whatever you have the time and energy for, but keep it up. In the long run, you'll feel better and it will help your postpartum recovery.

Week 10

Floating around blissfully.
Floating around blissfully.

Mother

You are still tired, and nauseated, hang on only a few more weeks for most of you! Your abdomen may begin to pooch out, but it will be more from bowel distension than the uterus. Your waistline is slowly disappearing! Remember to measure your waist and belly now! Comparing later can be a lot of fun!

You may start to feel warmer than usual because of increased blood circulating in your body.

Mood swings are quite common due to hormonal changes, so your partner will have a tough time handling you.

Wear loose-fitting clothes to accomodate for your changing shape. However, you may still be too small for maternity clothes. (try the belly belt before you start investing in expensive maternity wear!)

Your uterus (womb) is now the size of an orange.

Baby:

The baby now enters it's fetal period. The average size is approximately 27-35 mm crown to rump length (CRL), or 1.06-1.38 inches. S/he weighs in at 4 grams, or 4 paper clips. Tiny toes have formed. The eyes are largely open, but the eyelids are beginning to fuse, and will stay that way until 25-27 weeks. External genitalia is beginning to differentiate. External ears are completely formed, as well as the upper lip. The biggest accomplishment this week is the disappearance of the tail!

Click the audio file to hear a baby's heart beat at 10 weeks 2 days. It's beating at about 160 beats per minute (BPM).

Your baby is now about 4.5 cm long and weighs about 5g or 1/4 oz

The head begins to grow rapidly to accomodate the brain which is still growing.

External ears are now visible on the head.

Fingers and toes, although distinct, are still webbed.

Body is elongating.

The tail disappears.

By the end of week 10, your baby is out of the danger zone for congenital abnormalities.

Dad

Is the reality of pregnancy setting in yet? Do you start worrying about things like how you'll afford groceries if she takes maternity leave? These are normal dad worries and legitimate. Make sure you sit down and rationalize your feelings prior to having the discussions with her. There are plenty of answers to your questions. Finding out now about both of your maternity/paternity leave policies will be helpful in determining what your family can handle.

Twin Tips

Try to find a time to rest each day, it's a great start on alleviating stress and lack of sleep. Even if it's 20 minutes, it's good for you and the babies! Try a body pillow as your belly grows, this can help you make the most of your down time.

Your Baby: Measuring Up

It's getting increasingly difficult to measure the embryo's total length, legs included, because of the way it's curled up in your uterus. An easier and more common measurement is from crown to rump -- the distance from the top of the head to the buttocks - which is about 1.57 inches. The embryo's estimated weight is about 1/2 ounce. All the major body organs have begun to form, as have the bones of the skeleton. Its eyelids have grown and the outer ears are forming.

Your Body: Safe Sex

Almost every expectant mother wonders if it's safe to have sex during pregnancy - and the answer is yes. There is no need to refrain from making love or having an orgasm at any time during your pregnancy as long as it is proceeding normally and you are not at risk for premature labor.

At the beginning and end of your pregnancy, you might worry that sexual intercourse can be dangerous for different reasons. In the first trimester, some are concerned that lovemaking could cause a miscarriage when in fact, most miscarriages at this early date would happen regardless of your sexual activity. They usually happen because of genetic defects unrelated to anything that happens after conception.

In the last few weeks before delivery, some physicians may recommend holding off since orgasms can cause uterine contractions. The majority of studies show, however, that if you have a normal pregnancy, orgasms -- with or without intercourse -- do not lead to premature labor, premature rupture of your membranes, or premature birth.

For many couples, it is actually very thrilling to have sex without using birth control and knowing you're with child. So look at it this way: Enjoy it while it lasts.

On a Different Note: The Second Trimester

Just a few more weeks and you'll be in your second trimester.

Weekly Tip:

Have fun taking weekly or monthly photos of your beautifully blossoming body. By the end of your pregnancy, you'll be able to see just how far you've come.

Week 11

This baby is eleven weeks into pregnancy.
This baby is eleven weeks into
pregnancy.

Mother

Weight gain is a concern of a lot of women during pregnancy. By this stage of pregnancy most women have gained very little weight. Generally we say that you will gain about 1-2 lbs. a month in the first trimester. Some women will actually lose weight and be perfectly fine, particularly if they were ill. Some will gain no weight whatsoever. While yet others will gain 10+ pounds. The key is a healthy diet.

However, your focus should be on nutrition rather than weight. Despite folk lore, you are not eating for two, but you should make everything you eat count. You will only need about 300-500 calories extra a day while you are pregnant.

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.

You And Your Body

Your basal metabolic rate may rise by 25 per cent which means that you are burning calories at a faster rate than before pregnancy.

Drink a lot of fluids as you may be perspiring more.

Baby

If you have seen pictures of babies at this stage you will notice that the head is about 1/2 of the body size. This will change as the baby grows. The iris will begin to develop this week and finger nails appear! Your baby weighs about 7 grams.

Your baby is now approx 5.5cm long and weighs about 10g or 1/2 oz

Most of the major organs formed.

Your baby is now safe from any congenital abnormalities and infections (except German

measles - Rubella). External genitals formed (along with ovaries or testicles).

Heart is now pumping blood to all the major organs of the body.

Dad

Did you go with her to her prenatal appointment? If you didn't be sure to go to the next one, you'll get to hear the baby's heartbeat. Attending prenatal appointments is also a great way to be involved in the pregnancy. If one scheduled during the work day isn't convenient, ask her practitioner if they can schedule one at the end of the day or on Saturday making it easier for you to attend.

Twin Tips

Look for a local twin club to help you through your pregnancy and new parenting. Even if you've had children before having twins is a whole new ball game. You can look to the twin club for support emotionally and informationally. Some clubs even have huge sales and you can grab some double bargains.

Your Baby: Transition Time

At nine weeks after conception, your embryo has developed enough to be called a fetus, and the most important part of its development is over. The baby will grow a great deal at this time -- from about 1inch long at the beginning of the week to about 2 inches by the end - with its head measuring about half its length. The eyelids will fuse shut, and the irises will begin to form. At some point this week or next, blood will circulate between the baby and uterus, and the placenta will begin to function, providing oxygen and nutrients.

Your Body: Weight Watching Guidelines

Most women wonder what the ideal amount of weight gain is during pregnancy. Today, most doctors advise a woman of average weight to gain between 25 and 35 pounds. If, however, you're underweight at the outset, you might need to gain more and, if you're very overweight, you should gain less. Wherever your starting weight stands, you should not go on a diet, nor should you eat for two or more during your pregnancy. Too little and too much weight gain can lead to problems for both you and the wee one in the months ahead.

On average, you should gain about 3 to 4 pounds during the first trimester and about a pound a week, 12 to 14 pounds in all, during the second trimester. In the last trimester, a pound a week is still expected up until the last month, when you might hike up to a pound or 2 - or none at all -- for a total of 8 to 10 pounds. Keep in mind that most of the weight that you gain during pregnancy is baby-related - not fat -- between the baby, the placenta, amniotic fluid, and the fluid that accumulates in your body tissues.

On a Different Note: Genetics 101

Need I say that sometimes things don't always go as planned. And for whatever reason, you may be at an increased risk of having a baby with a birth defect. If that's the case, you should see a genetic counselor to help you better understand the consequences of a particular diagnosis, explain the risks, the options regarding treatment, and the possibilities of the condition recurring in future pregnancies.

Weekly Tip:

Keep up with your kegels -- one of the simplest and most important exercises you can do from the get-go. By contracting the muscles of the pelvic floor, which support the pelvic organs (the uterus, bladder, and bowel), you may alleviate problems that can begin during pregnancy and last long afterward: leakage of urine and hemorrhoids. The best part about kegels is that you can do them at any time, any place - while you're driving in the car, sitting at the computer, or eating dinner. To begin, tighten the muscles as if you're stopping a stream of urine. Hold for ten seconds at a time, then repeat, four or five times in a row. If remembering things isn't your strong suit at the moment, put up a post-it on your fridge, in your briefcase, or on your TV.

Week 12

Baby is moving a lot, but you don't feel it yet.
Baby is moving a lot, but you
don't feel it yet.

Mother

You may actually start feeling better from your extreme tiredness and nausea this week. Others will hang on to it for awhile longer. Your abdomen may start expanding, especially if this is not your first pregnancy.

Your placenta will take over the production of hormones around this time. If you have suffered from corpus luteum cysts they may begin to dissolve now. Your risk of miscarriage is reduced even further.

You And Your Body

Urge to urinate may decrease as pressure fro m your bladder is lifted.

Constipation may become a problem.

Your uterus moves up into your abdomen.

You should have your first antenatal visit around this time (some hospitals offer a routine ultrasound scan around 12 weeks).

Baby

While your baby's brain is not the same size it will be at birth, it does have the same structure. Bile is being secreted by this time. S/he weighs about 14 grams and is approximately 3.54 inches in total length.

Your baby has its reflexes and also practice movements in the digestive tract. All of this in preparation for extrauterine life. If your practitioner uses a doppler, you may be able to hear your baby's heart beat at this office visit. It will sound very fast. Some say that they hear clicking or the sounds of horse hooves. Either way it is a joyous sound to hear!

Your baby is about 6.5cm long and weighs approx 20g or 3/4oz

Your baby starts to look more human although the head is still too large in proportion to the rest of the body.

From now on, your baby only has to grow and mature.

Eyelids have developed and are closed over the eyes.

Your baby can move muscles of the mouth to frown,open or close the mouth and is practising them all already.

Heart is beating 110-160 times a minute (about twice as fast as an adult heart).

Tiny nails begin to grow on the fingers and toes. By the time your baby is born, the nails need trimming already Your baby is able to suck his thumb.

All the intestines now fit into your baby's abdomen and do not project out anymore.

Urine is passed which is nothing but the amniotic fluid that your baby swallows from time to time.

Amniotic fluid is completely replaced every 24 hours.

If your baby is a male, the female reproductive organs will have degenerated by this time.

Dad

Consider joining a support group for dads! There are plenty of online groups dedicated to the art of fathering. These groups can be havens for you to discuss all of your feelings from the good to the bad and every joy and frustration in between.

Twin Tips

Your uterus may begin to measure larger for dates than a singleton mom. This could also be one of the first times that multiples are suspected.

