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You’re Down To Discussing Birthing Positions! 32 Weeks And Counting!

It is not just your belly that’s continuing to grow but also your baby who is now making rapid strides towards the due date. With 5 weeks to go for a full term pregnancy and 8 weeks for the 40th week mark, things are probably busier than you had expected. However, you can also expect time to move very slowly now because while you can’t wait for your due date to be here, it just doesn’t seem to arrive. Along with your baby, you are also putting on weight at a regulated pace. However, you should always keep an eye on your weight gain to keep issues like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia at bay. Your baby is practicing all her moves so that when she is outside the womb, she can survive with her well-developed skill sets.

Your Baby

Your baby weighs almost around 4 pounds this week and is around 17 inches long. There are a number of skills that she is practicing all the while she is awake. These are survival skills that she will need when she is born. Swallowing, kicking, sucking and breathing are the skills that will keep your baby at her fittest when she is outside your womb. She will need to take in the first breath of air right after birth for the final step of her lung maturity. Your baby is receiving all her nutrition via the umbilical cord1 but right after birth, there will be a transition to mouth feeding. This is why your baby’s digestive system is rapidly developing to ensure that when your baby is ready to nurse, she is able to digest breast milk with absolute ease.

With more fat stores adding to your baby’s body, she is starting to look more familiar to a newborn than ever before. Her skin is no longer transparent. It is opaque and you will no longer be able to look into those veins if you could peep inside your womb now.

You will be gaining a pound per week from this week onwards and almost half of that weight will go to your baby. Your baby finally has a head full of hair which is still quite fuzzy but you could call it real hair, if you wanted to. Along with toenails, fingernails and a gradual plumping up of her body, your baby is all set to meet you and melt your heart at the first sight.

Defined Sleep Cycles

Your baby’s sleep cycles are more or less predictable by now because she sleeps for longer stretches without making much movement. When you are busy, you can expect her to unwind and sleep and just when you are about to lie down for a while, she might begin to move about.

You should make the most of your downtime since the arrival of a baby and the responsibilities thereafter can be quite baffling. While your baby has more or less defined sleep cycles now, you can expect her to be less sleepy once she is born. A number of factors like hunger, colic pains, need to be in touch with mother’s body and peeing cycles can come into play, after birth, jeopardizing both your own and your baby’s sleep hours.

Is Your Baby In The Birthing Position Yet?

Instead of the constant kicks and nudges that you have been feeling all these weeks, you will now feel more of squirming and tapping. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since you are aware that your baby has taken up way too much space in your uterus and there is hardly much space left to practice those somersaults.

She is probably being able to roll around occasionally. You must have heard about birthing positions by now. Your baby should ideally be in a heads-down, bottoms-up position (cephalic position) to ensure that birth is natural, smooth and intervention-free. This position is ideal because your baby’s head has the perfect shape to fit into the pear-shaped uterus and pass out without much trouble.

However, if your baby is yet to settle down into the cephalic presentation2, do not worry because most babies are not ready before the 36th or the 37th week. Only five percent of babies remain in the breech position till the last moment. This implies that it is likely for your baby to flip right before labor begins even within the restricted space of your uterus.

Your Body At 32 Weeks

As your baby continues to grow, her requirements keep escalating. To ensure that all her requirements are met, your blood volume increases by 40-50% from the time you had conceived. Along with this, your growing uterus places a good amount of pressure upward on your diaphragm because your stomach cavity is already crowded. All these symptoms lead to shortness of breath and the return of reflux.

To relieve yourself of the discomfort, you can use propped up pillows. Propping up pillows helps in keeping the stomach acids in the lower half of the esophagus. This will relieve you from acid reflux and help you sleep at night.

The other factor that helps to a good extent is eating small and frequent meals. Smaller meals are easier to digest. Frequent meals will keep your blood sugar stabilized. You will not feel bloated or too full if you are having smaller proportions each time you sit down to eat. Yet another way to keep yourself feeling comfortable is to avoid drinking water immediately after meals. This is important because intake of water right before or after meals enhances your chances of getting reflux.

Back Pain And What It Could Mean

While you could have lower back pain as a normal symptom of third trimester, a sudden pain could also mean preterm labor. You will need to watch out for signs and symptoms that indicate the difference between a normal backache and labor pain.

As your baby bump grows even more, it tends to place a good amount of pressure on your lower back. Your back arches out to support your belly so that the balance of your body is maintained. In this adjustment, your back bears the brunt all the way. It is normal for a pregnant woman to develop lower backaches towards the end of pregnancy.

However, if these backaches are associated with cramp-like pains, leakage of fluid from your vagina, loss of the mucus plug, nausea, loose motions etc, you will need to let your doctor know about it so that he can rule out the chances of a preterm labor.

If preterm labor is ruled out, you will be made to understand why these pains set in. your uterus is not only growing out but is also stretching and weakening your abdominal muscles. This changes your posture, strains your back and also tends to affect your gait.

Along with these changes, the changing hormones have already loosened and relaxed your joints and muscles. This can lead to further pains and strain in your pelvic area. You will eventually tend to feel less balanced while walking, sitting for longer periods and then getting up etc. The idea is to change positions slowly and steadily so that your body gets adequate amount of time to respond accordingly.

Is Your Skin Itchy And Scratchy All The Time?

An itch that you can’t get rid of is a terrible feeling. Pregnancy associated itches are worse because your eyes can’t reach exact positions to aid mind and body co-ordination. While skin irritation and sensitivity are common to most pregnant women, not all feel the same amount of itchiness.

As your pregnant belly grows, the skin on it expands beyond its limits. In most cases, this leads to deep epidermal tears that surface on the skin as stretch marks. While stretch marks can look deadly in pregnancy, they gradually fade a lot after delivery but they can never be got rid of.

To relieve yourself of the irritation, it is important to stop scratching right away. You will need to use a dab of cotton to rub over the areas in order to feel comfortable. Wearing loose, cotton and unrestricted clothing can immensely help with the itchiness.

Reasons For An Itchy Belly

The skin on your abdomen expands more than it ever has and that tends to deprive it of the much-needed moisture. Naturally, it gets drier and you feel itchy and uncomfortable over a period of time. The other areas of your body that might feel dry and itchy are your butt, thighs and arms, if you are putting on weight rapidly.

When An Itch Is More Than Just An Itch

While itchy and dry skin can be attributed to the expansion of skin in pregnancy, there are times when it could also mean other underlying conditions. There are factors like PUPP3, excessive gall in your body that is not releasing as it should etc. You should visit or call your doctor if you feel that any of the symptoms listed below is happening to you:

  • If the itch is not restricted to the expanding parts of your body only.
  • If there is an unexplained rash on your body.
  • If your entire body seems to be itching.
  • If the rash or itch is on your belly.

A rash or itch on your belly could be a sign of PUPP. PUPP is a very annoying symptom that could crop up in the third trimester. While it is completely treatable, it could be quite irritating and needs to be diagnosed at the earliest so that you are not sleep-deprived because of it.

How Can You Relieve Your Itch?

Listed below are few simple ways of keeping that annoying itch away:

  • Stop Scratching

It can be extremely tempting to scratch your belly but you will need to remember that the more you scratch, the worse it gets. Your skin will get itchier and you could also get injured if your nails are not trimmed.

  • Moisturizing Helps

Regularly moisturizing your skin can keep the itch under control. Since your skin is being deprived of moisture, using a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer can help retain the hydration it needs. Creams containing shea butter helps to a good extent.

  • Creams To Control The Itch

You will find a number of anti-itch creams over the counter that can control the annoying itch. However, if you have a sensitive skin and could be allergic to new ingredients, it is recommended that you avoid OTC medication and stick to what your doctor recommends.

  • Oils Containing Vitamin E

Vitamin E is considered as a magical solution to a number of things. It heals wounds, injuries and curbs itchiness very effectively. Using light oils containing Vitamin E gently on your itchy belly will ease you.

  • Oatmeal Bath

Oats is not just good for your stomach but also for your skin. Oatmeal baths can work wonders for your itchy skin by curbing the itch and moisturizing it, leaving it smooth and velvety. Just ensure that the warm water you are using is of a comfortable temperature for you.

Intensified Braxton Hicks This Week

You might have been experiencing these mild pains that don’t last more than a few seconds for some weeks now. From this week onwards, you will feel more intense contractions. This is because your body is preparing itself for labor and for that to happen effectively, the muscles need to be flexed well. The brunching together and hardening of uterine muscles are actually practice contractions that are irregular in the beginning but become more regular and stronger as your due date approaches.

For first timers they might not be as intense but for second or third timers, Braxton Hicks contractions are way more intense and start earlier than their previous pregnancies. The feeling is like a tightening sensation that begins at the fundus and spreads downwards. Initially, they may last for a few seconds and later for more than two minutes.

Learning to differentiate between Braxton Hicks and real labor is the real challenge that many women fail at. The first thing to notice about these contractions is that they will stop as soon as you change positions. If you have been lying down or sitting for a while, try getting up and walking around. If they reduce in intensity, they are in all probability, Braxton Hicks. However, if the pain continues to intensify and the contractions become stronger, you are likely to be in labor.

If you feel that labor is upon you, contact your health practitioner at the earliest. Till then, you can ease yourself in a warm bath or try breathing techniques that your prenatal classes had taught you.

Are Ultrasounds Worth It?

Ultrasounds are the most effective ways of taking a peek into your womb. However, they have come a long way from being unclear, medical records that only a certified doctor will be able to make out. We have 3D and 4D ultrasounds these days that let you take a closer and more detailed look at your baby.

The question in contention is whether these ultrasounds are safe enough. To begin with, it is not just about the safety of this procedure. It is also about how they can cause misleading thoughts and ideas. A lot of times, these procedures lead to inaccurate findings and can unnecessarily traumatize parents. If there is anything that needs to be ruled out, your doctor would know what to do about it and will suggest ultrasounds as and when needed.

Secondly, it is believed that too many of these ultrasounds could have an impact on your baby. While this has not been proven scientifically; taking chances for the sake of fun is not a good idea.

Who Gets To Be With You During Labor?

While your entire family could be making extensive plans to be with you in the labor room, it is you who gets to decide whom you would want to include inside that room. There is no denying the fact that childbirth is your personal experience that you might not feel comfortable sharing with others. You might want your partner along or you might want the closest people around. Listed below are some factors that could help you in taking the decision:

  • Bring whoever makes you feel comfortable. That person might be your partner, your best friend, your colleague, your mother or your midwife. It has been seen that most women prefer bringing their partners along because that gives them an emotional support no one else can.
  • While you would most definitely want your partner to be with you in the birthing room, ensure that he is on the same page as you are. He might be slightly confused about his role in your birth plan. If he conveys that he might not be comfortable being with you in the labor room, cut him some slack. You could try conveying how much his presence is desired by you but if he is still unsure about his participation, bring along the next best person.
  • Your relatives might be extremely eager to welcome the newest member of the family. If the presence of your mother or your mother-in-law freaks you out, you could always involve the hospital staff in ensuring they are not allowed inside the labor room. All is fair in love, war and childbirth.
  • The presence of your doula or midwife can be a highly comforting experience for you. She will help you keeping calm and practicing the breathing techniques you have been learning all these days. It has been seen that the presence of a birthing partner reduces the number of birth complications and also increases the chances of a natural birth.

Are These My Breasts?

You will find yourself asking this question a number of times all through your pregnancy. This is because your breasts will go through a lot of changes in different phases of pregnancy. Towards the end of pregnancy, you will start noticing that your breasts leak at times. A thin, yellowish fluid, called colostrum; it is the first milk that your baby will receive and contains more protein and lesser fat and sugar than mature milk. Mature milk comes in later and till then colostrum, which is loaded with antibodies, helps nourish and protect your baby from a number of germs.

Breast milk comes in after quite some days of delivery and colostrum is more than enough to nourish your baby till then. If you are curious to know what exactly is colostrum you could pinch your breasts gently. The few drops of yellowish fluid that comes out is colostrum. You may or may not leak colostrum but that is not an indicator of whether your breasts will make milk or not.

You might feel slightly conscious of your leaky breasts because it might happen all of a sudden. Wearing washable or disposable nursing pads can help keep your clothes dry. However, it is important to know that pregnancy and childbirth come along with wet bras, nightgowns, engorged and leaky breasts and it is all natural to happen.

Count Your Helpers

It is not for nothing that people say how raising a child requires an entire village. Rearing a baby is tougher than bearing one. If your friends and family members are more than willing to take up roles and responsibilities, then there is nothing like it. Start distributing their responsibilities from the very beginning.

Set up a friend to take over meal plans. Appoint someone who is responsible enough to understand the kind of nourishment you would need while breastfeeding your baby and recovering from childbirth.

Your family members could take over an older child so that your hospital trips don’t disrupt their schedules.

If you have pets, this is a time when someone needs to be there to take care of them. Ensure that someone responsible is present to walk and feed them on time.

Helping Your Spouse This Week

Understanding your wife’s body and its needs is very important from now onwards. Her body is preparing itself for birth and you will need to keep reminding her of the strength and beauty it stands for. She will constantly seek your support in this and it is your responsibility to help her through this significant phase of life.

You Can Officially Start The Countdown To Delivery From This Week Onwards!

Has your older kid been marking off dates on the calendar every day because he can’t wait to hold that bundle of joy in his arms? As much as you would want to hold it yourself now, you would rather wait 6 more weeks for full term so that your baby has no complications whatsoever. If the arrival of a new baby is making your older child sulk, especially because everyone seems to be talking about the little one, take some time out with him and help him cope like he would want to. Sibling rivalry is common and given time and attention, all kids settle down into a rhythm sooner or later. Being gentle and responsive might take extra effort on your part now and after the baby is here but it is so worth it! Always seek help when you feel touched out because of being wanted everywhere.

Your Baby At 31 Weeks

You would be happy to know that your baby is almost the size of a coconut by now. Measuring over 16 inches in length and weighing around 3 1/3 pounds in weight, your baby’s stage of rapid development is spurring up. This is the week for a massive growth spurt and you can expect yourself to be hungry all the time. This is because your baby’s fat stores are being laid out this week at a rapid pace and he will draw maximum amount of nutrition required for the process, from your body.

While your baby is quickly nearing his birth weight and length, he still has around 5 pounds of weight to gain. His sleep cycles are falling into place and you will realize this when there are longer stretches of sleep and more distinct stretches of wakefulness. He will probably be kicking up a storm now and you will find it hard to get enough rest with all the kicking around happening inside your tummy.

Your baby can now turn his head from one side to another and with all the movement going on, you can continue to feel good about the fact that your baby is active and healthy.

Development Of Five Senses

The most significant milestone this week is your baby’s development of five senses. With his brain working at an unbelievably rapid pace and the individual nerve cells getting connected at a fast rate, your baby is now receiving signals from all his five senses. He can process this information and respond to it in an efficient manner.

The only factor that needs further brushing is his ability to smell in things. This is because he is still submerged in amniotic fluid and needs to breathe in after he is born. To sum it up, your baby is not only seeing things, but is also hearing, touching and tasting like any human being and will very soon be able to take in a whiff of your scents right after birth.

While talking about the sense of smell, an important point to remember is your baby’s way of identifying you as the mother. Since they cannot really distinguish between people caring for them; their sense of smell helps them to track their primary caregiver. The smell of milk is what draws them to their mother. The doctor and the attending nurses would recommend you to avoid strong perfumes, deodorants, body creams with strong smell or oils that could mask the natural smell of your body. By doing this you would confuse the poor baby about the source of his primary nourishment. Keeping your baby close to you and breastfeeding on demand1 can help your baby perceive the sense of belonging to you.

Your Baby’s Activities

Apart from kicking up a storm and keeping you up all night, what else could your baby be doing now? While you are busy getting everything ready for the little one’s arrival, your baby is busy sucking his thumb. You can also expect your baby to be hiccupping often, pedaling with feet, sucking on his thumb for long stretches of time, swallowing tiny portions of amniotic fluid and making different kinds of faces.

