24 Weeks

24 Weeks

How your baby’s growing:

Your baby’s growing steadily, having gained about 4 ounces since last week. That puts him at just over a pound. Since he’s almost a foot long (picture an ear of corn), he cuts a pretty lean figure at this point, but his body is filling out proportionally and he’ll soon start to plump up. His brain is also growing quickly now, and his taste buds are continuing to develop. His lungs are developing “branches” of the respiratory “tree” as well as cells that produce surfactant, a substance that will help his air sacs inflate once he hits the outside world. His skin is still thin and translucent, but that will start to change soon.

How your life’s changing:

In the past few weeks, the top of your uterus has risen above your belly button and is now about the size of a soccer ball.

Most women have a glucose screening test (also called a glucose challenge test or GCT) between now and 28 weeks. This test checks for gestational diabetes, a pregnancy-related high-blood-sugar condition. Untreated diabetes increases your risk of having a difficult vaginal delivery or needing a cesarean section because it causes your baby to grow too large, especially in his upper body. It also raises your baby’s odds for other complications like low blood sugar right after birth. A positive result on your GCT doesn’t mean you have gestational diabetes, but it does mean that you’ll need to take the glucose tolerance test (GTT) to find out for sure.

Finally, if you don’t already know how to spot the signs of preterm labor, now’s the time to learn. Contact your caregiver immediately if you notice any of the signs mentioned below.

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23 Weeks

23 Weeks

How your baby’s growing:

Turn on the radio and sway to the music. With her sense of movement well developed by now, your baby can feel you dance. And now that she’s more than 11 inches long and weighs just over a pound (about as much as a large mango), you may be able to see her squirm underneath your clothes. Blood vessels in her lungs are developing to prepare for breathing, and the sounds that your baby’s increasingly keen ears pick up are preparing her for entry into the outside world. Loud noises that become familiar now — such as your dog barking or the roar of the vacuum cleaner — probably won’t faze her when she hears them outside the womb.

How your life’s changing:

You may notice that your ankles and feet start to swell a bit in the coming weeks or months, especially at the end of the day or during the heat of summer. Sluggish circulation in your legs — coupled with changes in your blood chemistry that may cause some water retention — may result in swelling, also known as edema. Your body will get rid of the extra fluid after you have your baby, which is why you’ll pee frequently and sweat a lot for a few days after delivery. In the meantime, lie on your left side or put your feet up when you can, stretch out your legs when you sit, and avoid sitting — or standing — in one place for long periods. Also, try to exercise regularly to increase circulation, and wear support stockings (put them on first thing in the morning) and roomy, comfortable shoes. You may be tempted to skimp on liquids to combat swelling, but you need to drink plenty of water because staying hydrated actually helps prevent fluid retention. While a certain amount of edema in your lower extremities is normal during pregnancy, excessive swelling may be a sign of a serious condition calledpreeclampsia. Be sure to call your midwife or doctor if you have severe or sudden swelling of your feet or ankles, more than slight swelling of your hands, swelling in your face, or puffiness around your eyes.

22 Weeks

22 Weeks (2nd trimester)

How your baby’s growing:

At 11 inches (the length of a spaghetti squash) and almost 1 pound, your baby is starting to look like a miniature newborn. His lips, eyelids, and eyebrows are becoming more distinct, and he’s even developing tiny tooth buds beneath his gums. His eyes have formed, but his irises (the colored part of the eye) still lack pigment. If you could see inside your womb, you’d be able to spot the fine hair (lanugo) that covers his body and the deep wrinkles on his skin, which he’ll sport until he adds a padding of fat to fill them in. Inside his belly, his pancreas — essential for the production of some important hormones — is developing steadily.

How your life’s changing:

At this point, you may find your belly becoming a hand magnet. It’s perfectly okay to tell folks who touch your tummy that you’d rather they didn’t. And if people are telling you that you look smaller or bigger than you should at this point, remember that each woman grows — and shows — at her own rate. What’s important is that you see your practitioner for regular visits so she can make sure your baby’s growth is on track.

You may start to notice stretch marks on your abdomen as it expands to accommodate your growing baby. At least half of all pregnant women will develop stretch marks by the time they give birth. These small streaks of differently textured skin can range from pink to dark brown (depending on your skin color). Although they most commonly appear on your tummy, stretch marks may also show up on your buttocks, thighs, hips, and breasts. There’s no proof that lotion helps prevent stretch marks, but keeping your skin moisturized may help with any itching.

Surprising Facts: Body changes beyond your belly

You expected your belly to grow — and perhaps your breasts, too — but the following physical changes may take you by surprise. As with many pregnancy changes, hormones play a role in most of these alterations in your looks.

• Thicker, more lustrous hair You’re not actually growing more hair, just losing less than normal. During pregnancy, your body sheds hair much more slowly than it did before. What to do: If thicker hair is a boon for you, enjoy it. If it’s making your mane more unruly than ever, ask your stylist to do some thinning at your next cut. These changes won’t last forever. After your baby’s born, you’ll start to lose this excess hair, sometimes in clumps.

• Increased body hair Sex hormones known as androgens can cause new hair to sprout on your chin, upper lip, jaw, and cheeks. Stray hairs can also pop up on your belly, arms, legs, and back. What to do: Tweezing, waxing, and shaving are all safe ways to manage these temporary changes.

• Faster-growing fingernails Your fingernails may grow more quickly than usual, and you may notice changes in texture. Some women’s nails get harder, while others’ get softer or more brittle. What to do: Protect your nails by wearing rubber gloves when you’re cleaning, and using moisturizer on them if they’re brittle.

