Home Blog Page 4

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

Read About All The Brand New Changes In The 19th Week Of Pregnancy

One more week before you are officially half-way through this pregnancy, the 19th week is like a precursor to what’s expected when you reach the mid-point of an important journey. This is yet again a phase where you can expect your baby to have growth spurts because the preparations are in full swing and a number of developmental milestones are soon to be met. Almost the size of a large mango, your baby will have a whitish coating on its skin this week that will protect your baby’s developing skin from the surrounding amniotic fluid. Imagine your fingers soaked in water for an entire day; they will turn crinkly in less than an hour. The same theory applies to your baby soaked in amniotic fluid for 40 weeks or more, which is why the cheesy coating develops to offer protection to its sensitive skin. This layer is called the vernix1 and even though it starts shedding as delivery approaches, a lot of newborns are born with the vernix on their skin.

Your Baby At 19 Weeks

The factors responsible for your baby’s sensory development are picking up pace. To say this in simpler words, your baby’s brain is catering to more specific needs like the sensations of smell, taste, sound, vision and touch. These sensations are developing rapidly and like the previous two weeks, you can continue singing lullabies to your baby so that he or she recognizes it after birth. Still measuring in Crown rump length at 6 inches, your baby weighs not less than 8 and ½ ounces. What used to be a disproportionately shaped body is now growing into a proportionate structure; the limbs have finally grown out in sync with the rest of the body. Nothing is out of place anymore.

Your baby is producing and excreting urine into the amniotic fluid and there is a definite layer of hair on your baby’s scalp by now.

If you are having a daughter, her ovaries contain more than 6 million eggs at the moment and her uterus is completely formed. This is so interesting to know because this little being you are nurturing inside your womb will have her own babies some day, for which she is gearing up already.

Your Body At 19 Weeks

Is your baby bump bigger than ever before? Relax, because this is just the beginning. Your belly will seem the largest every week till you can’t wait to deliver at full term. This is the week when your growing bump will make you feel the achiness in your lower back. There is no denying the fact that the belly places considerable pressure on the back and the ligaments providing support to the uterus are continuously stretching. If you have been standing up or sitting in the same posture for a long time, there is a possibility that you have developed round ligament pain.

Some women start having this pain quite early in pregnancy while some others start at around the 18th or the 19th week when the stretching and the pulling are in full swing simultaneously. Round ligament pain is characterized by a sharp and stabbing pain that can originate on either one side or both sides of the abdomen. This pain may also extend to your groin at times and unless it is so severe that you cannot continue with your normal, everyday activities, there is no reason to feel alarmed. However, if you have had a history of miscarriages or preterm labor, always keep your doctor informed about any new symptom.

Ensure that you are not lifting heavy objects because this can worsen the pain. Avoid sudden movements that can trigger the round ligament pain unexpectedly. While the pain lasts for not more than 15-20 seconds, it can be extremely uncomfortable when you are busy at work. If you feel the onset of this pain when there is something important coming up, try getting up and moving around a little. Stretching your arms, legs and practicing kegels while standing up can ease your muscular stiffness.

Skin Changes This Week

Has your skin been changing its color recently? Is there a darker tone that is catching up? From all the extra estrogen that your body is secreting, there are bound to be visible changes on your skin. There are a number of things that could happen; from your palms looking reddish in color to the skin of your face looking darker in patches. These patches are distinctly visible on your cheeks, forehead and upper lips, making you look darker than you are and are popularly known as the ‘mask of pregnancy’ or chloasma2. What else is darkening on your body? Your nipples, vulva, underarms and inner thighs will also show visible amount of darkening because of the pregnancy hormone estrogen. The Linea nigra continues to grow darker and becomes a prominent line by now.

All these signs and symptoms will eventually fade away after you deliver but if you are feeling a little self-conscious because of these marks and spots, you can use concealers that can camouflage them. Furthermore, always use a sunscreen and a hat when you are stepping outdoors because not only could your skin condition worsen after direct sun exposure but also feel itchier because of the heightened sensitivity.

Is The Little One Kicking Already?

Was that a gas bubble popping or is there something going on in there? The first flutters could confuse you, especially if you are a first time mum but if you have had babies earlier, you would know the difference between quickening and gas bubbles. The first tiny kicks can feel adorable because they are living proof that your baby is connected to you in every way.

Why is it that some women feel the movements earlier than others? This has got a lot to do with your structure. If you are on the skinnier side, you are sure to feel the movements earlier than a woman who has more body fat. It also depends on where you are carrying your baby. if you placenta is lower in position, you will not feel a thing till your 22nd or 23rd week but if you are carrying higher, the feelings will come in sooner.

What seems like a one-off situation now, will improve over time and when your baby can kick real hard, you will not be confused about the movement any further.

Exercising During Pregnancy

If you are healthy and your pregnancy is uncomplicated, there is no reason why you should not work out as much as you used to before you had conceived. However, you will probably need to avoid jarring movements, sudden jerks and changes of position that could lead to further trouble for you. Find below all the kinds of exercises that you could do with ease in the second trimester of pregnancy.

I’m A Beginner. How Will I Start?

It is advisable to start slow if you have never really exercised before. It is also safer if you discuss your exercise regime with your doctor beforehand so that if there is something that you should avoid, you will be aware of it before starting off. Always start with mild to moderate exercises and never undermine the importance of proper stretching. A proper warm up will help avoid unwanted nerve pulls and such.

The safest form of exercise to begin with is walking. Whether you choose to brisk walk or walk slowly is up to you but try and walk for 10-15 minutes every day so that your joints and muscles don’t turn stiff. What you need to invest in is a comfortable pair of walking shoes. The other safe form of exercise that you could try is swimming. Swimming is extremely beneficial in pregnancy and can help refresh you completely. Swimming involves working of the small and the large muscles together that aims at a complete workout of the entire body. It also helps to hold up your body weight and provide a good deal of comfort from lugging around so much weight.

Have You Heard Of Kegels?

There is nothing better than a set of Kegels a day in pregnancy. Kegels are pelvic floor strengthening exercises that can help you in more ways than one. Your pelvic muscles hold urethra, bladder, uterus, vagina and your rectum together which is why the more the number of kegels, the stronger your pelvic floor muscles will be. Kegels are also known to get your blood circulation regulated so that painful hemorrhoids can be avoided. Urine incontinence3 is the commonest complain that pregnant women experience every year and Kegels are the best possible means to ensure that you don’t suffer from it.

How Will You Do Kegels?

When you feel the urge to pee, imagine that you need to suppress it by tightening your vaginal muscles. You are squeezing and lifting your pelvic floor muscles while keeping your abdominal and leg muscles relaxed. Never hold your breath for long while doing Kegels. Breathe as normally as you do.

Holding your breath for 8-10 seconds and releasing them will help you to keep a lot of problems away. Kegels can be repeated three to four times a day and can literally be done anytime and anywhere you wish to.

Have You Thought Of Baby Names?

There is no denying the fact that you have thought innumerable times about naming your unborn baby. While it could prove to be a lot of fun for some couples, it could also get quite adventurous for some. Naming a baby depends on a lot of factors like the ancestry, heritage, uniqueness of the name, relevance of the name to modern times, compatibility with last name, relevant to the nature of the baby etc. Furthermore, there are family members who would also want their share of naming. All these could proves to be unavoidable hassles but there are ways in which you can choose your baby’s name without losing your mind. listed below are some:

  • Find A Unique Name

Instead of opting or what’s trending at the moment, find a name that is unique and different from all others. However, you will need to be careful in this matter because a name that nobody has ever heard or a name that has spelling variations could be difficult to pronounce and that will invariably brew troubles. Find something that is out of the box but still holds some relevance to the life you lead.

  • Compatibility With The Last Name

Please find a name that sounds good with the last name. Parents often end up finding baby names that sound beautiful by themselves but are absolutely out of sync with the last name. Your kid will use both the first and the last name throughout his or her life so please ensure that both sound good together.

  • Your Ancestry

If you have a rich cultural heritage that you would want your child’s name to reflect, think of names that serve a dual purpose of being traditional yet not old-fashioned. You will be able to find such names in books and on websites that speak of countries and their origin.

  • What Do Family Members Have To Say?

This is the tricky part. Most family members would want to participate in naming the baby with what they find is appropriate. It can get pretty sensitive if your great grandmother in her 90s comes up with her aunt’s name and your eyes are almost falling out because your kid will probably hate you for such a name. What is advisable at this point is to take as many suggestions as you can, as politely as you can, and keep the naming a private matter. When people around you are dropping hints, thank them for their participation and let them know that their suggestions will definitely be taken into consideration. In this way, you are neither hurting them nor losing your sleep over anything.

  • Think About Bullies At School

Your name is the first thing that people will probably hear from you and it is a major source of embarrassment for many. Bullies at school invariably pick out kids whose names are different from the rest so this could be a factor if your child gets bullied often at school.

  • Following In The Footsteps Of Your Older Child

You may want to name your younger child as per your older child is named; probably something that rings a similar note. This is a beautiful idea and will add the much-needed bonding between the siblings.

What Are The Red Flags In The 19th Week?

Every week comes along with a few red flags that you should never ignore and listed below are some for the 19th week, in the presence of which, you should immediately contact your doctor.

  1. If you have cramps or any kind of pain that is severe and does not get better with hot compress or general pain relief medication, you will need to speak to your doctor right away. This is because it could be symptomatic of a number of things like a miscarriage, preterm labor4 or other complications.
  2. If you have high fever accompanied with chills, body ache, vomiting and vaginal discharge, call your doctor right away.
  3. If you witness a vaginal discharge that is runny and trickles down like water, your amniotic sac may have been ruptured prematurely and you will need to be hospitalized immediately.
  4. In a situation in which you feel dizzy and weak, or your hands turn cold or clammy, call out for help and ask for glucose water if you can speak. Blood sugar tends to become slightly unstable in pregnancy which is why you might have bouts of dizziness.
  5. If you are gaining weight rapidly and you simply cannot control your urge to have sugar-laden food, you should ideally get checked out for diabetes.
  6. Keep your weight gain in check. If you find that there is unexplained swelling in the body and it keeps getting worse, talk to your doctor about the possibility of preeclampsia.
  7. Always carry an identification card with yourself so that in unforeseen circumstances, people can contact your family members.

A Few Tips And Tricks For The 19th Week

As the saying goes, “Make hay while the sun shines”, it is a wise idea to enjoy this golden phase of pregnancy while you have the energy to do so. If you have been postponing that vacation for the last couple of months, it is time to think of it right away. Once you are in your third trimester, it would be very difficult to lug around that huge pregnant belly of yours to beaches. Plan a baby moon with your partner and have as much fun as you want to.

Plan night outs with your best friends. If you breastfeed your baby, there will be quite some time before you can think of planning night parties, which is why party as much as you can so that there are no regrets later.

If you are expecting twins, there is all the more possibility for you to develop preeclampsia. This is otherwise known as pregnancy induced hypertension and affects a lot of women these days. Eating right, staying active and getting enough rest are ways to prevent this condition although there is no evidence-backed way to keep it way.