Your Body At 31 Weeks

Is there anything else that you should be looking forward to this week that promises to be slightly different from what you have been witnessing? Unfortunately, the last leg of pregnancy could be quite rough and all you would want is for the due date to be here as soon as possible. Listed below are the symptoms that could be driving you up the wall this week:

1. Falling Short Of Breath

Your uterus has now shifted to above your belly button and can be felt distinctly from outside. It is but natural that your lungs have been cornered along with your intestines. While it seems like your stomach cavity has been completely taken over by the uterus, thinking about 9 more weeks could make you yelp.

Since your lungs are so badly compressed, you may find it difficult to breathe in and breathe out as effortlessly as you used to do. The lungs are not expanding as fully as they are meant to. Until your baby drops down into the pelvis completely, the shortness of breath will continue to disrupt your normal working force.

You need not worry about your bay’s oxygen supply because while you are clearly huffing and puffing around, your baby is drawing adequate amount of oxygen from the placenta2 Till the time your baby does not position itself for birth in the pelvic area, you could relieve yourself of the discomfort by lying on your side. Always stand in an upright position because the right posture can help you deal with all kinds of aches and pain that catch up in the last leg of pregnancy.

2. Braxton Hicks getting more intense

The muscles in your uterus have been tightening off and on for a couple of months now and these mild contractions will only intensify from now onwards. This is your body’s way of making you adjust to what feels like real labor. These random contractions, known as Braxton Hicks, should ideally be painless and occasional. They generally last for not more than 30 seconds and while you might feel short of breath for that amount of time, there is not much you will feel otherwise.

If the contractions are more frequent and are associated with pain or spotting, you could be in preterm labor. Other signs that are definitely to be considered as red flags are, vaginal bleeding, leakage of fluids from the vagina, pressure and cramping in the pelvic area, lower back pain, mucus-like discharge from the vagina, elevated body temperature etc.

3. Leaky Breasts

As if your sore and tender breasts were not enough, you are likely to have leaky breasts now. Your breasts are preparing themselves for the most important function of nourishing your baby with the best form of nutrition; breast milk. The colostrum is the first thickened version of breast milk that provides the baby with the best form of immunity for a lifetime. In the process of production, tiny amounts of colostrum might be released through your nipples.

If you are not comfortable with it, you could try wearing breast pads to help keep your dry. You can use both washable as well as disposable breast pads. Your breast size may also go up by another cup. Always invest in a supportive nursing bra by this time of the pregnancy. Remember to get one size bigger than the one that you are wearing at the moment because when your milk comes in after delivery, your breasts will feel fuller and you will need a bigger size.

Sex and Orgasm

While many couples find it difficult and inconvenient to have sex after the second trimester, many others continue to enjoy sex till the last few days before delivery. This varies from person to person and there can be no comparison.

If you are among those who enjoy sex but are apprehensive of how the baby will react to sexual activity and orgasms, you need to know that your baby feels neither. The amniotic sac keeps your baby well protected against any injury or impact and even if you are having an orgasm, it does not affect the baby in any way.

In fact, research shows that while you are having an orgasm, the rhythmic movement might as well lull your baby to sleep. If you have been postponing your date with the husband because you are not sure if having sex is a good idea now, go ahead and enjoy the night. After the baby is here, you two might crave for a quick session but a newborn is not easy to look after. With a number of hormonal changes happening after delivery, sex could very well take a backseat.

Urinary Tract Infection In The Third Trimester

A UTI could happen in any part of your urinary tract and pregnancy does seem to enhance your chances of contracting UTI. However, it is not restricted to just a tract infection but could also reach the kidneys. This is why it is important to get an early diagnosis done and treat it as soon as possible.

A typical UTI would seem like a frequent urge to urinate, pain and a burning sensation while urinating and the feeling of not being able to empty the bladder completely. It is caused by bacteria travelling from your vagina or rectum and passing into your urethra.

In pregnancy, your urine passes more slowly through the tract and this gives the bacteria more breeding ground to multiply and infect. Along with this, your urine also becomes less acidic and with glucose being present in it, it is the perfect condition for the infection to take root and make its way to the upper regions of the urinary tract.

What Are The Symptoms Of UTI?

Apart from the pain and burning sensation associated with passing urine, you could also have a dull and annoying pain in your lower back. A lower abdominal pain is also a characteristic feature of UTI.

You might find it hard to differentiate between the normal urge to pee in pregnancy and UTI. However, the pain and burning sensation is not normal in pregnancy and needs to be checked out right away by the doctor.

What If This Is A Kidney Infection?

As mentioned before, UTI does not always restrict itself to the urinary tract. If the infection gets severe, it can reach the kidneys and pose a threat to the pregnancy. You will need immediate medical attention if your kidneys have been impacted. The symptoms of a kidney infection include:

  1. High fever along with chills.
  2. Intense pain in the lower back.
  3. Nausea and vomiting.
  4. Blood or pus in urine.

If you have any of these symptoms, you will need to be rushed to the ER without any delay. A lot of urinary tract infections result in preterm babies.

How Can You Keep UTI At Bay?

Following the steps listed below could reduce your chances of getting UTI:

  • Never control your urge to pee. You might feel uncomfortable visiting the loo so often but it is better to be safe than sorry.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and keep yourself hydrated.
  • Never wipe yourself from back to front. Make it a habit to wipe from front to back after a bowel movement.
  • Never use hygiene products that could alter your vaginal flora3. That would only lead to more bacteria accumulating there.
  • Drinking cranberry juice is also known to be an effective way of keeping UTI away.

Treating UTI that has spread to the kidneys could be complicated. You will need to be hospitalized and put on intravenous antibiotics. You and your baby will be monitored closely. If you respond well to the first dose of IVs and your doctor feels that you are not at risk for preterm labor, he will discharge you with a set of oral antibiotics.

Once your treatment is over, you will be given another set of antibiotics to keep the infection from recurring. Urinary tract infections have a menacing tendency to recur and without suppressive medication, it is difficult to keep further infections at bay.

Pain Relief During Labor: Yes or No?

Every woman has different pain tolerance levels and while some can go through labor without realizing that they have just had a baby, some others find it impossible to reach the minimum amount of dilation required for the birth. We cannot really judge a woman on the basis of how tolerant they are of labor pain.

If you have attended birthing classes, you would know that there are different ways of childbirth and while some include usage of pain relief, some others advocate an absolutely intervention-free natural birth. If painless labor is what you are looking at but are not sure of how your body will take it, you will need to consider the pros and cons of both the choices.

While attending a birthing class, always ensure that your partner is with you. The topic of labor pain will be discussed in such classes and the options of pain-free labor will also be talked about. There are a number of ways in which pain can be alleviated without resorting to medicines. Breathing and relaxation techniques taught by your instructors will help you to decide if these could help you when labor is upon you.

Pain relieving options include epidurals, general anesthesia, spinal blocks etc. While an epidural is comparatively safer, it could take away the feeling of real labor. An epidural keeps away the pain in the lower half of your body but keeps you conscious throughout labor. You will be able to feel the pressure but not the pain. If you have always thought of childbirth as an empowering feeling, you would not be comfortable with the idea of resorting to epidurals.

A number of other techniques like hypnobirthing, deep breathing, hydrotherapy, massaging etc can help in keeping the pain away. Women who have tried alternate ways of pain relief swear by the efficacy of them.

However, if at the end of it, you find yourself struggling with pain, it is time to accept the fact that pain relief could be an option for you. Childbirth should be an exhilarating experience and if you continue to feel detached from it because the pain is too tough to handle, it does not make any sense to go the natural way.

If you do end up asking for pain relief, do not feel upset or embarrassed about it. You will be as much of a mother as a woman who did not opt for pain medication.

What Are You Eating This Week?

In the midst of planning for labor, childbirth and packing for the hospital, you could skip your meals and then feel dizzy all day. Never compromise on food at this stage of pregnancy. Your baby is drawing out nourishment from your body in all the ways possible and you need to have enough nutrients so that you don’t fall sick.

Continue to have food rich in iron because if you are anemic during childbirth, you could have a risk of hemorrhaging. This is why you need to stock up on your leafy greens, meat and supplements.

Will I Be Able To Bond With My Baby?

A number of questions could cloud your mind and one of them is whether you will bond well with your baby. This comes naturally to an expecting mother who is unsure of how her roles and responsibilities will span out in future.

The best way to bond with your baby immediately after birth is to breastfeed him. The golden hour after birth should ideally be spent in helping your baby breast crawl and getting the right latch. Breastfeeding is not only about the milk. In the initial days, you might not even have enough milk but all you will be giving your baby is the colostrum, rich in antibodies and the best form of immunization for life.

Co-sleeping is also an effective way to bond with the newborn. However, there are a number of factors that you need to remember before co-sleeping. You should be sober and not drunk at bedtime. Your bed should have a firm mattress that does not sink on sleeping on it. There should not be a number of pillows that could be suffocation hazards for your baby.

In the initial days, what matters the most is how much time you can spend with your newborn. If that is taken care of and if you have enough help at hand, bonding happens naturally.

What If I Can’t Bond With My Baby?

Postpartum depression3 is for real and a lot of women ignore the initial signs, only to start hating themselves later. If you feel severely detached from your baby or feel like causing harm to him or her, you should let your partner and your doctor know about it.

You could be given medication and counseled accordingly. PPD is not something that you should be ashamed of. Mental health is of utmost importance while taking care of a newborn and this is why depression should be addressed right away.

What Can You Do For Your Pregnant Spouse This Week?

With every week, you might be getting more and more impatient to meet your little one. While you seem to have everything planned out, something or the other keeps popping up. When the basics are taken care of, you can sit back and experience the last few weeks of pregnancy with your spouse and cherish each day as it comes.

At every prenatal visit, keep an eye on what the doctor suggests and guide your spouse as and when she needs you. This is the time when she will need you the most because she feels vulnerable and indecisive about several things in life. Holding her hand through this will strengthen this bond for a lifetime and beyond.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breastfeeding
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placenta
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postpartum_depression

Would You Believe That Are 10 Weeks Away From Delivering Your Baby?

With ten more weeks to go for you to reach full term, there is no doubt that your baby bump is getting into the way of everything that you are doing. While your baby continues to put on weight for the final few weeks, you should keep a check on yours to ensure that you don’t end up with gestational diabetes or preeclampsia a few weeks before delivering. You are likely to have a number of concerns this week and while it is normal to feel disoriented and puzzled about most of the things around you; look out for signs of depression. A lot of pregnant women feel blue a few weeks ahead of delivering their baby and while pregnancy blues are common, depression should be addressed as soon as possible.

Your Baby At 29 Weeks

Why is your baby bump growing bigger? The simplest of answer is because your baby is growing and getting stronger with each passing day. If he were to be born now, he would have high chances of survival in the neonatal care of the hospital you will be birthing in. However, we would all want the little one to stay intact for as long as possible.

At 16 inches of length and almost 3 pounds of weight, your baby is gearing up for birth dramatically. A number of significant changes are happening and a handful others are queuing up for the next few weeks. Your baby is almost the size of a cabbage now. It all seems unimaginable, isn’t it? The baby that was the size of a kidney bean once upon a time is now this big and is ready to come into the world and survive.

In the next seven weeks, your baby will continue to gain half a pound each week till you reach the 37th week, which is medically considered as full term. However, in the final three weeks, a lot of significant things happen, the importance of which cannot be undermined. If there is no risk involved and if both mother and baby are doing fine, it is best to let the body take its natural course.

Your Baby’s Brain Is Developing Rapidly

A well developed brain has crevices and indentations on its surface as markers of the complex characteristics it has. Your baby’s brain had a smooth surface till now. This week, it will start developing more rapidly than ever before and will slowly start sporting the wrinkles that signify an increase in the amount of brain tissue. This takes your baby’s development one step further by laying down the foundation on which his brain functioning will take place in future.

Did you know that your amniotic fluid is gradually diminishing in its volume? Before you press the panic button, it is for you to know that as your baby grows bigger in size, it needs more space to be accommodated and only a pint of amniotic fluid surrounds her in the 29th week of pregnancy. This is absolutely normal and will continue to happen till you deliver.

Your baby’s eyesight is also on a roll. Although there is a lot of room for development, she is responding to external light already. After birth, she will spend a good amount of time with eyes closed and for a couple of months; her vision will be restricted to objects close to her. She will also mostly respond to changes in light and not to objects or people moving in front of her. You will understand the difference when you get to know that a normal adult’s vision is 20/20 while your newborn’s vision will be 20/400.1

Where Is All That Fine Hair Going?

Your baby was covered with fine hair called lanugo till the beginning of this week. From this week onwards, the lanugo will begin to shed. This is because lanugo used to serve a purpose in your baby’s body. When the fat cells were absent and the brain was not as developed as it is now, there was a need to keep your baby’s body temperature regulated. Now that new fat stores are being laid out and your baby’s brain is getting more complex by the day, the function of regulating body temperature is being taken over by them.

Even after most of the lanugo is gone, you will find strands of fine downy hair here and there on your newborn’s body after birth. This will shed off in a couple of weeks.

Production Of RBCs

Earlier when your baby was lesser developed than she is now, the tissue groups and the spleen used to produce red blood cells. The 30th week marks a significant development in your baby’s body with the bone marrow taking over the production of red blood cells completely. This is yet another step towards ensuring that your baby survives effortlessly outside the womb.

How Is Your Body Changing?

Are you temperamental all the time? Apart from blaming your pregnancy hormones, think about all the trouble that your body is taking for your baby to have a safe haven inside your womb. As your baby grows by leaps and bounds, your digestion gets slower and becomes more sluggish. Your pregnancy hormones are also helping the muscles in your body to relax, which also include your gastrointestinal tract. This causes food and stomach acids to easily pass into the esophagus and up into the throat. The intestines being pushed to the extremes only worsen the situation by adding fuel to the fire.

Apart from reflux, you are also quite bloated these days and continue to pass more gas. With an expanding uterus, you can only expect more pressure on your rectum. This pressure might loosen your rectum and let gas pass more frequently than ever before. Please don’t feel embarrassed about it because pregnant women fart and that is a well-known fact.

Keep reminding yourself to include your leafy greens and probiotics2 because you don’t want to be dealing with constipation in the 30th week of your pregnancy.

At this stage of pregnancy, stay away from spicy food as much as possible. Fried food and chocolate might seem the best way to beat the pregnancy blues but they will only add to your troubles. It might seem that heartburn is a permanent state of things for you but once you deliver, you will no longer need to worry about it.

You can expect your shoe size to go up again. This is because while the ligaments of your feet are relaxed, your feet get wider. You will be slightly disappointed to know that all your fancy sandals might not fit you anymore. It is time to invest in a pair of new shoes.

Your mood swings could really take a toll on your family life; especially if you have older kids. While controlling ore regulating your mood might be difficult at the moment, you and your partner need to talk to the older kid about the arrival of a new baby and how roles and responsibilities will change for the time being. If you have been preparing your older one for a while, he could be more understanding than you thought. If not, he could get more demanding and sibling rivalry might begin even before your baby is born.

In such situations, always distribute the work between yourself and your spouse. Handling the older kids should ideally be done by him because with all the huffing and puffing you are into these days, it will be next to impossible if you are expected to look after everything.

Somewhere in the midst of all these engagements, your concerns regarding labor and childbirth seem to be looming large. First-timers are mostly apprehensive because of the uncertainty that lies ahead. Second or third timers are keen on not repeating the mistakes in the first couple of times. The trick is to focus on the task at hand instead of letting the anxiety and apprehension build.

Dealing With Frequent Urination

Frequent urination comes back to haunt you in the  third trimester because your uterus drops down into the pelvis yet again and your growing baby places a god amount of pressure on your bladder now. Your baby is also settling down into the birthing position which further pushes your bladder to the extremes. You will feel the need to urinate every often but do not give in to the temptation of cutting down on fluids.

It is essential to have enough fluids so that you don’t feel dizzy, light-headed or dehydrated. Cutting down on fluids could lead to urinary tract infections. UTI3 is quite common in pregnancy and has a vicious cycle of recurrence. Drinking plenty of water will flush out the toxins through urination.