• Skin changes Some pregnant women report that their skin has never looked better. If that’s you, enjoy the proverbial “glow.” Others find the hormones of pregnancy aggravate skin conditions such as acne. What to do: Wash twice a day with a gentle soap or cleanser, and make sure that any moisturizer or makeup you use is oil-free.

• Stretch marks As your belly expands to accommodate your growing baby, you may get tiny tears in the supportive tissue that lies just beneath your skin, resulting in striations of varying color. These marks will begin to fade and become considerably less noticeable about six to 12 months after you give birth. There’s not much you can do besides trying not to gain more than the recommended amount of weight. Heredity is responsible for the natural elasticity of your skin and plays a role in determining who will end up with stretch marks.

• Skin discolorations Increased melanin can cause splotchy patches of darkened skin on your face. These pigment changes may become intensified if you spend time in the sun. What to do: Protect your face by using a sunblock that offers both UVA and UVB protection with an SPF of 30 or higher, wearing a hat with a brim, and avoiding the sun during peak hours of the day (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.).

• Larger and darker nipples and areolas You may find that your nipples and the pigmented area around them (the areolas) are getting bigger and darker. The little bumps on your areolas, known as Montgomery’s tubercles, may also be more pronounced. These bumps are oil-producing glands that help fight off bacteria and lubricate the skin. Some women also notice more pronounced veins in their breasts. What to do: Nothing!

• Larger feet Your feet may go up half a shoe size or more. Lax ligaments may make your feet spread a bit — permanently. Swelling can make your shoes feel tight as well, although it will go away after delivery. What to do: Buy comfortable shoes to accommodate your growing feet.

Olivia Michelle Fisher

So this past Monday August 9, 2010 (8/9/10) my cousin Kim had a baby girl. I got to the hospital about an hour after she was born and she is just so breath taking. When I walked into the room Derek was holding her and at the time I did not know what they had. I burst into tears as soon as I saw him holding his baby girl. I was freaking out and then I just blurted out “What is it!!”

Well, it was a beautiful baby girl. Here are some pictures…

Derek, Kim, and Olivia

Mommy and Baby Girl

Very Proud Cousin

21 Weeks

21 weeks (2nd trimester)

How your baby’s growing:

Your baby now weighs about three-quarters of a pound and is approximately 10 1/2 inches long —the length of a carrot. You may soon feel like she’s practicing martial arts as her initial fluttering movements turn into full-fledged kicks and nudges. You may also discover a pattern to her activity as you get to know her better. In other developments, your baby’s eyebrows and lids are present now, and if you’re having a girl, her vagina has begun to form as well.

How your life’s changing:

You’re probably feeling pretty comfortable these days. You’re not too big yet, and the usual discomforts associated with early pregnancy are, for the most part, gone. If you’re feeling good, relax and enjoy it while you can — the third trimester may bring with it a new crop of complaints.

That’s not to say you won’t have some minor glitches to deal with now. For example, increased oil production may contribute to the development (or worsening) of acne. If that’s the case, be diligent about washing well with a gentle soap or cleanser twice a day, and make sure that any moisturizer or make-up you use is oil-free. Don’t take any oral acne medications — some are very hazardous during pregnancy — or use any topical acne products without first checking with your practitioner.

You’re also more prone to varicose veins now. As your pregnancy progresses, there’s increasing pressure on the veins in your legs; higher progesterone levels, which may cause the walls of your veins to relax, can make the problem worse. You’re more likely to get varicose veins if other family members have them. Also, they tend to get worse with each successive pregnancy and as you age. To help prevent or minimize varicose veins, exercise daily, prop up your feet and legs whenever possible, sleep on your left side, and wear maternity support hose.

You may also notice so-called spider veins (a group of tiny blood vessels near the surface of your skin), particularly on your ankles, legs, or face. They may have a spider- or sunburst-like pattern with little branches radiating out from the center, they may look like the branches of a tree, or they may be a group of separate thin lines with no particular pattern. Though they may be a bit unsightly, spider veins don’t cause discomfort and usually disappear after delivery.

20 Weeks

20 weeks (2nd trimester)

How your baby’s growing:

Your baby weighs about 10 1/2 ounces now. He’s also around 6 1/2 inches long from head to bottom and about 10 inches from head to heel — the length of a banana. (For the first 20 weeks, when a baby’s legs are curled up against his torso and hard to measure,measurements are taken from the top of his head to his bottom — the “crown to rump” measurement. After 20 weeks, he’s measured from head to toe.)

He’s swallowing more these days, which is good practice for his digestive system. He’s also producing meconium, a black, sticky by-product of digestion. This gooey substance will accumulate in his bowels, and you’ll see it in his first soiled diaper (some babies pass meconium in the womb or during delivery).

How your life’s changing:

Congratulations! You’ve hit the halfway mark in your pregnancy. The top of your uterus is about level with your belly button, and you’ve likely gained around 10 pounds. Expect to gain another pound or so each week from now on. (If you started your pregnancy underweight, you may need to gain a bit more; if you were overweight, perhaps a bit less.) Make sure you’re getting enough iron, a mineral that’s used primarily to make hemoglobin (the part of your red blood cells that carries oxygen). During pregnancy, your body needs more iron to keep up with your expanding blood volume, as well as for your growing baby and the placenta. Red meat is one of the best sources of iron for pregnant women. Poultry (especially the dark meat) and shellfish also contain iron. Some common non-meat sources of iron include legumes, soy-based products, spinach, prune juice, raisins, and iron-fortified cereals.

Also, great news…