Your Baby: A Work in Progress

From crown to rump, the fetus measures 2.4 to 2.75 inches or 6 to 7 centimeters long. Its tiny and delicate fingers and toes have separated, and hair and fingernails are starting to grow. By this age, almost all of the baby's organs and structures have formed and will continue to grow until delivery. The intestines are developing in the abdomen and the muscles in the intestinal walls are starting to practice peristalsis -- contractions within the intestines that digest food. As the kidneys begin to produce and excrete urine, amniotic fluid starts to accumulate, helping your baby stay afloat.

Your Body: What's in a Craving?

One of the oldest and most enduring pregnancy-related myths is that mothers-to-be crave pickles and ice cream. While research has found that many expectant women -- between 66% and 90% -- may have a craving for at least one food, it's most often for ice cream alone or fruit. The question then is what causes a craving?

Hormones play a big part in the case of cravings. But they aren't the only answer. Another plausible explanation is that cravings are signs from our bodies, signaling a particular need. But what are you to do when your body is bucking at the mere idea of broccoli and lusting for chocolate-covered pretzels?

For the most part, you should give in to temptation and satisfy the urge as long as it doesn't put your baby's nutritional needs in jeopardy. It goes without saying that if your craving is good for you and your baby, then by all means, plunge in. If, on the other hand, you relish something that is lacking in nutritional value, you should search out a substitute - as long as it fulfills the craving. So next time you go to grab a piece of candy, reach instead for dried fruit, a fruit-juice-sweetened muffin, or a cookie. If substitutes still don't do the trick, try distraction - exercising, knitting, reading, or writing a letter - to take your mind off your tummy.

On That Note: Food, Glorious Food

It's never too late to alter your eating habits, increasing your fruit and vegetable intake and reducing your processed sweets. To see what you should be eating, how many times a day, and why, check out this RDA nutrition chart.

Weekly Tip:

One three-time pregnant woman urges others to give into an unwholesome craving first-time around because it will only intensify if you don't. So if Peanut M&Ms are calling you, buy a small bag. The longer you put it off, the greater the chance you'll end up devouring a quarter-pound bag.

Pregnancy Month Three

Pregnancy Month Three Physical Changes in Pregnancy Your pregnancy will continue to have symptoms like morning

Physical Changes in Pregnancy

Your pregnancy will continue to have symptoms like morning sickness, fatigue, and a

decrease in your desire for sex. Your belly doesn't really show right now, but as you reach the end of this month your uterus will be slightly above your pelvis. Your breasts may increase in size, they may also feel fuller and be more tender. You may notice that the aerola gets darker during this month. Some symptoms of the first trimester leave you as you head towards the second trimester, like the fatigue and morning sickness.

SSeeccoonndd TTrriimmeesstteerr

Second Trimester Pregnancy

Weeks 13 to 27 of pregnancy.

Second Trimester Pregnancy Weeks 13 to 27 of pregnancy. Your Second Trimester Pregnancy is measured in

Your Second Trimester

Pregnancy is measured in trimesters from the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP), totaling 40 weeks. Your second trimester begins at week 14 and ends at week 26. During this trimester, many women begin to "look pregnant."

? Normal Changes During Pregnancy ? Prenatal Visits ? Second Trimester Checklist Choosing a Health Care Provider for your Baby

?

Normal Changes During Pregnancy

The fetus is growing rapidly. At the beginning of the second trimester, the fetus is about six inches long. By the end of month six, the fetus resembles a small infant, except for its reddish, wrinkled skin. It will be 12 inches long at the end of the second trimester.

You may feel the baby moving (sometimes called "quickening") in month five. This may not be more then an infrequent fluttering feeling until month six. The fetus is protected by the amniotic sac and floating in amniotic fluid. There is still a lot of room for the baby to move.

You may notice that you have more energy. You will begin to gain weight this trimester. You should expect to gain about 25 to 35 pounds if you were an average weight before the end of the pregnancy.

Your circulatory system expands rapidly during the second trimester. By the end of your pregnancy you will have gained up to four pounds in increased blood volume, and an additional three pounds in fluid volume. It is important to stand and move around more frequently in order to improve your circulation.

Mild exercise, such as walking, will improve your general health, as well as help prevent problems. Drink plenty of fluids. Your feet may swell later in the pregnancy. Try to put your feet up frequently and get extra rest.

You may notice changes in your skin. You may look flushed, as if you are blushing, or you may develop brownish markings (sometimes called "the mask of pregnancy" or chloasma) on your face. Some women get a dark line down the middle of their abdomen (linea negra) from navel to pubic hair. You may also notice "stretch marks" (striae gravidarum) appearing on your abdomen, thighs or breasts. These changes are usually caused by increasing hormone levels, and will go away or fade dramatically after the baby is born. Wear sunscreen and a hat while outdoors.

Varicose veins, or veins that appear enlarged or close to the skin, especially in the legs, may appear in pregnancy. Get exercise (walking is great!), and don't stand for long periods without moving. Try to prop your legs up when you sit.

Exercise is an important part of a healthy pregnancy. It will help minimize many pregnancy-related problems, such as excess weight gain, varicose veins, problems sleeping and constipation. Exercise will also prepare you for delivery and ensure a faster post-partum recovery.

Your breasts may begin to secrete a yellowish fluid called colostrum. Breasts require no special preparation for breastfeeding.

Prenatal Visits

You will be seeing your family practice physician, nurse practitioner, certified nurse midwife or obstetrician at weeks 16, 20, 24 and 28 (every 4 weeks). A detailed ultrasound will be performed in our clinic Radiology Department during your 4th or 5th month. This will evaluate the placenta, fetal size and fetal anatomy. See prenatal testing for more information about tests this trimester.

Second Trimester Checklist

Review the Expanded Alpha Feto-Protein (EAFP) Web site for screening blood tests for birth defects. (Last accessed 4/04)

Blood tests are drawn: CBC (complete blood count) and an antibody screen

Receive a Rh immune globulin injection if advised by your health care provider.

Schedule an ultrasound with the Radiology Department.

Receive the GTT (glucose tolerance test). All pregnant mothers receive routine screening for gestational diabetes between 24 and 28 weeks. See prenatal tests for more information about tests this trimester.

Enroll in prenatal classes.

Complete hospital pre-admission papers.

Review your health care coverage.

Choosing a Health Care Provider for your Baby

The second trimester is a good time to choose the person who will provide health care to you newborn. Both family medicine physicians and pediatricians are qualified to care for your newborn at the hospital after delivery, and provide care as your child grows. PAMF has a large active group of health care providers who are well-qualified to care for your growing family.

Your Second Trimester

What is it? (Overview)

The nine-month cycle of pregnancy is divided into three-month segments, called trimesters. The second trimester extends from the 13th to the 27th week of pregnancy.

What changes will I experience? (Physical and Emotional Changes)

In general, pregnant women tend to feel their best during the second trimester, since most of the discomforts of the first trimester have abated and the aches and pains of the third trimester are still a few months away.

The nausea and vomiting you may have experienced in previous weeks should start tapering off now. Chances are, you have more energy and are sleeping better now, too.

By the fourth or fifth month, your belly will start to bulge, and your navel may protrude a bit. As the muscles and ligaments that support the uterus stretch, some women feel achiness in their abdomen or groin. To be on the safe side, report any abdominal pain to your caregiver, since it can sometimes signal a more serious condition such as ectopic pregnancy.

You may start to feel some back pain or strain toward the end of this trimester. This often results from the swayback stance that many pregnant women adopt to offset their belly's increasing girth. Back pain can also flare up if abdominal muscles separate to make way for the growing uterus. If your back hurts, talk to your caregiver about exercises, lifting tips, and sleeping positions that can help alleviate or prevent pain.

Weight gain continues at a steady clip, and you may pack on about a pound a week. Annoying leg cramps may also start during the second trimester. No one's sure what causes these cramps. But they often happen at night, and may wake you from a sound sleep.

Between weeks 16 and 20, you'll probably feel your baby move for the first time. This thrilling event is called 'quickening.' Let your caregiver know when quickening occurs, so he can better pinpoint your baby's age.

Other common second-trimester symptoms include food cravings, blotchy skin, bleeding gums, nasal congestion, nosebleeds, heartburn, and constipation -- all side effects of pregnancy hormones. Although mood swings continue for some, better rest, heightened energy, and fewer bothersome physical symptoms help create a sense of well-being for others.

What kind of medical care do I need? (Parental Care)

During your monthly checkups, your caregiver will weigh you, check your blood pressure, and take a urine sample to test for sugar or protein in your urine (which can signal gestational diabetes or pregnancy-induced high blood pressure). Finally, he'll measure your abdomen to see if your baby is growing at the expected rate.

Your caregiver may also offer you a battery of prenatal tests now, including:

Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) or triple-marker screening - AFP is a substance produced by the fetus. It's present in your bloodstream and can be measured with a simple blood test. A triple-marker screening is similar to an AFP test, but provides more specific results because it also measures the hormones estriol and hCG. Abnormal levels of these substances can indicate an increased risk for problems such as neural tube defects or Down syndrome. The tests do not diagnose these conditions, however. If your screening test is abnormal, your caregiver will suggest additional tests, such as ultrasound, to help determine why.

Ultrasound - Using high-frequency sound waves, ultrasound creates a "picture" of your developing baby. It helps your caregiver pinpoint the fetus' age, detect multiple fetuses, and spot conditions such as neural tube defects.

Amniocentesis - This procedure can detect or rule out disorders such as Down syndrome and neural tube defects. Guided by ultrasound, a doctor or medical technician inserts a long, hollow needle through your abdomen and into the amniotic sac. He then draws out a small sample of amniotic fluid. The sample is sent to a lab, where cells that have been sloughed off from the fetus are grown and analyzed for chromosomal defects. This test is generally offered only to women who have an increased risk for having a baby with genetic defects -- women over 35, for instance, or those with a family history of inherited disorders.

Glucose tolerance testing - This test checks for signs of gestational diabetes. It's fairly straightforward: You drink a sweetened solution, and an hour later a blood sample is drawn and your blood sugar level is measured.

Hemoglobin testing - This test measures the amount of red blood cells in your blood. Too few can indicate anemia, a common (and easily remedied) problem during pregnancy.