What you could rather do is cut down on your intake of tea, coffee, juices and carbonated beverages. They do not quench your thirst in any way. What they really do is make you feel like urinating even more frequently. Having homemade juice without added sugar makes more sense.

Have You Thought Of Cord Blood Banking?

What is cord blood and why does it need to be preserved or banked? Cord blood banking is the latest development in the medical world. Although there is still scope for extensive research in this field, it is believed by researchers that this blood is made of stem cells that can be used to treat a number of life-threatening health conditions in future.

After birth, the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and the placenta is what is called cord blood. The collection of the blood is safe and painless and takes about five minutes after birth. There are two ways of storing cord blood; the first way is to store it in a public facility, with access to all those who need it. The second one is to store it privately, so that it is accessible only when you and your family need it. For the latter, an annual storage cost needs to be paid.

All said and done, it is not compulsory to preserve cord blood. While some people choose to do it, some others are yet to be convinced of its efficacy since there is not enough evidence to back up its claim.

Does The Thought Of Labor Intimidate You?

A lot of pregnant women feel petrified as they inch closer to their due date. More than worrying about the new roles and responsibilities that will crop up after your baby is born; all you can think of is whether you will be able to bear the pain of labor. Listed below are the common factors that play a major role in building up anxiety in pregnant women:

1. Am I Equipped Enough To Handle The Pain?

While natural, intervention free births are empowering and liberating at the same time, there is no denying the fact that tolerance of pain is not everybody’s cup of tea. Some women are prepared to take epidural or other pain relieving medication even before they are in their third trimester. Some others want a drug-free birth and can go to any length for it. If you find yourself asking this question too often, find out your strengths and weaknesses and identify the triggers. If you do end up getting pain relief, that does not belittle your efforts in any way. It only means that you are human.

2. What If I End Up Passing Bowel?

This could be embarrassing for you but it is the last thing that your doctor and the nurses around will be bothered about. While pushing in labor, there are chances that you may pass poop on the deliver table. You might even not have a movement but if this is a cause for concern, wipe it off like a boss.

3. Will I Need An Episiotomy?

While some women need episiotomies, others get natural tears. Both have their own pros and cons. An episiotomy is a cut made between the vaginal opening and the anus if the doctor feels that the opening is not wide enough for the baby to pass through. This is again a topic of debate because some women feel that a natural tear is better. However, a natural tear could be severe if not detected. Your doctor might want to wait till she feels you are absolutely ready for the cut.

Some women are of the opinion that massaging your perineum five to six weeks before due date might keep the episiotomy4 and the tears away.

4. Is A C-section A Possibility?

C-sections have been unnecessarily demonized. You might feel disappointed if you end up having a C-section because a natural birth is all that you had hoped for but you are as much of a mother if you end up delivering surgically. A lot of women feel cheated after a c-section because apparently, they did not go through the pain and trouble and it was not a choice. There is nothing like an ideal birth, which is why feeling disappointed because you never had a vaginal delivery makes no sense at all.

5. I Will End Up With A Different Kind Of Birth

Most pregnant women would have a birth plan in place and if you are one of them, you might feel anxious about not being able to live up to it at the last moment. You will need to speak to your doctor or midwife regarding these fears and they will be able to let you know what you could expect. However, a lot of births need medical intervention when either the mother or the baby is in distress. You cannot be assured till the last minute whether your birth plan will hold but if it does not, you can at least feel happy about the fact that you tried for a natural birth.

6. Something Will Go Wrong With The Baby

Most women would not own up to this fear but it does exist in them. All through pregnancy, you might have felt apprehensive about your baby’s well-being and the same happens at birth. What you need to keep telling yourself is how you are doing the best for your baby and she will be fine all through. If you have had a complicated pregnancy or miscarriages in the past, there is more reason to feel apprehensive about the future but you are only stressing yourself and your baby by worrying about the situation.

7. What If My Water Breaks At Home?

What you really need to do about this is to keep yourself updates about the different stages of labor by attending a birthing class in advance. The instructors would teach you how to deal with emergencies and how to reach the hospital on time. You could also educate yourself about home births, if you have been worrying about needing to deliver at home. Your spouse should also be a part of this learning since he will be the person around you most of the time.

Is Your Baby Gear In Place?                                           

In case you did not know, you will only be allowed to leave the hospital with your baby if you have a car seat properly installed in place. Some hospitals insist on car seats that meet the safety standards in every way. This is the week you should plan to buy a car seat and get it installed. If your friends want to help you in any way, ask them to accompany you in bringing together baby gear and placing them accordingly in the nursery.

If you want to babywear, trying a couple of carriers before birth is the right place to begin. If your friends have carriers, request them to bring a couple along so that you have time to place an order and receive it before your baby is here. Some carriers take longer shipping time so ordering them in advance is more convenient.

If you want to get a stroller, buy one that can grow with your baby. This will come in handy when she would be a toddler but will run out of energy at the mall. The same applies to cribs. Buy a crib that can be transformed into a bed or can be attached to your won if you plan to co-sleep.

There are other things like cot mobiles, bassinets, swings and diaper changing table that you will need to assemble. Keep these entire set ready for the baby before you visit the hospital. Nothing spells trouble like a sleep-deprived mum and you can trust yourself to be the queen of clumsiness in the initial days of caring for a newborn. Keep spare batteries at hand; get rechargeable batteries and a battery charger if you plan to use them.

If you have not disinfected your house lately, you could get it done now. However, ensure that you are not around when the work is happening because you need to keep away from inhaling toxic fumes.

What Can You Do For Your Pregnant Spouse This Week?

In a few weeks, you will call yourself a father. As incredible as that realization is, there is no denying the fact that it comes along with a host of responsibilities. How would you cope with your emotions and concerns while ensuring that your spouse feels loved and pampered at the same time? Focusing on your common goals will help. Educating yourself about the different stages of labor will also come in handy if both of you have been contemplating a home birth. Always accompany her to the birthing classes so that you can remind her of what she needs to do in case labor pains begin. Like every week, reminding her to take her prenatal vitamins, drink enough water, eat healthy and get enough rest should ideally be your priority now. If you have not applied for paternity leave yet, it is time you do and get into the groove of being a new parent. Bracing yourself for sleepless nights by getting enough rest yourself is also a wise idea to follow this week.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infant_visual_development
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probiotic
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urinary_tract_infection
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Episiotomy

Believe It Or Not, You Are In The 29th. Week Of Pregnancy Already!

Two weeks into the third trimester and all you can think of is to reach your due date as soon as possible. Owing to the ghosts of first trimester that come haunting, you cannot wait for these 11 weeks to be over. While some women continue to feel the same symptoms all through pregnancy, some others have different symptoms in all the three trimesters and if you have had morning sickness, reflux and leg cramps in the first few weeks of pregnancy, you could very well be looking at some of these this week. However, you can cherish your final leg of pregnancy as much as you want to if you know what to expect and how to deal with the changing forms of symptoms. This article will help you to get a clearer picture of what you could be expecting this week and how your baby and your body will reach new milestones.

Your Baby

You might find it hard to believe but your baby is almost the size of a butternut squash this week. She measures around 16 pounds and is almost 16 inches long! She is inching closer to her birth weight as her fat stores are being laid out rapidly. Her once lean structure is filling out and her skin is no longer wrinkled. If you could have a 3D ultrasound1 this week, you will notice how her skin has stretched out and looks smoother now.

Your baby had brown fat in the earlier days that used to contribute to keeping the body temperature regulated since she did not have enough body fat in itself. What is accumulating under her skin now is white fat that acts as a source of energy. Her weight gain is right on track but you can expect her to triple this weight in the next 11 weeks. In any case if your doctor finds that your baby has not grown enough as per the recommended amount, he might suggest further tests to rule out any abnormality.

There are situations in which IUGR2 (Intra-Uterine Growth Retardation) is one of the factors for which growth becomes stagnated. If that is the case, your doctor will initially want to wait for your baby to show signs of overcoming it and if it does not, he might suggest an early C-section by maturing the lungs artificially beforehand.

Your baby’s head is growing bigger along with the rest of the body. This is because it needs to accommodate the growing brain as well inside it. Your baby’s muscles are getting stronger by the day. The different stages of his lungs are developing and with each passing day, the chances of survival outside the womb get enhanced, if you were to have a preterm delivery.

All this growing up would naturally need more nourishment and there are no prizes for guessing where all the nutrition comes from! Your body is continuing to supply all the essential nutrients that your baby needs in this process of development. From protein, folic acid, Vitamin C, iron to calcium; your baby needs adequate amount of each of these and if you happen to be deficient in any of them, chances are that your body will manifest signs of a deficiency very soon.

You will need to keep up your stores of calcium because your baby is adding 250 milligrams of calcium to his skeletal structure every day. This means that your daily intake of yogurt, milk, cheese and fortified eggs should be enough to support your own and the additional requirements for your baby. Your doctor will be able to help you out with a diet chart to meet your requirements and the changes in them per trimester. A dietician who specializes in prenatal requirements will also be able to suggest effective ways of balancing the nutrients without loading up on unnecessary calories.

Did You Count The Kicks Today?

Your uterus has cramped your stomach cavity by now and while the organs have been pushed to the extremities, you have all the reasons to start counting the kicks now. Your baby is stronger which means all the jabs and kicks will be more intensified by now. Since most of your baby’s senses are also working quite efficiently by now, she will react to external stimuli every now and then. To sum it up, you are likely to feel your baby all the time now, which is why your doctor will ask you to keep a count of the movement this week onwards.

If you do not feel your baby move in more than 2 hours at a stretch, try getting up and moving around a little and look out for a nudge. If there is no movement for more than three hours, you should let your doctor know and rush to the ER if he suggests so. He will be able to detect your baby’s heartbeat and rule out any unusual activity by performing a nonstress test or a biophysical profile check. There is a high possibility that your baby might be sleeping or lazing around but you should ideally not ignore such situations.

Your Body At 29 Weeks

By now, you can expect your belly to be large enough to keep your legs hidden from your eyesight. This is probably a good idea since the swelling, varicose veins and puffiness around your ankles might freak you out. However, it is ideal that you get regular pedicures done to keep the skin on your feet from cracking. The last thing you need with a baby at hand is to deal with cracked heels and dry skin.

The Return Of The Reflux                               

However poetic it might sound, reflux is not something that you would have looked forward to in the third trimester but it does come back. Heartburn could very well be your closest companion this trimester. From giving you sleepless nights to making you wish you had not given in to that tempting cheeseburger for dinner, reflux can be a pesky and annoying symptom that you can’t seem to do away with.

If you were not aware of why reflux is an unavoidable thing in pregnancy, you would do well to know that the pregnancy hormone progesterone relaxes all the muscles in your body which also include your gastrointestinal tract. This makes food and stomach acids travel upwards more easily than before. Moreover, your stomach cavity is so crowded that the digestive process in itself has slowed down considerably. This causes gas and bloating to add to all the trouble. These are reasons enough for heartburn to keep you up at night.

There are a number of ways to ease yourself of this discomfort. However, knowing well in advance that reflux cannot be avoided altogether is a good place to start. You will have occasional bouts of reflux even if you follow the strictest regime but the discomfort will be lesser, undoubtedly. Begin with small and frequent meals. Although you might feel like stuffing your face with all the lip-smacking delicacies on Thanksgiving Day, giving your tummy a break is definitely a wise idea. Never drink water immediately before or after a meal because that could worsen the reflux.

Smaller meals would help in digesting more easily. By the third trimester, it is likely that your appetite has dipped. Having nutrient dense meals would help keep the balance without overdoing it. Fears of heartburn at night could also keep you from enjoying your meals thoroughly. If reflux worsens over time and you are unable to keep down food, you could speak to your doctor. He might suggest you a remedy that is safe to take in pregnancy.

Constipation And Hemorrhoids

After your daily struggles with reflux, you might want to curl up under a blanket if constipation came visiting but this is yet another unavoidable symptom of the third trimester. Since digestion slows down, bowel movement becomes irregular. The trick is to consume enough fiber in your meals so that you don’t end up with hemorrhoids.

Your uterus, your growing baby and your need to clear your bowels by applying pressure every day contributes to hemorrhoids significantly. Rectal bleeding is common in pregnancy but needs to be addressed immediately. If left untreated, you could very well have swollen and painful veins that might even make sitting down uncomfortable.

You could take warm showers to ease the soreness and pain. Cold compresses have been known to be effective for a lot of pregnant women with hemorrhoids. The natural ways of keeping both at bay include consuming fresh leafy greens, including more fiber in your meals, drinking enough fluids and keeping yourself active all through pregnancy. Even if you feel too lazy to step out with your belly bump, you will largely benefit from a brisk walk for 15-20 minutes a day. If you continue to have severe constipation, you can speak to your doctor and ask for over the counter medication to ease the pain.

Are You Feeling Dizzy Again?

Some pregnant women feel dizzy and light-headed while turning sides on the bed. These bouts of dizziness happen especially when you have been lying down for a long time and need to get up quickly or change sides. This is medically termed as supine hypotensive syndrome and happens because the sudden change in position brings about a change in heart rate and blood pressure.

It is generally recommended that pregnant women lie on their sides so that this dizziness can be avoided. Furthermore, getting up in a sitting position before standing up can also keep these spins at bay.

Forgetfulness And Pregnancy

It is not for nothing that the term pregnancy brain exists because forgetfulness is a quintessential part of this phase of life. You might miss appointments, forget where you kept your car keys, forget your lunchbox at home, completely miss the presentation that you were about to prepare for. Pregnancy induced forgetfulness is for real and there are a number of reasons that are involved in causing it.

The primary reason is your lack of sleep. Owing to all the kicking at night and the reflux that keeps you up, you are practically surviving on shut-eye sleep for the time being. Undisturbed six to eight hours of sleep is almost impossible in the third trimester. This keeps you feeling zapped and low on energy and naturally takes a toll on your mental abilities.

Research also shows that your brain cell volume decreases in pregnancy, which could be yet another reason for the forgetfulness. Your brain functions differently in pregnancy and the side of the brain that is designed to cater to your emotional skills, is enhanced in its functioning. This happens to help develop your bonding with your baby after birth.

How to deal with this forgetfulness? The very first thing that you need to understand is how this is absolutely normal and there is nothing to feel embarrassed about. Develop a good sense of humor so that you can crack jokes about your pregnancy dementia before others start pointing it out. Listed below are a few ways in which you could keep your work on track:

  • Make it a habit of using alarms, reminders and keep a note of everything that could be important for you to remember.
  • For things like keys, files and papers always have a backup system in place. Keeping photocopies can help you in a number of ways.
  • Although a lot of doctors have conflicting views regarding the efficacy of consuming Omega-3 in pregnancy to help the maternal brain, it will not do you any harm to load up on it. If it does not help you, it will be beneficial for your baby at least.

Know How To Count The Kicks

While keeping a count of the kicks could seem like an easy task, it does get slightly inconvenient when you can’t seem to make a difference between a gas bubble and a nudge. This is possible because in the third trimester, your baby is already fighting for space inside your crowded tummy and might not punch you as distinctly as she used to do in the second trimester.

It is advisable to keep a count of the kicks twice a day. You need to be able to count 10 moves in an hour. Lying down is the best way to feel the moves effectively because your baby is likely to be more active as soon as the mother settles down. While counting, make sure that you include even the swishing around. If you don’t reach 10 in an hour, having a light snack can get your baby moving with the sudden blood sugar rush.

If you do not feel 10 moves in more than 2 hours, you should get in touch with your doctor right away because it is always better to be safe than sorry.

The ABC’s Of Maternity Leave

The usual trend in the United States is to bring together all your casual leaves, sick leaves, vacation leaves, PLs and family leaves to make up your maternity leave. This is because paid maternity leave is not common here. However, some companies do offer leaves to their employees who have are new parents.

The FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) states that both men and women who are full-time employees in a company get 12 weeks of paid leave after they have had a baby or have adopted a child. People or companies exempted from this act are new employees, part-timers, small scale businesses with less than 50 workers. However, if the FMLA does not cover you or your company, you might be eligible for a family leave or a maternity leave under the provisions of your state.

How Would You Know When To Take The Leave?

There is no rocket science applicable behind taking up your maternity leave. While some women prefer going on leave by their 8th month, some others work till the last few days before delivery. It completely boils down to how your pregnancy is shaping up. If you have a low-risk pregnancy without any complication, there is no reason to not work till you deliver.

However, if you have a high-risk pregnancy or you have had a complicated delivery before, you might want to go in for the leave sooner. You doctor is the best person to suggest you in this case. You could also be put on short-term disability if your pregnancy demands you to take a couple of breaks before you go for the final maternity leave.

A lot of new mums find it hard to go back to work after delivery. This is natural and if you haven’t really been able to make up your mind regarding joining office after your maternity leave, you are not alone in this. The end decision is yours to take, after considering all your possibilities and how feasible it is with a new baby at home.

Where To Start?

Every company has a set of formal policies in place for pregnancy and maternity leave. Getting in touch with the human resources representative of your company is the best way out of making a mess. You will also have a couple of colleagues who might have gone through the same path. You can ask them how to go about the entire situation.

While deciding on your maternity leave, keep in mind that under the FMLA3, you can split up your leave in whichever way you want to. The most significant question to ask yourself at this point is how long you could go without a paycheck. Running a check on your financials will help answer this.

You could choose to take a long 12 weeks of break or can split it up in a week at a time or two weeks at a time, depending on the kind of support you have at home. Your partner is also likely to have a paid paternity leave that he can utilize to take care of the baby while you use your ML efficiently.

Breaking the topic of maternity leave in front of your boss could be challenging for first-timers. However, if you have your solutions at hand, there is nothing to worry about. You will simply need to lay out a distribution of your job role among your team members. It does not need to be a perfect presentation; a rough draft of what you think could be done is good enough.

You could choose to do this or let your company decide how to handle your responsibilities once you are on leave. However, if you have been in the company long enough and you play an important role, it would be a wise idea to keep things sorted before you take a sabbatical.

What Could You Do For Your Pregnant Spouse?

At 29 weeks, your wife is considering a number of important things like the last minute stocking of supplies, maternity leave, office job roles and birth plans. This is the time to think about how you could contribute significantly to the new life you both are about to embark upon.

Start speaking to people at office regarding paternity leave. Most offices offer paid paternity leave and this could be a blessing for both of you. Chalking up the distribution of your leaves can help in newborn management in a more efficient manner.

As far as supplies are concerned, you should ideally be done with 50% of your work. Baby care items seem easy but you miss one and you will go bonkers when you need it the most. Keep the last few weeks of pregnancy stress-free by managing everything beforehand.

In the midst of everything, keep reminding your spouse to eat healthy. Ensure that she is getting some shut-eye in between running errands. Look out for red flags and keep her away from stressful situations as much as possible. A financial check at this point is an important matter. If you and your partner can afford an unpaid leave, try and invest a chunk of it in your newborn’s care and management.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3D_ultrasound
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intrauterine_growth_restriction
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_and_Medical_Leave_Act_of_1993

Welcoming The Final Trimester With The 28th Week Of Pregnancy

You are finally here and this has been quite a journey! The third and the final trimester is nothing short of a roller coaster ride but you can’t wait to experience all of it and deliver your baby as soon as possible. All the kicks and nudges are probably making you impatient to meet the tiny being inside your womb. Although 12 more weeks might sound far-fetched at this point but with new signs and symptoms keeping your occupied and the last minute preparations clouding your mind, you will hardly realize how time flies. You might as well be taken by surprise the morning your water breaks. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? There is a lot to look forward to in this trimester and this article will help you introduce it with the 28th week of pregnancy.

Your Baby This Week

Measuring almost around two and a quarter pounds in weight and 15 inches in length, you could compare your baby to a large eggplant this week. A significant development marks the beginning of the third trimester, with your baby slowly settling down into a position for birth. Do not worry if your ultrasound shows that your baby is still in the breech position1, as opposed to the natural cephalic position favored for a vaginal. A lot of babies continue to be in the breech position till the last few days before delivery and turn right before your labor begins.

Your baby is at work whenever he is not sleeping and he is training hard in survival skills like hiccupping, coughing and sucking that will eventually help him to breathe effortlessly after birth. Yet another milestone this week is your baby being able to blink and open his eyes. He has eyelashes as well that will help to keep foreign objects away and keep his eyes safe after birth. With a rapid development of his eyesight, your baby will be able to see the light that shines through from outside the womb. However, your baby’s newly developed eyesight might still be sensitive to light so he might squint and turn away if bright lights are pointed at the baby bump.

Your baby’s body continues to lay down fat stores this week. If you have an ultrasound anytime soon, you might be able to notice that the lean structure is now filling out. The brain is also developing at a rapid pace, with more neurons being added to the already complex structure.

Your baby is also dreaming quite a lot these days. He might as well be having dreams about you and your spouse. Fetuses have different sleep cycles and just like a newborn, they also experience REM sleep2. Dreams occur especially in this stage of sleep.

Your Body This Week

Now that you are in the final trimester, your doctor would want to see you more frequently. Every two weeks is what most doctors suggest for a prenatal visit but if your pregnancy is complicated, you might need to visit more frequently.

It is not a very comfortable idea to realize that the golden period of pregnancy is over and all the ghosts of the first trimester will come haunting soon. New symptoms could keep you so tied up that eight hours of sleep might sound impossible. However, the assurance that you will be meeting your baby in 12 more weeks could at least help you to feel better when that nagging backache threatens to paralyze you forever.

If your baby is kicking, it is keeping you up. If he is not kicking, that is keeping you up. your swollen feet make you uncomfortable, you are getting leg cramps all the time, your back is giving you a hard time and reflux is back with a bang.

Is That Sciatica?

You hope with all your heart that it is not but are also aware that the third trimester is often accompanied by this pain. As your baby settles down in the cephalic presentation, it is likely that her head or your growing uterus rests on the sciatic nerve in the lower half of your spine. This can lead to sharp and shooting pains in the lower back and can also run down the back of your legs. You might also experience numbness or a tingling sensation in the same places. This pain is referred to as sciatica. Although this is a temporary pain that might reduce as and when your baby changes positions but it can also be quite intense, depending upon how severely compressed the nerve is. This pain will last till you deliver your baby.

While dealing with sciatica can be tough, practicing a few things could keep the pain under control. Lying down or sitting down for longer periods of time will only worsen the pain. It is recommended that you take frequent breaks and get moving. This will prevent the muscles surrounding the area from getting stiff. If moving around worsens the pain and lying down seems to help, you can try bed-rest for a while and see if the pain reduces. It is important to understand the triggers and do whatever helps with the pain.

A lot of women also try alternative therapies like acupressure, acupuncture, massages, chiropractic medicine, hydrotherapy, reflexology, etc. What might work for some might not work for others, hence it is important to ask your doctor about what method will suit you the best. Apart from these therapies, you could try hot and cold compresses, a heating pad, a warm bath etc to ease the sore back and muscles. As mentioned before, it is important to check the temperature of the water before you step in since your body might get overheated in certain circumstances.

Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless Leg Syndrome affects nearly 16% of every 600 pregnant women in the US and it is one of the most significant contributors to lack of sleep. Its symptoms include an uncontrolled urge to move one’s legs because sensations like crawling, itching and burning start disrupting sleep cycles. This does not occur only during pregnancy but could be enhanced because of the number of changes our body goes through during pregnancy.

If you are desperate need of sleep and these symptoms have been giving you restless nights, understand and identify the triggers. The symptoms usually show up when you have been sitting for longer periods of time or right before falling asleep. They could also occur when you have been sitting in a car for a really long time and you haven’t stretched in between. While these symptoms mostly occur in the lower part of your limbs, they could also be experienced in the thighs, arms and hands, depending upon the severity of the situation.

RLS could leave you exhausted, especially if the symptoms have a tendency of occurring at night. You will notice that you feel relieved as soon as you move but they are back to haunt you as soon as the movement stops. What causes these symptoms and how could you possibly deal with them?

There could be a number of reasons for RLS to occur during pregnancy. Although research shows no proven reason for it to occur yet reasons like iron and folate deficiency, sudden hormonal changes and changes in the circulatory system could be attributed to this symptom.

Not many ways are known to ease the discomfort of RLS but there are a few measures that can be adopted to keep the uneasiness away:

  • You can stretch and move around often, especially if you have desk jobs that involve sitting down for longer periods of time.
  • Getting prenatal massages have been known to help pregnant women with RLS.
  • You could consult your doctor regarding the dosage of your prenatal supplements. He might recommend a higher dose if the deficiency still continues.
  • Relaxation techniques, hot and cold compresses, gentle stretching of limbs etc can also help keep the pain at bay at bedtime.

What to Do When Dizziness Returns?

If you are back to feeling dizzy or light-headed in this trimester, you have all the reasons to feel so. It is not for nothing that the third trimester is seen as a follow-up of what the first trimester had been like. Your pregnancy is advancing and your body is adapting to the changes every single day. There is a growing demand on your circulatory system to carry more blood and oxygen to the uterus so that your growing fetus can use it to support the rapid development. Your respiratory system is pushed upwards because of the crowding of your stomach cavity and your blood sugar could also drop, causing you to feel faint and dizzy.

Since you might be feeling all hot and sweaty, wearing slightly restrictive clothing could also cause your body temperature to rise. This, in turn, causes you to feel light-headed. You cannot really do much about the circulation of blood and the pressing down of the uterus but what you could do is to alter lifestyle choices.

Wearing loose and un restrictive clothing helps with keeping your body at normal temperature. Drinking plenty of fluids also avoids overheating. Even if you feel like urinating frequently, avoid giving into the temptation of cutting down fluids. All it takes is one trip to the washroom, which is way better than having to visit the doctor for treating a urine infection.

Should I Start Thinking About Preeclampsia?

you are in the third trimester, have high blood pressure or have been obese, to begin with, you should be concerned about the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia and should also be aware of the means by which you could avoid it. Research shows that 5% of pregnant women in the US are affected by preeclampsia after completing 20 weeks of pregnancy. This is quite an alarming rate, considering the effects it has on the mother and the baby. Two of the most significant symptoms of preeclampsia are the presence of protein in urine and an elevated blood pressure. While the latter may not always indicate preeclampsia, the former is almost always a precursor of the disorder.

Mild cases of preeclampsia might occur just around the due date but most women who have such cases often deliver healthy full term babies without any complication. However, in severe cases, even the slightest hint should be reported to the doctor immediately.

Preeclampsia can affect a number of organs and could also be fatal for both mother and baby. The symptoms of preeclampsia fade away after delivering the baby. While reading about the symptoms, there are a few significant ones that should never be ignored. Listed below are the red flags that you should speak to your doctor about as soon as possible:

  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Sudden swelling or puffing of hands, feet, ankles, face.
  • Accelerated weight gain which amounts to 5 pounds a week.
  • Changes in vision; sensitivity to light, blurred vision, seeing double objects, squinting in bright lights, loss of vision etc.
  • A headache that refuses to go.
  • Unexplained bouts of nausea and vomiting.
  • Sore or painful abdomen.

What is slightly inconvenient regarding the diagnosis of preeclampsia is how it could go unnoticed, especially in the early stages of pregnancy. This is because most of the symptoms like nausea, headache, pain in abdomen etc could seem to be normal first trimester symptoms. However, if there is a history of preeclampsia, preterm babies, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes or miscarriages in the family, it is quintessential that both you and the doctor keep an eye on the symptoms. It could actually be a normal headache but if ruled out on time, it will save complications in the future. This is all the more reason to not miss any of your prenatal appointments.

Could I Be Prone To Preeclampsia? 

Yes, there are certain factors that could put you at a potential risk for preeclampsia. There is also a tendency for preeclampsia to show up in first-timers. In fact, it is a vicious cycle because if you have had preeclampsia before, there is a higher probability for you to have it in the next pregnancy.

Some of the reasons that make you more prone to it are:

  • If you are 40 years or older.
  • If you were obese to begin with.
  • If this is a twin or multiple pregnancy.
  • If there is a family history of preeclampsia (this includes close relatives like aunts, mother, sisters etc)
  • If you have or have had blood-clotting disorders.
  • If you suffer from chronic hypertension.

Can Preeclampsia Be Avoided?

While preeclampsia is crippling a number of pregnancies, there is hardly much to do to keep it at bay. There is ongoing research in this area to find out means in which this can be avoided but nothing conclusive has been reached yet.

There is a practice among gynecologists to recommend low dosage of aspirin during pregnancy to keep preeclampsia at bay, especially for those who are at a high-risk already. However, it is advised to never take aspirin during pregnancy unless specified by the doctor.

Proper prenatal care, not missing prenatal appointments, keeping blood pressure and urine samples monitored at regular intervals and awareness is what doctors suggest pregnant women to do. Alerting the doctor as soon as you find one or more of the red flags is of prime importance.

How Can You Keep Yourself Busy This Week?

If you work outside home, you are already racing against time to finish off pending projects and train the new employees at work so that they can handle things efficiently when you are on maternity leave. There could be never-ending paperwork and formalities to be signed and updated, especially if you have been in the company for long. Distributing your work is what helps the most and your newbies will know what to do.

Whether you work outside home or not, you will need to keep yourself updated with respect to changes that are expected during pregnancy. The following are some of the things that you should always remember:

  • If you have RH factor and RH antibody is not found in your blood, you will need to be given two Rhogam3, once this week and the other after you deliver.
  • Your doctor should ideally discuss the fetal movement chart with you.
  • You will also be guided by your doctor or your midwife about counting kicks.
  • You need to decide on the kind of childbirth class you would like to attend along with your partner.
  • By now, you must be aware of the need to breastfeed your baby. If you are not, this is the time to know the multiple benefits of breastfeeding4.

How Should You Keep Yourself Prepared? 

Although your due date seems far-fetched and you feel that you have enough time to prepare yourself for the delivery, nothing is too soon as long as it is concerned with a baby. You might want to keep yourself mentally, financially and physically prepared for an early labor. What you need to do primarily is prepare yourself for the visit to the hospital.

It is important to keep your partner’s phone number handy so that you can reach him if you feel the early signs of labor. By 28 weeks, you will be able to distinguish between Braxton Hicks contractions and real labor. Not only will the contractions seem closer but also more intense. Your waters might leak or break, which is yet another reason to rush to the ER and get in touch with your doctor right away.

You might also want to map out the route to the hospital yourself, just in case your partner is not available at that moment. You can also keep your neighbors informed if your pregnancy is complicated and you need help reaching the hospital.

Always remember to keep your fuel tank filled because the last thing you would want is to rush to a pit stop while you are in labor.

Along with preparing your external situations, begin preparing yourself mentally for labor. If you are yet to enroll in a childbirth class, do so as soon as possible. A childbirth class will help you keep a note of the red flags in the third trimester and what could possibly be signs of premature labor.

Apart from the unusual signs and symptoms, a childbirth class will also prepare you for real labor. Breathing techniques, what food to eat, how to keep the anxiety away, how to ensure you are helping the labor progress, how not to fall prey to unnecessary medical intervention, when to know that a C-section is a must, how to deal with the pain and a lot other things are clarified in a positive light in these classes.

If you have a birth plan in place and are aiming for a natural birth at home, make sure you have a midwife appointed well ahead in time. She should be available at least 4-6 weeks prior to your due date because if your baby plans to arrive early, she should be able to make time for you.

How Can You Help Your Pregnant Spouse?

There will be a lot of decision making activities this week. Ensure that you are well-prepared for it. Since you are an integral part of the plans, you will need to have your suggestions because it is unfair to expect your pregnant wife to come to a conclusion when she is herself dealing with anxiety and apprehension regarding the birth.

You could talk to her about her fears and try your best to allay most of them by assuring her of your involvement and your contribution to the birth and after. You should always keep your phone handy so that you don’t miss messages from your spouse. Keep the refrigerator stocked up and take over the kitchen responsibilities, if you haven’t already.