Along with heightened sensitivity, your body will have an increased tendency to dehydrate easily. You will be more sensitive to heat in general. The idea is to keep yourself as hydrated as possible and keep having fluids often.

You might be struggling your way through work because all that you feel like doing is sleeping for 8 hours at a stretch but caffeine is not the solution to all your queries. It is a tempting solution nonetheless but it will only add to the drying effect and make you pee even more frequently than before. Caffeine also tends to make you thirstier and it enhances your heart rate significantly.

Sugar is not as bad as you think it is because using it moderately has always been the recommended idea. Balancing the intake of sugar with proper exercise and lifestyle is extremely important.

Do you want to use cloth diapers for your baby? If you do, then this is the time to start investing in them. It might sound too early for you but cloth diapers are expensive and hard to find. If you are looking for customized cloth diapers, start talking to mums who have dealt with them. Find out your options and your choices. Along with the good parts, find out the negative aspects of using cloth diapers. You will need to take up the responsibility of washing, drying and caring for them since they can be used for a decent amount of time depending on their aftercare.

What Can You Do For Your Pregnant Spouse At 19 Weeks?

Start looking for daycare or nurseries in your neighborhood along with your pregnant spouse because if the location is not safe enough, you might need to plan relocation. Do not keep these factors for the last minute because there are bound to be issues that might get difficult to sort out at the last moment.

Keep a check on your financials. This is one factor that both you and your spouse will need to discuss frequently and try saving up as much as possible. Owing to pregnancy induced forgetfulness, your spouse might have difficulty in remembering things and this is where you play an important role. Remind her gently about how she could also contribute to the discussion.

As for every week, remind her to take her prenatal vitamins on time, always ensure that she is having balanced meals and getting enough rest. If you two have been enjoying sex lately, indulge in it as much as you can because all the happy hormones will do great things to help uplift her mood.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vernix_caseosa
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melasma
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urinary_incontinence
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preterm_birth

What Does The 18th Week Of Pregnancy Hold For You?

Almost halfway through your pregnancy, the 18th week might suddenly make you realize that half the journey is almost over and the second half will also be done in no time. Does it occur to you that you are still unprepared for the rest of the journey and you should know more? If you have that feeling stuck in your heart, feel free to read through this article that aims to answer all your queries regarding the 18th week of pregnancy. We believe in offering you ways and means to survive each week of pregnancy with ease. We will discuss at length about a number of new symptoms that you were unaware of and will also find solutions for the nagging issues that keep cropping up now and then in pregnancy.

Your Baby At 18 Weeks

With a Crown Rump length of 5 and a half inches and also weighing at 5 and a half ounces, your baby might slightly resemble a boneless chicken breast or a bell pepper this week. It might sound weird to compare your baby with food but that is exactly how you can measure the dimensions. Your baby is highly active by now and is practicing all the moves that could soon give you the sensation of quickening. This is why you can expect the little one inside to twist, turn, kick and punch its way around in the uterus.

What else has your baby mastered? The brand new skill of yawning is what you could look forward to this week. You can only imagine how adorable it would look while yawning but when you feel those hiccups every often, the fact that there is a real human being nurtured within you, will dig deeper. If you happen to have an ultrasound this week, you might even be able to locate a tiny yawn and frequent hiccups on the screen!

What Else Is Maturing?

At 18 weeks, your baby’s nervous system is maturing rapidly and although you will not be able to sense it, it is how things proceed in a normal pregnancy. What used to simple nerve connections will gradually develop into a complex network. Currently, your baby’s nerves are covered with myelin that helps nerve cells connect with each other.

Your baby’s sense of touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing are also developing in the brain. Now that the nervous system is growing at a rapid pace, you will be amazed to know that your baby is becoming more conscious of the world outside. It could probably feel light from outside the womb till now but by this week, he or she will be able to hear your voice clearly from outside. While you would fall in love with the tiny hiccups of the little one inside, your baby will feel the same when you are hiccupping.

 Your Baby’s Gender

 By this week, an ultrasound will be able to identify your baby’s gender, especially if he is a boy because his genitals will be noticeable by now. If you are having a girl, her fallopian tube and uterus have formed by now.

Your Body At 18 Weeks

If you have had a rather uneventful second trimester, there is every possibility that the rest of it would also follow a normal path. While you could feel fatigued at times, your energy levels will be on the higher side and you might even want to sign up for a number of things at the same time! However, it is important to remember that you are nurturing a human baby inside your womb and that is not an easy task. Giving yourself adequate rest is important throughout pregnancy.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Have you been experiencing a tingling sensation that begins at your wrist and runs all through your arm making it feel numb and painful? This is a common sensation in pregnancy and is called the carpal tunnel syndrome. More than 60% women experience this pain. It is caused by a compressed nerve in the wrist but the good news is that it disappears after delivery.

Acne Outbreaks Or Glowing Skin?

While some of you are flaunting that rosy glow on your cheeks this week, some others are probably hiding themselves behind closed doors because acne outbreaks have made their lives miserable. Both the symptoms are normal and there are several ways to live with them both. Having acne on your skin is not the end of the world and you can assure yourself of that. Couple of regular skin care routines can help keep the outbursts at bay and also clear your skin to some extent.

If regular cleansing and toning does not help much with acne, you can use over to counter medication like salicylic acid1 or other medicated cleansers and toners, after consultation with your doctor.

Always remember to buy or use products that are not too harsh or loaded with chemicals. Skin in pregnancy tends to be sensitive and if you are prone to acne, you should be even more careful about using skin products. Try and avoid skin products that contain retinoids because while they are beneficial for your skin, elevated levels of Vitamin A could be harmful for your unborn baby. Avoid facial peels containing salicylic acid because it is extremely harmful for the baby.

What are the products that are safe to use? Hair removers of all kinds, sunscreens, soy based skin care products etc. are all quite safe to use because they do not contain alcohol or harmful substances that might penetrate the skin without your knowledge.

Avoid coloring your hair in pregnancy because hair color tends to get absorbed by the scalp and you are also directly inhaling the toxic fumes, especially if your color is ammonia-based. Opt for safer alternatives like henna that color your hair without containing harmful chemicals.

If you have dry skin, try aloe vera gel directly from the plant. It soothes skin and hydrates it instantly. You might also have pigmentation in pregnancy and there are a number of ways to deal with it.

What Are The Other Changes That Your Skin Is Undergoing?

You can now see the linea nigra prominently on your belly that starts from the belly button and goes all the way down to the pubic area. For some women, this dark line travels up to the breast bone too. This line grows darker all through pregnancy and fades away after your delivery.

If you have been particularly annoyed with the number of skin tags that are appearing on your skin, wait till delivery to get rid of them. Skin tags can occur anywhere on your body but they tend to be come up on the torso, armpits and neck more often.

Your skin is definitely more sensitive in pregnancy and by the 18th week you will realize that you are more prone to heat rash and allergies than ever before. The only way out of this sensitivity is to wear loose and comfortable clothing that will let your skin breathe. The tighter the clothes and the harsher the fabric, the more are your chances of getting an unexplained skin rash.

Are Your Gums Bleeding?

Apart from your skin, your gums will also show signs of sensitivity in pregnancy and although the symptoms are fairly manageable, you should know the ways to tackle these problems, if they do happen to you.

Remember how the pregnancy hormones make your mucus membranes swell up and you often end up with nasal congestion? The same happens with your gums. They become prone to inflammation, redness and tend to bleed while brushing and otherwise. Pregnancy hormones also leave your teeth and gums exposed to decay because they become excellent breeding grounds for plaque and bacteria. A lot of pregnant women suffer from toothache, gingivitis and other dental issues in pregnancy. One important thing to remember is that proper oral hygiene is quintessential to the well-being of your baby.

What Is Gingivitis And How Can You Care For Your Teeth With It?

Some amount of inflammation and soreness is common during pregnancy but if your gums are always paining and are so tender that you are having difficulty while eating food, you could possibly have gingivitis. In itself, gingivitis is not much of an issue but if it goes on to become more sore and painful, it could lead to periodontitis. Periodontitis is a serious condition that could heighten your chances of having a premature or low-weight baby.

Gingivitis2 needs to be addressed early. Good oral hygiene that includes brushing twice or thrice a day, flossing regularly and using an antiseptic mouthwash once a day can keep the annoying problems away. If you still find issues with your teeth and gums, visit a dentist to rule out underlying problems. It is recommended that a pregnant woman must visit the dentist regularly for proper evaluation of the dental condition.

It is advisable to stay away from sugary sweets and sugar-laden desserts because they create a more comfortable place for bacteria to breed and add to all the dental problems that you might have been experiencing lately. While it is impossible to abstain from sweets all through pregnancy, you can at least ensure that you follow proper oral care after you have had sweets.

Are Leg Cramps Bothering You Every Night?

Are you confused because your friends swear by the second trimester’s innate ability to help you sleep for longer at night but you can’t seem to take a nap without leg cramps waking you up often? Leg cramps can be quite painful, especially the ones at night and can leave your legs feeling sore for a couple of days after. These spasms run up and down your calves but there is no real reason that can be attributed to their occurrence. Whether it is because you are carrying around more weight or your leg nerves are compressed or there is some deficiency in your diet; there can be one and many reasons but there is not enough evidence to talk about any one.

Have you ever wondered why leg cramps hit you just when you are curling up for a good night’s sleep? This is because you are fatigued and fluid accumulation in your body is at its peak during nighttime, which is reason enough for these spasms to affect you.

There are ways in which you can avoid these cramps from bothering you. As always, it is recommended to stay as active as possible through the day and stretch well before hitting the bed. Stretching eases the stiff joints and ligaments and allows your body to circulate the blood in a more effective manner. Although this is not a sure shot way of keeping cramps away but it would help to a good extent.

There are support hoses and stockings available for pregnant women and they can also help with proper blood circulation. Diet is a significant factor in deciding your tendency to end up with leg cramps. Including more potassium and magnesium is recommended, which is why you should add those bananas to your morning cereal even if you are not too fond of them. If you love yoghurt, then you can have all the extra calcium as you want to without having to load yourself up with milk every night.

What Should You Do When You Have A Leg Cramp?

Leg cramps can feel scary, especially if you are alone at home and you are almost crippled for some time. How can you ease your pain without calling 911?

  • The thumb rule is to slowly straighten out your leg and try flexing your ankles and toes a number of times before the stiffness eases away. This might feel painful but will eventually help to do away with the pain.
  • If you feel good by massaging your legs gently, you could do it but if that does not feel good, try avoiding it because a wrong massage could worsen your situation.
  • Hot or cold compress work well and you could try alternating them to relieve the pain and stiffness.
  • If none of these work, call out for help immediately and avoid standing up r walking around till you have been attended by a doctor.

What Is Edema?

Have you recently noticed that your baby bump is not the only thing growing rapidly? If there is a slight swelling in other parts of your body, you could probably have Edema and although some women start experiencing it after 20 weeks, you could have this issue as early as the 18th week. The swelling is mostly visible on the legs and feet. In pregnancy, the volume of blood production and body fluids is higher than normal to ensure proper nurturing of your baby. This leads to swelling in your body at pressure points and although it could be annoying, but there is generally no harm that it could cause to you or your baby. However, if the swelling is accelerated, you need to call your doctor right away to rule out other problems like preeclampsia. High blood pressure and protein in the urine are the symptoms that signify the onset of preeclampsia and care should be taken to address these signs immediately.

