Saturday, January 8, 2011

Pregnancy Week 25

With all that's going on with your baby-to-be, don't forget to stop and take a few moments to relax and schedule some quality alone time. But don't forget your partner! Make a date for the two of you to share some time together, too.

All about You

You may start to notice aches and pains in some unusual places as your pregnancy progresses. For example, you may experience moments of shooting pains in your legs. There are several possible reasons for leg cramps, although doctors are still uncertain about the exact cause. According to the March of Dimes, changes in your circulation, pressure on nerves and blood vessels, even staying in the same position for too long can lead to cramping. Your groin may also ache with the added pressure of your baby-to-be. And chances are, some of the regular pregnancy nuisances—like frequent potty breaks, indigestion, and itchy skin—are still bothering you.

Next to nausea, fatigue is one of the top complaints during pregnancy. While getting more rest seems to be the easy solution, sleeping will become more difficult as you get further along in your pregnancy.

Physical Reasons for Sleep Trouble

Belly bump: Your baby bump can make it challenging to find a comfortable snoozing position. If you slept on your back or stomach pre-pregnancy, you'll have to adjust to sleeping on your side. In fact, the American Pregnancy Association (APA) advises sleeping on your side, or SOS—as the healthiest position for you and your baby. The APA goes on to say that you should sleep on your left side to put your body's internal organs in the best position for blood to circulate, replenishing your body—and your baby-to-be's—with oxygen and nutrients while you sleep.

Breathing issues: Your expanding belly not only dictates your sleep position, but also how much air you'll breathe as you snooze. As your uterus expands and pushes your internal organs aside, your lungs have less room to expand, meaning you're taking shallower and more frequent breaths than in your pre-pregnancy days.

Potty breaks: Your growing baby-to-be puts added pressure on your bladder, which is working overtime along with the rest of your body to flush out any impurities in your blood supply, which jumps 50 percent during pregnancy. Don't be surprised if you have to wake up at least a couple of times in the night to use the bathroom.

Indigestion: Along with your lungs and bladder, your stomach is getting squished as your belly bump grows. As your stomach is pushed up closer to your oesophagus (the tube through which food travels from your mouth to your stomach), you're more likely to experience heartburn. Pregnancy hormones, which tend to slow digestion, can also cause food to sit longer in your stomach.

Mental Reasons for Sleep Trouble

Stress: It may not be just your body keeping you up at night. You may lose sleep worrying about your baby's arrival, stresses of work, or about becoming a mother.

Dreams: Researchers also note pregnant women have more vivid dreams compared with non-pregnant women. "We're still not sure why this happens," says Dr. William Camann, MD, director of obstetric anesthesia at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, and coauthor of Easy Labor. Some theories are that pregnancy hormones play a part. "It may also be that you're waking up more often so that you're recalling more of what you were dreaming."

Try these helpful strategies to ensure you get some much-needed rest.

Pillows, pillows, and more pillows! While there are plenty of pregnancy sleep pillows on the market, you can also fashion your own pillow system by placing several smaller pillows at your sorest points. Try adding one behind your lower back for support and placing one between your legs.

Relaxation strategies: If pillows aren't enough, try to find some ways to relax before you go to bed. Make yourself a glass of tea, do breathing exercises, and/or let your partner give you're a massage. Find what triggers your body to unwind and practice it before bed.

Drinking smarts: You should never limit the amount of water you drink, but you can limit when you drink it. If you've had one too many midnight bathroom breaks, avoid drinking an hour or two before bed. Make sure, though, when you wake up in the morning and throughout the day you drink enough to keep your body hydrated.

Sit up: Propping yourself up at night can ease heartburn. You may also try avoiding acidic foods such as tomato sauce or citrus fruits.

Have your baby: After weeks of uncomfortable sleep positions and aching body parts, you'll be amazed at how quickly you'll find yourself snoozing again once your baby arrives. You may still find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, but it won't be because you need a bathroom break—instead it will be your little one who may need a snack or a changed diaper.

