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Week #12 of Pregnancy

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Your Pregnancy: Week 12

By Erin Horner, edHelperBaby

Your Baby
           Within your little one's teeny, tiny body, there has been a lot going on this week.  Most notably, his brain configuration is now nearly complete and his synapses are continuing to form at a rapid rate.  He is also beginning to develop his reflexes and may be opening and closing his fingers as well as curling his toes.  His intestines, which up until this point have grown so quickly that they have actually protruded into the umbilical cord, will now head into the abdominal cavity.  If the thought of all of this occurring within your 1/2 ounce and 2 inch long baby seems too awesome to fathom, get used to the feeling!  Motherhood is full of moments that will leave you awestruck . . . and you are about to experience them all!


Your Body
           By the end of this week, your uterus will be too large to remain completely within your pelvis.  If you press down gently just above your pubic bone, you may even be able to feel it.  Throughout the rest of your pregnancy it will continue to grow upward, filling not only your pelvis but your abdomen as well.  Your uterus was once a nearly solid organ before your baby took up its residence deep within its walls.  As your pregnancy progresses, however, its walls will thin and stretch, first from the increase of progesterone and estrogen in your system and later from the shear growth of your little one and his or her placenta.  This amazing organ will also increase its capacity 500 to 1,000 times in order to accommodate your baby, placenta, and amniotic fluid.  In yet another display of the magical mysteries of the human body, the uterus will return to normal with in a few short weeks of delivering your baby.  Now, if we could only get our stomach muscles to follow the uterus' lead; that would be a real magic trick!


  You're Wondering. . .
           My friends keep telling me that it is important to work out while I am pregnant, but I'm afraid that if I overexert myself at the gym I might inadvertently cause myself to miscarry.  Is it really safe for me to exercise?

       Exercise during pregnancy is not only safe, it is highly recommended by the medical community.  A woman who exercises throughout her pregnancy usually has an easier labor and delivery experience, gains less weight (and loses it more easily once her baby is born) and finds great relief from many uncomfortable pregnancy side-effects such as exhaustion and constipation.  With that being said, it is still fairly common for women to fear that engaging in too much physical activity while pregnant can harm their growing little one. Some fear that raising their heart rate too high or becoming overheated during a workout could raise their baby's temperature too much and cause complications. Other women have stated that they worry about their little one becoming entangled in his or her umbilical cord if they move around too much during an aerobics class or similar activity.  The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, has taken the following stance on exercise during pregnancy:
  1. It is safe for a woman to moderately exercise for 30 minutes each day, as long as her doctor has given her the okay to do so.
  2. During the second and third trimesters, women need to choose exercises where they don't lie flat on their back or stand motionless for too long.
  3. Most recreational activities are safe.  However, any activity that poses a risk of abdominal harm from a fall (such as basketball, rollerblading, soccer, skiing, horseback riding, ice hockey, vigorous tennis of racket ball) should be avoided.
  4. Scuba diving at any stage of pregnancy is not safe.
  5. Exercise or physical exertion up to an altitude of 6,000 feet is safe.  Now, however, is not the time to try and climb Mt. Everest!

       You should not, however, exercise if you have any of the following:
  1. A heart or lung disorder
  2. An incompetent cervix
  3. Are carrying multiples and are considered "at risk" for premature labor
  4. Persistent second or third trimester bleeding
  5. Been diagnosed with placenta previa past your 26th week
  6. Been diagnosed with preeclampsia
  7. Gone into premature labor in a previous pregnancy
  8. Your membranes have ruptured (your water has broken)

       Always be sure to consult with your medical provider regarding any specific exercise question that you may have.  If you are still fearful of causing your little one harm, your doctor or midwife may be able to help you come to terms with your fears or design a low-impact work-out plan that you both can feel comfortable with.


  Your "To-Do" List
           If you are hoping to stay in your favorite pre-pregnancy jeans a bit longer, but are having a hard time breathing once you shimmy them on, this week top your "to-do" list with this: Try the rubber band trick.  While not mystical enough to be compared to Lance Burton and something amazing displayed at his Las Vegas show, for a pregnant woman the "rubber band trick" is nothing short of magic.  It won't take your breath away...it will give it back.  Take a rubber band and thread it through the button hole of your jeans (or any other pants, for that matter).  You should have one half of the rubber band on each side of the hole.  Once through, loop one side of the rubber band through the other and pull gently.  That should leave you with one section of your rubber band still in a loop, and the other side pulled taunt against your button hole.  Next, pull the rubber band and slip it around the button on your pants.  Viola!  Your favorite jeans are now "buttoned" and you can breathe!  Pair your new found trick with a longer or un-tucked shirt and your magic trick will remain hidden from the untrained eye.  Remember, a good magician never tells her secrets...unless of course you have a newly pregnant friend who could use a few more weeks in her skinny jeans.  In that case, loan her a few rubber bands and share away!


Your Homework: Preparing For Parenthood
           Is your home ready to be invaded by the contagious joy that your baby will soon bring?  Are you ready for afternoons spent making crafts, doing puzzles, or playing play dough?  This week, as you prepare yourself for parenthood find some time for you and your partner to connect to your inner child and your inner artist!  Gather the following supplies and prepare yourself for an evening of fun with the two most important people in your life; your partner and your baby.

       You will need the following supplies:
  • Three or more containers of play dough (preferably in different colors)
  • Ten 3 X 5 index cards

       Next, give five index cards to your partner and keep five for yourself.  On each of your index cards write down the word of an item, or action that you envision yourself using or doing in the first few years of your little one's life.  For example, you might write down "diaper" on one card because you will spend a lot of time changing diapers in the coming months.  Think of other things such as stroller, crib, car seat, lullaby, etc.  After you have each written on your five cards, combine the cards, shuffle them, place them face down in a pile, and let the game begin! As the one growing the baby, you get to go first.  Pick a card from the pile and then use your play dough to sculpt out the word that you selected.  Keep sculpting until your partner guesses your chosen word.  The object of the game is to guess the word that the other is sculpting without any verbal clues or hints.  As you attempt to create some of the many things that will soon be a part of your daily routine, allow this time to be a chance for you and your partner to talk about the upcoming changes, dream about the upcoming future, and laugh about the upcoming joys of parenthood.  You can also use this time to prepare for parenthood by mastering the fine art of making the perfect play dough snake and ball.  For some unknown reason, every child always seems to want his or her parent to help them sculpt a play dough snake or ball...so take advantage of the evening and fine tune your skills!


  My Experience
           I have always found that there is something therapeutic about play dough.  I don't know if it is the act of creating something, even if my finished art projects are often hard to discern, or if it is just plain fun to get a bit messy.  When I was pregnant with my son, Wyatt, my husband, daughter and I sat down one evening and played with her play dough.  We made things that the baby would need such as diapers and a pacifier as well as things that Kilee thought that her new brother would like to play with. Apparently she received her art skills from my half of the gene pool, because we occasionally had to use the "Oh, tell me about it!" line to try and decipher what her sculpted masterpiece was supposed to represent.  Regardless of the artistic expression, or lack there of, this time together allowed us an opportunity to talk about the changes that would soon be occurring in our home.  While it was good for Kilee to hear us talk about what life would be like after Wyatt was born, it was also good for Grant and I to remind each other of the joy (and exhaustion) that inadvertently comes with a sweet, little, newborn.  The creative evening also alerted us to one other very real truth:  we would soon need to keep the play dough up on a higher shelf just in case Kilee decided to try and help "feed" her brother some of her one of a kind pizza!


     What Can You Do Now to Prepare Your Children for the Arrival of Their Younger Sibling?

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