What else can I do to have a healthy pregnancy? (Self-care)

Continue to follow your caregiver's advice on diet, exercise, rest, and other health matters. Although the chance of miscarriage is much lower now that the first trimester has passed, contact your doctor immediately if you experience any worrisome symptoms, including heavy or prolonged (more than one day) bleeding, unusual vaginal discharge, abdominal cramping, severe or persistent headaches, dizziness, visual disturbances, fever, chills, frequent (more than twice a day) vomiting, and painful urination.

Also be aware of the symptoms of preterm labor, and seek medical care right away if you have:

Uterine contractions, lower back pain, or pressure in your groin or upper thighs.

Fluid that leaks from your vagina in a trickle or a gush.

Spotting or vaginal bleeding.

A thick, mucousy discharge that's tinged with blood.

Some women develop yeast or other vaginal infections during pregnancy. Let your caregiver know if you have yellowish or greenish discharge, itching, or a strong vaginal odor.

Get your caregiver's OK before taking any medication, including over-the-counter medicines, natural remedies, and nutritional supplements. Even seemingly harmless medications can cause birth defects and other problems during pregnancy. And be sure to steer clear of alcohol, street drugs, and tobacco (including secondhand smoke).

Finally, since high body temperatures have been linked with neural tube defects, stay out of hot tubs and saunas while you're pregnant.

How is my baby growing? (Fetal Development)

Your baby quadruples in size during the second trimester, growing 9 to 10 inches long and weighing in at 1.5 to 2 pounds. By week 24, your baby hears and responds to sounds. She also sleeps and wakes at regular times. As your pregnancy progresses, your baby becomes more and more active, and you seem to feel every kick, nudge, and jab.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Q: Do pregnant women need more iron?

A: Yes. You can become anemic if you don't get enough of this important mineral. Be warned, though: Too much iron can be toxic. Ask your caregiver if you need an iron supplement, and don't take more than the recommended amount.

Q: Is it safe to have sex during the second trimester?

A: For women with normal, healthy pregnancies, sexual intercourse is perfectly safe throughout pregnancy. If you've had repeated miscarriages, vaginal bleeding, or are at risk for preterm labor or other complications, ask your doctor if sex is safe for you.

Q: I've heard that cats are dangerous to pregnant women. Does this mean I have to get rid of mine?

A: No, but do let your mate handle the litter-box duty. That's because cat feces may contain the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, an infection that can be fatal for your baby. Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat and unpasteurized dairy products, too, since they may also harbor the parasite.

Week 13

Week 13 Mother Welcome to the second trimester! This is usually the time when mothers feel

Mother

Welcome to the second trimester! 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. Some people have delayed spreading the good news until this point. If you are one of these people enjoy telling now, and think of some creative ways to do it. This is also a time when fathers and other family members start becoming more involved as the pregnancy becomes more real for them. Encourage them to participate in your pregnancy to the extent that you feel comfortable with.

Your appointments will now consist of:

?

Blood Pressure

?

Weight

? Fundal Height (Growth of the Uterus)

?

Baby's Heart Tones

? Urine

You And Your Body

You may start to feel better and less tired.

Irritability may begin to ease.

You may also notice the first signs of a visible bump. If this is not your first pregnancy, you may start to look pregnant a lot earlier than this.

Nipples have become a lot darker than before.

Blue veins in the breasts become quite prominent due to increased blood supply. Infact,

they become so prominent that you start to look like the figure in your biology book's chapter on circulatory system!

Baby

There are a lot of things going on this week! All twenty teeth have formed and are waiting (Teething is yet to come!). Your baby approximately weighs in at 1 ounce (28.3 grams). Consider that the placenta weighs about an ounce now as well.

Your baby's intestines are migrating from the umbilical cord into his or her abdomen. The villi are also forming in the intestines, these help in peristaltic movements and digestion. The pancreas of your little one is even secreting insulin!

Your baby is approx 7.5cm long and weighs about 30g or 1.5 oz

The production of blood cells has now been taken over by the bone marrow, liver and spleen Bones are developing.

Your baby's teeth have been laid down although they will not be visible till about 6 months after your baby is born.

The eyelids meet and fuse together and won't open again for the next four months.

Your baby practices lip movements which are required for the sucking reflex after birth.

Dad

It's time to celebrate! You're out of the first trimester! Perhaps you've been waiting to tell family and friends. Most people feel more confident at this point and do begin to tell their circle of friends.

Twin Tips

Consider joining some online groups to help you through pregnancy. If you wind up on bed rest these groups can be wonderful to help you get through the days and nights to follow. Not to mention the great friendships you can make along the way.

Your Baby: M is for Muscles, N is for Nerves, O is for Organs

Weighing approximately 1 1/2 ounces (35.5 grams) and measuring 3 inches (almost 8 cm) long, the fetus has plenty of room to grow inside your uterus. At this stage, its eyes and ears are easily identifiable; the eyes start moving closer together (instead of being on the sides of the head) and the ears begin moving to the proper place. In general, your baby's face is looking more and more human each day. Its vocal cords are beginning to form and the arms, legs, fingers, and toes are developing quickly. All of its tiny organs, nerves, and muscles have taken shape and are starting to function: The intestines move farther into the baby's body, the liver begins to secrete bile, and the pancreas begins to produce insulin. Even though your fetus can flex its arms and kick its legs, you won't feel any movement until it grows larger around week 16 to 20. Also around week 16, you'll be able to determine your baby's gender by looking (with an ultrasound) at the genitals, which are present now but not yet visible to the eye.

Your Body: Second Trimester Tales

Welcome to the second trimester, which stretches from the beginning of this week to the end of week 27. For some women, it is what is referred to as the "golden period," when the risk of miscarriage has decreased - though not disappeared entirely - and you can feel comfortable sharing your extraordinary news. With that, the fatigue, nausea, and other first-trimester side effects may disappear, your sleeping should improve, and you might even enjoy a surge of energy. In general, you might feel more like the "old" you.

Around this time, you will also notice a few baby-related changes. Being pregnant will probably feel more real to you. Sometime around week 10 to 12, your doctor may have listened to the baby's heartbeat using Doppler ultrasound, and, in another few weeks, you will probably start feeling little flurries inside. Those butterfly-like sensations are the baby, making its presence felt for the first time.

Another second-trimester highlight is when you transition from feeling fat to looking pregnant -- sometime during the fourth or fifth month -- and the outside world takes note. Total strangers in the grocery store might wish you well or inquire as to which month you're in. And if you take public transportation, something out of the ordinary may happen -- someone might actually offer you a seat!

Keep in mind that not all second trimesters are symptom-free and sensation-less. There is, in fact, a whole new set of aches and pains, along with potential problems and complications, that may set in. You might suffer from back, abdomen, or leg cramps, and even experience heartburn. Your skin may act strangely (darken, grow more moles, or skin tags), and you might experience bouts of constipation. Look on the upside: you're 1/3 of the way there.

On That Note: Trimester Two up Close

As you enter this next stage of pregnancy, you might feel overwhelmed by the never-ending changes in your body, as well as the vast amount of information coming at you. You might also feel a deep-burning desire to know everything there is to know to be prepared - both mentally and physically - for pregnancy and parenthood. To learn the who, what, when, where, and why of the second trimester, click here for the pregnancy encyclopedia article.

Weekly Tip:

If you find yourself constantly unzipping and unbuttoning your normal-sized clothes, you might want to bring out the maternity wear at last. But before you go on a shopping spree, take some advice from women who've been there: Borrowing is best. Buy a few of the basics - leggings, T-shirts, and lingerie - but ask around from friends or family who have already been pregnant for the rest. And when their time comes next, you can lend them yours.

Week 14

Baby's profile.
Baby's profile.

Mother

The hormonal changes in your body are becoming apparent. Many are in the form of skin changes. You may have developed a dark line down the middle of your abdomen to your pubic bone called a linea negra. The areola (dark nipple portion of your breasts) may have darkened and gotten larger as well. Your uterus is now the size of a grapefruit.

You And Your Body

The second trimester is probably the best time in your pregnancy when you experience the mid-pregnancy bloom and feel good about everything. Your sex life may return if it had been lying dormant for the past three months.

Baby

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. Amniotic fluid is an amazing substance. It completely regenerates itself every three hours. We do know that it is partially composed of urine from the baby, but where amniotic fluid in general is made we are not sure. Modern medicine still has some surprises left.

Your baby is about 9cm long and weighs approx 60g/2oz

The chin, forehead and nose become more clearly defined on your baby's face.

Eyes come closer together and are no longer wide apart on either side of the head.

Your baby's body begins to grow fine body hair called lanugo. Lanugo is thought to have a protective function and is also used to hold the greasy skin covering secreted by the baby in the later months.

Your baby can now respond to external stimulus by actually moving away when the

midwife or doctor feels your abdomen. The heartbeat is strong and can be picked up using a special listening device - sonicaid.

Twin Tips

Amniocentesis can still be used in multiple pregnancies, be sure to talk to your practitioner if you're interested.

Your Baby: Practicing Breathing

The fetus weighs in at 1 1/2 ounces (45 grams) and measures almost 3 1/2 inches (8.9 centimeters) in length. Its eyes and ears continue to develop and move to the correct position, while the neck lengthens and the chin no longer rests on the chest. At this age, the fetus begins to practice inhaling and exhaling and to move and use its hands. As the fetus grows, it receives all of its nourishment from the placenta.

Your Body: Inside Out

For many expectant women, pregnancy is a time of venturing into unknown territory. Aside from experiencing aches and pains, the entire intestinal tract is amiss. Some mothers-to-be have heartburn or indigestion, while others fight flatulence. Still others confront constipation on a daily basis. If you are suffering from any of these internal goings-on, you're probably wondering if any of it will affect your baby. The answer is a resounding no - as long as it doesn't interfere with getting good food into your system.

So, you ask, what can you do to minimize the discomfort or avoid it altogether?

Here are a few tips that may help with indigestion and heartburn:

Avoid gaining too much weight, as it puts excess pressure on your stomach.

Don't wear clothing that is tight around your abdomen and waist.

Eat lots of small meals rather than three big ones.

Eat slowly.

Don't eat any foods that cause gastrointestinal uproars: Stay away from hot and spicy foods, fried and fatty foods, processed meats, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol or carbonated beverages, spearmint or peppermint.