The third trimester would require you to be more than a spouse and if you have been preparing yourself to be a father, there is nothing that you can’t do to help make the next 12 weeks happy and comfortable for your spouse.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presentation_(obstetrics)
  2. REM sleep
  3. Rhogam
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breast_milk

Inching Closer To The Third Trimester With The 27th Week Of Pregnancy

Your second trimester is almost coming to an end and you will be amazed to know that your baby measures 14 ½ inches by now and is almost a foot long. That lean baby of yours is now putting on weight an incredible pace because he obviously wants to look adorable enough for you when he is born. A more practical approach would be to say that your baby needs the fat stores to be able to survive the temperature outside the womb. Inside the uterus, the amniotic fluid keeps adjusting the temperature to ensure that your baby is safe and comfortable all through. At this phase of pregnancy, your baby is curled up in the famous fetal position. It would look more like snuggling inside the womb if you could have a picture of your baby right now. Let us take a look at what else is in store for you and your baby in the 27th week of pregnancy.

Your Baby At 27 Weeks

Almost the size of a cauliflower, your baby has fixed schedules to follow by this week. He is sleeping, waking up and sucking on his fingers while following a pattern. This might sound really comfortable because if he is doing that now, wouldn’t he continue to do the same when he is born? Unfortunately, a baby’s sleep cycle changes drastically after he is born because of the availability of external factors. Inside the womb, your baby has nothing to feel distracted by and all he can do is nudge, kick and make you feel his presence from inside. When he is outside, he would be able to draw your attention in a number of ways that you will find adorable as well as difficult to handle, depending on the situation you are in.

With a brain highly active at this point in time, your baby is capable of functioning in ways that you had never imagined. Furthermore, with her lungs developing rapidly in these weeks, if she were to be born prematurely, she will have high chances of survival with proper medical intervention.

What else is she doing this week? She is making sure she practices a good number of hiccups before she makes the grand entry. This is to help her lungs develop further and for her to rehearse the first breath she takes as soon as she is born. You might feel the hiccups often and even if you can’t differentiate between a hiccup and a kick, you will still feel as adorable as you should.

Your baby knows your voice by now. Isn’t that an amazing thing to happen? Although the vernix1 that covers his ears muddles the voices a tad bit, he can still make out that your voice is unique. He might also be able to connect to his father’s voice, especially if you two continue to connect with him from outside the womb via conversations, songs and lullabies.

Both you and your partner will be thrilled to know the fact that your baby’s heartbeat can be heard if your partner presses his ears against your stomach. It is that audible now and your baby has really grown so much by now.

Your Baby’s Taste Buds Are On A Roll

Whether you are relishing that bowl of hot soup or indulging in a plate of fries without feeling an iota of guilt, your baby knows it all. He is also probably relishing the taste while the amniotic fluid changes in taste as per the kind of food you eat. Since your baby is gulping a tiny bit of amniotic fluid every day, he will be able to get a taste of what you have been eating. If you have been consuming very spicy food, you might sense your baby hiccupping in response to it. While this might seem disturbing to you, it hardly affects him at all. He is neither stressed nor needs any relief. It is his body’s natural response mechanism.

Your Body At 27 Weeks

Not only is your baby reaching milestones, so is your body. There is swelling of all sorts in different areas of your body and you might have stopped keeping count of the places. Your uterus is overcrowding your stomach cavity and you still have three more months to cover. Just when you thought, your belly couldn’t grow any bigger, your skin started stretching a little more and this will continue to happen till the day you deliver. Your body is capable of stretching its limits because it has been designed to hold and nourish a baby till full term.

Edema2 will strike yet again and this time with a renewed vigor. You might not be able to see your ankles and feet but those who can, might keep asking you to get some rest or place your feet up while sitting down. Your extremities are in terrible shape and with further fluid accumulation in the lower half of your body, nothing seems to help with the swelling.

The only thing that will bring some relief is sitting in the right posture and using a number of pillows to support your changing body. You might also be dealing with new troubles like finding it hard to squeeze your finger into your engagement ring or wearing your favorite watch any more. This is because the swelling is everywhere on your body. If the weight gain is normal, this is absolutely harmless but if you find accelerated weight gain accompanied with elevated blood pressure and protein in your urine sample, you will need to speak to your health practitioner regarding the symptoms.

By now you are probably aware of the symptoms of preeclampsia and your doctor might have suggested you ways in which you can make out the difference. If you feel and if the doctor reassures you that it is edema, you can rest assured that these symptoms will fade away soon after birth. Till then, you could try light to moderate exercises, swimming, brisk walking and taking frequent breaks from your work to help ease your discomfort.

You might have an idea that the swelling will be enhanced if you drink more water but that is a misconception. Water retention happens when you drink lesser amount of water. You will only worsen the situation if you restrict your water intake now. You could also cause a urinary tract infection if your water intake goes down now. Your body needs to be replenished with fluids every now and then because your baby needs the amniotic fluid to be in perfect condition to survive. To some extent, the volume of your amniotic fluid is also impacted by the amount of water you are talking in.

Leg Cramps At Night

They have happened to you before and you are aware of how scary they can be; especially when they happen in the middle of the night. Along with your back, your legs are also carrying a good amount of weight and it is but obvious that they will feel the stress often. To take the weight off your legs, you will need to get adequate rest now and then. The growing uterus is also placing a considerable amount of pressure on the nerves and blood vessels that run to and from the legs.

It is a bitter truth that your cramps will worsen as time passes because the weight on your legs will only increase. Get your potassium and magnesium levels checked if the cramps are too severe. Having bananas help to balance the levels and keep the cramps away. If they do strike at night, stretching your calves gently will help keep away the pain.

Dental Problems This Week Onwards

You are more likely to have swollen and bleeding gums in pregnancy because like all other parts of your body, your gums are also being impacted by the pregnancy hormones. You might find blood on your brush and in the sink every morning but whatever happens, always remember that the only way to maintain oral hygiene is to brush and floss your teeth regularly. Use a brush with softer bristles and use good anti-bacterial toothpaste. Your teeth are also more exposed to problems like gingivitis, plaque etc because with the current conditions within your mouth, there is a good chance for bacteria to breed and multiply.

If you continue to ignore dental issues, you might end up with tooth decay but it is not limited to that alone. You might also be more prone to preterm labor and premature birth. Bad oral hygiene is directly linked to preeclampsia and low birth weight babies. Hence, this is more reason for you to get in touch with a dentist as soon as possible.

If you notice a small bump like nodule on your gums, it could be a pregnancy canker sore. It might sound scary but it is rather benign. You might also find these small bumps like things on your body but they are harmless as long as they are not painful or bleeding. Extreme cases might need surgical intervention but otherwise they are best left untreated.

Have You Thought Of Birth Control Yet?

Yes, this might sound like a far-fetched thing to you, now that you are pregnant but it is never too early to decide birth control. You might want to discuss this with your doctor as well because this would mean taking measures beforehand. If you want your tubes to be tied4, you will need consent, a written application and your insurance policy to be able to cover these aspects. You will be operated on while you are staying back in the hospital to heal after childbirth. It is mostly a painless procedure nowadays and most women recover within a day or two and can go back home.

If your husband decides to get a procedure done at his end, you can discuss the same with your doctor so that things can be carried out as soon as possible. You wouldn’t want your husband to spend time recovering in the hospital when the baby is here. It is a wise idea to think about all your possibilities beforehand.

What Are The Symptoms You Should Never Ignore Now?

There is a host of new symptoms creeping up every week and now that you are inching closer to the due date, there is nothing that you should ignore, if it happens to cause you any discomfort. The only problem is how most of the symptoms could seem overlapping but if you need to be aware of what indicates trouble; you should be able to keep a track of your symptoms.

Listed below are the symptoms that you should not ignore under any condition.

  1. If you have been experiencing pelvic pain or pressure before reaching the 37th week, you need to rush to your doctor immediately. It may or may not be associated with pain. It could indicate a urinary infection, a premature labor or anything else but you will need to address this immediately.
  2. If you have more than 4 contractions in less than an hour. While Braxton Hicks contractions3 are normal, they will be spaced out and will not be as frequent. Your prenatal birth classes will help you to identify the difference.
  3. If at any time during the pregnancy, your vaginal discharge changes its consistency, color or frequency, you need to let your doctor know. If there is water like discharge that you can differentiate from urine leakage, rush to ER immediately. Your amniotic sac could have been ruptured before maturity.
  4. If your discharge is blood streaked or mucus like, you could have lost your mucus plug. While this is a good symptom if you have reached 37 weeks, it is definitely not something to look forward to when you are 27 weeks.
  5. If your baby’s movements have not been felt in more than an hour. It could be that your baby is taking a nap. However, you will need to keep a track of the movements all the time as you near the third trimester.
  6. If you have unexplained abdominal pain that does not seem like constipation, gas or bloating, let your doctor know about it.
  7. If any of the symptoms like burning sensation in your urinary tract, fever, nausea are present, check with your doctor to rule out UTI. Urinary infections at this point in time could prove to be dangerous.
  8. If you have fever that refuses to die down despite your repeated attempts.
  9. Any kind of sudden swelling could mean a number of things. Instead of making assumptions, speak to your doctor about it and get it checked out.
  10. If you feel breathless at any point in time or feel too dizzy to stand up, grab something sugary to eat and call for help.
  11. Any other symptom that makes you feel uncomfortable and apprehensive, stop living in the unpredictability of it and let your health practitioner know about it.

How Often Will Your Doctor See You Now?

Your doctor will want to see you once in every two weeks, now that you are nearing your third trimester. If you have a high-risk pregnancy, she might want to see you more frequently to keep a track of how things are progressing. Listed below are the things that you can expect at each appointment:

  • Asking About Your Psychological Health

With pregnancy blues and depression on the rise, it is but natural that your doctor will discuss your mind with you. She might want to know how you and your partner are taking this pregnancy and if you are both on the same page for this.

  • Your Baby’s Movements

This is one of the most significant things that your doctor will ask you about. She will ask you to keep a track of the movements and will teach you ways to do it conveniently. She may also ask you to count the number of moves you feel.

  • Your Samples Will Be Checked

You will be checked for anemia, protein in your urine and your blood sugar will also be tested. If you have a history of GD, preeclampsia or any other pregnancy induced disorder, you might need to visit more frequently for further tests.

  • Your Weight Gain Will Be Monitored

In order to keep a track of how much you are gaining through the pregnancy, your doctor will not only weigh it at every visit but also expect you to keep a track of the same. Accelerated weight gain at any point in time could mean trouble and your doctor will expect you to keep her informed.

  • Your Cervix Will Be Checked

Depending on the type of your pregnancy, your cervix will be checked via an internal or an external examination. This is done earlier to rule out the possibilities of preterm labor and is done after the due date to find out if the cervix is matured enough for labor to be imminent any time now.

  • Your Baby’s Positioning

This is also an important factor that your doctor will check at every visit. Along with the heartbeat that he will listen to with a Doppler, he will also physically check how the baby is positioned in the womb. This will help him to have an idea of the kind of birth you could have. However, this subject to controversies since it has been seen that babies can turn into a more favorable position for birth even at the last moment and doctors have been known to perform surgeries for no good reason.

  • Discuss Your Plans

You will not be meeting the doctor only to discuss your current physical state but also to talk about future plans. If you have doubts regarding breastfeeding or formula feeding your baby, post birth control measures etc, this is the time to talk about everything. Get your basics sorted so that you can add these to your birth plan as and when you come across a certain set of information.

Have You Considered A Breastfeeding Counselor?

Unlike popular belief, breastfeeding does not come naturally to all women. It is the most natural phenomenon but it could be a journey way more exhausting than pregnancy is. It could be quite frustrating too; especially when you get a feeling that your body is not adequate enough to nourish your baby. It is advisable that you meet a proper lactation consultant in advance so that you are aware of what exactly to expect. We often end up with unrealistic expectations when it comes to breastfeeding your baby. If you have flat nipples, speak to the consultant about it so that measures can be taken to rectify them before your baby arrives. Do not try anything by yourself because stimulation of nipples could trigger labor. You might also start leaking colostrum5 this week. If you don’t there is nothing to worry about. It is not an indicator of your ability to breastfeed your baby.

What Can You Do For Your Pregnant Spouse This Week?

You are already holding your hands efficiently. It is just a matter of time when you will have a pair of tiny hands to hold on to as well. Till then, you can try and make her feel important, wanted and loved like you have been doing all this while. You can add an element of surprise by taking her out to shop for maternity wear and also for newborn clothes. Always remember that she continues to be at the brink of her energy and patience most of the time these days and she might not be comfortable with the idea of long hours at the shopping mall. It is advisable not to take thing to heart even if she is going through the worst of her mood swings. You can also help her in getting an appointment with a lactation consultant and you can accompany her to get to know what is expected of a father in the journey of breastfeeding. A father might not have breasts to nourish a baby but is equally important in helping the bond to deepen with each passing day.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vernix_caseosa
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edema
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braxton_Hicks_contractions
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tubal_ligation
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colostrum

Your Body And Your Baby In The 26th Week Of Pregnancy

Now that your baby has grown quite a bit, she is probably having a hard time practicing those somersaults inside the womb. There is a lot of space for her to grow further but the quick twists and turns might not be possible. Your uterus is now overcrowding your stomach cavity and you could easily catch a glimpse or two of tiny elbows or fingers that leave an impression when they come near the abdominal wall. This is definitely the most rewarding experience of pregnancy; of witnessing your baby’s impressions for real. Along with good things, come unpleasant experiences and that include the tendency of your body to heat up. You will feel the heat more than your colleagues at office and your husband might need to resort to the comforter because the air conditioner never stops or is switched off.

Your Baby At 26 Weeks

Measuring at around 14 plus inches and weighing two whole pounds, your baby is more lifelike than ever before. Almost the size of scallions, your baby’s auditory senses are working really well this week. All the nerves in his ears are developed well enough for him to be able to hear you and your closed ones chatting away or rolling around in peals of laughter. That wrinkled skin of his is now being filled out by the new fat stores that he is acquiring. Along with his growing weight, your weight is also on the rise this week and your doctor will expect you to keep a track of your weight gain as well as the baby’s movements.

Your baby is trying to master the art of breathing through his lungs by gulping tiny portions of amniotic fluid. These gulping movements will help your baby to breathe in the first gulp of air after he is born. Along with his ears, your baby’s eyes are also developing. The eyes that were fused till the last week have now opened up and your baby will be able to view whatever is going on inside the uterus right now. If you flash a light at your belly, you will be able to feel your baby move in the opposite direction.

Would I get to know the color of my baby’s eyes? It is still too early to denote the color of your baby’s iris. The pigmentation happens in the next month and till then you can let the people around you stay busy with tons of guesswork about the baby. It is believed that a baby changes dramatically over a period of 6 months to 1 year and his eye color might also change during this phase.

If your baby is a boy, his testicles would have started descending to the scrotum and the entire process will take around 3 months.

Is Your Baby Responding To You?

Speech is a far cry for your baby but she is already responding to the different things you say. Depending on how mature your baby is and how swiftly his brain waves start responding, the responsiveness will take place by an sudden spike in movements and pulse rate. This is a significant development since your baby’s brain is picking up more complicated signals from outside the womb.

Your Body At 26 Weeks

Considering how your uterus has reached more than 2 inches over your belly button1, there is no looking back for it till the time you deliver. Your belly button will have protruded by now and even if you have had the shallowest navel all your life, you will find it hard to keep it from popping. You have been told time and again that these are all temporary changes and will go back to being normal once you deliver and a few months pass; you might find it hard to believe. All you would want to think about is probably that dress which you think you might not be able to wear for a long time now. However, dresses are quite flattering in pregnancy; wrap dresses, especially. Why don’t you try a couple of them today and pamper yourself a little instead of feeling bad about the changes in your body?