How Can You Keep Edema Away?

While you will still be prone to a couple of episodes of Edema, there are a few ways in which you can avoid the more painful and annoying episodes. Listed below are some tips to deal with it:

  • Always keep your feet propped up while sleeping. This is to ensure that the blood does not pool at your feet and worsen the swelling.
  • Sleeping on your left side is beneficial during pregnancy because it helps your kidneys to eliminate wastes more effectively and prevent swelling in the body.
  • Tight socks and stockings are not a very good idea if you have edema. You will need to let the blood circulate well and support hoses serve that purpose better.
  • Invest in good shoes. There is nothing like a pair of comfortable shoes in pregnancy which can help you to walk around without your feet hurting like there is no tomorrow. Check for high arches, ankle support and breathability of fabric before buying a pair.
  • If you thought that giving up salt can help with edema, think again. Everything is beneficial in moderation and it is recommended that you have your normal levels of salt without overdoing it.
  • Go up a shoe size. If that surprises you because you thought feet could only grow in size till teenage, knowing this would help that your foot size does go up during pregnancy because of the omnipresent hormone relaxin3. With all the swelling and weight gain, you are bound to feel pinched by your old pair of shoes. Treat your feet better by getting a pair of comfortable shoes.

An Ultrasound This Week

In the 18th week, you will probably have an ultrasound to check for baby’s normal growth and also to check whether the placenta and the umbilical cord are functioning optimally or not. Your doctor will also check if you are going along the due date and if there are twins or multiples.

An anomaly scan is also advised at this stage to rule out birth defects early. You can watch your baby on screen and if you are lucky enough, you could even catch a glimpse of your baby yawning, thumb-sucking or turning around in the uterus. Always ensure that your partner comes along for the ultrasounds so that he can bond well with your baby early on.

Have You Considered Joining A Birth Class?

At 18 weeks, you are most definitely thinking a lot about labor and childbirth. If you haven’t been able to decide what kind of birth you would want to have, discuss the possibilities with your doctor. All birth classes differ in their approach and it is up to you to decide which method you would want to avail.

You could find birth classes in your hospital itself but if you are not sure of them, you can sign up for one in your neighborhood. Always keep in mind that if you are driving there yourself, try and ensure proximity so that you don’t tire our before even reaching the class.

You can call up the International Childbirth Education Association to receive more information about childbirth educators in and around your locality.

Ask your doctor as many questions as you want to and if you have a tendency to forget things, write down the queries as soon as they come to your mind.

How Can You Help Your Pregnant Spouse In The 18th Week Of Pregnancy?

There are a number of new things happening to her this week. She may or may not feel the first flutters but if she does, expect her to be more emotional than she already is. She might be exhilarated or apprehensive and the best way to make her feel comfortable is to keep the communication going. Asking her how her day was could be a simple yet effective way of playing the role of a good listener. Always assure her that you are by her side in this.

If she has swelling in her feet and legs, try and give her warm and cold compress whenever possible and ensure that her sleeping posture is not compromised upon.

She might want to indulge in calorie-laden junk and it is alright to have a couple of cheat days but keep guiding her as far as diet is concerned so that rapid weight gain does not lead to other problems. This woman in front of you has stretch marks on her belly, acne on her cheeks, skin tags everywhere else and a body that always feels bloated but she is probably the most beautiful person to you right now and you should ideally say that to her often. Pregnancy could make you feel strange sometimes and there is nothing that a couple oc compliments cannot do.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salicylic_acid
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gingivitis
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relaxin

17th Week Already? Time Really Flies, Doesn’t It?

The 17th week of pregnancy comes along with its own share of signs and symptoms but what you would be looking forward is the fact that you are finally showing up and the congratulatory messages haven’t stopped since! If you have been waiting for that pregnant belly of yours to finally pop, this is the week when things will move into place and with your abdomen growing out from the sides to accommodate your uterus and your internal organs effectively, you will feel the pregnancy more while standing up than while sitting down. However, there are women who feel new aches and pains by Week 17 because the pressure of the growing baby could cause nerve pulls that are quite common at around this week. Among the new symptoms, sciatic nerve pain is something that quite a few women experience and it can happen at any phase of pregnancy but most often begins at around 17 weeks. This article will discuss the 17th week of pregnancy at length and will try to assist your way through it with interesting things you did not know about the week.

Sciatic Nerve Pain

A lot of women start experiencing an occasional yet sharp pain in the legs from around the 17th week. This is popularly known as the sciatic nerve pain. While it could be mild to moderate for some, a handful of women report it as excruciating and need pain relief to carry out everyday activities. The sciatic nerve1 is the largest running nerve in the body and it travels all the way down the legs. Owing to its position under the uterus, the sciatic nerve often feels the pressure of the growing uterus and this leads to the development of sciatic nerve pain. This pain is likely to increase when you stand or sit at one place for too long. Doctors advise placing pillows under your legs while sleeping at night so that the same posture for a prolonged time does not heighten the pain. The pillows provide adequate support to the legs and keep the sciatic nerve pain at bay. If the pain is unbearable, you could ask your doctor to help you with other means of relieving the pain.

Your Baby At 17 Weeks

Till now, your baby’s skeletal structure was made of soft cartilage. This week will see it changing to bone but this is a gradual process and will take some time. Your baby’s umbilical cord is growing stronger and thicker by the day and is becoming more efficient at carrying the essential nutrients to the body of your baby via the placenta.

Almost the size of a turnip, your baby weighs 5 ounces and measures around 5 inches in terms of Crown Rump length. Her joints are now more mobile than before and she is also developing sweat glands for life outside the womb. What had been a mere skeletal structure will now start accumulating fat under its skin. Yes, your baby will lay down its fat stores till the end of pregnancy and this will help him or her in surviving temperature outside the womb.

An interesting development to note this week is how your baby’s heartbeat is no longer a random occurrence but something that is controlled by the brain. If you hear the heartbeat on a Doppler2 now, you will be amazed to experience beats of 140-150 per minute, twice than that of yours. There are other developmental milestones that your baby is practicing more and more everyday so that he can perfect the art of it, for example, sucking and swallowing that will come in handy when he has to breastfeed right after birth. Most of your baby’s survival skills will be practiced and learnt inside the womb.

Did You Know That Your Baby Will Have Unique Fingerprints?

Fingerprints make every individual unique and there is no doubt about that. Your baby will also attain a similar individuality in another week by when he or she will have unique creases and swirls on the finger pads which will be known as his fingerprints. These fingerprints will distinguish him from others.

How Is Your Body Changing At 17 Weeks?

Do you have to say No to most of your co-workers and people who try and reach out for your tummy simply out of curiosity because you have started showing? If you are comfortable with the idea of random strangers touching your pregnant belly, it is alright but if you are not, then you could firmly ask not to do any such thing. People often tend to ignore the fact that as visible it is to them, pregnancy and childbirth are experiences that are close to the heart and generally personal.

How Much Are You Eating?

Hungrier than ever before, you are probably going through that phase when your cravings simply refuse to die down. While it could be a welcome change from the weeks when the washroom was your new-found friend because throwing up never ceased, eating right is extremely essential at this point in time. The second trimester brings along a voracious appetite and most women tend to overeat, causing unnecessary weight gain.

While it is normal to feel hunger pangs every often because your baby is growing bigger and is demanding more nutrition from you, you will have to keep a check on the empty calories that you might be taking in, in the form of processed food and other junk. The first and last ground rule in pregnancy is not to try and eat for two because you don’t need that much of food to survive the pregnancy. If you had lost weight in the first trimester, it is likely that your appetite will come back and you will start gaining weight again. If you were already on the heavier side to begin with, your doctor might recommend nutrient-dense food so that your weight gain is slow and gradual. Try and eat whole food as much as you can and avoid deep-fried food if you are gaining weight faster than you had thought you would.

Are You Feeling Tipsy?

Are you often having that feeling of being drunk and tipsy although you haven’t had alcohol in more than four months? That is because pregnancy shifts your center of gravity and with your growing belly, you can occasionally feel out of balance. While feeling unsteady is normal in pregnancy, you will need to take extra care to ensure that you do not have accidental falls. It is advisable to wear low-heeled or better yet no heels in pregnancy because that will reduce the chances of toppling over or falling down and hurting yourself and the baby.

How Will You Ensure Safe Car Rides?

Always buckle up when inside a car because it has been seen that a majority of accidents happen in pregnancy when women are not careful about how they seat themselves in cars. Ideally the seat belt’s lap position should be placed under the bump, should comfortably fit around the hips and the shoulder harness should have snug fit in between the breasts.

This is important because with so many accidents being reported each year, more awareness can only help the situation.

Are Your Eyes Feeling Drier Lately?

If you are regularly into wearing lenses, there is a possibility that your eyes might start drying up. It has been seen that women who do not wear lenses experience the same thing because of certain chemical changes that happen in pregnancy. You can either contact your doctor for help or use over the counter medication to help the dryness in your eyes. Lubricating drops available at stores can help counteract the effects of dryness that pregnancy tends to leave. Since wearing contact lenses for prolonged periods of time can heighten the burning sensation, it is recommended that you wear them occasionally and take short breaks between their usages, if possible. You can also consider switching to spectacles till you deliver.

Have You Been Snoring?

You obviously did not believe when your husband told you in the morning how you had snored all through but nasal congestion and nasal stuffiness is common in pregnancy and if this is your second pregnancy, there is nothing that you are not aware of. The pregnancy hormones tend to thicken up your mucus membranes and make it more and more difficult to breathe easily, especially while lying down. You can begin by installing a humidifier in your bedroom that will lessen the drying effect in your nose and help you have a good night’s sleep. Another way to feel more comfortable is to prop up pillows under your head that will keep the stuffiness away. If you are still snoring, you could try transporting your kids and your partner to shift to the other room so that their sleep is not disrupted. Furthermore, it is also essential to get a good night’s sleep and you can ensure that by keeping unnecessary distractions at bay.

What Do These Dreams Mean?

As strange and surprising as it may sound, you might start experiencing vivid dreams that tend to jeopardize your life a little because most of the times you will fail to make out the reason for these dreams to occur. Did you know that you spend lesser time in REM sleep in the second and third trimesters? However, the number of dreams you have recently started having could confuse you about your sleep cycle. Find the answers to all your queries regarding sleep cycle and dreams in pregnancy below.

There is no denying the fact that you tend to get up innumerable times during pregnancy. There are reasons like backaches, leg cramps, restless leg syndrome and heartburn that can keep you waking up a number of times in the night, interrupting your dream cycles. You might also often wake up to get into a more comfortable position. All these reasons make you remember your dreams more vividly.

Apart from these reasons, women also tend to be more emotional during pregnancy. All her feelings and sentiments are generally heightened, owing to the abundance of pregnancy hormones that affect her mood all day and her sleep at night. If you are happy, your happiness will probably know no bounds and if you are sad or apprehensive, you might be sinking in a bottomless pit of sorrow. With so many heightened emotions, it is but natural to carry them forward to your sleep cycles.