All About Baby

Your baby-to-be's lungs are developing rapidly, although he’d / she'd probably need a little help breathing if he / she were born at this point. His / Her respiratory system continues to develop, his / her nostrils are open, and he / she can breathe—but he / she won't take his / her first breath of air until delivery day. By your 25th week of pregnancy, the reproductive organs are formed (in boys, the testes have descended). The skin is translucent and wrinkled, and he / she can hear your stomach when it gurgles and your voice when you sing. Your baby is becoming more aware of how he / she can move—he’s / she's wiggling her fingers and toes!

How Big Is Baby?

Your baby has grown to about 1.5 pounds, she's around 13.5 inches long (crown to heel). She's about the size of a loaf of bread.

Here is another pregnancy skin change that's caused by your fluctuating hormones. The increase in hormones occurring during pregnancy has an effect on your body's melanin production, and this increase in melanin manifests itself as small brownish patches or darkened areas on the skin. (The melanin increase is also responsible for the darkening of your nipples and labia.) The dermatological term for the "mask of pregnancy" is melasma or chloasma.

A large percentage of women will experience this skin change to varying degrees. The reason it is called a "mask" is because it is most commonly seen on the cheekbones, nose, and forehead. It can also be seen on the forearms, hands, and other parts of the body that are exposed to sunlight. Women with darker pigmented skin may be more prone to this than women with lighter skin pigment.

For many women, these brownish patches will fade after childbirth; however, some women may not see them completely disappear. Skin bleaching or lightening can sometimes be effective to improve the appearance of the skin. But never use these products while pregnant (here is a look at what skin products are safe during pregnancy).

Give your body time after the baby is born to see what will happen with your skin. Check with your doctor or a dermatologist for the best method of lightening any remaining discoloration.

  • · Always wear sunscreen (this may help prevent the spots from getting too dark)
  • · Use moisturizer
  • · Drink plenty of water (at least eight glasses per day)
  • · Make sure you're getting enough sleep

Multiple Madness

Pampering the Three of You!

During the final stage of your pregnancy it's important to take time to pamper yourself. You'll be spending plenty of time caring for not just one, but two little ones in the coming months. It's wise to get into a pattern of self-care now. That way, it will be easier to continue nurturing yourself after the babies are born (when you really need it).

Schedule a massage to help your stretching ligaments and sore muscles. Take a warm shower at night. Spend time with friends shopping, having lunch, or going to the movies.

I realize it's been said that pregnancy is not the time to try a new haircut, but on a day when you aren't feeling too crazy, invest in an easy-to-style "'do" that makes you feel great without requiring ninety minutes to get it in place.

If your doctor permits it, investigate a water aerobics class for pregnant women. The weightlessness will feel tremendous on your joints and muscles, and the workout will be great for every inch of you.

Many women believe that caring for them, especially after the babies arrive, is selfish. But the fact is it's not. It's essential that you take care of yourself. After all, you can only best care for your family when you've got the energy and sanity to do so. So pick up the phone and schedule some you time!

For Your Partner

Taking Care of Yourself and Your Spouse

Life for you and your partner may get a little crazy when your baby is born. Now, before your newborn arrives, is the time to pamper yourselves. You most likely won't have the chance to again until months (or years!) after your Baby enters the world.

Does your partner like manicures and pedicures? How about massages or getting her hair styled? Maybe even a spa treatment? These make for great treats and can help your spouse relieve stress and feel special—just how you want her to feel.

Try scheduling an appointment for her or look for gift certificates so the experience is worry-free. If family and friends ask you what they can get her as a baby shower gift, these make for great suggestions (especially if they come with a "babysitting" service along with them for after your baby is born).

While pampering your loved one, don't forget about yourself! Dads-to-be deserve massages and spa treatments, too. Or how about a professional shave? What are the things that make you feel good and special? Be sure to schedule some of these things for yourself as well.

The healthier you and your partner are, the better able you'll be to manage the stresses and chaos of having a newborn.

Fun Fact

You may have noticed your baby has bouts of hiccups. Unlike when you have hiccups from swallowing in air, your baby-to-be's hiccups come from taking in small amounts of amniotic fluid. No worries, the amniotic fluid won't hurt her—in fact it contains beneficial nutrients.

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