Growing is in full effect as your baby continues to make huge strides. Your little one has grown to an incredible 5 ½ ounces and about 6 ¼ inches in length, putting them at about the size of a sweet potato. This is just big enough for you to feel as they move around – kicking, punching, stretching, rolling, and twisting, in a one-baby acrobatic display! Naturally, this all tires baby out, resulting in adorable prenatal yawns, which you may also be able to feel.
Also hard at work, is baby’s nervous system, which is maturing more and more each day. The nerves are now covered in a substance called myelin, allowing nerve cells to communicate and form more complex connections. This protective substance will continue to form until baby is a year old. Neurosensory brain cells are forming so your baby will get to enjoy taste, sight, hearing, touch, and smell. Baby’s retinas are able to detect light, causing them to react if a flashlight is directed at your belly. Hearing is becoming more acute, as the complex auditory system continues to form.
Your child’s reproductive system is taking position. If you’re having a girl, the fallopian tubes and uterus are in their proper place. If you’re having a boy, you may be able to see his genitals during the ultrasound.
If you were feeling hungry and tired before, expect it to amplify. Baby is growing so fast lately that you need plenty of nutrients to keep you both going. Stick to healthy options that will benefit you both, rather than empty calorie snack food. While you’re at it, you may want to avoid anything spicy since heartburn is prevalent at this time. Take your time with meals and eat smaller portions throughout the day that will be better for your stomach while providing energy consistently. When all else fails, calcium-rich heartburn relief tablets can work wonders.
As your uterus continues to grow to accommodate your growing child, you may experience back pain. Your center of gravity has shifted and the hormone relaxin is helping to relax your ligaments to make space, but is adding stress to your back. Use a footrest to adjust the strain when seated and enjoy a nice long, warm bath whenever possible.
At this point it’s best to lie on your side while you’re sleeping, or at least angle to the side. Otherwise the weight of your uterus can compress a major vein in the back of your abdomen, which can reduce blood flow returning to the heart. If you’re not careful, this can cause dizziness and may even lower your blood pressure. Take your time getting up so that you don’t get light-headed. It’s also a perfect excuse to hog all of the pillows so that you can place them under your hips and legs to reduce strain. Elevating your head can reduce strain and eliminate some of that dreadful snoring that often accompanies pregnancy.
Your body is going through some definite stress right now, which may lead you to be extra irritable. Remember to take time to relax and unwind. All of that pent up stress and pain is a perfect reason to undergo some pregnancy pampering. Get a nice prenatal massage and enjoy a soothing (kid-free) bath.
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