What Are The Commonest Dreams That Pregnant Women Have? Take A Look!

  • Your Partner Is Cheating On You

It is but obvious to feel insecure at one time or the other when you are pregnant because there is always that fear of your partner straying away. Your body is changing, you are not having enough sex, you are irritable and upset through the day and you feel unattractive all the time; you have all the reasons to feel that your husband is probably disliking you more than ever or cheating on you with some other woman. This is where the dreams stem from. However, if you have such thoughts on your mind and your dreams have been disrupting your peace of mind lately, communicate with your husband regarding this and sort out the in differences, if any.

  • You Are In Love With Animal Babies

There is an understood link between pregnancy and cuddling babies of animals. Puppies, kittens, chicks are cute and offer the same adorable feeling of hugging and cuddling newborns. Your love and affection for your unborn baby can make you have these dreams and it is also possible that you feel a strange connection to them in real life. As long as you are going near vaccinated and well-behaved pets, it is fine to have fun with them but always ensure that you are never going near to animals that you are not sure of.

  • A Blast From The Past

If you have been feeling way too aroused than usual, there is a possibility that you may dream of an old flame or an encounter that you have had with him or wanted to have with him. There is no reason to feel guilty about it because with so many hormonal changes going on in you, playing the blame game is ridiculous. Feeling aroused can help to take your mind off things and you might even add more sheen to your already glowing skin.

Are Those Lines Stretch Marks?

Till date you had probably only heard of stretch marks but had no idea that they could happen to you. While some wear them like badges of honor, a lot of women cover up unnecessarily because they apparently look ugly. To make things more evidence-based, stretch marks are a result of skin stretching beyond its normal capability and your epidermal layer tearing up at places because of this. Stretch marks are thus deep epidermal tears that can never be got rid of until and unless you get laser treatments done. While a handful does not get a single mark on their body, others are covered with them. They begin around the 15th week of pregnancy when your bump starts firming up and continue to look more and more prominent till delivery.

Stretch marks are not just red streaks on your flawless skin but are also itchy, painful and irritating that need to be understood and addressed. The occurrence of stretch marks significantly depends on your genetics. If your mother had stretch marks during pregnancy, you will also be prone to get them and if she didn’t, you are less likely to have them. Added to that, if you are gaining weight rapidly, the chances of stretch marks are also enhanced. Women with fairer skin also tend to have more stretch marks than those who have darker skin tones.

Can You Prevent Stretch Marks?

Unfortunately, you can’t prevent stretch marks, irrespective of what the advertisements try to convince you with. No amount of oil, cream or lotion can help you with avoiding stretch marks but if proper care if taken beforehand, you can avoid the annoying itch and any sort of infection by using the right product. What could be some sort of consolation is that stretch marks fade away after delivery and even if we continue to maintain that they can never be got rid of, they will reduce to thin, silvery, grey streaks that are hardly visible unless someone is really close.

Listed Below Are A Few Ways To Avoid Stretch Marks:

1. Keep The Area Moisturized

What helps tremendously with itchy stretch marks is a deep hydrating moisturizing cream. Although it may not really prevent the marks but it can at least keep you away from scratching them all the time. You could at least avoid further infections by not needing to scratch them with your nails. Cocoa butter is an excellent way of hydrating your skin.

2. Oatmeal Bath

If you make a paste of oatmeal with milk and use it before or during a bath on your stretch marks, it could help you with the itch. Oatmeal3 is known to soothe irritated and dry skin, which makes it a perfect ingredient to take care of stretch marks.

3. Keep An Eye On The Weighing Scale

Accelerated weight gain in pregnancy is one of the biggest reasons for stretch marks. Your skin is capable of stretching to a certain extent and rapid weight gain can only stretch it further. Gradual stretching of skin is normal but rapid stretching can cause tiny epidermal tears that go on to become stretch marks. Cut down on empty calories and have nutrient dense food. You need not eat for two in pregnancy and this is an important lesson you need to remember.

Do You Have An Aching Back?

Backaches are one of the commonest complains that women start having by the 17th or the 18th week, depending on how early they start showing up. In pregnancy, a hormone called relaxin, loosens up your muscles and pelvic joints. Along with this, the growing weight of your uterus also makes your lower back muscles curve much more than you are used to. This shifts your center of gravity and makes you lean forward. All these occurrences lead to soreness and stiffness in and around your lower back.

How Can You Help Yourself?

While dealing with strained muscles, it is important to identify where the pain is originating from. If the pain is a sharp and shooting sensation that runs down your legs, you could be having a sciatic nerve pain. There are a few things you could do to avoid aching backs:

  • Always use a foot rest that keeps your legs at the same level as your hips and does not let them hang. Proper blood circulation is also essential to avoid aches so ensure that you keep your posture in check.
  • Don’t sit or stand for longer stretches of time because you will already be carrying added weight and staying at a single place for a longer time will only add to the trouble.
  • Staying active can avoid pain. If you can walk at a moderate pace for 10 minutes a day, you will feel much better by the end of it.
  • Sleeping on a firm mattress is important because you don’t want your curved back to worsen on a mattress that takes the shape of the body.
  • Watch your weight gain because the faster you gain the pounds, the sooner you are prone to backaches.
  • Getting light massages through pregnancy can feel good. However, massages only offer symptomatic relief.

What Can You Do For Your Spouse At 17 Weeks?

This week begins the testing phase for both of you because the pregnancy is now a reality none of you can refuse to admit. Apart from ensuring that she is eating and sleeping well, try to take good care of her mental health. Communicate regularly and have more patience with her even if she gets too annoying at times.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sciatic_nerve
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doppler_fetal_monitor
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oatmeal

Growth Spurts And More In The 16th Week Of Pregnancy

Each week of pregnancy brings along new surprises for you and walking your way through physical and emotional changes can be quite challenging. We recommend that you always have like-minded people around you to hold your hand through these ups and downs because as natural as pregnancy might be, it is difficult to deal with the uncertainties all alone. The 16th week heralds your entry into the fourth month of pregnancy and it might give you some comfort to know that in four more weeks you will be mid-way through this journey. This article intends to give you fundamental information regarding the changes that you can expect in you and your baby this week, without confusing you with medical jargon. We also have a few tips and tricks to offer you, especially if you are a first-time mum and have no clue what is going on with your system.

Your Baby At 16 Weeks

There is no doubt about the fact that your baby is going through a growth spurt this week and in the coming few weeks, there will be quite a bit of addition as far as your baby’s height and weight are concerned. Almost the size of an avocado, your baby is now around 3-4 ounces in weight and 4 inches long. Your baby’s height continues to be measured in terms of the Crown Rump length. In the 15th week, his head was slowly gaining more strength and this week it is more erect than ever before.

One of the primary reasons that he can straighten out his head even more is because backbone and back muscles are getting stronger by the day. If you could look into your womb now, you would be able to see your baby squinting and frowning. This is because its facial muscles are developing rapidly and although his eyelids are still fused together, he will be able to perceive light. Although his hair is yet to start forming, the hair pattern on his scalp has already started mapping out. Those tiny toenails that you will need to trim often are also in place. Your baby’s ability to grab things is getting better by the day which is why he might try and play with the umbilical cord1, owing to his need to keep practicing for the finale.

Peek-A-Boo!

Did you know that at 16 weeks your baby’s skin is still transparent and all the blood vessels are visible from under the skin? Your baby’s skin is still developing and there is some time before he has more human-like skin and till then he will also look quite skinny because the baby fat will settle in after a few more weeks. While the skin and fat are still in the developmental phase, your baby’s eyebrows and eyelashes make a distinct difference to the way he looks this week. The face has at least more human-like characteristics than the rest of the body.

Sing To Him Or Her!

It is time that you start brushing up your singing skills because your baby already has tiny bones inside its ears that will help it to hear your voice at 16 weeks. This means that whatever you say or sing will be audible and this comes in handy after birth. Research suggests that babies tend to remember and recognize the voices or sounds heard inside the womb and when they are born, it gets easier to put them to sleep if the same lullabies are sung. If you are a fan of Bon Jovi’s ‘It’s My Life’, you could very well sing it to him while remembering all the time that it could possibly be one of the songs he dozes off to!

Your Body At 16 Weeks

If you have been skinny all your life, this week might prove to be a turning point for you because your body is likely to start gaining weight to support the pregnancy. You may or may not like the new changes that are happening to you, especially if you are a first time mother or if you are health conscious. What is important for you to know at this point is how gradual weight gain might be more beneficial than accelerated weight gain. You will meet your doctor for your prenatal appointment this week that will also include your routine blood tests, urine test and blood pressure checks. You will also receive information on your upcoming anomaly scan from your doctor or your midwife. If you have a risk of Down’s syndrome, your doctor might advise you for early screening tests like an amniocentesis at 16 weeks. Apart from these, what else is your body saying this week? Read below to know!

How Much Do You Weigh?

Although this is a question that will cloud your mind all through pregnancy, do not let it get to your head because over thinking weight issues might cause further problems. Your belly will probably look more pregnant than ever before and you will no longer be mistaken for having binged on food. However, since all pregnancies are different, you might not start showing yet and that is perfectly normal. If you are on the heavier side to begin with, it will take some time for people to notice that you are pregnant. What is important to know and understand is that accepting your pregnant body is of utmost importance in this journey. Your body will undergo a number of changes and you will have to learn to love it, the way it is.

There will be challenges in the way of how your cravings shape your life and your body and as long as you are eating healthy, getting some exercise and enough sleep at night, you are more or less sorted. It is important to have nutrient-dense food that does not fill you up with empty calories and make you feel hungry often. The right balance of protein, carbohydrates and vitamins will always help you in the longer run.

If all your clothes are now officially not fitting you anymore, this is the time to invest in supportive maternity wear. Don’t wear loose, unflattering styles because you are getting bigger; rather, embrace the curves with flattering shapes and styles that are available in comfortable fabric in most of the branded stores.

Why Is My Nose Always Stuffy?

Nasal congestion and nosebleeds are common during pregnancy. Along with your uterus swelling and pushing other organs around to accommodate itself, so are the mucus membranes in your nose. This is because of the pregnancy hormone, progesterone that is responsible for all the increased blood flow too. Your nasal congestion is likely to increase over time but unless it is bothering your ability to breathe properly, your doctor will probably not recommend anything for it. The safest thing to use this week would be nasal sprays or saline sprays. A lot of pregnant women swear by humidifiers installed in their rooms that help with the congestion. If your nose feels too dry, you could try dabbing a tiny amount of petroleum jelly under your nose for instant relief. Do not try any over the counter medication unless specified by the doctor.

You will probably feel more settled by now because for one, you are getting used to the pregnancy symptoms, and secondly, there are lesser symptoms to deal with. The fundus of your uterus has grown enough to fit halfway through your pelvic bone and your navel. All the thick bands of ligaments that keep it supported continue to stretch out to accommodate the growth. With mood swings bowing out for a while, you will find yourself more cheerful through the day and will have more energy to indulge in constructive work.

