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Week #15 of Pregnancy

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Your Pregnancy: Week 15

By Erin Horner, edHelperBaby

Your Baby
           If you are beginning to feel that your sweet little baby is the apple of your eye, you are right!  This week at 4 inches long (from the crown of his head to his rump) and 2 1/2 ounces, your little one is about the size of a small apple.  Every day your sweet one is growing more and more and by this week his thin, transparent skin is covered with fine hair, known as lanugo.  His legs are also growing longer than his arms and he can move all of his joints and limbs.  While swimming in his amniotic fluid, your baby is beginning to move some of that fluid through his nose and into his upper respiratory tract.  These movements are crucial as they help to further develop the primitive air sacs that are deep within his lungs.  Six short months from now, however, those air sacs will be well developed and responsible for filling up and then exhaling in the form of your little one's first cry after birth.


Your Body
           If you haven't already started wearing maternity clothes, this may be the week you do!  Most pregnant women have only gained about 5 pounds by the 15th week of pregnancy, but their growing uterus makes it difficult to zip up those favorite jeans.  Measuring about three inches below your belly button, your uterus and pregnant belly may not be obvious to anyone else when you are wearing "normal" clothes, but you are definitely beginning to show more and more with each passing week.  If you are not quite ready to take the plunge into a full maternity wardrobe, consider purchasing one pair of maternity pants that can be worn with some of your more loose fitting shirts.  There are also several products available now that can be worn around your mid-section while you are caught in this "in-between" stage of your old and new wardrobes.  These bands allow you to wear your regular pants (unbuttoned, of course!) but covers the zipper and buttons so that they lie flat.  When you put a shirt on over the top of it, the band makes it look as though you are simply layering your t-shirt with another shirt.  Most maternity shops as well as some baby supply stores will carry these types of bands as well as several other products that may make a few more weeks in your favorite pants possible.


  You're Wondering. . .
           I'm so confused!  I've heard that it is important to eat salmon while I am pregnant, but that I can't eat other types of fish.  What types of fish are safe and what kinds should I avoid?

       You are right in thinking that salmon is a healthy food choice during pregnancy.  It contains omega-3 fatty acids that are not found in other foods, nor are they produced by your body.  These fatty acids are essential for your little one's growing brain, nervous tissue, and retinas.  Health care providers have stated that it is safe to consume up to 12 ounces of wild (not farm-raised) salmon each week.  The following list contains the other varieties of safe seafood that you can savor during your pregnancy.

       Safe Seafood:
  • Catfish
  • Cod
  • Flounder
  • Haddock
  • Ocean Perch
  • Pollack
  • Salmon (wild)
  • Sardines
  • Sea Bass
  • Shrimp
  • Snapper
  • Sole
  • Tillapia
  • Tuna (6 ounces of canned "chunk light" per week)

       Due to concerns about mercury or other toxins, however, it is important to avoid swordfish, shark, king mackerel, tilefish, fresh tuna, canned albacore tuna, raw sushi, raw shellfish, and lox or other refrigerated smoked seafood, unless it is cooked as part of another dish.  If you feel as though you can't live without some of these fishy-favorites, don't worry.  You don't have to live without them; you just need to wait a while before enjoying them again.  View your pregnancy as an opportunity to try new foods that are not only good for you and your baby, but might just become family favorites once your little one arrives.  Remember, you don't have to avoid these types of fish forever, just for the next six months.  And believe it or not, with all that you will be doing to prepare for the arrival of your baby, the time will fly!


  Your "To-Do" List
           This week's to-do list may be one of the easiest (and enjoyable) tasks you have to complete throughout your pregnancy.  This week you need to eat chocolate.  Yes, I'm serious!  New research has shown that pregnant women who eat chocolate five times each week are 40% less likely to develop preeclampsia than those women who only ate chocolate once per week. When picking your pleasure, opt for dark chocolate if at all possible.  Not only will consuming this treat reduce your risk of preeclampsia, but dark chocolate also contains more disease fighting flavanoids than milk chocolate.

       Before you get too excited, remember that this new study is not encouraging a chocolate binge, but rather a small serving such as a few Hershey's Kisses, a handful of chocolate chips, or one-half cup of fat-free frozen yogurt each day.  But, hey, chocolate is chocolate and if the medical community is suggesting you eat it, you definitely don't want to go against any medical advice!


Your Homework: Preparing For Parenthood
           As a parent you will have the awesome responsibility of being your child's first teacher. So many of life's lessons are taught not with a pencil in hand and a text book on a desk, but simply by a child mimicking exactly what he sees and hears within his home environment.  As his first teacher, one of the best ways you can help your little one develop their language and communication skills is to talk to them all the time.  Why not get started this week?  As you go through your daily routine, let your baby know what you are doing.  Think of yourself as a tour guide introducing your baby to the world around him.  Tell him where you are going, what you are cooking, or about the book that you are reading.  If you get into the habit of talking to your little one now, it will be second nature to continue this one-way conversation after he is born.  Before you know it your little one will be "talking" back to you with coos and gurgles and then with the long awaited "ma-ma's" and "da-da's" that are sure to melt your heart.  Be prepared though, after months of talking to your baby, hearing him say "ma-ma" may just leave you speechless.


  My Experience
           I remember talking to my belly constantly while pregnant with both of my children.  Unfortunately, at the time hands-free cell phone devices were not yet very popular so before I was showing most people assumed that I was talking to myself when walking through the store and not simply on the phone the way so many people are now!  I would tell my kids about my day at work, talk through our dinner choices and tell them about the funny things that I saw on TV.  Once Kilee and Wyatt were born, I found it much easier to continue talking to them throughout the day.  I was already in the habit of communicating with them when I couldn't see them, so sharing with them when I could see them was easy!  I remember being in the grocery store and talking to my son about the different types of yogurt that we could buy.  A lady walked up to me and applauded me for talking to my baby even though he couldn't yet communicate with me.  She told me that she never talked to her children until they knew how to talk to her in return.  I felt so badly for her, not only because she missed out on months of precious bonding with her little ones, but also because her children may have begun speaking earlier if she had taken the time to model the English language for them.  So get chatty, Mom!  You will love the chance to bond with your baby even before their birth and your baby will love learning how to communicate through your example.


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