Don't smoke.

Bend with your knees, not at the waist.

Sleep with your head elevated about 6 inches.

For flatulence - otherwise known as gas - try the following measures :

Avoid constipation, which is a common cause of gas and bloating.

Eat six small meals instead of three large ones, which only add to the bloated feeling.

Chew and drink slowly so you don't ingest excess air.

Steer clear of gas-producing foods such as onions, beans, cabbage, broccoli, fried foods, and sugary sweets.

To combat constipation, try these:

Eat high-fiber foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables, whole-grained cereals, breads and baked goods, and dried fruit.

Drink lots of fluids.

Exercise regularly, even if it's only a walk around the block.

Staying relaxed is another trick that can help calm your tummy and avoid some of the more undesirable symptoms. If none of these tips help get your system back on track, you should consult your health-care provider for more helpful hints.

On That Note: Food

It's never too late to alter your eating habits, increasing your fruit and vegetable intake and reducing your processed sweets. To see what you should be eating, how many times a day, and why, check out this RDA nutrition chart.

Weekly Tip: One veteran mom recommends keeping a detailed calendar chronicling your every event during the 9 months. You can mark your doctor's appointments, general emotions, the time you first felt your baby move, comments from friends and family, cravings, or whatever strikes your fancy. It's a great keepsake that will help you remember all of the precious first-time moments with which you can compare pregnancies.

Week 15

Baby's face.
Baby's face.

Mother

Your heart is increasing its output to supply the baby with oxygen. Your enlarged heart is pumping about 20% more blood than prepregnancy. This volume will actually increase throughout your pregnancy for an ending increased heart output of 30-50%.

If your clothes are getting tight, do not try to cram yourself into clothes. Either invest in some maternity clothes, borrow them, wear your partner's clothing or unzip your pants!

The maternal blood screening for neural tube defects, often called the Alpha-fetoprotein Test (AFP) may be offered at this point. It is a screening that is most accurate during the 15 - 17th weeks of gestation, although this screening has a high false positive rate.

You And Your Body

It is time now to think about maternity clothes. Click here for some handy tips

Your uterus (which is your baby's home) can be felt about 3 inches below your navel.

As there is an increased amount of blood circulating in your body, the heart enlarges to

cope with this. The heart also needs to accomodate for your baby's need of oxygen and has hence

increased its output by 20 per cent. You may feel a lot energetic than before.

Its time to make plans for holiday between weeks 20-27.

Baby

Your baby may have developed the habit of sucking his or her thumb! The skin is very thin and you can see the blood vessels clearly underneath.

Your baby is about 70 grams. The scalp hair pattern is developing. And the heart is pumping about 25 quarts of blood a day. This will increase to about 300 at term.

Your baby is approx 12 cm long and weighs about 100g/3.5oz

The legs are now longer than the arms.

Eyelashes and eyebrows are present.

Hair on your baby's head is thicker.

Your baby has started to hear now although all sounds reach him through the amniotic fluid and appear to be muffled.

Twin Tips

A high MSAFP test result might mean more babies! If you already knew that there was more than one, be sure that they use the appropriate scale for the testing outcome.

Your Baby: The Start of Thumb Sucking

At this stage, your fetus weighs approximately 3 1/2 ounces (99.2 grams) and measures just over 4 inches (10.2 centimeters). Hair is sprouting all over: The scalp hair pattern is developing and the body is covered with lanugo, a very fine hair, which will continue to grow until the 26th gestational week of pregnancy. The baby's bones are getting harder each day, while the skin is so thin, almost gossamer, that you can see blood vessels through it. And believe it or not, your baby may have learned to suck its little thumb. The heart is pumping about 25 quarts of blood a day, which will increase to about 300 at full-term.

Your Body: The ABCs of the AFP

What is an AFP? The AFP is a blood test that measures the levels of alpha- fetoprotein in the mother's blood or serum. Called maternal-serum alpha-fetoprotein (MSAFP), this test is part of the triple screen that measures the fetus-produced

substance, as

well

as

two

others

that are present in pregnant women: human

chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone produced in the placenta and unconjugated estriol, an estrogen produced by both the fetus and the placenta.

When is the test taken? To get the most accurate results of the AFP, the test should be done between 16 and 18 weeks after the first day of your last menstrual period, but can be performed by most labs at between 15 and 20 weeks.

What is the purpose of the test? The triple screen is performed to show whether your fetus is at a greater risk for having a neural tube defect, but it can also help screen for chromosomal defects. An elevated level of AFP can indicate spina bifida (a deformity of the spinal column) or anencephaly (the absence of all or part of the brain). Conversely, an abnormally low level can suggest an increased risk of Down syndrome or other chromosomal abnormalities.

How safe is it? The blood test is like any other maternal blood test and poses no harm to the mother or the fetus. The real risk is that a false-positive or false-negative result may require further testing - such as an ultrasound or amniocentesis -- which could present greater risks.

How reliable are the results? The triple test is a reliable way to identify women at increased risk for fetal problems. Of 1,000 women who take the AFP, between 25 and 50 will have results that are higher than normal. In the end, only two of the 1,000 will actually have a fetus with a neural tube defect. A higher- or lower-than-average result can be attributed to an incorrect estimation of the age of the fetus, twins (both babies produce the substance), or not taking into account your weight, race, or the presence of diabetes.

On a Different Note: Seeing for Yourself

Depending on your circumstances -- and on your health insurance -- you might not get to see your little one on an ultrasound until midway through your pregnancy - around week 18 to 20.

Weekly Tip: Take the Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) test on the early side of the window in case you get a false positive or false negative and there is a need for further testing. That way, you'll have plenty of time to get genetic counseling, do a more in-depth ultrasound, and take the amniocentesis, if you so choose. Click here to learn more about the AFP.

Week 16

Week 16 Mother You may begin to feel the baby move around this point. This is

Mother

You may begin to feel the baby move around this point. This is more likely to happen now if you are a multipara (someone who has had a previous child) or if you are very thin. Generally you will feel the baby move about one month earlier than you did in a previous pregnancy, mainly because you know what you are feeling. It is not uncommon for first time mothers to not recognize fetal movements until 22-24 weeks. These first movements are called "quickening." They can also be used in helping to determine your due date.

You And Your Body

A dark line (called Linea nigra) starts to appear down the centre of your abdomen.

You will find an increase in your appetite as the baby grows.

Blood samples for serum screening are usually taken around this time.

Baby

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 is emptying his or her bladder every 40-45 minutes. The limb movements are becoming more coordinated. Your baby is about 3 ounces (85 grams) and 6.3 inches (16 cms). The gender may be detectable by ultrasound.

Your baby is now approx 16cm long and weighs about 135g/5oz

Your baby is able to squint, open his mouth and even frown.

The skin is very transparent and blood vessels can be seen underneath it.

Sex organs have developed and can be seen on an ultrasound scan to determine the baby's sex.

If you are carrying a baby girl, her ovaries have now descended from her abdomen into the pelvis.

Lanugo or the body hair is quite noticeable on your baby's body now.

Twin Tips

You may begin to feel movement now. Another "sign" that there are multiples is the mom who describes fetal movement like an octopus, or "all over the place." Your practitioner may begin to wonder if there is more than one if they can palpate more than 3 large parts (and several small ones!) in your uterus. If you're pregnant with quadruplets or more you may be asked to stop working at this point.

Your Baby: The First Flutters

The fetus measures 4 1/2 inches (12 centimeters) from crown to rump and weighs about 5 ounces (142 grams). Despite its growing body, your fetus has lots of room to move around within the uterus. You might actually start to feel it move about as its bones begin to harden and it flails about frequently. Its head is erect, its legs are now longer than its arms, and its limb movements are becoming more coordinated. Its fingers and toenails are constantly growing and are now well formed. If you're eager to find out the gender and you're due for an ultrasound, you may be in luck - as long as the baby cooperates.

Your Body: All about Amnios

What is it? An amniocentesis, more often referred to as amnio, is a procedure in which a needle is inserted into a woman's abdomen to remove a small amount of amniotic fluid from the amniotic sac surrounding it. An ultrasound is used to guide the needle away from the fetus. Since the fluid and the fetus are formed from the same cells and have the same genetic makeup, the fluid undergoes genetic analysis and biochemical tests in a lab.

What is the purpose of the test? One of the most common uses of the amnio is to identify genetic or chromosome abnormalities in the baby such as Down syndrome. It can also detect other conditions, including: genetic disorders known to run in the family, neural tube defects such as anencephaly and spina bifida, Rh disease, and fetal lung assessment, the last two of which are done during the last half of the pregnancy.

Who takes the test? Between 80% to 90% of all amnios are done when women are over 35 years of age or will turn 35 before their due date. It is also performed if the results of a screening test - MSAFP, estriol, and/or hCG - are abnormal. And it is recommended if a couple has had a child with a chromosomal abnormality (i.e., Down syndrome) or with a metabolic disorder (i.e., Hunter's syndrome); if a couple has had a child or a close relative with a neural tube defect; when the mother is a carrier of an x-linked genetic disorder (i.e., hemophilia); when both parents are carriers of an autosomal recessive inherited disorder, such as Tay Sachs disease or sickle cell anemia; if one parent has a condition passed on by autosomal dominant inheritance (i.e., Huntington's chorea); or if the woman has to deliver early and the baby's lungs have to be assessed.

When is the test taken? If the amnio is taken for chromosome analysis or molecular DNA analysis, it is typically performed between 16 and 18 weeks of pregnancy. In some cases, however, the test may be done up to a month earlier. If it is to assess fetal lungs, it may be taken shortly before delivery.

How safe is it? The risk of an amnio causing a miscarriage ranges from 1 in 200 to 1 in 400. When it does happen, it is usually because of an infection in the uterus, the water breaking, or labor being induced prematurely. While the numbers are small, the test should be done only when the benefits outweigh the risks.

On That Note: Amnio on View

For some women, amniocentesis is just another routine pregnancy procedure - part and parcel of the nine-month odyssey. For others, it is an unnerving exam that makes them think twice. Either way, you can put your mind at ease with this visual presentation.