You might come across random strangers asking you about your new-found glow and if you are not ready to reveal the news of pregnancy yet, you could simply attribute it to good health or find any other viable reason to give.

Is This Quickening?

A lot of women experience early quickening by Week 16 and if you are one of them, you might as well feel the flutters this week! As exciting as it may sound, don’t be disappointed if you don’t feel anything because if this is your first baby, you might have to wait till Week 20 to feel the movement. What you felt after the satisfying lunch at work, could be more than just gas bubbles because quickening often feels like popping of popcorn, funny flutters or the feeling of wind trapped in your tummy. When your baby gets stronger, he or she will ensure that the movements are more pronounced and you feel sharp jabs and kicks at the most unexpected moments.

Do You Want To Know Your Child’s Gender?

Not that it makes a difference to you, but knowing your child’s gender could be fun. There is a saying doing the rounds that if the fetal heart rate is more 140 beats per minute, you could be having a girl. It is obviously nothing more than an old wife’s tale and there is no evidence to back it up. There are a number of ways in which people try to predict the gender of the baby and family members look forward to playing all sorts of games to keep the excitement alive.

The Scientific Ways

In the medical world, a non-invasive prenatal testing as early as 9 weeks can help determine the gender of your baby. This test is generally suggested if the maternal age is high enough to enhance the risk of Down’s syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities. Since this is non-invasive, it does not carry any risk for you or your baby. This could be quite expensive but worth the money invested since it allows you to come to terms with what the pregnancy has to offer.

Other invasive diagnostic tests include Chorionic Villus Sampling2 and Amniocentesis3 offer a more detailed analysis of the baby’s genetic structure and rule out chromosomal abnormalities. These are also recommended for women whose age could be a factor. However, you should know beforehand that these tests could elevate your risk of a miscarriage to an extent. If you are simply curious to know your baby’s gender then this is probably not what you should aim for. These tests are recommended under special conditions only and are almost always accurate.

If you are looking at a normal way of finding out your baby’s gender, then it is best to wait till 18 weeks when an anomaly scan to check for baby’s vital parts could tell you the sex of the baby. However, ultrasounds are not always 100% accurate in detecting the gender of the baby. You will be asked if you are interested to know your baby’s gender and if the technician gets a good look in between the baby’s legs, he will be able to convey it accurately. Since we are talking about humans here, there is a slight possibility that the finding may not be accurate.

The Fun Ways

While the old wife’s tales could be annoying for some, they could also be a lot of fun for family get-togethers to predict the gender of your baby. If you are not the one who would want to get tested for it, you could try having fun with these predictions. However, these are not evidence-led and may or may not be accurate. Listed below are some of the predictions that you could try with your loved ones:

  • The Position In Which You Are Carrying

If you are carrying low, in your hips, they say that you might be having a girl and if you are carrying higher in your belly, there are chances that you are having a boy.

  • How Does Your Linea Nigra Run Down?

It is said that if your linea nigra4 reaches till your belly button, you are having a girl but if it goes past the button and touches your ribs, you could be having a boy.

  • Chinese Birth Calendar Method

A lot of people use the Chinese birth calendar method to predict the baby’s gender by calculating the month in which your baby was conceived.

  • How Hungry You Are

It has been seen that if you are hungry every often, your appetite could suggest a boy. On the other hand, people also believe in the statement that if you have been puking a lot through your first trimester, you could be having a boy.

These predictions are all too confusing and most of them are not backed by enough evidence. However, they could add an element of fun to your precious memories. These could also help you to think up a few baby names and colors that you want to add to your nursery. Whatever predictions you try to think of, there is no doubt that the moment your eyes fall on that tiny bundle of joy, you are bound to feel overwhelmed.

Is Your Weight Gain On The Right Track?

Doctors recommend a weight gain of 12-14 pounds in the second trimester for women who are at a normal weight to begin with. If you were underweight, you might need to add a little more to that range. Simultaneously, if you were overweight, you might need to keep your weight gain under control.

How will you ensure that you are on the right track as far as your weight gain is concerned?

The second trimester will need you to add around 340 calories a day. This figure depends on your diet and lifestyle as well. What can you do to ensure that you are not gaining too much weight?

If you feel that your weight gain has been on the rise, you could try going on a nutrient dense diet instead of opting for a low-calorie diet that might not be safe during pregnancy. Listed below are a few tips to slow down your weight gain safely:

  1. Never ever skip breakfast. A hearty breakfast can not only keep you feeling fuller for longer but also help keep your blood sugar levels stable and thus prevent mood swings. A nutritious breakfast that strikes the right balance of protein, complex carbs, fiber and healthy fats can do wonders to your system.
  2. It is highly recommended that you eat green leafy veggies, lean meat and all kinds of whole food. Always try and avoid processed or packaged food that have loads of preservatives and are nutritionally poor.
  3. Sugar-laden desserts are best avoided because they add unwanted calories and also cause a major sugar slump after a while, worsening your mood swings and making you feel hungrier.
  4. Healthy snacks like cucumber and carrot sticks, fresh fruits, dried fruits and nuts can be healthier options if you are looking at a gradual weight gain. Peanut and almond butters can be made at home and are full of nutrients.
  5. Instead of ice creams, you could try having frozen yogurt that will be as delicious sans the calories.
  6. Avoid carbonated and caffeinated beverages that are filled with empty calories and other toxic preservatives.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umbilical_cord
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chorionic_villus_sampling
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amniocentesis
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linea_nigra

What Will Your Life Look Like At 15 Weeks Of Pregnancy?

Well into the second trimester of pregnancy, life has probably never been better! You are luxuriating in your new-found glow and there is your voluminous and bouncy hair to add to all the beauty pregnancy is gifting you. You can finally look pregnant because your baby is growing by leaps and bounds and when we say that, we mean it. Your life is probably revolving around thoughts of your baby all the time and you are happily basking in the glory of it all. If you have already found out the sex of your baby, you could go on short shopping trips with your family or best friends but always remember to keep your outings for not more than a couple of hours. That is because even if your energy levels are back, you might tire out after constant walking or shopping since your body is continuing to evolve and adapt in the process of making this pregnancy successful. All your organs and the network of veins and blood vessels are busy keeping your baby in the most optimal environment.

Your Baby At 15 Weeks

At 15 weeks, your baby’s Crown to Rump length is around 4 inches and he weighs around 2 ½ ounces. If you happen to look at a large navel orange, you would understand how big your baby is at the moment. The amniotic fluid in your womb is helping him to open up those air sacs in her lungs as it moves through his nose and his developing respiratory tract. The legs that were still not proportionate to his arms are now growing longer and her joints and limbs are all mobile by now. What is interesting to note is how her eyelids are still fused together but she can sense light and will move away from a source of light that is pointed at your abdomen. Her taste buds are also rapidly forming that will test your culinary skills in a couple of years from now. If you haven’t had an ultrasound that could tell you the sex of your baby, having one now will help. However, it also depends on how well the doctor performing the procedure can locate the baby’s genitals. Babies are known to hide their sexual identities pretty well in the womb so an accurate identification might not always be possible.

The ears of your baby that were earlier positioned at the neck have now moved to the sides of the head and the eyes have moved into position to the front of the face. These changes and developments are making your baby look more like a human with each passing day. Your baby is squirming a lot inside the womb but you still have a few weeks to go before you can feel the moves.

Have you wondered what keeps your baby busy inside the womb? Apart from being lulled in and out of sleep by the rhythmic movements of your body, your baby is continuously practicing the ways of life outside the womb. The one practice that keeps your baby close to real life is sucking its thumb that it does pretty often. She is gearing up for life in other ways too like breathing, sucking and swallowing so that quintessential life skills are well adapted to before leaving the womb. There is an entire abdominal gym going on inside your tummy because your baby is kicking, curling its toes and moving about those arms and legs quite a lot. It will be a while before you start feeling those kicks jab you at entirely unexpected moments and that is because your baby does not weigh much yet.

What Are You Doing About Your Mouth?

Have you been shying away from saying cheese to the photographer lately? Have your pearly whites been looking compromised lately? You can blame your pregnancy hormones for this as well. The same hormones that are responsible for your stuffy nose and nosebleeds are also to be blamed for gingivitis, bleeding, swollen and red gums that have different reactions to the bacteria that is present in the plaque. Most of these symptoms will disappear once you deliver your baby but till then you will need to do better at your oral hygiene regime so that bleeding gums are not persistent. You might also notice tumor like formations on your gums and this is normal as long as they do not secrete any pus or blood.

If you thought you could take gingivitis for granted, you will need to know the link between it and periodontitis. Gingivitis1, if not cured on time, can deteriorate to become a major infection of bones and tissues known as periodentitis and there have been potential links between this and premature labor. All you need to do is take extra precautions while you are brushing, floss regularly so that there are no tiny bits and pieces of food etc stuck in your teeth, use an anti-bacterial mouthwash once or twice a day and keep away from sugar-laden snacks. These will keep the bacteria away and will significantly reduce gum inflammation and discomfort.

What Is Pregnancy Rhinitis?

Not only are your pregnancy hormones giving you more work to do on your teeth and gums but also ensuring that your nasal passage is blocked quite often. The hormonal changes and the increased flow of blood to the mucus membranes make the nasal passage feel stuffy and uncomfortable. This is called pregnancy rhinitis or ‘rhinitis of pregnancy’, whichever way you feel like naming it. The volume of blood flowing to the nose makes the blood vessels swell up and leads to the stuffy feeling.

Would You Need An Amniocentesis?

Somewhere between weeks 15-20, your doctor might suggest an amniocentesis. Whether you want to go for this test or not is a decision that your doctor will probably make for you, if there is a family history of genetic abnormalities. On hearing about this procedure, you will surely have a number of questions on your mind, for example, what happens in the procedure, does it hurt, will it harm my baby etc. Described below is a detailed description of what the process is like and what you could expect from it.

Your doctor begins the procedure by locating a patch of amniotic fluid which lies at a safe distance from your baby and the placenta. This itself takes about 20 minutes. Your belly will be sterilized using iodine or alcohol and a cotton swab. The next step is to insert a long and thin needle into that sac of amniotic fluid via your stomach and your abdominal walls. The doctor will draw out around two tablespoons of amniotic fluid which will take about a minute. Do not worry about the fluid reducing in quantity because your baby is well protected and that tiny amount of fluid will be refilled by your body pretty soon.

You might be petrified to think about the consequences of hurting the baby while the needle is being inserted but that is least likely to happen. If the needle does brush against your baby, he is sure to move in a different direction without bothering much. Once the needle has drawn enough fluid, it will be removed and your test will be over.

If your blood group is RH negative, you will be given a shot of immunoglobulin2 so that your blood and your baby’s blood do not fight each other.

The chromosomal study of the amniotic fluid is done in 10 long days in a laboratory. Your baby’s cells are extracted from the collected amniotic fluid and are studied carefully to rule out chromosomal abnormalities. If you are at a risk of genetic abnormalities, that too can be identified with the help of an amniocentesis. What’s more, you will be able to find out if there are structural or neural tube defects. The alpha feta protein in the amniotic fluid helps detect neural tube defects while structural defects can be diagnosed if the baby’s gender is detected. The results of the latter are available in two weeks from the date of the procedure.

