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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 His 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

Your Baby Is Pacing Up Developmentally: Know What Else You Could Expect In The 22nd Week Of Pregnancy

Are you and your partner having squabbles every day? Is a normal date night turning into a nightmare because of reasons you could never imagine occurring between the two of you? Welcome yourself into the 22nd week of pregnancy that is filled with surprises of all kinds! As your baby marks new milestones, you might start focusing completely on yourself and your interests. What most expectant couples forget to remind themselves of is the fact that this pregnancy involves both the partners and their contribution. It’s the duty of dishwashing one day and laundry the other; if you are the pregnant spouse, feel free to make him see the situation in a better light and if you are the husband, start owning responsibilities before the baby is here so that you know your way around the house. Apart from solving trifles, there are incredible things to look forward to this week as your baby is literally growing by leaps and bounds and your pregnancy is not news to anyone around you anymore.

Your Baby At 22 Weeks

11 inches long and weighing a little more than a pound, your baby finally resembles the little doll you had imagined her to be. If you want to know what exactly she feels like, you could take a look at a spaghetti squash and imagine how big she would be. She looks a lot like that newborn baby you had always dreamt of; only more adorable and more life-like. Your baby’s eyes are already formed but what is missing in action is the color of the iris that will come in later; hazel eye maybe? The tiny pearly whites that will nibble at apples and gnaw at your cheeks are all present under the gum. It will take 8-9 months after birth for you to be able to see them. Trust me; the gummy smiles are the best!

Your baby’s eyelids, lips and eyebrows had already formed in the earlier weeks but they continue to develop into more distinctive features this week. What else is happening with your little one? The fine hair that covers her body to protect the skin from the amniotic fluid is still there. This hair is called the lanugo1 and will shed off considerably before birth. His skin will also have some deep wrinkle like formations which are present because there is not much fat under the skin yet. Yet another significant development this week is your baby’s pancreas that will be responsible for the production of essential hormones later.

Sense Of Touch!

Your baby is gradually beginning to sense the world around her and this development begins with her sense of touch. She will start practicing her grips and the only thing that she can get hold of this week would be the umbilical cord and you might as well feel tugging and pulling inside your womb often. Although it is still quite dark for your baby inside the womb, your baby’s sense of sight has definitely improved over the past few weeks. She will be able to differentiate between light and darkness more easily because now and if you happen to flash a light at her, she will able to sense that even with her eyelids fused.

There are a number of things that your baby can now sense and they include your voice, your partner’s voice, your stomach’s gurgling sound, your blood circulating through your body etc. These sounds generally tend to lull her to sleep and you will not feel your baby too active when you are involved in work. She will try all her moves when you are resting or trying to fall asleep but all you will feel is insurmountable love for those nudges and kicks.

Your Body At 22 Weeks Of Pregnancy

It is normal to feel anxious about how big or small your baby bump is but you need to know that every pregnancy is different and babies also grow differently in the womb. While this is true, you will also need to consider that there is a certain range of normal developments that your baby needs to follow. At every prenatal visit, your doctor will check your baby’s growth rate and if her developments are on track.

Now is the time when your baby bump will attract more people to try and touch your tummy but it is up to you to decide and let them know that you are not comfortable. A lot of women don’t mind but a lot do too. If you feel freaked out by strangers trying to place a hand on your tummy because it looks adorable and they might also want to feel the baby move, firmly move away and let them know that you are not sure about it.

Your stretch marks continue to grow deeper and more noticeable. They will also spread far and wide because your body is growing every day to accommodate the newest member on the block. So what looked like reddish streaks on your abdomen and thighs would now show up on your breasts and buttocks. Keeping your skin hydrated and moisturized is the only way you can prevent the itchiness. As mentioned earlier, it is impossible to get rid of stretch marks completely although they will fade away after delivery.

Is Your Foot Size Going Up?

As weird as it may sound, your feet size might really be going up and even if you might need to make an effort to look down with your belly in between, you will notice the difference easily. If you thought your tummy was the only thing that has been growing, think again. A lot of pregnant women end up with bigger feet and that size does not change after pregnancy. It might not be something that you were looking forward to if you have recently invested in an expensive pair of shoes. However, it is recommended that you do not continue to wear undersized shoes because not only will your feet feel cramped but there will also be a slight tendency to fall. Invest in a comfortable pair because your feet are the ones that are carrying around all the weight and they need to be looked after properly.

Why do your feet grow in pregnancy? This is a pertinent question that a lot of pregnant women ask themselves often, especially if they are looking down at feet that look bigger than they ever thought they could get. The first reason that is responsible for the increase in size is edema or swelling of your feet and ankles. Edema could be triggered at any time in the second trimester and could cause considerable pain and discomfort. It is responsible for your feet size to go up and even if it does not really increase the size, it could make you look for more comfortable shoes instead of the fancy ones you have been sporting all your life.