Weekly Tip:

Many pregnant women get their best sleep during the second trimester. After all, your breasts are no longer tender, your tummy is finally stable, and some of the first-trimester aches and pains have dissipated. So before you really get heavy and uncomfortable next trimester, try and stock up on some extra ZZZs now. Lounge around in bed on the weekend, or crawl into bed early and read a few more pages than usual. Revel in repose: It might seem like an eternity before you have this opportunity again.

Pregnancy Month Four

Pregnancy Month Four Physical Changes in Pregnancy You are enjoying feeling better than you did last

Physical Changes in Pregnancy

You are enjoying feeling better than you did last month. Because your placenta has taken over the production of the pregnancy hormones, you may

feel a bit better in the second trimester. Some women will begin to have their bellies show at this point, though most women do not

yet need maternity clothes. Because of the extra blood volume your body needs during pregnancy, your heart will be beating more rapidly.

Week 17

Baby's profile.
Baby's profile.

Mother

Your uterus is now about halfway between your pubic bone and navel. Your secretions all over your body may increase, due to the increased blood volume. So if you are sweating more, have nasal congestion, or are suffering from increased vaginal discharge this is nothing to worry about and will go away after the birth of the baby.

You And Your Body

You may notice stretchmarks especially around the abdomen and the breasts.

Waistline will have disappeared completely.

You may experience minor nosebleeds and nasal congestion.

Bleeding gums (or 'pink toothbrush') may be a problem, so it is a good idea to make an appointment with the dentist for your free dental check-up.

Baby

Your baby is forming brown fat deposits under his or her skin, by the end of pregnancy this will account for 2-6% of their total body weight. This will help them maintain their body temperature when they are born. The baby weighs in at about 5 ounces (142 grams). This means that the baby now weighs more than the placenta. No new structures have formed. Loud noises outside may actually cause the baby to startle.

Your baby is approx 18cm long and weighs about 185g/6.5oz

All the limbs are fully formed now.

Your baby's taste buds are now beginning to develop.

The placenta is well established with a dense network of blood vessels and is exchanging nutrients and waste.

Your baby shows deposition of brown fat, which plays a role in heat generation after birth.

Twin Tips

Make sure you're getting about 120 grams of protein a day for twins, more for higher order multiples. It's not as hard as it might seem. A quick peanut butter sandwich, or an egg can help boost those numbers up there. Some women find that protein powders added to other meals is easier for them.

Your Baby: More than Meets the Eye

If you saw an ultrasound of your fetus right now, you'd spot a number of recognizable features. Your baby-to-be has thin eyebrows, hair on his scalp, and well-developed limbs. He's mastered a few simple reflexes, too: sucking, swallowing, and blinking. Head to rump, the fetus measures 5 inches (12.7 centimeters) long and weighs approximately 6 ounces (170 grams). Underneath the baby's skin, fat is forming. By the end of your pregnancy, this fat will account for 2% to 6% of the baby's weight and help maintain his body temperature at birth. At this age, your baby's hearing is pretty sharp: He can make out your conversations and may even be startled by loud noises. Whether you feel it or not, your baby is becoming very active, moving his head, arms, and legs, and making breathing movements.

Your Body: What to Do About the Family Feline

If you're a cat owner or lover, you may be worried about yet another pregnancy-related malady called toxoplasmosis. Carried by cats, the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis may also be present in raw meat and unpasteurized milk. Though it's rare, your baby could be harmed if you contract the infection for the first time during pregnancy.

Signs of toxoplasmosis are subtle, so you probably won't know if you've been infected. In fact, most people show no symptoms at all. Should you feel mild malaise, have a slight fever and swollen glands, and develop a rash after contact with cats or consuming uncooked meat or unpasteurized milk, let your doctor know.

If you were tested for toxoplasmosis before you got pregnant and were not immune, or if you don't know whether you're immune, a few simple steps will help you avoid infection (don't worry, they don't involve sending your puss packing - at least not permanently):

Turn over the cat-care chores, especially litter box duty, to your partner or a friend. If you must change the litter yourself, wear gloves and wash your hands when you finish.

Make sure the litter box is changed daily, since the oocytes that transmit the disease become more infectious with time.

Wear gloves when you work in the garden and stay away from soil and sand where cats may have left feces.

Thoroughly wash raw fruits and vegetables with dish soap and/or peel or cook them before eating.

Steer clear of steak tartare or other raw or undercooked meat or unpasteurized milk.

On a Different Note: Ready, Set, Action

Most pregnant women are utterly amazed at the flurry of activity going on inside their belly starting about now.

Weekly Tip:

Now that you're safely in the second trimester, it's time to start thinking about names. Try mulling over a new one every week -or every day, if you're really rolling. If you don't know your baby's sex and don't intend to find out, have a few of each ready. One seasoned mom recommends narrowing it down to two boys' and two girls' names a month before your due date. That way, you can quickly choose the one that best suits your new baby after he or she arrives.

Week 18

The whole baby sucking the thumb.
The whole baby sucking the thumb.

Mother

Sleeping may be increasingly difficult now, as your body grows. Try propping yourself with pillows to help you find a more comfortable sleeping position. You might also try doing pelvic tilts before bed, and always urinate before laying down.

If you haven't started yet, try playing around with baby names! Look through your family history, read books, look at combinations for girls and boys. Remember to ensure that the initials don't spell something rude, and never give your kids the same initials!

You And Your Body

You may be able to feel your baby move for the first time (it may be later in first time mums). The baby's movement feels like fluttering of butterflies or even like rumbling of the stomach (similar to a feeling of indigestion). Increase in vaginal discharge.

Baby

At 20.5 cms or 8.1 inches total length, your baby is growing rapidly. S/he weighs about 7 ounces (198 grams). The bones are continuing the ossification process. The pads of the fingers and toes are formed and the fingerprints are developing as well.

Your baby is approx 21cm long and weighs about 235g/8oz

Your baby has become more aware of the world around her and can hear sounds outside

the uterus You may feel her jump at unexpected noises.

Wrinkled skin due to absence of fat.

Twin Tips

If you're having trouble with hemorrhoids or varicose veins, remember to drink lots of water an put your feet up when possible. The more babies, the more pressure on the veins in the lower half of your body.

Your Baby: Did You Hear a Hiccup?

At about 5 1/2 inches (14 centimeters) in length and some 7 ounces (200 grams) in weight, the fetus is growing fast and looking more and more babyish. The pads on her fingers and toes are formed, her eyebrows are starting to appear, and her eyes are staring straight ahead rather than out from the sides of her head. There’s rumbling in her bowel as meconium, the baby's first BM, accumulates there. If you’re carrying a boy, his prostate gland is starting to develop now. Though you probably won’t feel them at this early date, your baby may have the hiccups, which happen before fetal breathing movements become common. Since her trachea is still filled with fluid, these harmless spasms are silent.

Your Body: Undergoing an Ultrasound

If you’re like most women, you’ll have a routine ultrasound about now so your doctor can get information on your baby’s health. Though this brief (five to 10 minutes) and painless test is most often done during the second trimester, it can be performed any time between the fifth week of gestation and delivery.

During the first trimester, an ultrasound can:

Confirm or rule out a pregnancy.

 

Date a pregnancy.

 

Determine the cause of bleeding or spotting.

 

Find an IUD that was in place at the time of conception.

 

Check the fetus’ condition if a problem is suspected.

 

During the second trimester, the test can:

 

Check

for

signs

of

life

if

the

fetal heartbeat

isn't

heard

by

week

14

or

if

no

movement is felt by week 22.

 

Spot multiple fetuses.

 

Measure the amount of amniotic fluid (too much can cause abnormally rapid uterine growth).

Detect cervical changes that predict preterm labor.

 

Determine the condition of the placenta.

 

A third-trimester ultrasound can:

Confirm the fetus' age if there’s a chance of preterm labor or if the pregnancy extends much past your due date.

Gauge the fetus' well-being and track fetal activity, breathing movement, level of amniotic fluid, and the like.

Check for breech presentation or other problematic fetal or cord positions before delivery.

There are two types of ultrasounds: transvaginal and transabdominal. With both, you lie on your back on an exam table while your belly or a probe is lubed up with a special gel. A transducer, a small microphone-like device, is gently pressed on your belly or inserted into your vagina - the method depends on how far along you are and what type of equipment is on hand. The transducer emits sound waves, which bounce off your internal organs and form an image on a nearby computer screen. That image, which for some is crystal clear and for others a big blur, is your baby. Regardless, most expectant moms find this first glimpse thrilling - and over all too quickly.

On That Note: A Sneak Peek

As your next - or in some cases, your only - ultrasound draws near, you're eager to get a look at the precious cargo you’re carrying. For a sneak preview of what the test entails,

Weekly Tip:

Wear loose-fitting separates for the ultrasound exam. That way, you can easily pull the top half up and the bottom half down. And even though you’ll mop up the goop on your belly with a towel when it’s all over, some of it will surely wind up on your clothes. So whatever you do, don’t wear your Sunday best!

Week 19

Baby's profile.
Baby's profile.

Mother

If you have not looked into childbirth classes, now is the time to do so. Childbirth education is a great way of informing yourself about pregnancy, labor and birth. There are many different types of classes available and many different types of teachers. Enroll now before the spaces are all gone! Medical research indicates that participants in childbirth classes tend to have easier, less stressful births.

Childbirth classes teach you a variety of things. Today's classes generally offer topics such as:

  • - Making pregnancy comfortable

-

Labor support techniques

  • - Breathing for Labor

-

Stages of labor

  • - Pain medications in labor

-

Hospital policies

  • - Birth Center policies

-

Home birth

  • - Cesarean Birth

-

Postpartum Recovery

  • - Life with new baby

-

Breastfeeding

and much more!

Find a class that best fits your schedule. Some classes meet for a few hours every week for several weeks, while other meet for an intense period of time over one or two days.

You And Your Body

You may notice that you are gaining weight in specific areas like hips, thighs and abdomen. Difficulty in finding a comfortable position to sleep due to the extra weight and bigger uterus. Tiny veins may appear on your face (these will disappear after birth).

Baby

This is an impressive week for growth! The baby will increase in weight to 8 ounces (227 grams)! If you are having a girl, her ovaries now contain primitive egg cells. Lanugo appears all over the baby's body. This fine hair will remain until birth draws nearer. Sometimes you can still see some on the baby's face and ears after birth. Permanent teeth buds are forming behind the already formed milk teeth buds.

