1st trimester: Week 8
If you could see your baby now, you'd be able to make out her eyelids, the tip of her nose, and her upper lip. She's approximately three-quarters of an inch long from top to bottom, and her brain, spinal cord, heart, kidneys, liver, and stomach have begun to take shape. The aortic and pulmonary valves are distinctly present in the heart, which has now divided into right and left chambers and gallops at twice your rate (about 150 times a minute). She has distinct, slightly webbed fingers and toes and see-through skin.
Through the placental wall, the embryo is able to absorb oxygen, proteins, sugar, and fat for the crucial task of building cells. Talk about growing pains: Now that your uterus has expanded from a prepregnancy size of a fist to its present grapefruitlike proportions, you may feel occasional cramping in your lower abdomen and sides. These cramps are normal and shouldn't pose any risk to the baby.
Do's and Don'ts
Do hand off kitty-litter duty to your partner or another family member. Cat feces may contain parasites that cause toxoplasmosis, an infection that is fairly harmless in grown-ups but can cause developmental problems in babies, especially if you were to contract it in the first trimester. You can also get opportunistic infections from eating raw or undercooked meat. Cook meat to at least 160 degrees before eating, and wash hands with soap and water after handling raw meat.
To keep nausea at bay, nibble on crackers before you get out of bed and eat smaller meals throughout the day rather than three large ones. Its name notwithstanding, morning sickness can engulf you at any time of the day. Fortunately, the queasy feeling usually goes away by the time you reach the second trimester.
Mom to Mom
What did other moms do when they learned they were pregnant? "I calculated how much longer my second child would still be in diapers and thought about whether I could get her toilet trained before the birth of my third one."--Robin Bronk Weiss, New Rochelle, NY
If you're a regular gym goer, you can ease up a little. Your heart rate is higher now, which means you won't need to exert as hard to get the same aerobic result. Plus, the pregnancy hormone hCG makes it much easier to get overheated, so take well-timed water breaks. Bottom line: Don't exercise to the point where you get short of breath.
Feel like being romantic but aren't up to making love? Remind each other that there's more to your relationship than impending parenthood by taking a little couple time. Relax together in a soothing bath, go out for dinner, or just spend a quiet evening at home watching baby movies. Three classics on DVD: Baby Boom, She's Having a Baby, Look Who's Talking.
Make the most of your time with your firstborn by scheduling special one-on-one playdates with him. Buy a craft kit and build it together, attend a ball game and make an event of it, or explore a new neighborhood together. When the baby's born, you may not be able to give him as much attention as he craves, so load up on the fun now.
On average, mothers pregnant with twins gain between four and six pounds in the first trimester. For the rest of the pregnancy, they put on approximately one and a half pounds per week.
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