In fact, if you look at the bright side of it and if you can manage to be an eternal optimist, you will now be able to clean your navel really well. Isn’t this a wonderful way of looking at things that seemingly don’t favor you as much?

Does Your Back Ache Too Much?

Your poor back is putting up with all the weight gain that has been happening for all these months and it is not only about the weight gain but also about your center of gravity that is shifting time and again due to the growing belly. Your uterus is stretching out and along with that your abdominal muscles are being tugged and pulled continuously. A lot of times, a nerve gets compressed due to this and you could have severe aches if it is not properly diagnosed on time. However, it is important to note that this is a mechanical process and mostly heals by itself but if the pain is too severe to bear, you might need to resort to safe forms of physiotherapy.

With the additional weight on your back and joints and also your ligaments stretching out owing to the functioning of the relaxin hormone in your body, doing anything for longer stretches of time could be very difficult. If you are lifting weights or sitting down at your desk for a really long time, you might need to take frequent breaks to relieve your back.

You will be surprised to know how effective warm compresses and hot showers are for backaches. However, if you have a tendency to overheat, avoid very hot showers. You can opt for relaxing massages from well-trained prenatal professionals who will know exactly how to relieve the pain. Ensuring a good posture is not just recommended for now but also for a lifetime. Wrong postures end up giving you nagging backaches for life. While sleeping on your side you should ensure that your body is well-supported. You can take the support of pillows all around you so that no part of your body is being stretched unnecessarily while sleeping. Avoid sleeping on your back as far as possible because it places tremendous amount of pressure on your lower back. It won’t be as easy either because you will start feeling uncomfortable after some time.

Your Blood Pressure This Week

Your blood pressure could be slightly elevated this week. After being comparatively on the lower side till 24 weeks, this is when it tends to be on the rise. There are a number of other factors in tow for this to happen. You are already thinking way too much about what the future holds for you. You are wondering if you would be an efficient parent, your work stress is gnawing at you, if you have an older child, he might be feeling a tad bit lonely and that makes you feel guilty about your absence. There could be a number of reasons to feel stressed out. If your blood pressure is slightly elevated than it usually is, you could start considering slowing down till your blood pressure normalizes.

Could Your Elevated Blood Pressure Indicate Pre-eclampsia?

Preeclampsia does not necessarily have to strike towards the end of pregnancy. It can even strike in the early weeks of the third trimester and the most difficult part is how one can never differentiate between elevated blood pressure and preeclampsia until and unless the symptoms are highly pronounced. How will you know the difference?

If, along with high blood pressure, you have other symptoms like slight or excessive swelling of your hands, feet and ankles, accelerated weight gain, a headache that refuses to go despite proper sleep and rest, changes in vision like seeing spots or being sensitive to normal light etc, pain in your abdomen or loss of fluids via vomiting, you could be manifesting signs of preeclampsia.

Consult your doctor right away if you find signs of preeclampsia. Even double or blurred vision could be a sure shot sign of it and you wouldn’t want to ignore it at any cost.

Pregnancy Induced Insomnia

Insomnia feels good as long as it is a song by a good-looking rockstar but when it happens to you, it might just blow your mind away. Moreover, if you are pregnant, there is nothing more precious to you than good sleep but when sleep is elusive, how would you deal with it?

There are a number of reasons for which sleep might elude you. The biggest factor is your own restlessness. The other factors are reflux, heartburn, leg cramps, backaches, frequent need to pee etc that tend to keep you up at night. If you are finding it hard to fall asleep because of these reasons, you could try walking before you hit the bed. It will release the stiffness of the entire day and will help you unwind. You could read a book if that helps to clear your mind before dozing off. Reading almost always helps. A glass of warm milk before bedtime has been known to help a lot of people have a good night’s sleep. However, if you are lactose intolerant you would rather avoid milk.

Could These Headaches Be Migraines?

If you have been experiencing throbbing headaches on one side of your head and they seem to last forever, they could very well be migraines. Migraines could also include blurred vision, nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light. You could also feel dizzy sometimes. If you have never had these symptoms before, there is a possibility that these are pregnancy induced migraines.

The common triggers of migraine are stress, strong lights, and excessively high sounds etc. it has been seen that women who have never had migraines before suddenly start experiencing the symptoms in pregnancy. There is a possible link between pregnancy induced migraines and hypertension2, preeclampsia and other complicated disorders. This is why you would need to keep a track of the symptoms and consult with your doctor as and when you deem necessary.

Other common symptoms that come along with migraines are slightly elevated body temperature, nauseous tendency,  mild to severe vomiting and continued throbbing on one or both sides of the head. These symptoms can be mistaken for benign conditions. However, one can never be careful enough when it comes to avoiding or preventing life threatening situations like preeclampsia.

What can you do about pregnancy induced migraines? To begin with, identify the stress factors and try and get rid of them. If the pain is too severe for you to continue with your everyday activities, ask your doctor for pain relief medications. Always avoid over the counter (OTC) medications unless you are absolutely sure of the ingredients. Aspirin is to be strictly avoided during pregnancy unless specified otherwise by the doctor. Safer options are ibuprofen but your doctor would still recommend bringing about dietary and lifestyle changes and resorting to paracetamol as far as possible.

A lot of women resort to the intake of caffeine to get rid of migraines. While this might work for some, it could also trigger the pain even further in others. To re-emphasize the statement, know and identify your triggers and keep them in mind before trying anything new.

Forgetfulness – Is It For Real?

You have been forgetting birthdays, anniversaries, important meetings, scheduled appointments and a lot other things lately. Blame yourself as much as you can but the truth is there are a hundred other women who are experiencing similar situations. The one thing that must and should blame is the resurgence of your pregnancy hormone progesterone that tends to mess with your memory.

You are not only forgetting things but are also zapped most of the time because of sleep deprivation. Research has shown that in third trimester of pregnancy, your brain volume actually decreases. While you are getting more efficient at developing emotional skills, your practical skills might be going for a toss. Hence, the next time you find yourself in the midst of an emotional upheaval, while you are at a presentation, don’t be so surprised. Your body is reacting and behaving as normally as it should.

How can you keep yourself away from the stress of forgetting things? The best way out is to start writing things down and keeping a track of whatever comes to your mind at a particular time. With technology at its peak, there is nothing you cannot do with a smart phone. Be it setting alarms or reminders, scheduling events or saving a date; you can do these and more quiet conveniently.

Although the efficacy of omega-3 fatty acids has not been proven yet in the maintenance and improvement of memory, you can still try to include food rich in DHA and Omega-3 because even it did not do you any good, it will not be harmful either.

Do You Need A Birth Plan?

You might have heard about a birth plan from all your friends and relatives who have gone through pregnancy and childbirth recently but do you know what a birth plan is? It is the process of planning for your delivery well in advance because we all have started accepting the idea that when we know better, we do better.

While surgical and medical interventions rule the day even till this date, a lot of women are opting for natural home births. If this is on your mind, you could start jotting down a birth plan right away along with your husband. You would be amazed to know how creating a birth plan is incredibly liberating in the first place. You begin with an idea and give form and structure to it even before you knew it could exist. You will learn a good deal of things while making your own birth plan. you can discuss your options with your doctor or midwife and give him logical reasons for your choice.

However, even while preparing a birth plan that you feel is the best that you could have done, always remember that there needs to be a backup plan if things don’t turn out as you had planned them.

A birth plan is liberating in the sense that you know, understand and respect your body for what it is and how it will deliver your baby. You will be aware of the choices and options you have not at the time of delivery but way before that. You can weigh in your choices and come to a conclusion with the one that serves your purpose.

Always remember that if a birth plan does not work when labor is actually happening, that does not necessarily take away the birth experience in any way. You might have wanted to avoid an epidural but if the pain is unbearable and you do end up asking for it, there is no harm in that.

You can choose to make your birth plan long or short, depending on the philosophy you plan to follow. Your prenatal birth classes will also be significant contributors to this plan sine your ideas will be sufficiently influenced by them. What are the questions that you would like to ask yourself while making your birth plan?

  • Do I want a pain-free birth? Will I be able to hold up the pain till I deliver?
  • Do I need to avoid epidural at all costs? Is the pain worth it?
  • Can I make my delivery as intervention-free as possible? Can my body belong to me while I carry out the most significant act of my life instead of being held up to knives and scalpels?
  • Would I want to eat during labor? If yes, what exactly and when?
  • Would I want delayed cord clamping3? Would I want my partner to do it?
  • Do I plan to breastfeed my baby? Could I make the most of the golden hour after birth and try bonding with the baby right away?
  • Would I want to stay alone after the delivery and opt for formula?
  • Would I want my baby to be kept in the nursery or with me?

Once you are capable of answering yourself, you would know what all to include in that birth plan. It will be easier for you to fall into place once you know your options.

What Can You Do For Your Pregnant Spouse This Week?

She is settling down in the third trimester but it is not as effortless as you think it to be. It is taking her a lot of clumsiness, consciousness, embarrassment, pain and forgetfulness to go through this trimester because it is anything but a pleasant experience. Owing to all sorts of new symptoms that are craning their neck into her life, she is touched out by now. How can you help her? By being there with her when she needs you the most and letting her know that you feel her pains as much as she does.

She might want to discuss things like quitting her job or continuing with it, looking for godparents for your child, names for boy or girl, working from home or quitting altogether. Respect her choices and give in your suggestions as honestly as you can. It will help her in taking crucial decisions. Transparency is the best way to avoid misunderstandings and as long as you are being honest with each other, nothing else matters. She might be completely against the idea of sex or might want it all the time; it all depends on how her body is reacting to the pregnancy hormones. If she doesn’t want to have sex, you will obviously understand why but always keep in touch with her. Gentle gestures along with the right kind of humor can do wonders and you can strike the right note even if she is currently going through the most unpredictable phase of her life. The idea is to stay by her side, effortlessly.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navel
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gestational_hypertension
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cord_blood

Welcoming The Third Trimester With The 25th Week Of Pregnancy

Till the 24th week, all you will notice is a lean structure whenever you go in for your ultrasound. This is because your baby had not started putting on weight and adding fat reserves. From this week onwards, your baby will start putting on weight at a rapid pace and if you happen to have an ultrasound in the coming few weeks, you will probably be able to note the difference. As your baby starts piling on the fat reserves, this is also the time when you will start putting on weight rapidly. If you have been struggling to gain weight and look pregnant, this week might very well be the game changer for you. There are a number of other significant changes happening this week and as you enter your third trimester, this is a reminder for an important week to start planning on birth, baby and more.

Your Baby At 25 Weeks

Your baby will finally start to look fuller this week. Measuring around 13 ½ inches and weighing around 1 ½ pounds, your baby is in the process of gaining some much-needed baby fat. His skin that was essentially wrinkled till now will start stretching out and will begin to look smoother. You would be amazed to know that this is the week in which your baby’s hair will start gaining pigmentation. If he has a head full of hair already, it is already decided who he takes the color after. With the skin stretching out proportionately and the hair gaining color, your baby resembles a newborn a lot more than it ever has. Her hair is not only gaining color but is also getting more voluminous by the day.

Talking about skin, your baby’s skin might start to look flushed. This is not because the temperature inside is not cool enough. The amniotic fluid1 regulates temperature automatically and if there has been no major difference to your lifestyle, the temperature is bound to remain stable. The pink skin of your baby can be attributed to the fact that more blood vessels and capillaries are now forming under her skin and there is increased blood circulation the surface of the skin.

Are the lungs matured enough? Since lungs form a significant part of the development process, a lot of expectant mothers keep asking their doctor if the lugs are developing properly or not. The 25th week will see your baby’s lungs developing blood vessels that will help them to mature a little more but there is a long way to go before they will be ready to breathe outside the womb. Although surfactant is being produced to ensure that the lungs can expand with oxygen after birth, the primary work of sending oxygen to the bloodstream and exhaling carbon dioxide out of the system still remains to be covered.

The respiratory system of your baby is also comprised of the nostrils that were plugged and closed till last week. In this week, your baby’s nostrils will open up and help your baby practice breathing. Although there is no oxygen involved in this process, your baby might very well be practicing inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid.

Your Body At 25 Weeks

At 25 weeks of pregnancy, your back might start complaining. With your uterus growing at a rapid pace and your belly bump getting bigger and rounder by the day, what suffers the most is your back. The most important thing to remember during this time is to keep the right posture. If you can maintain an ergonomic posture from early on till you deliver, more than half of your problems could be sorted. Your belly bump is already the size of a soccer ball and there is a good deal of activities to look forward to this week.

How would you take care of that aching back? If you work outside, chances are that your backache will be on the rise soon, especially if you have a desk job. What would help is to take frequent breaks and move around to loosen up stiff joints and muscles. The other significant aspect would be to sit in a proper posture. Always keep your back erect and consciously avoid slumping. If your backache disrupts your normal schedule, ask your doctor if you could invest in a supportive waistband that would hold the joints and tender muscles together. However, if your body tends to overheat easily, avoid any fabric that is not natural because you might get rashes or might react adversely to manmade fabric on skin.

Do I have Symphysis Pubic Dysfunction?

When the ligaments holding together your pelvic floor become relaxed and stretch out considerable well before birth, the pelvis might become unstable and cause uncomfortable sensations and pain. This phenomenon is called Symphysis Pubic Dysfunction.

What Are The Symptoms?

The primary symptom is a severe pain on and around your pubic area that could also spread out to your upper thighs. It might occur in one leg and might also plague both your legs. This depends on the kind of activity that has triggered the pain in your case.

Why Does It Happen?

Like every other symptom that is caused by the production of relaxin in your body, this is also because of the same hormone. Relaxin2 can make a number of ligaments stretch out and also helps significantly at birth but when the pelvis is relaxed and stretched out more than normal that is when the dysfunction sets in.

How Can You Help Yourself?

A proper pelvic support belt keeps all the significant joints in place are recommended to be worn all through pregnancy.

You can never have enough of Kegels and pelvic tilts. Keep practicing them for stronger pelvic floor because you would want to avoid urine incontinence as well.

Take it slow. There is nothing that an unnecessary hurry can’t spoil. Always have time on hand so that when you are ready, you can regulate your pace accordingly.

If your pain is so severe that you can’t move around without wincing in pain, it is time you should consult a doctor. He will check you and prescribe medications if you have a low-risk pregnancy.

Dealing With Constipation And Painful Hemorrhoids

Constipation is one of those pesky and annoying symptoms that pregnancy comes along with. While some women experience nothing at all, some others dread visiting the washroom first thing in the morning. Pregnancy hormones make your digestive system slow and sluggish and there is not much space in the overcrowded stomach cavity either. This is why you tend to get constipated but it is not limited to just irregular bowel movements. Piles and hemorrhoids also tag along with constipation.

In pregnancy, there is increased blood flow to the rectum and simultaneously the uterus is also weighing down on it which leads to swollen and itchy veins around that area. If you remember the annoying varicose veins that had affected you sometime back and could be continuing to haunt you till date, you would know what to expect from hemorrhoids. A similar symptom like varicose veins, hemorrhoids are not essentially harmful to the pregnancy but it can be so painful that you might want to resort to medication as soon as possible. It can be as severe as rectal bleeding, if not treated on time.

Dealing with constipation and hemorrhoids is not easy but not impossible either. Whole grains, fruits, green leafy vegetables and stocking up on fluids can prevent constipation and the other symptoms that follow. Apart from dietary changes, staying active also helps to a good deal. Kegels are known to miraculous sets of exercises that can solve a whole bunch of problems associated with pregnancy. There is nothing as effective as strengthening your pelvic floor muscles. Another way to keep yourself safe from rectal bleeding or soreness is to avoid straining while pooping. The more you  strain, the higher are your chances of developing hemorrhoids.

Yet another important factor to consider is the kind of iron supplements you are taking. This is one of the primary reasons for women to constipate during pregnancy. However, you cannot really do away with the prenatal vitamins since your iron stores are being used up rapidly at this stage and you will end up depriving yourself of the essential nutrients if you decide to skip the pills. If you feel that this could be the reason, consult your doctor and ask for a different version of iron supplements that will not constipate you.

Voluminous And More Lustrous Hair

It is as if the compliments won’t stop pouring in and you couldn’t have asked for anything better. Yes, we are talking about your bouncy, lustrous and beautiful hair that shines more than ever before. With hormonal changes and more blood flowing to your scalp, your hair will grow thicker and normal hair fall will slow down.

You might want to opt for chemical treatments like hair straightening or streaking because your hair has never been fuller or stronger but it is a wise idea to postpone your plans till after delivery. Most of these chemical treatments involve the use of ammonia-based products that could cause allergic reactions. Your skin is extremely sensitive at the moment and so is your scalp. Moreover, inhaling the fumes of some of these products might not be a good idea, especially when your sense of smell is heightened.

Are You Feeling Exhausted Again?

You might as well be surprised at the fact that your body feels drained every often these days. After all that you had heard about the second trimester being the golden period of pregnancy, this exhaustion is certainly going to get on your nerves but before you start losing sleep over it, you will need to understand how your body is changing.

Never ignore or belittle the fact that your body is currently carrying out the most significant responsibility of the human body and you ought to respect its demands for this. Try your best to give in when your body demands rest. Avoid working late hours and try to switch job roles if you feel your work is taking away the fun from this pregnancy.

You might be more prone to accidents now because your baby bump is bigger than ever before. You are also feeling less graceful in your movements these days because you are still trying to figure out if you would fit into certain spaces or not. if you do feel dizziness, shortness of breath, sudden palpitation etc, lie down immediately and call for help. There is a probability of your blood sugar fluctuating and you must consult with your doctor to rule out other issues.

While exercising or walking, always carry a bottle of water and keep yourself hydrated. If you sense your body heating up and making you uncomfortable, stop right away and get rest. The idea behind working out in pregnancy is to help you feel fitter and not to exhaust yourself beyond your body’s capability.

Looking After Your Teeth

The importance of proper dental care during can never be emphasized enough. Oral hygiene and full term pregnancies are linked to each other. As far-fetched as that sounds, dental health actually decides whether you will be able to carry to full term or have a preterm baby.

Gingivitis is a common term that a lot of people are familiar with but did you know that periodontosis, an untreated version of gingivitis3 could enhance your chances of having preeclampsia? It could also lead to premature birth. It is advisable that all pregnant women must brush their teeth regularly and floss without fail so that your gums can be kept safe from infection and inflammation. Your gums might be sore and swollen because of the pregnancy hormones but this will also pass after delivery.

Do You Feel Unworthy?

If you have been feeling blue lately and all you could think of is how worthless you look and are, you could be having pregnancy blues. You might also worry too much about your baby and wonder if you a responsible parent. While all these doubts and feelings are common, you could also be secretly harboring depression.

Pregnancy Depression Is Very Common And The Most Likely Factors To Contribute To It Are:

  • Your body is changing in a number of ways and you are finding it tough to come to terms with these changes.
  • You are going through an emotional turmoil of sorts because you are apprehensive of how this pregnancy will go and whether you would be able to deliver as per your plans.
  • Your work life could be getting affected and that irks you to no end.
  • Although there are rules in place to not discriminate against pregnant women at work, there are indirect discriminations everywhere.
  • A number of aches and pains might be plaguing you all the time.

If you feel that your mood swings are too severe to put a tab on, you could consider speaking to your doctor about it. If left undiagnosed and untreated, it might linger around and come back with a vengeance in the form of postpartum depression.

What Are The Tests Coming Up In The Next Few Weeks?

From 24 week onwards, your doctor might suggest a number of tests to keep a track of how the pregnancy is progressing. Listed below are the ones that you could expect in the coming weeks:

  • Gestational Diabetes

A general glucose screening test is recommended between 24 and 28 weeks. If your levels are seen as normal, you will not need to take further tests but if your blood glucose level is elevated, your doctor will ask you to take a glucose tolerance test.

  • Hemoglobin

It is generally recommended to take two hemoglobin tests in 40 weeks if the pregnancy is low-risk and is progressing normally. However, if you have had low levels of hemoglobin to begin with, you might need to test more than twice. You will be suggested iron supplements accordingly.

  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases

The first test in this order of series would be HIV. This is important to be tested at the beginning because if the mother does test positive for HIV, measures would need to be taken to ensure that the unborn baby is safe. Other tests to be taken are for gonorrhea, syphilis and Chlamydia. The earlier these tests are done, the better it is for both mother and baby.

  • RH Antibody

Did you know that if you are RH-negative, you could pose a threat to your growing baby as well as to future babies? If your baby’s blood passes into your bloodstream, antibodies would develop and could be a source of potential risk to your future children. If this is the case, you will need an injection of RH immune globulin4 at 28 weeks for the best form of protection possible.

Is It Time To Speak To Your Employer?

The 25th week is a decent time to start your discussions regarding maternity leave. If you have already kept the documents ready, it is only a matter of time that the HR team will speak to you regarding the same. If you haven’t, start getting the basic documentation done. Maintain transparency from the beginning so that there is no confusion on the day you go on leave.

You will have a total number of casual leaves, sick leaves, vacation and personal leaves, disability leaves etc. This is the time to make up for all of them and utilize them in the best way possible. The human relations department in your office will be able to help you out in this regard and they will lay down the exact policies and protocol at both ends so that it is convenient for you to apply for maternity leave.

You will obviously not be sure of whether you would want to quit or go back to work after maternity leave is over. However, a lot of women these days are going back to work because of new regulations in place that allow them to balance home and office more efficiently.

What Can You Do For Your Pregnant Spouse This Week?

Your wife is starting to feel slightly uncomfortable with the baby bump getting in her way every time she tries to do something. She is bound to be more temperamental than ever before. It is time for you to take up her emotions more seriously than ever before. Ask her about the baby’s movements and let her know how thrilled you are. Communicate more often and there is nothing more that she would like to do at the moment.

However, she might have occasional headaches and it is better to stay away from long winding conversations when she is in the midst of one. Offer a relaxing massage and a long warm shower after that. You could also get her to go to a spa on a weekend and unwind by herself. Prenatal spa parlors are getting more popular by the day because of the level of comfort they offer.

If a birth plan has been on your wife’s mind, try and set it up together. Ask her for her opinion and feel free to suggest what you would want. You can help her in looking for a midwife is she hasn’t done that already. If you would rather have a hospital birth, you can always weigh in your options before coming to a conclusion. Look at the advantages and disadvantages of both the sides and pick whichever option suits you the most.

While you huff and puff your way out of this week, brace yourself for more breathlessness in the coming weeks as your baby grows at an incredible pace and prepares for birth. A number of exciting pregnancy milestones are in store for you and your spouse in the next few weeks. You can expect your body to continue to change in a number of ways and it is always wise to remember that these changes are happening for a viable cause and there is every reason to love your body even more now.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amniotic_fluid
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relaxin
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gingivitis
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rho(D)_immune_globulin

Getting To Know Your Body At 24 Weeks Of Pregnancy

Six months into pregnancy could feel like a dream in which you are living every moment that you have always wanted to. You might be feeling the kicks more often by now and there is every reason to need frequent breaks in between long durations of work because nourishing and nurturing a baby in the womb is hard work and your body is doing it all alone. Along with the number of badges of honor that you already have, the popping of your belly button might add to the list. While this is a temporary occurrence and your navel will go back to its original form and shape after delivery, you might just fall in love with how your body is making every effort to care for the tiny being inside. This article will provide you with a list of signs and symptoms that could be introduced this week. However, it is important to remember that every pregnancy is different and there is no particular benchmark for every week of pregnancy. As long as the developments happen within a stipulated time period, everything should be fine.

Your Baby At 24 Weeks

Your baby is growing at a steady rate of six ounces per week. He is already a foot long and weighs around 1 1/3 pounds. You might be slightly taken aback to find out that his body continues to look lean but if you think about it, you will realize that his body is growing quite proportionately. Very soon, he will start gaining fat at a rapid pace and will plump up before birth.

The rest of his brain and neural tubes are also developing while making your baby more conscious about his immediate and distant environment. Do you remember how your baby’s taste buds had formed a couple of weeks earlier? They continue to develop throughout pregnancy and give your baby a quick peek at what you have been eating all this while. Don’t worry, you still have time to rethink dinner plans because baby does not like spinach.

Your baby’s lungs are one of the most important developments before birth and they are in full swing this week. The respiratory tract is branching out and surfactant1 is being produced that will help the air sacs in his lungs to inflate after birth. A lot of babies are born premature and the most difficult part of their survival is the incomplete development of their lungs. This is why doctors keep a close check on high-risk pregnancies so that if there is a possibility of preterm labor, they can help the lungs of the baby mature faster than the normal time taken.

Your baby’s skin continues to look thin and translucent and you can see the organs and bones through it. You will still not be able to make out what the color of your baby’s hair would be because it lacks pigmentation.

Have You Thought Of What Your Baby Hears From Inside The Womb?

Your baby has been able to perceive external sounds and noises from inside the womb for a very long time. While you are inhaling and exhaling through your lungs, your baby will be able to hear those sounds. Apart from that, your baby will also be able to hear the gurgling of your stomach acids.

If you are looking forward to helping your baby relate to a particular song after birth, you could play it all through your pregnancy. It has been seen that babies seem to fall asleep easily to lullabies that have been sung in pregnancy since they have heard it all through pregnancy.

Your baby will also be able to recognize your voice as well as your partner’s voice from inside the womb. If you happen to have a pet, your baby will probably be able to hear its voice as well.

Babies tend to get startled on hearing loud sounds and noises. This is why you will need to be careful about very loud music or sudden sounds as far as you can. Avoid going to places that might elevate your heartbeat because your baby will also feel the spike. As long as your baby is not reacting to any of these elements in a negative way, you can cherish each moment of your life as it comes.

How Is Your Body Changing At 24 Weeks?

If you were tired of waiting for your belly button to pop, this is probably the week when it will happen to you. As your uterus grows bigger and pushes everything up and outside, your belly button will finally pop and even if you have had the shallowest innie ever, your outie will surprise you with how far it can go. You might wonder if your navel will ever get back to what it used to be earlier. Like other badges of honor that you will eventually get accustomed to wearing, a stretched navel is also one of them. Your navel will go back inside after the delivery but you might not get back the same shape and positioning, owing to the stretching, pulling and tugging of all the internal muscles.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

One of the commonest symptoms of the second trimester is the carpel tunnel syndrome that might make working with your fingers a tad bit difficult at times. While carpel tunnel syndrome affects a considerable number of pregnant women, it does not necessarily affect all. It can occur to you all of a sudden and might as well jeopardize your normal activities.

What starts off as a mild tingling sensation around the wrists and fingers might turn into a full-fledged numbness that could last long if not diagnosed and taken care of at the earliest. A lot of women who work outside home experience carpal tunnel syndrome earlier than those who stay at home, especially if they are involved in desk jobs that need a lot of typing etc. carpal tunnel is aggravated by repetitive movements and if you are diagnosed with it, you might need to make lifestyle changes to avoid triggers.

You must have wondered why this tingling and numbness essentially strike at night when you are lying down. There is swelling in your body when you are pregnant and that leads to fluid accumulation in the lower extremities of your body. When you lie down at night, these fluids are redistributed to the different parts of your body that includes your wrists as well. This, in turn, leads to the numbness or tingling sensation in your fingers and wrists. This syndrome is also characterized by a dull ache for some women.

How will you ensure a good night’s sleep for yourself? Since carpal tunnel tends to creep in at night and disrupt your sleeping patterns, you will need to ensure that you prop up a couple of pillows and sleep on them instead of placing pressure on your arms or wrists.

Apart from nights, if this syndrome tends to make your days troublesome too, you can try shaking your wrists, fingers and forearms occasionally to prevent sudden tingling or numbness. If your profession demands repetitive work like typing or playing an instrument etc, ensure that you take frequent breaks in between to prevent the pain from settling it and making it worse. You can also opt for a wrist brace if the going gets tough in the longer run. A wrist brace will restrict excessive movement of the affected area and will keep the pain or swelling from aggravating. If your pain seems to affect your regular course of work adversely, you could consult your doctor for pregnancy safe pain relief.

Are Your Palms Always Red And Itchy?

While you always knew that pregnancy comes along with a number of symptoms, a brand new one each week maybe, you were probably unaware of quite a few annoying ones. Red and itchy palms are one of them. If you happen to notice a stark redness that does not limit itself to your palms but also spreads to your soles, you need to speak to your doctor so that he can rule out cholestasis2.

Itchy and red palms are normal by themselves and mean no harm during pregnancy. Along with the other symptoms like vision changes, weird taste in your mouth, skin tags and itchy skin, this symptom stays till you deliver and fade off soon after. What you could do about it is stay away from anything that tends to overheat your body. Hot showers, saunas, spas or any other exposure to heat should be avoided as far as possible. You could also ask your partner to take over the dish washing duties till delivery so that further scrubbing does not worsen the situation. A lot of pregnant women swear by ice or cold packs to help relieve the symptoms.

What You Could Be Tested For This Week

 

Between the 24th and 28th week, a lot of women are tested for gestational diabetes. The test is called a glucose screening or a glucose challenge test and allows the doctor to check for pregnancy induced diabetes. If you have a condition in which your blood sugar is heightened because of pregnancy, you and your baby are both at potential risks.

Your baby could be at the risk of preterm labor and you could also have multiple complications at birth, including the need to perform emergency C-sections. Gestational diabetes is plaguing 7 out of 10 pregnant women these days and while it could be a cause of major concern, it can be kept under control and you could have a hassle-free normal delivery.

However, in a lot of cases, gestational diabetes goes on to become one of the leading reasons for you to have a C-section. Since it tends to make your baby grow bigger in size, the chances of a normal delivery look bleak and doctors definitely don’t want to take chances. Your baby could also have elevated blood sugar levels after birth if you continue to have high blood glucose all through pregnancy.

If you do show up to be positive for GD on your glucose tolerance test, your doctor would consider the measure by which you are at risk and suggest accordingly. You might simply need dietary and lifestyle changes to begin with if you are borderline diabetic. However, if your levels are too high, he might suggest insulin injections or safe pills to be taken to regulate the blood sugar levels.

When Are You At A Risk Of Developing Gestational Diabetes?

Even if you haven’t had GD in the past and even if no one in the family has a history, you could develop gestational diabetes. Listed below are the factors that play a key role in it:

  • If you are aged 30 and above, there is a high probability of getting GD.
  • If you have a family history of diabetes, you are more than likely to get it.
  • If you are overweight or obese and your BMI is higher than 30.
  • If you have had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy.
  • If you suffer from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.

There is no real guarantee that gestational diabetes can be avoided if the factors mentioned above are not present but there are ways in which you can lower your risk factors. A healthy lifestyle with the right kind of diet will help you to avoid the condition.

Dietary And Lifestyle Changes To Regulate Blood Sugar

If you are borderline diabetic, there are simpler ways of regulating your glucose levels without resorting to pills or insulin. Your doctor or midwife will be able to guide you as per your health. Listed below are a few general guidelines that doctors expect you to follow if your levels are found to be slightly higher than normal:

  • Mild To Moderate Exercise

The importance of staying active in pregnancy can never be highlighted enough. This is one of the most convenient ways of keeping yourself feeling fit and energetic all through the gestational period. Depending upon your pregnancy, your doctor will suggest you to take regular walks for 15-20 minutes or maybe more every day. This will prove to be beneficial for your stiff joints and muscles as well. Pregnancy aches and pains also seem to get better with regular brisk walking. However, if your pregnancy is a high-risk one, you might be asked to take it slow and indulge in very mild exercises to loosen up.

  • Having Food High In Fiber

Whole food that is high in fiber is highly recommended for pregnant women who are borderline diabetic. Along with doing wonders for you blood glucose, fiber also helps with driving your sluggish digestive system better, thus resulting in proper bowel movement. Try having brown rice instead of white and whole wheat instead of refined flour. This is an excellent step towards good health, irrespective of whether you are pregnant or not.

