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Week #23 of Pregnancy

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Your Pregnancy: Week 23

By Erin Horner, edHelperBaby

Your Baby
           While your sweet baby is still very lean, this week his little one pound and eight inch body is continuing to become more proportional.  The bones in his inner ear are hardening this week which only increases his ability to hear and respond to things that are occurring outside of his cozy womb.  This week you might just find that your baby will jump, kick, or move in response to something that is happening in your environment.  A neighbor starting their lawnmower, the family dog  beginning to bark, or your partner snoring on the couch might all illicit a jolt from your little one.  On the flip side, those well working ears also mean that your baby is ready to enjoy all of the positive sounds around him as well.  So sing away mom!  Read lots of stories.  And most importantly, tell him that you love him and that you can't wait to meet him in a few more months.


Your Body
           Have you been craving some crazy things now that you are nearly 2/3 of the way through your pregnancy?  If so, you are not alone. Many women admit to craving different kinds of food that they never liked, let alone craved, before they were pregnant.  A new report has found that 19% of women crave sour foods during their pregnancy. I fell into this category. I wanted to eat sour gummy worms day and night while pregnant with my son.  I know, they are totally disgusting, but for some reason when I was pregnant it took everything in me not to fill my cart with them while waiting in the check-out line at the grocery store.  Another 20% of pregnant moms report that they are constantly on the lookout for something sweet.  I was also cursed with a crazy sweet tooth during my first pregnancy.  I could turn down anything salty, but when left alone in a room with a pan full of brownies, my will power was all but forgotten.

       Craving a certain type of food throughout pregnancy isn't a bad thing, so long as you are able to exhibit enough self-control to keep yourself from over-indulging in it.  More than any other time in your life, every bite of food that you take really counts.  It counts as the numbers add up on the scale, but more importantly it counts because each meal and snack provide you with an opportunity to offer your child only the best possible nutrition.  Here are a few nutritious solutions that might just calm your cravings:

       Sweet Tooth?
  • Try loading up on fresh fruit drizzled with some chocolate syrup.
  • Blend up a fruit smoothie using low-fat yogurt, orange juice, bananas, and strawberries.  Add some whip cream and a cherry to the top and trick yourself into thinking that you are having a milkshake!
  • Make a smoothie using bananas, peanut butter, non-fat milk, chocolate syrup and vanilla yogurt.  This shake is full of potassium, calcium, protein and tastes great.
  • Pick up some glazed almonds.  Many stores carry sliced almonds that are slightly glazed, but taste really sweet.  Try adding some to your salad, tossing some on top of your fresh fruit, or have a handful just because.  These are a great way to once again add some needed nutrients to your diet but calm your sweet tooth at the same time.

       Craving Salty Snacks?
  • Try whole grain pretzels.
  • Season popcorn with herbs and spices rather than loads of salt.
  • Look for munchies that are made with spelt or flax, as these two ingredients add fiber and protein.

       Craving Something Sour?
  • Try citrus fruits.
  • Drizzle your salad with lime or lemon juice.
  • Mix up some soda water, cranberry juice and sliced lemons.  You'll feel like you've been treated to one of your favorite pre-pregnancy bubbly drinks, but without the alcohol or calories and with enough sour kick to calm your craving.

       Remember, it's okay to indulge in something that you are really craving every once in a while (assuming that it is safe to indulge in during pregnancy.)  A little bit of real chocolate never hurt anybody.  It was the "whole lot" of real chocolate that got me and my hips in trouble while pregnant with my daughter.


  You're Wondering. . .
             My belly is constantly itching and it is driving me nuts!  Why is my skin so itchy and how can I find some relief?