To answer your question regarding the pain; while some women do not feel a thing while the process is carried out; some others do find it quite uncomfortable. It also depends on your pain tolerance levels. The feeling of pain probably ranges from pinching, cramping or a sense of heightened pressure. You could choose to opt for an anesthesia injection but that might be worse than the pain of the procedure itself.

Are there potential side-effects of an amniocentesis? Yes, like every other procedure involving injecting or withdrawing fluid from the tummy, amniocentesis too carries a small risk of a miscarriage. The potential consequences are always talked about before opting for this procedure. After it is done, the doctor will ask you to take complete rest for a couple of days and avoid heavy weights, sex or too much exertion. He will also ask you to look out for symptoms like cramping, leaking of amniotic fluid, spotting or a fever that refuses to go. If any of these things happen, you should immediately rush to the emergency.

When Will I Feel My Baby?

The movement of your baby is a living proof of his or her presence in your womb but most women do not feel the moves till around the 21st or 22nd week. It is important to note that your baby is already moving quite a lot in the womb and the movements had started when she was around 8 weeks old in the uterus. You couldn’t feel any of the movements because your baby is still too light to make a difference. Has it been an eternity since you have wanted to feel the first kick? Know about flutters below!

Better known as the first flutters, your baby’s movements will be quite evident around the 22nd week and is medically termed as ‘quickening’. A number of factors are responsible for you to feel the movements faster than others. A first time mother will most definitely miss the first movements and take them for gas or rumbling which is again pretty common in pregnancy. Veteran mothers, on the other hand, would know very well how to distinguish between a gas rumble and the baby’s kick. Yet another factor that is responsible is how you are built. If you have a slim structure, you will feel the movement earlier than your heavier counterpart.

There is an entire range of sensations that pregnant women have described the first flutters as. While some say it feels like popping of popcorns, some others talk about butterflies flying around inside the tummy; a few mums call it the first swim of a goldfish while a few others feel bubbles being blown inside their tummy. These gentle yet adorable movements are easy to miss initially but when they start happening more frequently, you would know how to keep a track of them. You will notice after a while that these movements are especially noticeable when you have been quieter or have been lying down for a while.

Should You Be Worried If Your Baby Is Not Moving Yet?

At 15 weeks, your baby still needs to gain some weight for you to feel the movements clearly. You should be ideally able to feel the movements by 21st or 22nd week but there is an ideal for everyone so to generalize the time would not be a wise idea. When the movements become more regular, you will be asked by your doctor to keep a tab on them or maybe count them. You will also be asked to report to your doctor immediately if the movement decreases or reduces. While lesser movement may simply mean that your baby is resting or sleeping, it could also mean trouble. To avoid any kind of problems, it is better to get yourself checked out as soon as you don’t feel your baby much. A non-stress test will be able to identify the issue and in most cases, nothing wrong is reported.

How Much Weight Gain Is Enough?

The first trimester was surely disappointing as far as weight gain was concerned because forget about piling on the pounds, you were probably losing a couple here and there, owing to your food aversions and morning sickness. Now that you are in the second trimester, gaining weight will most probably not be an issue. You are ideally supposed to put on four pounds a month and it completely depends upon you how you want to gain them. Aim for a weekly gain of one pound and restrict your intake of empty calories if you feel that you are gaining more.

Tracking your weight gain and keeping it under control can help you in a number of ways. You will not only feel fitter and healthier but will also lose the added weight more easily after you deliver. Keeping a weighing scale at home helps if you have a tendency to go overboard but your doctor will check you at the monthly visits for everything so if you are not particularly obese, you can skip weighing in every week or so. It will unnecessarily add worries to your already worried mind.

Tips And Tricks For The 15th Week

  1. If you haven’t got the flu shot yet, it is time you do because your immune system is suppressed for the time being and you are prone to the cold more than ever. You could ask your doctor about it when you visit him at the next appointment. Apart from a slight soreness on your arm, there is nothing much that the flu vaccine will leave you with.
  2. Have you got the triple marker test yet? If not, ask your doctor about it because it measures your risk of developing birth defects like Down’s Syndrome, spina bifida etc. while a lot of these tests could come up with alarming results, only a handful people have babies with Down’s syndrome.
  3. You could be ready to move up to the next bra size so if your bra strap is really pinching into your ribs, consider a shopping trip to the lingerie store. Your breasts are continuing to grow and this is the time to invest in comfortable maternity wear. Buy bras that have wider and thicker straps that provide enough room for your breasts to grow comfortably.

What Other Changes Can You Expect?

Do you see that dark line running down your belly from your breasts to your pubic area? It is called the linea nigra3 in medical terms and almost all women get it in pregnancy. It starts appearing at around 15 weeks, darkens over time and fades away after delivery.

You might laugh at yourself pretty often when simple activities like driving, sleeping, lying down and sitting down to eat will require you to accommodate as per your belly’s comfort. Always ensure that your seat belt is positioned properly. You might also need to adjust your steering position by 15 weeks because it is safer to stay as far away from the airbags and the dashboard as possible.

For a change, your sex drive might be back and how! Not only will this mean good news for yourself but also for your partner. Make the most of this phase when all your hormones are working in sync and not too big to be going down under the sheets. With the symptoms of first trimester leaving you for good, longer hours of sleep, a well-rested body and mind and a good appetite, an enhanced sex drive is icing to the cake. Increased blood flow to the pelvic area as well as the clitoris will help in enhanced arousal and better orgasms. If you find a few positions uncomfortable, only indulge in the ones that you like. Communicate with your partner about the changes in your body and he is sure to understand how to trigger the good vibes.

Lifestyle Changes At 15 Weeks

If you have been eyeing that cup of coffee for a while but are apprehensive that it might harm your baby, relax and get hold of it before your cravings go overboard. One cup of coffee a day is perfect alright to be consumed during pregnancy because moderate consumption of caffeine does not do any harm to the baby.

What you need to take care of is to quit smoking and drinking completely when you are pregnant. If you haven’t been able to make these two lifestyle changes, it’s time you took it seriously. Avoiding all kinds of toxic substances is important and say an absolute no to drugs. If you have been on any kind of anti-depressant, make sure you let your doctor know about it so that he can find out if it is compatible with pregnancy and suggest an alternative if it is not.

You can continue to have organically harvested and reliably sourced fish in pregnancy but you will need to keep a tab on what kind you are consuming. Always try and avoid the ones that have a tendency to lurk around in unclear waters and are exposed to mercury and other toxins. Smaller varieties of fish are healthier and safer to consume. Avoid shark, swordfish, mackerel, as these kinds contain higher amounts of mercury that could harm your baby’s developing nervous system and the brain. As mentioned before, always eat food that has been thoroughly cooked, for example eggs should not be runny, dairy should always be pasteurized and meat should be cooked to perfection. A lot of cases are reported every year about pregnant women suffering from food poisoning and ending up with preterm labor.

What Can You Do For Your Spouse At 15 Weeks?

If you smoke on a regular basis, consider giving it up for the safety of your pregnant spouse and unborn baby. Passive smokers are at an equal risk having lung cancer and the effects on an unborn baby can never be emphasized enough. Hold her hand through this and she will cherish the pregnancy for a lifetime and more!

References:

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

Welcome Yourself Into The Second Trimester With The 14th Week Of Pregnancy

With your risk of miscarriage dropping down by 75%, you can finally start enjoying this pregnancy! Entering into the 14th week of pregnancy can be an exhilarating experience, especially when you realize that you can now make baby announcements without a sense of fear. Your raging HCG levels will finally drop and progesterone and estrogen will settle back into your system, thus reducing the pesky first trimester symptoms that you were almost getting to. The second trimester typically begins with you regaining your appetite and energy bursts that will help you to get pending work done and dusted. While there are some women who might continue to feel squeamish all through pregnancy, at least the constant bouts of vomiting would fade away and you will have enough appetite for hunger pangs to strike in the dead of night.

Your Baby At 14 Weeks

The 14th week is that phase when your baby will grow by leaps and bounds because you are already in your 2nd trimester and there is so much left to do! Clench your fist and look at it; that is how big your baby is this week. At 13 weeks, your baby was making twitchy and jerky movements but this week your baby will make more pronounced moves although you will still not feel a thing. There is more fluidity in your baby’s movements and even if there is some time before you could think of sending her for ballet lessons, it is interesting to note how he or she is already standing straight up! This happens because your baby’s neck is growing and is getting longer and helps its head to be more erect which gives makes your baby look more straightened-out. Your baby’s intestines are also gearing up for birth by making meconium1, the first waste that your baby will expel after birth.

Care For Some Baby Hair?

At 14 weeks, you could expect your baby to sprout some hair and there could also be eyebrows to look forward to. It is hard to establish the color of your baby’s hair at the moment because the final color can only be understood at birth. Apart from the hair growing on your baby’s head, there is a fuzzy hair growth on your baby’s skin, called lanugo and that is present to keep your baby warm and cuddled inside the womb. Now that your baby has not yet accumulated enough fat on its body, the lanugo helps to keep his body temperature regulated. Once the fat starts taking its place, your baby will shed the lanugo but might continue to have a slightly fuzzy coating at birth, especially if you have a premature baby.

What Else Is On The Cards?

The other major developments this week are the facial expressions that your baby is capable of making. From squinting and frowning to grimacing, your baby is preparing itself in all the adorable ways to make you fall in love after the birth. These expressions are a resultant of your baby’s brain impulses working day in and day out and getting stronger with each passing day. Your baby continues to produce and excrete urine into the amniotic fluid surrounding him. Thumb sucking continues as your baby’s grasp gets stronger and if you could have an ultrasound this week, you would get a fair idea of how your baby is planning to self-soothe after birth.

Measuring around 3 ½ inches and weighing around 1 ½ ounces, your baby is almost the size of a lemon now. Not only is his body growing out to keep pace with his overgrown head but also his arms are stretching out to be in proportion with his body. Yet another significant development this week would be your baby’s liver beginning to produce bile and the spleen contributing to the production of red blood cells.

How Is Your Body Changing At 14 Weeks?

It is not for nothing that the second trimester is known as the golden period of pregnancy. It is a favorite of almost every pregnant woman because not only have you left the HCG hormones behind you but are also heading towards a more energetic and efficient you. You could also expect yourself to start loving your breasts again because they are not as sore and tender as they used to be. They might continue to grow but with that tenderness out of the equation, they will feel easier to lug around. What’s more, you will make fewer trips to the washroom because the growing uterus has now shifted from your pelvis to your abdominal cavity. It no longer weighs down on your bladder making you want to pee every half an hour. You are also sleeping better because neither do you need to be alert of visiting the loo often nor do you need throw up after every meal. Do you know what you could feel about this pregnancy externally? The fundus of your uterus2 and that will be an incredible experience!

This is the time when petite women start showing up. Although it would be nothing more than a slight tightening or the smallest of bumps, you and your partner will not be able to stop gushing over it! It is quite normal to start daydreaming about the baby, now that there is an external manifestation of the pregnancy. You might also start worrying a bit about the pregnancy because things are moving at a faster pace than you had probably imagined. At this point it is essential to trust your body’s abilities to be able to bear a baby efficiently instead of doubting it.

Is that Round Ligament Pain?

Have you been feeling sharp jabs and aches on the side of your abdomen? Have the pains been felt on either sides or both sides and you are worried that something could be wrong with the baby? While it is alright to feel worried about everything in pregnancy, this pain, unless accompanied by any other symptom, is absolutely normal. Your doctor would probably refer to these pains as Round Ligament Pains and almost all women experience this pain at around 14 weeks although some may start having these pains earlier.

Why does this happen? If you study human anatomy, you will come to know that there are ligaments running on the sides of our abdomen to support our uterus.  As your baby grows, so does the uterus in order to accommodate your growing baby and as a result of which, the thick band of ligaments start stretching and thinning out to support the growing weight. This weight pulling and tugging at your ligaments causes sudden sharp pains in your lower abdomen. The pain could also be a dull, nagging ache in your abdomen that refuses to go. You will feel the pain more often if you have a cough and it exerts your pelvic area or if you have got up after sitting down for a long time.

Are there ways to avoid this pain? Technically speaking, the initial pains will be there for a couple of weeks but if you want to avoid the sudden jabs, try relaxing your feet up in a comfortable position that will prevent the stiffening of your ligaments or muscles.

Keep The Infections Away!

It is hard to believe but it is a given fact that your body’s immune system needs to be suppressed during pregnancy so that the fetus is not expelled by it because it is a foreign object. This is why you could be prone to repeated bouts of cold, tummy bugs, pesky cough etc. It might seem like you are the only recipient of germs around you. Every pregnant woman would have to face the flu season once in their pregnancy and there is every possibility of getting infected. While flu in itself will not be harmful for the baby, it could make you unnecessarily weak and affect your appetite etc. What could you do to stay healthy while there is a host of germs around you?

  1. Always make a thumb rule of not sharing items of personal hygiene; not even with the closest people around you. Towels, toothbrushes, razors should always be your own and you could carry them with you whenever you are travelling unless you are visiting a hotel where they will be offered fresh and sanitized to you.
  2. You should also ideally avoid sharing food and beverages with people. The commonest ways in which infections spread are via mouth and nose. If turning down the offer for sharing food seems rude to you, you could simply carry your own so that no-one needs to offer anything to you. At times, being straightforward is the only way out.
  3. If you do get a cold, never self-medicate. Always speak to your doctor who would know what exactly to prescribe so that you and your baby do not suffer. Over the counter medication may have been your go-to all your life but it is best to avoid them in pregnancy because you can never be sure of the ingredients and the way your body will react to them.
  4. Tummy buys are also common in pregnancy but they need to be addressed immediately. The first step is to identify the kind of infection it is and then getting specific treatments to resort to. A bad tummy bug could cause premature birth if you get dehydrated.
  5. If you have a bacterial infection, antibiotics would work but if you have contracted a viral infection, there would only be symptomatic relief. The viral infection will run its course.
  6. It is important for you to know that doctors generally recommend not taking medicines in the first trimester. This is because vital developments take place during this phase and your baby is not strong enough to deal with the reactions. However, there are safe antibiotics that can be prescribed in the second trimester.

Is It A Girl Or A Boy?

Leaving behind gender implications, there is always an interesting speculation around the sex of the baby. While a lot of women want to find out if it is a boy or a girl, experts recommend waiting till birth to make the discovery because it will more special to unwrap your Christmas gifts on the d-day. If you have been called old-fashioned because you wanted to wait till the delivery to find out your baby’s gender, you can give the following reasons:

  1. There is nothing like finding out what you have created, at birth. If you know about the gender of the child beforehand, there is no denying the fact that you do take a major chunk of excitement away.
  2. You are constantly thinking in gendered terms. You might even start buying clothes for a girl because you have been told that you are having a girl. What if your baby girl does not find your pinks and purples that beautiful? What if she wants reds and blues? If you have always believed in gender-neutral parenting, don’t do this to yourself and your kids.
  3. Ultrasounds could be misleading because in many of them, the doctor is not clearly able to see the genitals and a wrong assumption can ruin your surprise completely.

What Are The Benefits Of A Gender Testing?

  1. Gender testing or sex determination of a baby is not always that bad. A lot of women have genetic abnormalities running in the family and the tests performed to rule out these issues, might reveal your baby’s gender. If you have the slightest of second thoughts regarding your baby’s gender, it is suggested that you let the doctor know beforehand that you want to keep that as a surprise.
  2. You can start looking for baby names. Unless you are looking for gender-neutral baby names, finding out the sex of the baby can help find the perfect names.
  3. Many women report that their bonding with the baby has increased after knowing the sex of the baby. This is more of an assumption and need not necessarily be true.
  4. You can also pick up gender-specific clothing if you and your partner have always wanted to in the first place.

New Symptoms This Week

Are you having a hard time remembering where you kept your spectacles after wearing them? It might seem funny to people around you when you are finally told that they are right on your temples and you have been wearing them all the time but it could be embarrassing for you, especially when such things happen at work. This is called pregnancy dementia and there is no particular time when it sets in. With all the hard work that your body is doing, it is normal to become forgetful. Your brain is clouded with a number of thoughts about the baby and yourself; if the pregnancy would be smooth and uncomplicated, if you would be a good parent, if your delivery would be natural and if you will be able to balance work and life efficiently.

To be honest, it is difficult to lay out a spreadsheet right now because only after the birth will you be able to find out how your priorities change. Till then, have a basic plan in place that you could follow to avoid unnecessary confusion.

Did you refuse to believe your husband when he said that you were snoring last night? Well, he might have been true because pregnancy does add yet another unattractive feature to your list of symptoms and that includes snoring. Nasal congestion is common in pregnancy and that could cause you to start snoring temporarily. You could also experience nosebleeds and as long as they are not majorly affecting you, there is no need to worry.

You can’t believe that you had two burgers for lunch and are already hungry in a couple of hours from then! Welcome food cravings into your life. The second trimester comes along with hunger pangs that generally strike at odd hours and all you can think of at that time is to eat what you want to. To avoid rushing out for food, you could keep simple things like homemade granola, cereal bars, dried fruits and nuts and fruits handy. Simple salad preparations can also kept at hand so that when your food craving strikes, you can at least have something to munch on till that cheese-filled pizza arrives.

However, this is the time when you need to be careful about overeating. A lot of women gain more weight than they should, early in pregnancy, because giving in to your food cravings seems like the most normal thing to do. You will have to remember to eat healthy so that your weight gain is not accelerated earlier than usual. If you do gain more than the normal weight, keep your doctor informed so that things like gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia etc can be ruled out. Focus on nutrient-dense food and avoid empty calories. You can always have junk once in a while but remember to balance your cravings with healthy food.

Your doctor might want to test you for Down’s syndrome at 14 weeks, especially if you haven’t been tested for nuchal translucency3 earlier.

Your Oral hygiene

Why are we harping on this every week? That is because you can never be too careful about your dental hygiene, especially since your baby’s health also depends on it. pregnancy has a tendency to make your gums swell which leaves them vulnerable to bacterial infections. You could experience symptoms like bleeding gums, swollen and painful gums etc. if you have cavities, the best time to fill them up would be the second trimester when your bump will not be as heavy and you can actually lie down for that amount of time. Prescribing medicines is also easier in the second trimester.

Your basic oral hygiene would consist of brushing after every meal, flossing once a day and using an anti-bacterial mouthwash once a day. You could also ask your doctor about scaling and cleaning your teeth and gums every month so that plaque does not accumulate. If you have wisdom teeth and they are suddenly in action, you could get them operated if your doctor gives you the green signal. It is far more painful to deal with impacted wisdom teeth than getting a quick removal done.

Introducing Your Toddler To Your Baby

While it is still some time away when your toddler will understand the implications of having a sibling, you could start introducing the idea to him or her early. Reading to him or her about a brother or a sister will come in handy. Talk to them about a new member in the family and how he or she would be an elder sibling with quite a few responsibilities. Never forget to bond with your elder child through the pregnancy because the commonest factor that leads to sibling rivalry is neglect.

Don’t Forget Your Kegels

Yet another part that we harp on every week is the fact that you can never do enough Kegels. Kegels are your way to a strong pelvic wall that you would be thanking yourself for because most of your friends are currently suffering from urine incontinence. Your vaginal and perineal walls would be subjected to a lot of wear and tear and it is important to keep strengthening them over the course of time so that there are milder tears during birth.

How Can You Help Your Spouse During The 14th Week?

Congratulate her and yourself for making it to the 14th week. With new beginnings come new responsibilities and this is when you should start planning your finances if you haven’t already. Look into insurance papers, speak to your employer about allowing you to work from home a few days a week if that is possible so that you can take on a few responsibilities at home. Like always, share the workload so that the lady of the house can relax and spend some more time napping or doing nothing. Help her see through this week with love and affection!

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meconium
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundus_(uterus)
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuchal_scan

Feeling Better Has A New Name; The 13th Week Of Pregnancy

Are you experiencing a pregnancy bloom this week? Is your skin glowing more than ever and have most of your friends asked you if there is good news to share? Welcome yourself into the phase when things might finally start to look up for you. You might also feel triumphant because of having overcome most of the difficulties of the first trimester and having stepped into what is known as the ‘golden period’ of pregnancy. While your skin is glowing and your hair feeling more luxurious than ever, you are also starting to feel your appetite again. Most of your aversions would have been gone by now and all you can wait for is to start eating your favorite cuisines again. You could also plan a babymoon of sorts if you feel like it because now is the time for short vacations which you might not enjoy much in your third trimester.

Your Baby At 13 Weeks

Would you believe when we tell you that the tiny fingers of your baby have their unique fingerprints already? Along with that, its body is also starting to pick up pace and grow out in accordance with the head. As the head is still bigger in size, your baby might still look less human and more like an alien but in a few more months, the disparity will be gone and you will face a proper human-like structure.

Your baby’s skin is still translucent and the organs and veins can be clearly seen through it. Since the skin is still forming, this is common at 13 weeks but it will turn opaque very soon. Measuring almost 3 inches long, your baby is almost the size of a peach now. Your baby weighs around an ounce and at this point, it is important to understand that every baby grows differently and although there is a range of normal height and weight gain, there is no particular percentile that needs to be followed. While some babies grown faster, some others take time to catch up on the same path of development.

It is interesting to note that if your baby is a girl; her ovaries already have 2 million eggs that might use in the future to start a family!

Your 13 week old baby in the womb is also developing bones in her arms and legs. Your baby’s movements are still twitchy and jerky so it will be able to put its thumb into the mouth and suck just like newborns do. In the latter, this is more of a self-soothing mechanism.

Your baby’s intestines are growing at a rapid pace and they will move to the abdominal cavity of your baby from the umbilical cord cavity where they were developing earlier. Along with this, the placenta is growing in order to keep pace with your baby’s needs and you can expect it to contribute to your weight gain.