Your baby is approx 23cm long and weighs about 285g/10oz

Ears now stand out from the sides of the head.

Buds for your baby's permanent teeth appear, behind the ones for the milk teeth.

Twin Tips

Nursery shopping is fun, and with twins it probably needs to be done a bit earlier. You will need about 1.5 times the clothing you'd need for one baby. Some mothers try to color code their children to help tell them apart.

Your Baby: Covered from Head to Toe

This week, your baby-to-be weighs in at an impressive 8 ounces (227 grams) and measures 6 inches (15.2 centimeters) in length. Lanugo - fine, downy hair - covers his skin and a white, waxy substance called vernix caseosa protects it during its nine-month amniotic bath. Permanent teeth buds are taking shape behind the already formed milk teeth buds, and the placenta continues to grow and nourish the baby. If you’re carrying a girl, her ovaries already contain primitive egg cells.

Your Body: What to Avoid When You’re Expecting

Pregnancy and childbirth have never been safer. Even so, there are still a few precautions you can take to ensure that you and your unborn baby get the best possible prenatal care. For starters, take a long and careful look around the house to see which household hazards you’re aware of and which ones you should avoid.

Cleaning products: Most ordinary household cleansers are deemed safe. And no studies have proven that the occasional inhalation of cleaning products is detrimental to the fetus. On the flip side, studies haven’t shown that frequent inhalation is totally safe either. But don't imagine that you’ll be living in squalor. You can continue to keep your house clean for the rest of your pregnancy, but be sure to follow these guidelines from here on in:

Don't

breathe in

any

product

that

has

a

strong

odor

or

fumes;

use

it

in

a

well-

ventilated place or not at all.

 

Use pump sprays instead of aerosols.

 

Never mix ammonia with chlorine-based products because it produces deadly fumes.

Avoid using products such as oven cleaners and dry-cleaning fluids, which can be toxic.

Wear rubber gloves when you clean so potentially toxic chemicals don’t seep into your skin.

Lead: Heavy exposure to this age-old mineral can put pregnant women at greater risk of developing hypertension, even miscarriage. It can also put the fetus at risk of developing minor birth defects or serious behavioral and neurological problems, especially if the baby is exposed in-utero and after birth. To create a lead-free environment, check out the most common sources: your drinking water, the paint on and around your house, and earthenware, pottery, or china that is home-crafted, imported, antique, or simply old.

Tap water: Some water is still not safe and drinkable. To make sure yours is potable, check with your local health department or consult a local environmental group. If you still have some doubts, have it tested. If your water looks or tastes odd, attach a carbon filter to your kitchen sink or use bottled water. If it smells and/or tastes like chlorine, boil it or let it stand for 24 hours so the chemical evaporates. Ideally, change the plumbing.

On That Note: Still More Household Hazards

Even though the world is a safer place, there are still some common household and work-related exposures you should try to avoid during your pregnancy. To learn more about them, feast your eyes on this article.

Weekly Tip:

Even if you aren't a gourmet cook, it's a good idea to spend some time in the kitchen during the next few weeks. Moms we know recommend that you make and freeze a few of your favorite dishes now, while your energy level is high and your hands are free. Then, when life gets a little more hectic down the line, all you'll have to do to get dinner on the table is fire up the microwave!

Week 20

This is a 20 week ultrasound pic ture of the entire baby. Some women will have
This is a 20 week ultrasound pic ture of the entire baby. Some women will have

This is a 20 week ultrasound pic ture of the entire baby. Some women will have routine ultrasound scans at this time.

Mother

POP! Your belly button may pop out and stay that way until delivery as your uterus presses upwards. Some people will have trouble breathing as their lungs become cramped with the internal organs. This will usually continue until the baby "drops" or engages into the pelvis. In a first pregnancy this will generally occur 4-6 weeks before your birth and with subsequent pregnancies not until you are in labor. There is a trade off once the baby "drops." You will have to urinate more frequently, hard to believe, eh? Remembering to do your pelvic tilts prior to laying down will hopefully allow you a few more minutes of rest before the next bathroom break. You are half way through your pregnancy! Congratulations!

You And Your Body

You definitely look pregnant now.

Your waistline is no longer visible.

The top of uterus uterus is just below the navel.

Your navel may be flattened or pushed out and remain this way until after the birth.

You may experience breathlessness upon exertion.

Indigestion and heartburn as the uterus starts to push against your stomach.

Baby

Lanugo forms from sebum and skin cells to create vernix. This creamy white substance is believed to help protect the baby inutero. It will cling to the lanugo and in the creases. This is also something

that can be seen sometimes after the birth. Rumor has it that nursery nurses use it for hand lotion, because of its smooth, protect quality.

You may be aware of sleep wake cycles in your little one. The weight is now up to 10 ounces (283 grams) and the baby measures about 25 cms total length, about 9.8 inches.

Your baby is approx 25.5cm long and weighs about 340g/12oz

Vernix (waxy substance to protect your baby's skin from the amniotic fluid) is starting to form.

Twin Tips

If you're having your first ultrasound, you might be surprised to find that there is more than one in there!

Heartburn

What is it? Normally, the valve between the food pipe (oesophagus) and the stomach prevents the stomach acids from passing back into the oesophagus. In pregnancy however, high levels of the hormone progesterone causes this valve to relax. As a result, the stomach acids pass into the oesophagus and irritate the oesophagal lining. This produces a strong burning sensation in the centre of the chest, just where the heart is and hence the term, heartburn (although it has nothing to do with the heart).

What to do?

If you suffer most at night, try raising the head of your bed or sleeping with

If you suffer most at night, try raising the head of your bed or sleeping with extra pillows

A glass of milk before going to bed might help (as it neutralises the acidity).(Milk may

A glass of milk before going to bed might help (as it neutralises the acidity).(Milk may bring on nausea in some cases, so make sure it agrees with you.)

Sit up straight while eating to prevent your stomach from being sqaushed.

Sit up straight while eating to prevent your stomach from being sqaushed.

Eat small and frequent meals rather than three large meals.

Eat small and frequent meals rather than three large meals.

Avoid eating or drinking very close to bedtime.

Avoid eating or drinking very close to bedtime.

Avoid too many cups of tea or coffee.

Avoid too many cups of tea or coffee.

Avoid spicy and fatty foods unless you are used to them.

Avoid spicy and fatty foods unless you are used to them.

Certain pregnancy safe antacids may be prescribed by the doctor. Consult a doctor or pharmacist.

Certain pregnancy safe antacids may be prescribed by the doctor. Consult a doctor or pharmacist.

Your Baby: How Big Is the Baby?

The fetus now weighs approximately 11 ounces (320 grams) and measures about 6.5 inches (16 centimeters) long. The soft and fine lanugo covers the baby’s entire body, and the vernix caseosa clings to it. Other new developments this week include the appearance of tiny toenails, the first signs of scalp hair, and less transparent skin.

Your Body: The Rh Factor in Full

During pregnancy one of the first blood tests you take checks for the Rh factor. Determined by genes passed on from your parents, the Rh factor is a type of protein that may appear in red blood cells. If you carry it, you’re considered Rh-positive; if you don't, you’re Rh-negative.

As 85% of women are Rh-positive, there is no cause for concern. Problems arise if you’re Rh- negative and your partner is Rh-positive, which could lead to Rh incompatibility during pregnancy. If that happens and your fetus was Rh-positive, your immune system may start producing antibodies against the Rh factor in the fetus' blood, which it considers a foreign substance. Mild or severe damage could occur in the fetus - even death - from Rh disease, also known as hemolytic disease or erythroblastosis fetalis.

The key to protecting the fetus when there is Rh incompatibility is preventing the development of Rh antibodies. If you tested negative for antibodies early in the pregnancy, you will be tested again -

usually

at

28

or

29 weeks.

If

you are

still

negative,

you

will

then

be

given

a

dose

of

Rh

immunoglobulin (RhIg) and, again, 72 hours after delivery, should the baby test Rh-positive. Thanks

to the development of RhIg, fetal Rh disease is now very rare.

The risk of Rh incompatibility is lower in a first pregnancy. Difficulties occur when the Rh factor enters the Rh-negative mother's circulatory system during delivery (or by abortion or miscarriage), or when the child has inherited it from the father. The pregnant woman’s body produces harmless antibodies. But when pregnant again with another Rh-positive baby, these antibodies cross the placenta and attack the fetal blood cells.

In rare cases, if your body is already producing antibodies, RhIg will not work, so the fetus will need to be monitored closely throughout the pregnancy. If you are one of the few women who actually has Rh antibodies, you will be tested on a regular basis throughout the second trimester to check the level of antibodies in your blood. If the level is high, you might need to have a blood transfusion or deliver early to protect the baby.

On That Note: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Rh Disease and More

What if you're Rh-negative and your mate is Rh-positive? What if you were Rh-positive in a prior pregnancy? What if your mother lost a baby with Rh disease? To get answers to these questions - and more - click on this Rh incompatibility article.

Weekly Tip:

There's nothing quite like a celebration to make something memorable. Now that you're halfway through your pregnancy, do something special tonight with your beloved to mark the momentous occasion. Set up a dreamy candlelight dinner, or get dressed up and hit the town. Stamp it forever with photographs.

Pregnancy Month Five

Pregnancy Month Five Physical Changes in Pregnancy You may begin to feel your baby move, this

Physical Changes in Pregnancy

You may begin to feel your baby move, this is called quickening.

As your uterus reaches your navel or belly button, you will begin to show more.

You are going to the bathroom more often because your kidneys work harder in pregnancy.

You are still enjoying your pregnancy at this point with few symptoms that plague you.

Week 21

This is an ear!
This is an ear!

Mother

Everyone is probably telling you what sex your baby is using different myths! Some people find this fun, other find it annoying. Using things like how you carry, the Chinese Gender Chart, or other myths are fun, but not always accurate. Have you decided whether you want to find out the gender of your baby? There are many things to consider before doing so, and still your baby may not cooperate.

You And Your Body

Increase in appetite.

You may develop a craving for something unusual

You will probably be feeling energetic.

Baby

Your baby can still move all over in the amniotic fluid. Towards the end of this trimester the baby will begin to settle, usually in a head down position (Although some babies do not turn head down until late in the last trimester.). About 3-4% of babies will remain in a breech position. Your baby weighs just under a pound (13 ounces or 369 grams).