       Many women often talk of how they used to have the "baby itch" before they became mothers.  They couldn't wait to get pregnant, watch their bellies grow and then meet their little ones for the first time.  Little did they know, their "itch for a baby" would soon turn into an "itching belly."  Throughout your entire pregnancy, nearly every aspect of your body has to adjust to the cutie patootie that is growing within you.  As your uterus expands outward, your skin must stretch with it.  Some women begin to develop stretch marks on their stomach, legs, and buttocks as this happens. Others feel itchy all of the time, not only on their bellies but also in odd places such as the palms of their hands and soles of their feet.  Some of us are blessed with both: the stretch marks and the urge to scratch.  The intense itchy sensation you are feeling is due to the stretching of the skin and all of the extra hormones surging through your body, so scratching won't relieve the annoyance. Try these tips instead:
  • Skip the soap.  Don't worry, I am not encouraging you to go all natural for the next 17 weeks of your pregnancy.  If that were the case you would be itchy and smelly when you delivered your baby!  Instead, try using a moisturizing body cleanser rather than soap.  Many cleansing agents in soap can actually dry out your skin and increase your skin's irritation.
  • Use warm water.  An overly hot bath or shower during pregnancy may sound really enticing, but it is not a good idea for several reasons.  First, water that is too hot can raise your body's core temperature, therefore creating an environment that may be too hot and unsafe for your little one.  Secondly, hot water dries out your skin.  Stick with warm or even luke-warm water, if you can handle it, and keep your showers and baths shorter in length.  This will help your body retain as much moisture as possible and possibly help to alleviate some of your itchiness.
  • Try lots of lotion.  Look for a great, hydrating moisturizer and lube up!  One of the best things about being pregnant is rubbing your beautiful belly, so grab your lotion and rub away.
  • Fill-up on fluids.  Try and hydrate your body and skin from the inside out. Drinking lots of water during pregnancy is great for nearly every symptom you may be experiencing, not just your itchy belly, so drink up!


  Your "To-Do" List
           Begin to research the different types of child birth classes offered in your area.  Most hospitals and medical centers provide child birth preparation courses.  You may also find that there are private companies that offer them as well. Many insurance companies also provide coverage for this type of education.  This is a good time to begin your research, as there are several different philosophies when it comes to giving birth.  Take some time to explore the different methods out there, select one that most closely aligns with the type of delivery you desire, and then look at the schedule of classes offered.  By looking at all of your options now, you will be ready to sign up for the class that best fits your needs, schedule, and philosophy, in the near future.


Your Homework: Preparing For Parenthood
           Your homework assignment this week is to find one night and eat dinner together as a family.  If you and your partner do not have any other children, you may already do this on a regular basis.  If you have older children, or hectic work schedules, this may be more difficult than it sounds.  Try and do it anyway.  Eating dinner together as a family, on a regular basis, is one of the greatest habits that you can create for your child.  A recent study from the University of Minnesota followed children and their families for five years.  The researchers found that teenage girls whose families ate dinner together five or more times each week were healthier and had a lower risk of developing anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders.  Sharing a family meal provides an opportunity for you to talk with your children and partner about their day.  It is also an opportunity to model not only appropriate table manners, but a healthy relationship with food.  So, turn off the TV, turn off the telephone, sit down and enjoy some quality time together over dinner.  Your little one will thank you for it.


  My Experience
           As a family, we try and eat dinner together every night.  This is not always possible due to my husband's crazy work schedule, but we do our best.  Some nights, my husband must return to the office for evening meetings.  On these days, he will try come home to eat with us as a family before heading back to work.  Often he is only home for 15 or 20 minutes, but it allows him an opportunity to check in with our family. It also communicates to our kids that they are important enough to him that he would hustle home just to share a meal with them and give big hugs and kisses before heading back to the office.  On other days when we know he won't be home until late, we try and have breakfast together.  Then, instead of talking about how our day was, we talk about how we hope our day will be.  It still provides us a few moments of family time and allows us to connect before the hustle and bustle of a new day takes over.  We have found that it's not so much which meal we share together that matters, but rather the fact that we make family time a priority.  No TV, no cell phones, just great conversation and great food, assuming it's take out.   If I've cooked, it's probably only good food and might only be OK food, but it is food and family time, none-the-less!


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