Yet another significant development this week is the formation of your baby’s vocal cords. He or she will start making sounds and noises in the womb soon enough but voice cannot travel through the uterus which is why you will need to wait till after your delivery to hear your baby’s voice.

Frequent bouts of hiccups are strengthening your baby’s diaphragm to help your baby develop the respiratory system. All the necessary organs are at work, either absorbing nutrients or excreting waste matter. Your baby’s vital organs like pancreas, gall bladder and thyroid are all developing rapidly, the kidneys are producing and excreting urine and the bone marrow is making white blood cells1 to form immunity. All in all, this is a phase of rapid developments and the coming three months would witness major changes in the pregnancy and your baby.

Your Body At 13 Weeks

Unless you have experienced Hyperemesis Gravidarum2, chances are high that your nausea and food aversions would be gone by now. If not completely gone, you will at least have some relief from the spontaneous tendency to throw up. This could, in fact, be a very good time to start a new exercise and one of the safest and the most effective form of exercises could be swimming. However, whatever forms of exercise you choose to start, it is a wise idea to ask your doctor about it before starting.

Continuing from the previous week, leucorrhea might still be present as one of the symptoms of this week. While the primary function of this discharge is to protect your birth canal from common infections during pregnancy and to keep up the healthy flora of your vagina, it can definitely mess up with your undergarments. Using panty liners can help save expensive lingerie and also keep you feeling drier. You would hear from people who used to swear by douching in pregnancy but the last thing you would want is to allow any foreign object into your vagina right now. Douching with water is absolutely unnecessary and could also upset the natural flora of your vagina, worsening the situation and inviting more infections to breed in there. The best idea is to let your vagina be as it is for the coming months.

This week, your breasts are not only fuller and rounder but are also busy making colostrum for your baby’s nourishment in the first few days after birth. The milk glands are preparing themselves for breastfeeding and although the birth might be months away, your body is all geared up for the latest addition to your family.

Double Trouble?

If you are already showing up or are feeling the symptoms worse than what they are usually, you could be having second thoughts about twins. A twin pregnancy can occur for a number of reasons and one of them is a family history of fraternal twins. The other reasons can range from fertility treatments and maternal age over 35 that also decide the possibility of having twins.

Apart from the fact that you could be having twins, there might also be other reasons like bloating and gas that make you feel uncomfortably full. Even if you are 13 weeks pregnant, bloating could make you feel like you are well into the second trimester. Furthermore, if you have been eating more than what you usually do, that could also make you feel heavy and uneasy. With your family members making all kinds of assumptions about the pregnancy, it could get difficult to understand if you are really carrying twins or not. If you haven’t had an ultrasound yet, it is likely that the one coming up will help you with a clearer picture.

Varicose Veins

Week 13 is a time when you might start getting varicose veins and they will look like a network of veins running all over your body, especially your breasts, abdomen and your legs. Why do you get varicose veins? During pregnancy, the volume of blood being produced by your body is doubled which is why the blood vessels carrying them become more pronounced and show up on your body as varicose veins. If you are fair-skinned, you might start seeing them early in pregnancy and if you are darker-skinned, they might take some more time to start appearing but you will eventually see them.

The network of blood vessels carries nutrients from your body to your baby and they are a vital part of this pregnancy. The pregnancy demands a 40 percent increment in the production of blood by your body which is carried out by your blood vessels and in their attempt to keep up with this production, they become more noticeable.

There is more blood flowing to your breasts, your belly, your pelvic area and your legs and these are the areas where the varicose veins will show up. You would be happy to know that these veins are not here to stay. They will be here till you deliver and will be gone once the body’s blood production stabilizes. In some cases, the varicose veins stay on till you are breastfeeding your baby but they disappear once you start weaning.

Your Diet At 13 Weeks Of Pregnancy

 

As hard as it is to believe that you need not eat for two, it is a given fact that the wrong kind of information regarding diet and lifestyle can be harmful for you as well as your baby. Your family members might want you to eat every hour but trust your body’s cues before giving in. Health practitioners believe that you do not need any additional calorie in the first trimester, a mere 340 calories additional calories in the second trimester and 450 calories when you step into your third trimester. Overdoing at any stage could not only leave you feeling bloated but also cause issues like gestational diabetes for which you might need additional care later.

If you are obese or overweight to begin with, you might need to restrict your calorie intake. Your doctor will be able to guide you regarding this. If you are underweight, your calorie requirements will be higher in order to be able to nourish your baby. If you are having twins or multiples, your doctor might ask you to make certain changes to your diet based on your current weight.

It is essential to remember that you will need to make every calorie count so having nutrient-dense food is a must. Skip empty calories and always focus on getting enough iron, protein and calcium. Given below is a detailed description of what you could follow as far as diet is concerned.

How Much Protein Is Enough?

While people think that you can have as much protein as you want to and we need more of it in pregnancy, it is perfectly alright to have 71 gm of protein per day. You will easily find this amount in lean meats, eggs, dairy products like milk, cheese, nuts, beans, tofu etc. You should ideally aim for three servings of protein a day. The easiest form of protein would be available in fish but you will need to take care of contamination issues since a lot of varieties are usually exposed to toxic substances.

Are My Iron Stores Enough To Last This Pregnancy?

You will often find yourself asking this question because it has been seen that with the onset of the second trimester, pregnant women start showing signs of anemia. This is because the maternal iron stores are quickly depleted by the baby’s growing needs and it could make the mother weaker and feel dizzy often. Your personal iron stores need to be replenished as and when exhausted by your baby, which is why you will need proper food and supplementation. Most pregnant women need iron supplements all through pregnancy because iron fortified food might not be as effective in stabilizing iron levels as much as supplements are.

It is important to get 27 mg of iron every day. While this might sound like an easy feat for meat-eating people, it surely is not that convenient for vegetarians. A vegetarian diet, unless backed by proper nutritional choices, fails to provide the amount of iron a pregnancy needs to thrive. It is a well-known fact that animal protein is better absorbed than plant protein. If you are a non-vegetarian, lean red meat is your best source of iron. Fish, well-cooked shrimps, eggs and chicken can also be excellent sources of iron. Plant based sources of iron would be spinach, flaxseeds, red lentils and peanuts.  What is interesting to note is that there is a way in which maximum absorption of iron can be ensured from plant based sources. If you pair plant protein with Vitamin C, there is a significant amount of iron absorption so if you are planning to have a salad of spinach and chickpeas, ensure that you drizzle a good amount of lime juice over it. You can also make freshly squeezed orange juice as a regular part of your diet that will ensure you ensure the right amount of iron in pregnancy. Other sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits, strawberries and yellow, cauliflower, tomatoes, yellow and red bell peppers. It is important to remember that Vitamin C is heat sensitive so it might not be as efficient after being cooked as it is when uncooked.

Are You Having Enough Calcium?

It is imperative for a pregnant woman to include enough calcium in her diet because her own and the developing baby’s calcium requirements are taken care of by her body. This is primarily a reason that a lot of women start getting joint aches early in life because their own calcium levels get thoroughly depleted in pregnancy and continue to deplete while she breastfeeds. Doctors recommend a daily dosage of 1000 mg of calcium in pregnancy. Your baby needs the extra calcium for the proper formation of his bones and teeth and if he doesn’t find it in abundance, he will deplete your resources, leaving you calcium deficient.

Along with that, it is also important to note how essential Vitamin D3 is for maximum absorption of calcium. It is alarming to see how several people all over the world are not only insufficient in Vitamin D but also highly deficient and that keep their bodies from absorbing calcium from food in an effective manner. Furthermore, if you are deficient in Vitamin D in pregnancy, it is likely that your baby would be too. Hence, ask your doctor for supplements if you blood test shows a deficiency.

Will My Prenatal Supplements Be Enough?

Your prenatal supplements will be enough to take care of your added requirements so that you are never deficient in anything but you will need to have a balanced diet, to begin with. Nothing can replace the benefits of healthy eating and it will easier to fill up the deficiencies if your diet is right. Always ensure that you are getting three servings of protein a day, three servings of calcium and are having enough leafy greens to keep up your fiber intake.

What Should You Be Doing This Week?

With your energy levels returning, you can expect yourself to start planning ahead of time and what better way to do that than planning for educational purposes. Like we all know, nothing can really prepare you for pregnancy and parenting, which is why it is important to keep yourself updated with the recent finds in these fields. While nobody can provide an epidural for parenting, if your facts are sorted, you will probably sail through this complicated journey. To hold your hand through pregnancy and childbirth, there are birth education classes that are available in most places. These birth classes help prepare you and your partner for pregnancy and what all can be expected from it.

While some birth classes can last more than months, some others are short and last not more than one day or a couple of days. Different kinds of classes follow different sets of ideology and you will need to identify your ideology in the first place. However, the common points of discussion in these birth classes are signs of labor, pain relief options, the different stages of labor and the way you can comfort yourself during labor. Some of the popular childbirth classes are discussed below:

  • Lamaze

A natural form of childbirth class, Lamaze classes believe in following the body’s cues towards labor. The primary objective of Lamaze classes is to help women have a safe delivery which is why they believe in educating women about the practices they could follow for a natural and safe childbirth. The practices include allowing labor to come on naturally without unnecessary medical intervention, moving around when labor is here so that the process is hastened and following your body’s natural urge to push when the time is right.

  • The Bradley Method

The Bradley method4 lasts for 12 weeks and is meant for women who do not want to resort to medicines for childbirth. For all those who are aiming for a natural and medication-free birth could potentially benefit from these classes.

  • Hypno birthing

As far-fetched as that sounds, hypno birthing is for real and believes in teaching techniques of self-hypnosis to reduce fear and anxiety during childbirth. This method believes in the power of hypnosis to rule out fear that is the primary cause of pain. It encourages pregnant women about to give birth to open up like a lotus and birth babies without any form of anxiety. It is all about giving in to the feeling of absolute power in creating a baby.

Apart from these methods, The International Childbirth Education Association can train and educate women who want to be advocators of natural childbirth. If you haven’t been able to come across any of the above-mentioned classes yet, you could always look for ICEA-certified people in your neighborhood.

Stretch Marks

Now that your belly might finally start to stretch out, do remember to keep an eye on those stretch marks. It has been seen that almost 90% of women get stretch marks. They start as faint and itchy lines on your abdomen, breasts and on your thighs. With time, they start looking like pink or reddish streaks and get deeper. If your weight gain is gradual, you can avoid the chances of stretch marks but if you gain weight all of a sudden, it is likely that you will get them. You can start applying lotions that contain Vitamin E and alpha hydroxyl acids that can help with the itchiness and the discomfort. Stretch marks are deep sin tears and will eventually fade but never go. If you do get a lot of them, take pride in having them because it is a living proof of your pregnancy.

What Can You Do For Your Partner?

If you have recently found out that your pregnant wife might be sensitive to gas fumes, you could help her by filling up the gas tank yourself. Not only will that be of immense help, but also a cherished memory that she might tell her grandchildren one day.

Like every week, take it one day at a time. There will be ups and downs in pregnancy but what is important is you feel good about this incredible creation.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_blood_cell
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperemesis_gravidarum
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_D
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bradley_Method