Your baby is approx 28cm long and weighs about 390g/14oz

Your baby already has a high number of red blood cells.

White blood cells (responsible for fighting infection) are beginning to be manufactured in your baby's body.

Twin Tips

Got back pain? While watching your posture and being careful to lift and carry properly can go a long way, there are back braces that are made to help you carry the load. Talk to your practitioner about writing a prescription to help insurance cover these items, or you can purchase them separately on your own.

Chinese Lunar Calendar to find the gender of a baby

WOMAN'S CONCEIVING AGE

MONTH OF

CONCEPTION

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

January

G

B

G

B

G

B

B

G

B

G

B

G

B

B

February

B

G

B

G

B

B

G

B

G

B

G

B

G

G

March

G

B

G

G

B

G

B

B

B

G

B

G

G

B

April

B

G

B

G

G

B

B

G

G

B

G

G

G

G

May

B

G

B

G

B

B

G

G

G

G

G

B

G

G

June

B

B

B

G

G

G

B

B

B

G

G

B

G

G

July

B

B

B

G

G

B

B

G

G

B

B

B

G

G

August

B

B

B

G

B

G

G

B

B

B

B

B

G

G

September

B

B

B

G

G

B

G

B

G

B

B

B

G

G

Gctober

B

B

G

G

G

B

G

B

G

B

B

G

G

G

November

B

G

B

G

G

B

G

B

G

G

G

G

B

G

December

B

G

B

G

G

G

G

B

G

B

G

G

B

B

_____________________________________________________________________

WOMAN'S CONCEIVING AGE

MONTH OF

CONCEPTION

32

33

34

35

36

37

38

39

40

41

42

43

44

45

January

B

G

B

B

G

B

G

B

G

B

G

B

B

G

February

G

B

G

B

B

G

B

G

B

G

B

G

B

B

March

B

B

B

G

B

B

G

B

G

B

G

B

G

B

April

G

B

G

B

G

B

B

B

B

G

B

G

B

G

May

G

G

G

G

B

G

B

B

G

B

G

B

B

G

June

G

G

G

G

G

B

G

G

B

G

B

G

B

G

July

G

G

G

G

G

G

B

G

B

B

G

B

G

B

August

G

B

G

B

G

B

G

B

G

B

B

G

B

G

September

G

G

G

G

B

G

B

G

B

G

B

B

G

B

Gctober

G

G

G

G

B

B

G

B

G

B

G

B

B

G

November

G

G

B

B

B

G

B

G

B

G

B

B

G

B

December

B

B

B

B

B

B

G

G

G

B

G

B

G

B

_____________________________________________________________________

EXPLANATION

You can choose for yourself whether you want a boy or a girl by following the chart. The woman's age from 18 to 45 (Chinese reckoning) is on the top line while the months 1 to 12 indicate the month when the baby is conceived. By following the chart you will be able to tell in advance whether your baby will be a boy or a girl. Thus, you can plan to have a boy or a girl. This chart has been taken from a Royal tomb near Peking, China. The original copy is kept in the Institute of Science of Peking. The accuracy of the chart has been proved by thousands of People and is believed to be 99 percent accurate. By reckoning, you follow a line drawn from the figure representing the woman's age to a line drawn from the month the baby is conceived. For instance, if the woman is 27 years old and her baby is conceived in January (according to the Chinese Lunar Calendar),

then her baby

will be a girl. The chart is based on the month the baby is

conceived and not on the birth of the baby, B-Male, G-Female. Remarks: A Chinese

Scientist discovered and drew this chart which was buried in a Royal tomb about 700 years ago.

Your Baby: Head’s Up

Your fetus weighs just under a pound - 13 ounces - or 369 grams, and stands almost 7 inches (almost 18 centimeters) tall. She still has lots of space to move around in her amniotic bubble, but will begin to settle down toward the end of this trimester. Most babies get into a head-down position, but some don't flip until late in the last trimester. And some turn their heads down at first, only to summersault again later.

Your Body: Diabetes During Pregnancy

What is it? Gestational diabetes is the onset of diabetes during pregnancy in a woman who didn't have the condition before. With this type of diabetes, your body cannot effectively use insulin, a hormone that controls the level of sugar (glucose) in your blood. Gestational diabetes is thought to result from metabolic changes brought about by pregnancy hormones.

What are the symptoms? Sometimes there are none, but you may experience excessive hunger and thirst, frequent urination, recurrent vaginal yeast infections, and elevated blood pressure. Then again, you may have some or all of these signs and not have gestational diabetes.

How is it diagnosed? Between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy, you'll take a glucose tolerance test to screen for the condition. This entails slugging down a sweetened solution and getting your blood drawn an hour later. If you're among the 15% of pregnant women whose tests reveal abnormal blood glucose levels, you'll need a follow-up exam, called an oral glucose tolerance test. For this one, you'll fast overnight and then drink an even sweeter solution. Your blood will then be drawn three times over a three-hour period to measure your glucose levels.

Who's at risk? Any pregnant woman can develop this condition, but some are more prone to it than others. This includes women over 30 (the tendency toward diabetes increases with age); women with a family history of diabetes; women with a history of sugar in their urine during pregnancy or of glucose intolerance outside of pregnancy; obese women; and women who were large babies themselves (over 9 pounds) or who have delivered large babies before.

On That Note: Gestational Diabetes in Depth

If you're at risk for gestational diabetes or simply want to know more about the condition, click on this gestational diabetes article.

Weekly Tip: Here's a surefire way to get the glucose down without making your stomach turn:

Refrigerate the sweet solution overnight so that it's cold when you drink it, and sip it slowly with a straw over a 10-minute period. Both of these tricks tame the sickly sweet taste and make the medicine go down in the most delightful way.

Week 22

A good outline of the face
A good outline of the face

Mother

You are still feeling pretty good and active in this second trimester. If you are still having aches and pains or feel like you are slowing down you may want to look into some different remedies. Sex is something that many pregnant couples don't really discuss at length. However, sexuality can change a lot during pregnancy. Usually in the first trimester you are nauseated, your breasts are sore, or you are just too tired. Finding alternate ways of expressing your sexuality without intercourse is appropriate.

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. You do not have to worry about getting pregnant, so this may be the first time in your lives where you weren't trying to get pregnant or trying to prevent a pregnancy.

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 blissfully unaware of your actions. Unless you have been told by your practitioner that you should abstain from sex, it is a very healthy activity to engage in while pregnant.

As you head into the third trimester creativity can be key. New positions will most likely take place, but studies have shown that there are very few reasons that you can't have sex up until the birth! Your practitioner will let you know if you should abstain from intercourse.

You And Your Body

Your growing baby and the expanding uterus push on your ribcage, which may cause you pain. It may be a good idea to check with your doctor that you are having enough iron as it reaches its lowest level this week.

Baby

The baby is getting bigger and continuing to practice for extrauterine life. This week your baby has developed eyebrows! S/he weighs about 15 ounces (425 grams) and is 27.5 cms or 10.8 inches total length!

Your baby is approx 29.5cm long and weighs about 410g

Your baby is learning about her body and surroundings through touch.

Fingernails are fully grown by now. They will probably need to be trimmed when born!

Your baby will frequently touch and stroke her own face.

Twin Tips

Thinking about breastfeeding your multiples? It's certainly possible. Your body will provide you as much milk as you need, whether feeding or pumping, with only a few exceptions. Learn about nursing your multiples from other moms who have been there. Look around your local twin club or contact a lactation consult or La Leche Group.

Anaemia

What is it? Anaemia is a condition attributed to iron deficiency. It reduces the haemoglobin in the red blood cells.

When? Anaemia may strike if your diet has insufficient iron. The insufficiency may also be caused by the demands of pregnancy.

Symptoms:

extreme tiredness

lethargy

pale complexion

weakness

fainting spells (in extreme cases)

Treatment: You need an iron-rich diet which includes food like green leafy vegetables, red meat (barring liver or liver products). If the doctor thinks that you might benefit from an iron supplement, you may be prescribed one (some doctors routinely prescribe iron for pregnant women). Remember to take iron tablets after or during food and preferably, with orange juice (as this aids better absorption).

Your Baby: The Eyes Have It

Your fetus weighs about 15 ounces (425 grams) and measures 10.8 inches (27.5 centimeters) in length. Her body is long, slender, and well-developed. Your baby's eyelids and eyebrows are fully formed, and her brain is entering a period of rapid growth. If you're carrying a boy, his testes have begun to descend from his pelvis to his scrotum.

Your Body: A Is for Anemia

What is it? Anemia is a condition in which you have too few red blood cells, requiring your body to boost its iron stores to help produce them. In your pre-pregnancy state, you needed a daily dose of about 15 milligrams of iron. Thanks to your growing fetus, you now require about 30.

How is it diagnosed? Your caregiver can spot anemia with a blood test, which she may give at your first prenatal visit. Most women pass this initial check for iron deficiency with flying colors. In fact, the majority of expectant mothers start off pregnancy with enough iron stores to last until week 20 (after that point, blood volume expands rapidly and the fetus needs more and more nutrients to grow). To be on the safe side, your doctor may prescribe an iron supplement early on to prevent anemia later.

What are the symptoms? Anemia can be mild, with no noticeable signs, or more severe, with symptoms that include extreme fatigue or weakness; pallor; breathlessness; heart palpitations; and dizziness, light-headedness, or fainting spells. If you experience any of these on a regular basis, let your doctor know right away.

Who’s at risk? Any expectant mother can develop anemia - in fact, 20% are iron deficient at some point during pregnancy. Some women, though, are more susceptible to the condition than others. You may be at greater risk for anemia if you’ve had back-to-back pregnancies, you’re carrying multiples, you’ve been throwing up a lot or eating little because of morning sickness, or you were undernourished before you conceived.

Will it harm my baby? Babies born to anemic mothers are rarely iron deficient at birth. That’s because your fetus’ nutritional needs are often met before your own are. This is good for your baby, of course, but not so good for your own health. Research does show, however, that babies of anemic mothers who don't take iron supplements are at a slightly higher risk of being small or premature. The moral of the story: If you’re anemic, take your iron pills to boost your strength and ensure a healthy baby.