The other reason for your feet size to go up is the pregnancy hormone relaxin2 that has been responsible for all your joints and muscles to loosen up. This is an important function that the hormone plays because at the time of delivery, this will be required to loosen up your pelvis to let your baby pass through for an easy vaginal birth. This pregnancy hormone is not designed to discriminate between different parts of your body, which is why the hormone works in the same way everywhere. The ligaments of your feet loosen up and that results in the bones under them to spread out. This is what increases your shoes size.

Braxton Hicks Contractions

Your body does not go into labor without prior preparation and if you have been feeling tightness around your tummy and a few irregular painless contractions don’t start panicking. These are known as Braxton Hicks contractions and even if they could make you feel slightly uncomfortable, they are generally harmless.

Braxton Hicks could strike at anytime during the day or night and will ideally last not more than a few seconds at 22 weeks. They will feel like your uterus is squeezing in and out but there is generally no pain associated with them. However, it is important to know the difference between a harmless contraction and preterm labor. Preterm labor is more intense and the contractions will not be as spaced out. They will be clustered together and there might also be some pain involved. If you happen to notice fluid leakage or spotting along with regular intense contractions, call up your doctor immediately and rush to the emergency.

If you have had preterm labor before, your doctor might want to test you for your chances this time. A fetal fibronectin screening can rule out your risks of having preterm labor. If you test negative for preterm labor, you will not need to worry about the slight contractions but if you test positive for it, your doctor will need to take up precautionary measures so that your baby can be kept inside the womb for as long as her vital organs are not developed enough to survive outside the uterus. A few doctors also try and prepare the baby’s lungs for rapid development if there is a chance that the mother might go into labor before the lungs are mature enough.

More Physical Changes On The Block!

Not only are your breasts and belly growing at a rapid pace but also other parts of your body. Your pregnancy hormones are changing your body in more ways than one and listed below are the other physical changes you will notice this week:

1. Is This My Body?

You could be asking yourself this question more than a couple of times in pregnancy because you could never imagine having so much hair on your limbs and frequent waxing is no longer on your list of priorities. You could also notice hair on your chin, upper lips, and cheeks; basically, your facial hair also increases, which you could start hating. However, you will be glad to know that that tweezing and threading are completely safe in pregnancy and you could get them done if your facial hair is not something you are looking forward to.

2. You Have Beautiful Hair!

Have you been hearing this compliment a lot lately? Owing to the increased blood production and circulation, your scalp is getting its much-needed nutrients and keeping them intact. So ideally, you are not growing more hair but losing lesser than you do. Although, outsiders would not know this and they would keep asking you about your hair care regime. Enjoy all the attention, I say! After your baby turns 3-4 months old, you will start losing hair all over again and postpartum hair fall could be scary unless you are prepared for it mentally.

3. Time To Cut Your Nails Again?

Wasn’t it yesterday that you had cut your nails and have they grown again? A lot of women find that pregnancy makes their nails grow rapidly and unless you are really pressed for time, there is no reason to not enjoy this phase. You could also notice that your nails are less brittle and stronger now. However, if you are not that lucky, you might have to face nails that are more brittle than ever before. You can keep your nails hydrated by using a hand and nail cream and could also wear gloves to keep your nails protected while washing dishes, peeling and chopping veggies and cooking because these are the times when your nails tend to chip off the most.

4. What Is It With The Glow?

Do you look more flushed all the time? Does it seem like you never really wipe off the blusher from your cheeks? You couldn’t obviously feel better when your neighbor or the folks at work keep complimenting you on your new found glow! The highly celebrated pregnancy glow is sought after by many but not everyone ends up with just glowing skin. Your skin is also producing more oil now which is why the glow is more prominent. If you feel that you could have acne outbursts anytime now, start preparing your skin by keeping it clean and fresh using a mild cleanser.

5. Pregnancy Induced Pigmentation

The mask of pregnancy is dreaded by many and could happen to you at any time in pregnancy and there is not much you can do about it. There are different ways in which melasma affects pregnant women. You could either have dark patchy skin or have a more even tone which is darker. Your body is producing more melanin and this is one of the reasons you get this sort of pigmentation. This will go away after you deliver but till then, you could use a proper sunscreen to keep your skin from getting further tanned. The sunscreen that you use needs to be of an SPF 30 or more so that it can effectively protect your skin.

6. Nipple Changes

Your nipples will grow bigger and darker in pregnancy. Along with that your areolas will also grow and darken. This is because your body is preparing your breasts for breastfeeding and the preparation starts way before you are about to deliver. Another change that would notice is that the little bumps around you areolas would become more pronounced and these are known as Montgomery’s tubercles3. These bumps produce oil that keeps your areolas lubricated and also helps in warding off bacteria. Did you know that your nipples are self-cleansing? You could avoid using soap or other harsh chemicals to keep it clean and that would also help you in avoiding dry and itchy nipples. Yes, there will be stretch marks on your breasts as well and the veins will become more prominent because if you look at the anatomy of pregnant women, you would understand that there is increased blood circulation to your breasts and the veins tend to bulge out because of the added volume.

Constipation In Pregnancy

A common symptom in the second trimester is constipation and it could literally jeopardize your life. If you are a working woman, you will find yourself visiting the washroom a number of times because your bowel movement is very irregular. Your growing bump is also responsible for not being able to poop at once. All these conditions make your gassy, bloated and you feel cranky all day.

Along with the pregnancy hormones that tend to make your digestion sluggish, your iron supplements are also to be blamed for this. You cannot bargain with the supplements but you can surely alter your diet and lifestyle to ease your bowel movement. There are a number of things that you could do. Listed below are few ways out:

  • Include fiber rich food in your diet

Including whole grains is an excellent way to alter your diet and make your digestion easier. Adding leafy greens could possibly be the best thing that you could do but you need not necessarily eat raw and bland veggies. Blending them into quick smoothies with a tiny hint of spices would be as good and helpful. Try avoiding refined food as much as you can because they tend to constipate you even further.

  • Drink more water

You already know that drinking more water is essential during pregnancy and if that could regulate your bowel movement, then there is nothing like it. Drinking water half an hour after meals can help your sluggish digestive system to pick up pace.  You could also add prune juice or plum smoothies to your diet if you have been eyeing them for a while.

  • Start exercising

You can never undermine the benefits of exercising regularly in pregnancy. Not only does it open up new avenues to keep the aches and pains at bay but also makes it easier to gain weight at a normal pace. Brisk walking can keep your digestive system hale and hearty; irrespective of whether you are pregnant or not.

  • Take laxatives if you must

Exercising too much pressure while excreting could cause hemorrhoids and that is the last thing you would want in pregnancy. Hemorrhoids4 can be pretty painful and can give you sleepless nights. If you feel that your tendency to constipate is beyond diet and lifestyle modifications, consider talking to your doctor about it. He might recommend safe laxatives that will ease your pain.

  • Different kinds of supplements

Not all iron supplements need to be constipating in nature. There are some alternatives like slow-release iron supplements that will not contribute to your bowel irregularity as much as their counterparts do. Your doctor would be the best person to recommend you as per the needs of your body.

How Can You Help Your Pregnant Spouse In The 22nd Week Of Pregnancy?

Your wife is probably dealing with edema, larger feet, skin discolorations, pigmentation, stretch marks, increased body hair, leg cramps and aching back all at the same time. The best thing that you could do is to stay by her side and keep her feeling loved and pampered all through. There is nothing that a loving massage and a dinner outside can’t put together. Ask her if she would be interested in watching a movie too because long hours in one place might not be comfortable. Have late night conversations if she is up for it and feel your baby’s kicks and nudges together. This is the phase where you two need to bond well because a newborn can take up a lot of space and time which often results in relationships and people drifting away from each other. Ensure that she is eating well and is taking all her supplements on time. Keep a check on her weight gain and ensure that she is well rested. Find out if her workplace is comfortable for her and if she does decide to quit, support her decision and back her up. This is the one of the best things you could do!

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lanugo
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relaxin
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Areolar_glands
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemorrhoid

Feel Your Baby Move Around As You Settle Into The 21st Week Of Pregnancy

By the 21st week, you will probably not be able to keep your pregnancy under the wraps because everyone you meet would be able to figure it out from your belly bump. It is a different thing if you choose to wear loose and unrestricted clothing to purposefully keep the news undisclosed but if you are type who couldn’t wait long enough for your belly to start showing, it is time you got a few belly hugging tees and tops! Maternity wear comes in a wide range of choices these days and if you have always wanted to flaunt that baby bump, there is nothing like a couple of maternity tees to accentuate your pregnancy. You can expect more energy this week so shopping would be a welcome change. You would be able to feel your uterus by placing your fingers half an inch above the belly button; yes, you are that ahead in pregnancy already!

Your Baby

Starting from the previous week, your baby is now being measured in terms of Crown to Heel length instead of Crown to Rump. She will probably measure around 10 inches in length and 12 ½ ounces in weight. Doesn’t it sound too good to be true? Wait till you know what your baby will be compared to this week! Your baby is already the size of a large carrot and as unbelievable as it sounds, you will be able to make that out when the light flutters and movements1 turn to kicks and moves that will wake you up in the middle of the night. Your baby will be practicing all sorts of moves inside the womb and they will fill you up with warm and fuzzy feelings. You might want to keep a track of your baby’s moves but it is still too early to do that because there is no set pattern for the movements yet. However, you might notice that she kicks more when you are lying down and lesser when you are actively involved in some work. This could go on to become her pattern and will help you to keep track when the doctor will ask you to.

There is plenty of room for your baby to move around in your womb right now and till your uterine walls start closing in and it becomes more cramped inside, there will be quite a few somersaults in the making. You would often wonder if your baby is ever asleep, what with all the new moves he has mastered, but contrary to what you think, your unborn baby sleeps quite a lot like a newborn does. When you are actively involved in some work, you wouldn’t notice but the movements from outside the womb tend to lull the baby to sleep. It is right when you are resting that all the activities begin. Are you already apprehensive of the newborn phase? Don’t be because we have all been there and done that. It is not easy but it is not impossible either.

What Does Your Baby Taste?

You had once heard from a distant cousin that just because she had eaten cucumbers all through pregnancy, her baby seemed to take an instant liking to them as soon as they were introduced. If you thought that it was mere coincidence, think again! Your baby swallows a tiny bit of amniotic fluid every day. This is done in order to practice the skills of swallowing and digesting food that will later help after birth. It is said that the taste of amniotic fluid changes as per the kind of food you have. If you have been eating more bananas, it is likely that your baby will find more interest in them after he takes to solids.

It is often recommended to expecting mothers that they eat as many veggies as they can during pregnancy so that the baby is exposed to the taste of them and does not create a fuss when the greens are finally introduced. This is not absolutely backed by evidence but an observation based on a number of similar instances.

Making The Moves Count

What used to be jerky and twitchy moves are now properly synchronized and coordinated because your baby’s limbs are now in perfect proportion with the body and his neurons connect the brain and his muscles. The impulses are better transported and with cartilage running between his bones, it is easier for him to co-ordinate his moves.

You would find that the moves follow a pattern and if you have been keeping track, you will soon be able to identify the period during which your baby is the most active. You might as well feel overwhelmed with all the movements sometimes, which is normal. Try and get some rest if you have been feeling touched out with so much happening around you.

Your Body At 21 Weeks

You could either be feeling more energetic this week or find no such improvement from the last week; every pregnancy is different and there is no ideal as such but it has been found that most women find the second trimester to be the most bearable. How is your body changing in response to the developments this week? Read below to know more!

Acne That Refuses To Go

Are you a teenager all over again? You might ask yourself this question often these days because acne outbreaks are changing the way you look at yourself. As if dark patches and chloasma2 wasn’t enough, you now have acne to deal with! Your skin is producing more oil, you are sweating a lot more and you might as well be dealing with sleepless nights; acne is bound to follow. Before you start panicking and resorting to all sorts of topical creams and such, it is important for you to know that pregnancy-induced acne will go away on its own and there is no need to take OTC medication for it. Try keeping your face as clean as possible and use mild cleansers twice a day. There is a fact that not a lot of people are aware of; the more oil-free your face wash is, the oilier your skin becomes. This is because your skin produces more oil as an automated response to the absence of oil on the skin. The best remedy is to wash with water as often as you can.

Stretch Marks

What looked like thin streaks last week will develop into more prominent marks this week. Stretch marks can seem depressing to you initially and you will probably do all that you can to get rid of them. However, as time passes, you will realize that these stretch marks are your body’s way of telling you that your baby is growing well.

Stretch marks are deep epidermal tears and however much you may try; you cannot avoid them if you are genetically meant to get them. There are women who never get a single mark on their body all through pregnancy and then there are women like you who feel like a checkerboard by the end of it. What is significant is how these stretch marks are worth the trouble.

Your skin is expanding beyond limits and there is every reason to get these stretch marks on various parts of your body like your abdomen, thighs, breast and buttocks. These stretch marks are not harmful by themselves but they are generally itchy and might cause you to scratch them often. Scratching stretch marks could only worsen your situation because they might lead to skin infections if your nails are too sharp. While you cannot get rid of stretch marks, you can rest assured that they will eventually fade away after delivery. All you will be left with are silvery streaks on the skin. However, it is important for you to know that you can never really get rid of stretch marks. You could use all the creams and lotions you want to but these act superficially on the skin and will never be able to do away with the marks. What these creams and gels can do is relieve the itching and discomfort. You can also use oatmeal paste and aloe vera gel directly on the area that has been affected by stretch marks. You will at least not need to keep scratching your belly to feel comfortable.

Yet another reason for you to get stretch marks is rapid weight gain. It is normal to gain a chunk of weight in the second trimester but accelerated weight gain could spell trouble for both you and your baby. Try and have nutrient dense food so that you can gradually add the pounds. If you are a fair-skinned woman, you will find that the stretch marks are more prominent on your skin whereas if you are darker in complexion, they might not be as prominent.

Sex In The 21st Week Of Pregnancy

If you have been feeling aroused all week, you have one good thing to appreciate your pregnancy hormones for. It has been seen that many pregnant women experience a rush of sexual desire by the time they reach their second trimester. What used to seem like an impossible task in the first trimester becomes the most desirable feeling ever. This is because there is increased blood flow to your pelvic area and there is also more lubrication in and around your vagina. If you are feeling awkward about wanting to have sex frequently, please don’t because it is absolutely normal and your husband will be more than willing to oblige.

While some can’t wait to reach the bedroom and turn off the lights, some others just don’t feel like having sex at all. This is also a normal variant of pregnancy. There could be a number of reasons. A lot of women experience dryness or a burning sensation during and after sex in pregnancy which is why they don’t feel like having sex. You could also feel unattractive, be more conscious of your changing body and also feel too exhausted all the time. If you are avoiding sex because your feel your body is not beautiful enough, try talking to your husband about it. Communicate your problems and let him know how exactly you find it difficult to get involved in sex.

Sex is not the only way you can communicate with your partner so if you have issues that do not let you have sex often, try spending more time talking and cuddling. Make these conversations about you two; it is important to connect as partners before you connect as parents. If there are positions that make you feel uncomfortable, try other positions that do not involve too much movement. Spooning has been often preferred by pregnant women.

When Should You Not Have Sex During Pregnancy?

As long as your pregnancy is low-risk and uncomplicated there is no reason to not have sex till the day you go into labor. However, there are situations when your doctor will recommend you to avoid sex completely. Listed below are the reasons:

  • If you have a low-lying placenta; medically termed as placenta previa3
  • If you have a history of miscarriages.
  • If you have had unexplained vaginal bleeding or spotting.
  • If your cervix is not strong or closed enough to support the pregnancy.
  • If you have leaked amniotic fluid in the past.

Pregnancy is a phase when you will need to be extremely careful about contracting sexually transmitted diseases because they could harm your baby in more ways than one. If you feel that your partner could have a health issue that needs to be addressed, talk to your doctor before indulging in oral sex or sex without condoms. Even with condoms, there is no surety of the fact that you will not get affected. Always get a testing done when you are unsure.

If you had a premature labor or a preterm birth, your doctor might advise you to abstain from sex completely till your delivery. If your cervix is not strong enough, you might experience preterm labor yet again which is why abstaining from sex is the wisest recommendation that you could get.

Are You More Anxious Than Ever Before?

You not only feel pregnant but also look pregnant which might start making you feel anxious about what the future holds for you. There will be people who might ask you unsettling questions, especially the ones that you had never thought of. To be honest, nothing can prepare you for pregnancy and parenthood so quit trying to look like a person who has everything sorted out. It is important to take one step at a time and when you do so, you will be able to solve a chunk of your problems.

Never ignore the fact that you are actually anxious because the more you try to keep the fears away, the more they will start creeping up on you. You might be apprehensive about your financial condition and whether your finances would be enough to take care of all your needs. If you are a single mother, the going gets tougher. How would you plan your innings?

Begin with a flowchart of things; what leads to what and you would know where to save and how to make your earnings work to your best advantage. If you are concerned about your job structure, you might want to talk to your employer about it. By now, he or she would have probably got an idea about your pregnancy and if you haven’t really made pregnancy announcements, this is the time for an ice-breaker. Always schedule an appointment before you plan to talk about the pregnancy. Doing it in a hurry would only worsen the situation if your boss is not too thrilled about it. Keep your priorities sorted. If you are in perfect health conditions you will not need to talk about leaves yet but if you do have an unavoidable situation that is hindering your ability to work efficiently, communicate the issue to your boss right away.

It is possible that your work role involves staying and involving yourself in hazardous conditions. The end decision is yours to take but it is recommended that you try and stay away from such roles. Talk to your employer about other vacancies in the system and if you could shift your profile till the time you are capable of going back to your earlier role. Never apologize for being pregnant because that can make it easier for your employer to take undue advantage of the system. Even if you are hale and hearty, drop a hint about maternity leave and when you plan to take it so that you have all your documents ready.

If you are anxious about managing the work life balance, talk to friends and peers who have been pregnant and are parents now. They will be able to give you a clearer picture as to how things are supposed to be handled. They could also suggest day care facilities for your baby so that you need not worry about not having a baby sitter at home or quitting your job to take care of your baby.

Join Prenatal Classes

Now is the time to enroll yourself in prenatal classes because you are neither too big to feel uncomfortable sitting for longer periods nor too early to understand the process of birthing and newborn care. You may or may not choose to take your spouse or partner along to these classes but it is recommended that you do. This would be a wonderful way for both the parents to connect with each other and the baby. A hands-on experience is an important lesson in parenting and what better way and time to learn it other than this?

A prenatal class will not only help you relax but also teach you new ways you never knew one could birth in. However, you will need to decide if you want a natural birth or a hospital birth. If you are looking for natural birthing options that your doctor approves of, then get hold of classes that deal with them. If you are looking at a hospital birth, you can join classes that teach you prenatal yoga and advise you on your diet and lifestyle.

Midwives3 are excellent choices if you are looking for a natural home birth. Births these days are being treated as surgeries; with doctors and nurses taking over you like a patient and trying as many ways as they can without seeking your permission. A midwife will respect your choices, if she happens to be of the same mental wavelength and she will assist you in an anxiety-free birth with little or no medical intervention.

How Can You Help Your Pregnant Spouse In The 21st Week Of Pregnancy?

As your spouse settles down into the 21st week of pregnancy, you can try being more helpful with work at home. If you are doing that already, keep the communications going strong. Mama Bear might not be in the mood for intimacy; not yet and you will need to understand if this is because she is feeling more conscious of the way her body is changing. Keep reminding her that she looks beautiful. This will make her feel good and loved and will add to her health and happiness. Midnight cravings are here to stay so keep your pantry stocked with healthy food like nuts, dried fruits and homemade granola. Always motivate her to eat healthy and if you feel that she might be going overboard with snacks, remind her gently that accelerated weight gain might not be a good idea. Yes, she might have anger outbursts, often or not so often and you can try to talk her out of the situation. Have a good laugh later and blame the pregnancy hormones together for spoiling a good evening. Spend quality time with her and remind her that she has a shoulder to fall back on whenever she needs to.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fetal_movement
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melasma
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midwife

Halfway Through Pregnancy, Know How 20 Weeks Will Feel

If you consider 40 weeks to be full term, this is the week which will mark the mid-point of your journey. The 20th week arrives with a realization that you really are halfway there and in a matter of 20 more weeks, you will be able to meet the tiny being inside your womb that is growing by leaps and bounds. Your body and your baby are making rapid developments to ensure that all the milestones are reached on time. Till this week, your baby will be measured in terms of Crown Rump Length but from the next week onwards, he will be measured from head to toe. This is primarily because till 20 weeks, the baby keeps its legs curled up against the torso which makes it difficult to measure from head to toe. Now that he will be more erect and your uterus will grow even more to give him ample amount of space to stretch out, it will be easier to measure him from top to bottom.

Your Baby At 20 Weeks

Weighing around 10 ounces and measuring six and a half inches from crown to rump, your baby is growing bigger and you will most probably feel the movements often by now. If you haven’t felt them by now, in the coming weeks, you are sure to feel the flutters. A lot of new mums cannot differentiate between a proper movement and gas bubbles, which is a normal phenomenon in pregnancy. Most second time mums would know the difference but if your placenta is low-lying, you might find it difficult to identify what is what. Your baby is now almost the size of a cantaloupe and although he is growing rapidly, there is quite a lot of room around him to twist and turn till you reach the third trimester when it will get really crowded inside the womb.

Finding Out The Gender

Now that you know how the myths and games around the gender of the baby make no real sense, you would turn to information backed by evidence. A baby’s gender can only be detected by following the genital structure of the baby while an ultrasound is being carried out. Till last week, it would have been quite a task for your doctor to find out the baby’s gender because he would keep his legs curled up against him inside the womb. Now that there is more movement and more space for your baby to throw around his limbs, your doctor will be able to find out the gender.

There is no denying the fact that your baby’s genitals will continue to grow throughout the pregnancy and there are many more developmental milestones to cover but by this week, it will be more evident as to what the gender of your baby really is. An ultrasound examination will be able to detect the gender more precisely. If your baby is a girl, her vaginal passage is developing and her uterus is completely formed. She has around 7 million eggs in her ovaries now that will come down to about 2 million when she is about to be born. If you are having a boy, his testicles are gearing up to make their descent although they will remain enclosed inside the scrotum to develop fully before descending.

Your baby’s digestive system is gradually developing and he is also swallowing a lot more this week, thus adding to this development. All newborns pass meconium1 at birth. It is the first stool of the baby and the accumulation of this sticky and gooey substance has already begun inside the intestines. At birth, this will be excreted in the form of the first stool of the baby.

Your Body At 20 Weeks

If you have already gained around 10 pounds by now, consider yourself absolutely normal. Halfway through the pregnancy, the top part of your uterus is at the same level as that of your belly button. You will continue to amaze people on the streets, especially if they knew nothing about the pregnancy. You are showing up quite a bit this week and nobody will think of belly fat anymore; you would be visibly pregnant. In order to ensure that your pregnancy is thriving and you are getting enough nutrients from your meals it is important to incorporate healthy eating habits early so that continuing the same through pregnancy is easier.

The most important mineral that you need to keep an eye on is iron and you should always be aware whether your diet consists of enough iron or not. Your body needs adequate amount of iron to make hemoglobin that carries oxygen to different parts of your body. In the absence of enough iron, your baby will keep depleting your iron stores and you might become anemic. Anemia is common in the second trimester of pregnancy and is one of the primary reasons for symptoms like light-headedness, dizziness, unexplained lethargy, breathlessness and a general sense of discomfort. If you feel any of these symptoms, you must let your doctor know so that he or she can rule out anemia with a blood test. If you are diagnosed with low levels of iron, you might either be recommended food fortified with iron or supplements, depending on the level of your deficiency.

You might wonder why your body needs more iron during pregnancy. In pregnancy, your blood volume is expanding, your baby is growing and the placenta is developing; all at the same time. These conditions demand more iron to keep up with the work of carrying more oxygen as and when needed by the body. Even if you haven’t felt any of the symptoms of anemia, you could start stocking up on iron rich food beforehand because once the deficiency sets in; you will have to rely on supplements. It has been seen that iron is best absorbed by the body when you are on a diet that contains animal protein. If you happen to be a vegetarian, plant-based sources of iron are adequate but will need to be boosted by Vitamin C for optimal absorption of iron by the body. Red meat and poultry are considered as excellent sources of iron for pregnant women. Plant-based sources2 are peanuts, legumes, raisins, apricots, figs, spinach, kale and if you can have them with a glass of freshly made orange juice or lemonade, you are ensuring that you get the maximum amount of iron from these sources.

What Else Is Growing This Week?

Apart from your baby bump, there are other things that might add to your appearance; both in pleasant and unpleasant ways. If you have always been an ardent admirer of long and beautiful nails, this is the time to sport them because your forever brittle nails might be the strongest ever by this week. Along with that, you might also notice that your hair has become more lustrous and voluminous. Owing to the pregnancy hormones and the elevated blood volume, there is better circulation and hence more nutrients reach your scalp and hair tips. This results in bouncy, shiny and thick hair that you might as well fall in love with. However, post partum hair fall is for real and when your baby is around 3-4 months old, you can expect a considerable amount of hair fall. It might seem to you that you could turn bald in a couple of months but this too passes and even if you might not get back the volume and the shine, you will have enough hair left for your little one to play with.

While some women feel that their nails are now stronger and more beautiful, some others find their nails turning dry and brittle. While hair turns thick and voluminous, you will also tend to grow hair everywhere else on your body. You might find waxing too rough for your sensitive skin but if your skin can tolerate it, waxing is the safest mode of hair removal in pregnancy. Shaving could give your razor bumps and the last thing you want to deal with at this point in time is itchy and scratchy skin. Hair removal creams could trigger allergic reactions, especially if you have never used them before. If you must use a hair removal cream, ensure that you take the patch test to rule out reactive tendencies.

Swollen Feet And Ankles

There is a possibility that your feet and ankles continue to look swollen this week because water retention is a common issue with most pregnant women. You might also experience some sort of pain and discomfort, especially when you get up after long periods of sitting around in the same posture. This is known as edema and affects quite a number of women in their second and third trimesters. You can avoid the occurrence of edema by not wearing tight stockings or shoes that tend to enhance the blood clots and swelling. Edema is not restricted to your ankles and feet. You might also notice some amount of added fat on and around your fingers that will make you wince if you try to take your wedding ring off. It is recommended that you either get your rings re-adjusted or don’t wear any ring till your fat distribution is sorted.

Edema is normally harmless but if you notice that the swelling persists and keeps increasing, you should consider getting it checked by a doctor who will rule out pre-eclampsia. Pre-eclampsia has symptoms like swollen feet and ankles, high blood pressure and rapid weight gain. While not every symptom of edema could signify pre-eclampsia, you can never be careful enough because the latter could lead to low birth weight babies and premature labor. Your prenatal visits will include checking your blood pressure and your urine sample for protein.

Are You Feeling Dizzy Too Often?

If you thought that the second trimester was supposed to make you feel hale and hearty all through, think again. A lot of new symptoms crop up by Week 20 and you need to know ways of dealing with them before you fall a prey to any of them. You could be one of those women who feel dizzy and light-headed often during the second trimester and here you were hoping that you will be full of bustling energy to take on the world like your typical parenting group talks about.

If you have been feeling rather disoriented and unsteady lately, there is no need to panic because it is a very common symptom. What you need to be careful about is avoiding accidental falls. Your circulatory system is rapidly expanding and your body is still in the process of producing enough volume to fill it up. Also, the blood flow to your brain might be reduced at times that is also responsible for this dizziness.

Yet another reason to feel dizzy is the fact that your blood sugar keeps spiking up and down which could potentially take away your balance. You should also know that if you are not having enough water or are sweating way too much, you could feel off-balance. Your body is making a baby and you are already always feeling sweaty and uncomfortable. Try sticking to clothes made of natural fabric so that you don’t sweat as much. Very tight clothes will only add to your problems.

Are You Sleeping Enough?

You are nowhere near delivery but are you already losing sleep over a number of concerns that keep you from enjoying a good night’s rest? If this is happening to you, you are not alone in this because a lot of women find unwinding at the end of the day quite difficult to deal with. It is also more difficult to sleep through the night because of problems like leg cramps, backaches, reflux3 and such. However, it is important that you start stocking up on sleep now because once you reach your third trimester, sleep would keep eluding you. Furthermore, when you have a baby, all that you would think of is to sleep but that would be a distant reality till your baby is developmentally ready to sleep through the night.

This is what brings us to a pertinent question, “How will I manage to sleep well?” Listed below are some effective ways to put yourself to sleep and stay asleep for longer stretches:

  • If you have been struggling to avoid the loud snores lately, stop being embarrassed about them, to begin with. Snoring is usual in pregnancy because the hormone estrogen makes the mucus membranes in your nose swell up and that is when you start snoring. No amount of medication or other methods will help solve this but there is one way in which you can reduce the impact. Never sleep on your back because that tends to enhance the snoring. Always sleep on your side and keep your head propped up. This will effectively reduce the impact of snoring.
  • Reflux could potentially keep you up all night. Heartburn and indigestion will keep you from feeling comfortable. Always have an early dinner. Give your digestive system three hours to do its work effectively. It is recommended that you prop up your pillows before sleeping so that the acid does not seep up into your throat at night. Have a dinner that does not consist of reflux triggers. Everybody has different triggers for reflux and if you can identify them, it will be easier for you to avoid them altogether.
  • The most annoying and painful thing that can wake you up instantly is a leg cramp. You might have two episodes on the same night as well as no episode ever in your pregnancy but it is important to know what to do if it haunts you in the middle of the night. Try straightening your legs first and then flex your toes backwards till you feel comfortable. Walking around for some time would help the joints and the muscles loosen up.
  • If your back has been giving you trouble, never be embarrassed about taking more pillows to bed. Your body is expanding way more than it is used to and this is probably why you feel more aches and pains than ever before. Maternity pillows4 come in handy as they provide much-needed support to the body while also keeping your body in an ergonomic position.
  • Expect your body temperature to change frequently. You will mostly wake up feeling hot and sweaty and because of the changes in your metabolism, your hormones and your body weight. Try and strip down to your basics and keep the room well-ventilated.
  • Simply getting in and out of bed is a Herculean task because you are lugging around added weight now. This entire process of getting up and then going back to bed could wake you in the middle of the night and going back to sleep could be very difficult. How would you tackle this situation? Always turn to one of your sides while getting up. This is to ensure that you don’t need to place any pressure on your growing bump. Your feet should touch the ground completely and only after that should you get up and stand. If you feel dizzy or faint, sit down immediately or call for help.
  • Reading has been known to help with pregnancy induced insomnia. If you have been too nervous or excited to sleep, you can start writing down your feelings at the end of the day. Or else, you can start reading parenting books that will prepare you to some extent about a number of things that crop up after your baby is born.

Are You Having Cramps After Sex?

You might want to have sex or you might not but if you are having issues like cramps or bleeding after orgasms, you could talk to your doctor about it. A certain amount of cramping is normal in pregnancy because your uterus contracts after an orgasm but it will not harm your baby in any way. Your baby is securely enveloped in the amniotic sac and will probably only feel a tiny bit of rhythmic movements that may either wake him or her up from sleep or lull him to sleep. If you notice spotting or bleeding or if the cramps are so severe or close together that you cannot carry out your normal day to day activities, rush to your doctor immediately.

Try These Simple Ways To Get Your Partner To Interact With Your Baby

You might feel annoyed with your partner sometimes because he is probably not feeling anything all through pregnancy but believe in this that he is an essential part of the pregnancy and will be the father of your baby. This is why he will have a quintessential role to play in parenting. Here are a few ways he can feel involved in this pregnancy.

Always take him along for your prenatal visits. He will be able to feel more affectionate towards the baby. When you are choosing colors for the crib or the nursery, always involve him in the discussion.

The best way to make him feel closer to the baby is to let him feel the kicks. This will immediately add a touch of realism to this pregnancy. You will need to understand that this man is doing everything in his capacity to hold your hand through the pregnancy and you will need to make him feel closer to you as well as your baby.

You can also invite him to play songs for the little one because if you remember, your baby can hear sounds from outside the womb. This will not only be a wonderful way to help your partner to connect to the baby but will also ensure that there is a song your baby might want to hear her father play after she is born.

The journey of pregnancy is for both of you to undertake together so ensure that you do that beautifully!

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meconium
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protein_(nutrient)
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gastroesophageal_reflux_disease
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthopedic_pillow