  • Cut Out Sweets, Processed Food And Fried Food

There is no denying the fact that cravings can literally drive you insane and you are either tempted to bite into a bar of chocolate at midnight or are craving to dig into the plate of fries on the next table. While it is very difficult to resist temptations in pregnancy, it is important to understand that processed and fried food consist of empty calories that will fill you up initially but cause sugar slumps later. Once in a while, you could have a cheat day or two, bt restrict the intake of these food types if your blood glucose is not stable.

Know About Preterm Labor

At 24 weeks, there are a number of new terms and ideas that you should start getting accustomed to and one of the most significant terms is Preterm Labor. A lot of babies in the United States are born prematurely. While some babies need to be delivered as early as possible because of a number of maternal and fetal complications, some others are naturally born preterm because there is premature breaking of waters or dilation of cervix.

One of the most staggering causes of preterm labor is preeclampsia. In this condition, the baby might stop growing and have intra-uterine growth retardation. This situation demands that the baby be delivered as soon as possible and be allowed to grow outside the womb.

There  Are A Few Reasons To Go Into Preterm Labor And Some Of Them Are As Follows:

  • If you have genital tract infections3 that reach your kidneys.
  • If your placenta is not developed enough to nourish the baby as required.
  • If your cervix is insufficient to hold the weight of the growing uterus and dilates way before the due date.

Since preterm labor can strike anytime and anywhere, it is important for all pregnant women to know about the risks and symptoms of this issue.

The Signs Of Preterm Labor

  1. If your vaginal discharge is clear and looks more like water than the normal discharge.
  2. If there is an increase in the discharge or it mucus-like and streaked with blood.
  3. If you have vaginal bleeding; even spotting could mean something so if you notice the tiniest bit of blood, consult your doctor immediately.
  4. If you have intense abdominal cramps.
  5. If the Braxton hicks contractions seem to get closer and there are more than 4 contractions in less than an hour.
  6. If you feel a heaviness or pressure on and around your pelvis. This could also be due to a urinary tract infection.
  7. A dull and nagging backache that seems to have set in all of a sudden.

It is not that the presence of one or more symptoms needs to be necessarily linked to preterm labor. They could also be normal symptoms that are associated with second trimester but you can never be too careful and it is wise to consult your doctor if you notice anything unusual.

Does A Preterm Baby Grow Up To Be Fine?

The chances of a premature baby born between 34 and 37 weeks to have a lot of health problems are comparatively lower than those who are born before this time.  There are babies as premature as 24 or 26 weeks because pregnancies are getting more complicated by the day, thanks to environmental and a number of other factors. It is difficult to say beforehand about the frequency of medical interventions that might be needed for preterm babies but with the way in which neonatal care4 has advanced, preterm infants often go on to have pretty normal lives.

For babies who are born way too ahead of time, there is a possibility that they might need frequent treatments, special care and added attention. They could also have a number of health conditions that need to be addressed frequently.

Helping Your Pregnant Spouse In The 24th Week

It is time to start looking around yourself and fixing things before the baby arrives. There are things like getting your rooms painted, fixing door stoppers, leaky faucets and broken furniture etc. These activities need a lot of moving around that you will need to undertake if you have a pregnant wife. Although 24 weeks sounds way too early for anything, there is no denying the fact that time flies and even before you know it, you will have a tiny being cooing in your arms.

Getting smoke detectors and fire extinguishers installed in your house is the first step in ensuring you have a safe haven to welcome your little one into. In case of a fire, always have a fire escape route planned out in advance.

Door stoppers, broken furniture and leaky faucets must be taken care of instantly because your spouse is accident prone at the moment because of the shift in her center of gravity and the last thing that you would want is an accident.

If you haven’t already started, it is time to arrange for the nursery. Get the rooms painted, buy furniture that sound logically useful and start accumulating toys and other essential items for the nursery.

It is never too early to start preparing yourself to become parents and by 24 weeks, you are already in the thick of things. It is simply about taking that one step ahead and planning your lives accordingly around it.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulmonary_surfactant
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cholestasis
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urinary_tract_infection
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neonatology

How Are You Holding Up In The 23rd Week Of Pregnancy?

It does feel unbelievable but you really are in the 23rd week of pregnancy and there is more than one significant thing to look forward to. This week your baby is sharpening her sense of movement, which will help her in sensing your dance moves. You would have jumped out of joy if you knew how incredible the coming weeks would be. That tiny lemon inside your womb is now a proper newborn; weighing more than a pound, measuring in terms of crown to heel and bobbing up and down inside the uterus. The space inside is getting cramped with each passing day because as much As your belly is growing, so is your baby and you will soon be in the third trimester before you know it. There are a few things that you will have to take note of from this week onwards. Issues like pre-eclampsia1, anemia, high blood pressure and gestational diabetes tend to crop up around this time and if you aware of the signs and symptoms, you will be able to keep them at bay.

Your Baby At 23 Weeks

Your baby measures around 11 inches in length, weighs over a pound and this is the week when he will start gaining weight to fill out the saggy skin. However, his skin will continue to be saggy because he will grow faster than he can fill in but in the next 4 weeks, there will be dramatic developments that will make him double his weight. This weight gain will make you feel chubbier too and the weighing scale will confirm all your doubts. As long as the weight gain is within safer limits, it is fine to have that one cheat day in a while when you load up on chocolates and cheese. Very soon your baby’s skin will become opaque but for the time being, his organs are visible from underneath his transparent skin and so are all her veins and arteries.

Your baby’s lungs are developing rapidly and the blood vessels inside are gearing up to take on the most significant role of breathing when he or she will be outside the womb. Your baby’s sense of hearing is also developing at a fast pace. While she was able to hear your and your partner’s voices till now, this week on wards she would be able to hear the dog barking loudly, the room being vacuumed, the car honking etc. These sounds will no longer scare her because her nervous system is gearing up for life outside the womb along with all the sounds and noises that one can hear.

Did you know that you can now hear your baby’s heartbeat with a stethoscope only? Yes, as unbelievable as that sounds, it is true. Till last week, your doctor would have used a Doppler to hear your baby’s beating heart but he will gladly announce that only the stethoscope would do now on. However, he might still want to use the Doppler to ensure that everything is fine with your baby.

Your Body At 23 Weeks

It is all about the baby and how it is changing your body this week. Everything that you do is directly related to your baby and you will need to take precautions to ensure that he or she is not affected negatively by it. There are plenty of things going on in your body and you can’t really figure out where to start and where to stop. From this dark line running down your belly to these stretch marks that make your body look like a highway to the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet red and hot; you are changing in more ways than one.

As Edema Continues To Plague Your Existence

That annoying swelling on and around your ankles and feet will continue to disrupt your sleep even into the 23rd week of pregnancy and you might find unwinding at the end of the day next to impossible. What could you do to keep this swelling under control? Whom would you blame? The blood circulation to your legs slows down as you move ahead in pregnancy which goes on to cause water retention. All the excessive fluids that your body will accumulate in pregnancy will be shed off after delivery but till then you will have to find ways to keep the swelling under control.

After delivery, your body will sweat profusely and you will also urinate more frequently to get rid of the fluid retention. Till then you can try out these ways of reducing edema.

Exercising regularly can significantly reduce the swelling around your ankles. Sitting down or lying down for longer stretches of time can enhance the symptoms which are why it is recommended that pregnant women take short breaks while working so that the circulation is not affected any further.

You might think that drinking more water would only worsen your situation but that is not true. If you skip your water intake, you will only be adding to your troubles because it is important to keep your body hydrated to reduce water retention. It is normal for your body to swell up at times in pregnancy but if the swelling persists and you also have high blood pressure to go along with it, you could be showing signs of preeclampsia. Swelling of fingers, hands and puffiness on your face are all symptoms that you should never ignore.

How To Deal With Skin Discolorations

As if the stretch marks were not enough, you will now have to deal with skin discolorations and pigmentation. Along with that dark line2 that runs from your belly button till your pubic area and also upwards till your breastbone sometimes, the mask of pregnancy is making your night outs impossible. Watch video tutorials online to learn new ways of concealing your pigmentation if you feel too conscious about people asking you questions. If you thought that these are here to stay, stop worrying about it because pigmentation disappears within a few weeks of delivery and you will get back your flawless skin very soon.

Avoid using bleaching creams even if you are tempted to because skin in pregnancy is quite sensitive already and these creams could further aggravate the skin conditions. You can simply let them be because everyone around would generally understand and if they don’t, you are not answerable to them.

Understanding Fetal Movements

This is a crucial lesson in pregnancy because it is important to keep a track of fetal movements from the third trimester. So start practicing from beforehand. Find out your baby’s pattern and keep a track of it. Your baby is most likely to move around more when you are settling down or you are trying to fall asleep. In a few more weeks, your baby will move much more even if the space around is closing in. Once you start keeping a track you will have to look for 10 moves in an hour. Don’t hit the panic button if your baby does not move as many number of times because it is possible that he or she is sleeping. You could wait for an hour or so and then check again.

A lot of women have reported that having sugary drinks makes their baby move a lot more. If that is the s with you, you could try a few sips and see if it works. However, avoid over-indulging in sugar laden food or beverages. If you don’t feel any movement for more than 3-4 hours, you could call you doctor for help. If the doctor is concerned, he will ask you to come down for a quick checkup and in all probability, your baby will be fine.

You can have a number of reasons to not relax during pregnancy but that is the best possible thing you could do. Relaxation is the way to feel good about the worst of changes that your body is going through. A sleep-deprived brain and body is like a car running on reserve. You might make it to the destination but the machinery will be impacted in the process. Would you want to feel cranky and irritable all day? But how will I avoid all the anxiousness that builds up through the day and does not let me sleep at night? Read below to find ways out of your troubled mind:

  • Read As Much As You Can

Reading is therapeutic and we all know that. There can be nothing as enjoyable as a book that fills you up with things you can think about when you want to distract yourself from troubles. While pregnancy insomnia comes haunting, try picking up a book of your choice and read it to your heart’s content. Read pregnancy and parenting books if you want to and if you are not the type to keep yourself prepared for thing to come, you can read your novels and biographies. There is a myth surrounding books in pregnancy. It says that if you read violent books, there is a possibility that your baby will turn aggressive after birth. It is a myth in the truest sense of the term.

  • Walk Before Bedtime

Several women who suffer pregnancy insomnia swear by the miracles of a brisk walk just before bedtime. When your body gets used to the pace, try walking a little more every day. Never force yourself to go that extra mile but if your body is more than willing, don’t deny it that exercise. You will be amazed at how comfortably you sleep every night then onwards.

  • Shower Before Hitting The Bed

A luxurious bath or a long shower can help you relax and will also take a major chunk of your aches and pains away. There is nothing like a hot shower before slipping under the sheets. However, ensure that the water is not too hot or else you might unnecessarily elevate your body temperature.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

If you have been feeling a weird tingling and burning sensation on and around your wrists, fingers and hands, it could be carpal tunnel syndrome. A lot of pregnant women experience this and with activities like writing, typing or playing certain kinds of sport could aggravate the situation if you already have it. Basically, any sort of repetitive motion will make the pain worse. If possible, try and avoid repetitive wrist movements as much as you can. If it is impossible to avoid, place your wrists at the same level as your desk and don’t let it hang off the edge. This might help to avoid the problem to some extent.

Why Does It Happen?

In pregnancy, your wrists tend to have swelling and so do other parts of your body. This places a pressure on the key nerves of your wrists and causes carpal tunnel syndrome. If you have a desk job or a back office job, you will be more than prone to get it.

How You Could Help Yourself

If your work involves typing or working on the computer for long stretches of time, take short breaks in between and stretch out your fingers so that they don’t get stiff.

Sleeping on your hands could enhance your symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Always use pillows to prop up your head so that you don’t wake up in the middle of the night with a painful wrist.

Pregnant women often swear by the miracles of acupuncture but you should ideally not start anything new without consulting your doctor. Different bodies react differently and you might not be comfortable with the therapy at all.

The best person to talk about this would be your physician who will be able to guide you with physiotherapy recommendations and suggest pain relief medication, if the need arises.

Have You Thought Of Cord Blood Banking?

Your baby’s umbilical cord blood is precious because it contains stem cells that are responsible for building the immune system and also for treating a number of deadly diseases, if they do happen to your baby in future. If you have no clue about this process, read below to know all about it and find out why you must consider this incredible form of health insurance.

Stem cells are designed by the body to take the form of other types of cells which is why these are prized possessions. Cord blood3 is being researched in more ways than one because it can cure a number of diseases that cannot be treated by medicines. Furthermore, for tissue, organ and blood vessel repair, cord blood can be used effectively.

If you are worried about hurting or harming your baby, please understand that the process is quick and simple and will not harm your baby in any way. He or she will probably not feel a thing.

If you are interested in preserving your baby’s cord blood, you have two options to choose from; the first one is to donate your baby’s cord blood to a public blood bank. You can start checking in on this process around this week because a lot of public banks prefer finding out your history before giving you the green signal.

If you happen to find out a reliable private blood bank, that is even better. You will need to pay a lump sum amount of money to sign up for this but the benefits far outweigh the cost of blood banking. You might need to sign up in the second trimester itself because most of these blood banks prefer early appointments since they run background checks on people.

Are You Anemic?

Iron levels tend to drop drastically during the second trimester and if you have not been taking your iron supplements regularly, there are chances that you might be anemic. If you are feeling tired all the time and cannot seem to focus on one thing at a time, consider getting a blood test done so that anemia can be ruled out.

If anemia is left untreated, your heart will be unnecessarily put at risk and you could suffer from excessive blood loss at birth. Although most women with anemia recover with proper supplementation, some are never diagnosed and their babies also suffer from multiple problems after birth.

Along with supplements, please ensure that you are on a diet rich in iron. Red meat is an excellent source of iron and so is chicken. Fortified eggs are also decent sources. If you are a vegetarian, you can combine your plant based sources of iron with Vitamin C for maximum absorption.

One thing that you need to be careful about is your tendency to become constipated if you are on iron supplements. Ask your doctor for slow-releasing alternatives that will not contribute to the problem as much.

Do Something Different This Week

Don’t stick to your old activities every week. These are probably the best memories of your life and you can make the most of it by preserving them in time. You could make a photo album with the pictures of your baby bump that you will later be able to show to your baby. Take a picture every week and you can either make collages and hang up on the wall or paste them on scrap books that you can later look at and feel happy about them.

Try writing letters to your baby. Write about the first day you felt her kicks, the nudges, the moves and how strong the jabs at your ribs were. Include some humor and you will have a fun time reading them out to your baby later in life. She might also want to keep these as precious memories for her children to read through.

What Can You Do For your Pregnant Spouse This Week?

Learn a little more about cord blood banking because your wife might have heard all about it but her pregnancy hormones could make her forgetful. She looks at herself in the mirror as if she is a mess but reassure her time and again that she is the most beautiful thing that has ever happened to her. You could contribute in your own way in finding names for your baby. Help her with options but refrain from deciding on anything. Pregnant women tend to be highly sensitive and possessive about anything related to their babies and it is a wise idea to keep a number of options that she can choose from.

In case you are planning to relocate, try doing it before the third trimester is here. That is because your wife will be too uncomfortable to shift around with luggage and packing of all sorts with a huge belly and a number of new symptoms cropping up. Find an area that is close to a good daycare facility. You will need it the most if both you and your wife continue to work after the baby is born.

Help her with her maternity plan. If she wants to continue to work, then there is no issue at all but if she wants to quit, hold her hand through it. Financial independence is difficult to give up but pregnancy hormones can make you feel beyond exhausted. Trust her to take the right decisions.

Contribute in your own special way to the 23rd week of pregnancy. Buy her flowers, play her favorite music, stir up a mocktail that she loves and spend a beautiful; evening together. If you are unaware of the changes taking place inside her, talk to her about them. She should always have an idea that you are comfortable with her body so that body image stereotyping never gets to her. Let her know time and again that she is doing the most important job of her life and you are ever so thankful to her for making this happen.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pre-eclampsia
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linea_nigra
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cord_blood