On a Different Note: Looking Into Labor and Delivery

With 22 weeks down and 18 more to go, it’s time to start thinking about labor and delivery. Check out this signs of labor article to learn the ins and outs (and do’s and don’ts) of the birthing process.

Weekly Tip:

Iron can be tricky for your system to assimilate. To make sure your body absorbs enough of this important mineral, take your iron pills with your morning OJ or other vitamin C-rich foods. And be sure to steer clear of caffeine, which blocks iron absorption. If your iron supplement makes you constipated, talk to your caregiver about safe ways to loosen things up

Signs of Labor

If you've never given birth before, you may assume that you'll just "know" when the time has arrived to have your baby. In reality, the onset of true labor isn't always easy to identify, and the events leading up to it can drag on for days. Remember, too, that your due date is simply a point of reference -- it's normal for labor to start any time between three weeks before and two weeks after this vaunted date.

So how will you know that labor is starting? First, you need to understand the birth process. In a nutshell, here's what happens during labor: The uterus repeatedly contracts (tightens and relaxes), causing the cervix to thin (efface) and open up (dilate) so you can push your baby into the world.

Labor may be nearing if you notice one or more of these signs:

Lightening. This happens when your baby's head "drops" down into your pelvis. Your belly will suddenly look lower and you'll have an easier time catching your breath than you did when your baby was crowding your lungs. The downside, though, is that he's now pressing on your bladder, increasing your need to urinate. For first-time mothers, lightening usually occurs a few weeks before birth. For veteran moms, it may not happen until labor has begun.

Bloody show. If you have blood-tinged or brownish vaginal discharge, it means your cervix has dilated enough to expel the mucus plug that sealed it for the last nine months. This is a good sign, but active labor may still be days away.

Your baby moves less. Women often notice that their baby is less active the day before labor kicks in. No one is sure why this might be, but one theory is that the baby is simply saving his energy for the big event.

Your water breaks. When the amniotic sac ruptures, you'll feel fluid leak from your vagina in a trickle or a gush. For most women, contractions follow shortly thereafter. But even if they don't, let your caregiver know as soon as you think your water has broken. In about 1 in 10 women, contractions don't begin on their own within 24 hours. If this happens, your labor may need to be induced, since the likelihood of infection goes up once your baby's sterile bubble bursts. For other women, the amniotic sac doesn't rupture until labor is well underway.

Diarrhea. If you feel a frequent urge to empty your bowels and your stools are looser than normal, labor may be imminent.

Nesting. There's no scientific proof linking it to the onset of labor, but plenty of mothers -to-be are gripped by a sudden urge to "nest" -- to vacuum the entire house at 3 a.m., say, or put those last, finishing touches on the nursery -- right before labor begins.

Week 23

Week 23 Mother During your appointments your practitioner may palpate your abdomen. This process is a

Mother

During your appointments your practitioner may palpate your abdomen. This process is a way of feeling the position of the baby. A tape measure will also be used to measure your fundal height. This is the top of your uterus and is a good indicator of the continued growth of your baby. Some people will worry if they measure a bit "too big" or "too small." However, it is completely normal to have slight variations at this point. Be sure to ask your practitioner if you are worried.

You may actually feel Braxton Hicks contraction, or you might just happen to notice with your hand a slight tensing of your abdomen. This is just your uterine muscle preparing for birth. The uterus actually contracts at all phases of a woman's life, however, we rarely notice this unless our uterus is full!

You And Your Body

You may start to feel Braxton-Hicks contractions.

Your baby can be felt through your abdominal wall now.

Baby

The baby's finger nails are almost fully formed and the lanugo darkens. Your baby continues to grow in preparation for the journey of birth. He or she is totally unaffected by the Braxton Hicks, or practice, contractions. Meconium, the baby's first stool, is developing. Baby weighs 1 pound 2 ounces (510 grams).

Your baby is approx 31cm long and weighs about 440g/15.5oz Your baby still looks red and wrinkled because although fat is being produced, skin is being produced at a much higher rate, causing it to hang loosely. Your baby continues to swallow amniotic fluid and passing it back as urine.

Swallowing the amniotic fluid may give your baby hiccups, which you may be able to feel. If your baby is a male, his scrotum is now well-developed.

If your baby is a female, her ovaries already contain millions of eggs (which continue to decrease in number until puberty).

Twin Tips

Picking a name can be a lot of fun, picking two or more is twice the fun and the hassle. Remember when choosing names that multiples might not always want to be a part of a set when it comes to names. Try to pick stand-alone names as you would for any sibling.

Braxton Hicks Contractions

What are they? Also called 'rehearsal contractions', they are the painless (but uncomfortable) contractions that are responsible for training the pregnant uterus.

When? These contractions may start around week 20 or even earlier if this is not your first pregnancy.

How do they feel? It feels as if the uterus is tightening and then relaxing. They may last for

about 30 seconds or even techniques.

longer which gives

you enough time to practice your breathing

As pregnancy progresses, Braxton Hicks contractions may become even more frequent, intense and uncomfortable.

What to do?To relieve discomfort, try to relax or lie down. Sometimes changing your position stops the contractions completely.

Your Baby: The Beginning of Braxton Hicks

Your growing fetus weighs in at around 1 pound, 2 ounces (510 grams) and measures 11 inches in length. His body is well proportioned but still slender, with little fat. He's also sporting new developments from head to toe: The bones of his middle ear are beginning to harden; his fingernails are almost completely developed; meconium, the baby's first bowel movement, is forming in his intestines; and the lanugo that covers his body is darkening. You're probably feeling a lot of movement and may even notice some early, relatively painless contractions, called Braxton Hicks. Don't worry - these contractions don't mean you're going into labor, and your baby is unaffected by them.

Your Body: Striations of Sorts

The majority of women - up to 90% - are forever marked by pregnancy (with stretch marks, that is). The reddish or purplish streaks that appear on your belly, breasts, hips, and upper thighs are harmless, but they may itch.

As the name suggests, stretch marks show up when skin is stretched, which often accompanies a large or fast weight gain. They can also develop when you put on just a few pounds, though, - it all depends on your genes and your skin's elasticity. Good nutrition and regular exercise may help prevent them, but since stretch marks develop deep within the connective tissue under the skin, all the creams, oils, and lotions in the world won't make a difference. Don't despair: Many women find that the streaks fade to a silvery sheen after delivery.

On a Different Note: State-of-the-Art Technology

At this point, you're probably eager to get a peek at your growing baby - and all of his body parts. If you've already had your ultrasound and want to see more, check out this about ultrasound tool, which spotlights the fetus' head, legs and arms, genitals, size, and position, among other things.

Weekly Tip: Take a 20-minute break and treat yourself to a manicure. If pregnancy hormones are doing their job, your nails are strong and shiny - the perfect showcase for a slick of colorful polish. Be daring: You may not get another chance to pamper your nails for a while, so why not paint them bright red or pastel blue?

Week 24

The leg! What a great view!
The leg! What a great view!

Mother

Your fundus (top of the uterus) reaches just above your navel! You are now aware of your baby's movements and may even be able to tell the sleep/wake cycles of your little one.

It is important to recognize the signs of premature labor. Premature labor is actually more common in the summer months, thought to be caused by dehydration in some women, so continue drinking lots of water! Call your practitioner 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

You And Your Body

You may be putting on weight at the rate of about 1 lb per week.

Weight gain will start taking its toll

Backache, aching feet and general tiredness may be a problem.

Try to rest as much as possible with your feet up (above the level of the heart, if possible).

Baby

Your baby is almost completely formed, and is beginning to deposit brown fat on his or her body. The purpose of the brown fat is to retain body heat. Newborns are notoriously bad at regulating body temperature at first. This is particularly a problem for a baby born early.

Babies born at this point have some chances of survival with very special care. They will be in the Intensive Care Unit, probably for many weeks. Usually we say that you can expect them to stay in the NICU until their due date. A major problem with premature babies is lung development. If preterm labor is detected early

enough a steroid

shot, called Betamethasone, can sometimes be given to enhance lung

development. S/he weighs in at 1 lb 5 ounces (595 grams) and 30 cms or 11.8 inches total length!

Your baby is approx 33cm long and weighs about 0.5 kg/1 lb

Eyes (although still closed) are close together on the front of the face.

Ears move into their final position on the sides of the head.

Your baby continues to grow hair on her scalp.

Your baby develops her own pattern of waking and resting periods.

Heartbeat can now be heard with an ordinary sthethoscope.

Your voice can be heard clearly by your baby.

Twin Tips

If your cervix measures less than 2.5 centimeters on ultrasound, you will probably be placed on bed rest to prevent preterm labor. If you're pregnant with quadruplets your uterus may already be measuring 40 centimeters.

Your Baby: Body Heat

Your baby weighs 1 pound, 5 ounces (595 grams) and is 11.8 inches (30 centimeters) tall. Between now and the end of this week, she'll gain from 6 ounces to 1 1/3 pounds, and her whole body will begin to fill out, with her muscles, bones, organs, and tissues growing heavier by the day. Now that she's almost completely formed, your baby will build up body fat to help her retain heat.

Your Body: The Highs and Lows of Pregnancy Lovemaking

Every expectant couple's sexual appetite, amusement, and attitude differs. For some, pregnancy is wracked by emotional and physical upheavals, which can put a damper on desire. For others, pregnancy is a time to rejoice and revel in the recreational act -- a welcome break after years spent worrying about birth control and months trying to conceive.

Despite these differences, however, there is a predictable pattern of sexual interest during the three trimesters. Not surprisingly, women often lose interest in lovemaking during the first trimester, due to fatigue, nausea, vomiting, tender breasts, and other pregnancy-related woes. Sexual appetite usually returns with a vengeance during the second trimester, the so-called "golden period" of pregnancy, when women tend to feel better physically and psychologically and couples have had a chance to adjust to the pregnant physique. As the end of pregnancy nears, desire may drop again for obvious reasons -- a bulging belly that literally gets in the way of intimacy, amplified aches and pains, and a focus that's turning to the future.

If you question what's normal in the realm of sex during pregnancy, here's your answer: Whatever feels right to you. The key is understanding the many physical and emotional factors that can affect your libido and being open-minded and flexible. Some tips to increase your pregnancy pleasure: