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Week #11 of Pregnancy

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Your Pregnancy: Week 11

By Erin Horner, edHelperBaby

Your Baby
           The eleventh week in your little one's life brings with it some fascinating developments.  By now, his head makes up approximately one half of his 1 inch body, but rest assured that the rest of his body will catch up over the next 29 weeks.  Your little one's ears are slowly moving up from his neck and toward their final destination along the side of his head.   His fingernails are now beginning to appear and his (or her!) external genitalia is starting to become apparent.

       Deep within his abdomen your baby's intestines are continuing to develop as well.  While a part of them still protrude into his umbilical cord, they are already capable of mimicking digestion by making peristaltic movements.  Of course there is nothing for your sweet one to digest yet, but as your pregnancy continues and your baby begins swallowing amniotic fluid and the skin cells that will be shed into it, these developing intestines will be put to the test as they "digest" the fluid  and prepare for life outside of the womb.


Your Body
           By this stage of your pregnancy your body is burning calories at a much higher rate than before you were pregnant.  On average, most pregnant women's base metabolic rate increases by as much as 25%.  The combination of this increase in your metabolism coupled with the increased amount of blood pumping through your body may be causing you to feel warmer and perspire more than normal.  While the increase in perspiration may not be the pregnancy "glow" that you were looking forward to, the extra blood circulating through your system can be credited with some positive pregnancy changes as well.  You may be noticing that your  fingernails are stronger and growing more quickly than before you were pregnant (yay!) as are your and toenails (yuck!).  Your hair is also probably growing more quickly and beginning to feel fuller.  Enjoy these changes while they are occurring, as once your little one is born, and your circulation and hormones return to normal, so will your hair, fingernails (shucks!) and toenails (phew!)


  You're Wondering. . .
           Realistically, how much weight am I really supposed to gain while I am pregnant?

       The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that a woman who begins her pregnancy at a healthy weight (a BMI or Body Mass Index of 18-24) gain between 25 and 37 pounds throughout her pregnancy.  If you were considered underweight before conceiving, it is recommended that you gain between 28 and 40 pounds.  Women who are considered overweight at the time of conception should aim to gain no more than 15 to 25 pounds while pregnant.  The average woman gains approximately 30 pounds over the course of her pregnancy which can be broken down into the following categories:
  • Baby at the time of delivery = 7 1/2 pounds
  • Placenta = 1 1/2 pounds
  • Increased fluid volume = 4 pounds
  • Uterus = 2 pounds
  • Breast tissue = 2 pounds
  • Increased blood volume = 4 pounds
  • Amniotic fluid = 2 pounds
  • Mom's storage of fat, protein and needed nutrients = 7 pounds

       As your pregnancy progresses, be aware of the "Oh, I'm pregnant, I can have one more!" trap.  I found that during my first pregnancy, mindless snacking throughout the day really caught up with me.  Each treat was justified by the "Oh, I'm pregnant.  What's one more?" sentiment.  By the time I had left work in the evenings, I was no longer aware of the numerous stops I had made at the office candy jar while making copies, or the frightening amount of munchies I had snacked on while grading papers.  The moment of truth came one month in the form of the doctor's office scale where each and every cookie quickly became accounted for!  I then realized, that I was going to have to be much more diligent in my food choices and much more disciplined in my eating or else my pregnancy was going to turn into a free for all, and losing the oodles of pounds that I was on track to gain, would be nearly impossible.  Luckily, I was able to curtail most (not all!) of my munching and ended my pregnancy at a healthy weight.

       Do your best to remember that the blessing of pregnancy brings with it a great responsibility to provide for your growing baby.   Strive to eat a well balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables as well as lean dairy and protein selections that will create a nutrient rich environment for your little miracle.  Be sure to engage in 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week to help keep your pregnancy weight gain in check and help you feel your best.  Rather than focus on the growing numbers on the scale, focus on your growing little one and commit yourself to doing everything within your power to make sure that your growing baby has the healthiest home possible for the nine (or ten!) months that he lives deep within you.


  Your "To-Do" List
           This is a great week to talk with your partner about the upcoming medical appointments that you have scheduled.  If you have already scheduled most, if not all of your pregnancy appointments, take some time this week and discuss which ones you would like your partner to attend.  Some women enjoy having their partner present for every doctor's appointment and their partner's accommodating work schedule makes it feasible for him to do so.  Others are content if their partner accompanies them to their anticipated ultrasound appointment and are happy to simply fill them in on the details of other doctor visits over dinner.  By taking the time to talk about your medical appointments now, and your mutual expectation about which ones you would like your partner to attend, you will help to ensure that your partner can be present by clearing his calendar well in advance.


Your Homework: Preparing For Parenthood
           In your life before little ones, you and your partner may have enjoyed weekly date nights.  You may have a special restaurant that you enjoy eating at or maybe a favorite band that you love to watch perform.  Maybe you love a good night out on the town, complete with dinner, dancing, and dessert where you stay out until the early morning hours.  All of these dates are a crucial part of your growing relationship and while the birth of a baby does not simultaneously signal the end of such adventures, it does bring with it some changes.  Now when heading out for the evening, you will need a sitter or a diaper bag full of supplies to get you through a meal at that favorite restaurant.  Because your relationship with your partner will still be just as important, if not more so, once your little one arrives, your homework assignment this week is to plan, and enjoy a baby-friendly, at-home, date night.  This does not mean that you need to gather a laundry basket full of baby toys and pretend to play with your little one all evening.  Rather, it means that you need to plan something fun that you and your partner could enjoy doing once your little one is asleep and the two of you have some much needed time alone, all without leaving the house.  Maybe you want to order take out from that special restaurant and set- up a candlelit dinner for two at your kitchen table.  Why not rent a newly released movie, spread a blanket on the floor, turnoff all of the lights and create your own "drive-in" theater.  If you and your partner both enjoy board games, pick your favorite and play.  Once your baby is born, you can raise the stakes by challenging the loser to take on diaper duty for the following day.  What you do together on your date night isn't nearly as important as how often you do it.  Prepare yourself for parenthood this week by committing to keep your relationship a priority with special time together on a regular basis, even if that "time" is spent at home and not out on the town.


  My Experience
           Before Grant and I were parents we took our date nights for granted.  We were able to head out for dinner and a movie at the drop of a hat and did so frequently.  As we watched those around us become parents, we realized that their lives suddenly became so consumed with their little ones that their relationship with one another began to suffer.  Determined not to let that happen to us, we realized that we were going to have to be pro-active in continuing to date once our baby was born.  While I was pregnant, we still enjoyed special date nights out and about, but began to "date" at home more often too.  We would take turns planning our "night-in," alternating every month.  I began to look forward to our in-house date nights, once a month on a Friday evening, especially as my pregnancy progressed and I was too tired after a long week of teaching and growing a baby for a night out on the town.  Once our little girl was born, our in-home date nights were already a well-established habit and we continued planning special nights at home.  Now, nearly six years and two children later, we still love nights out designed for just the two of us, but we also love our monthly "nights in" where we can focus on each other all without leaving the comfort of home.


     Don't Wait Up: 10 ideas for a Mom's night out

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