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Week #25 of Pregnancy

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Your Pregnancy: Week 25

By Erin Horner, edHelperBaby

Your Baby
           Your little one now has a fully assembled skeleton complete with more than 300 bones.  While his skeleton is formed, it is not yet connected at the joints.  Amazingly, some of the 300 bones that he will be born with will fuse together as he grows older leaving him with only 206 bones as an adult.  As the pathway for his future breathing continues to develop, this week the blood vessels in his lungs are forming.  His nostrils are also developing and by the time this week is over they may even open up.  It can be hard to believe that all of this is taking place inside your little 1 1/2 pound, nine inch baby, but believe it mom!  You are growing quite a little miracle deep within you!


Your Body
           Have you noticed that your hair is now more full, shiny and lustrous than ever before?  This is one wonderful side-effect of pregnancy that you can thank your hormones for.  All too often, our pregnancy hormones get a bum rap being blamed for our heartburn, moodiness, and nausea, so when they do something positive, let's be sure to give credit where credit is due!  The sudden increase in your hormone production during pregnancy helps to keep your hair from shedding as it normally would when you are not pregnant. Usually your hair falls out and is replaced in regular cycles.  During pregnancy, however, those original hairs stay in place, while new ones are added at the same time.  The result is usually a head full of thick locks ready to be styled and shown off!  Take advantage of your thick tresses now, as they will unfortunately thin out again after your little one is born.  At that point you can once again blame your hormones, only your lack of them rather than your current over-abundance!


  You're Wondering. . .
            My doctor wants me to come in for a follow-up glucose screening test.  I am nervous that I might have gestational diabetes.  What is it and what can I do to treat it?

       Women who have not previously been diagnosed with diabetes, but are experiencing high blood sugar during pregnancy are classified as having gestational diabetes.  This illness affects approximately 4% of all pregnant women.  While medical experts are not completely sure what causes gestational diabetes, they believe that it may in part be due to the hormones in the placenta.  While these hormones help your baby develop, they can also create an insulin resistance within the mother's body.  When a pregnant woman is not able to make and use all of the insulin necessary during pregnancy, glucose cannot be changed into energy and is then trapped within the blood stream.  As the glucose levels increase and become too high, gestational diabetes develops.       

       Since gestational diabetes develops later in pregnancy, it does not cause birth defects the way some illnesses can.  Gestational diabetes, does however affect your unborn child.  The mother's excess blood glucose passes through the placenta and into the baby's system creating high blood glucose levels within the infant.  This then causes the infant's body to make extra insulin in an attempt to rid itself of the excess glucose.  The infant in turn ends up with more energy than is necessary for normal growth and development, and the extra energy ends up being stored as fat.  While some fat is not only healthy for an unborn child, but necessary, too much fat results in macrosmia or a really heavy baby.  Babies that are too large can be at risk for shoulder problems during labor and delivery, as it can be difficult or impossible for them to navigate their way through the birth canal.  The extra insulin that the baby's pancreas has to produce in order to try and alleviate the excess glucose can also pose problems after delivery.  Often, the excess insulin at birth results in abnormally low glucose levels in a newborn.  Babies experiencing this often need assistance breathing after delivery.

       If after your doctor runs a follow-up glucose screening test you are found to have gestational diabetes, what can you do?  The following tips will help you as you navigate your way through the rest of your pregnancy with this new diagnosis.
  • Make a plan.  Talk with your health care provider or a nutritional counselor about healthy food choices and the types of food that you need to avoid throughout the rest of your pregnancy.  Most professionals will advise against foods containing simple sugars, such as cakes or cookies, and instead encourage a well-balanced diet full of whole grains, vegetables and fruits that contain only natural sugars.
  • Move, move, move.  If you are not already exercising, now is the time to start!  Exercise will help to keep your blood sugar at a more normal level and will help both you and your baby feel great.  Be sure to check with your doctor or midwife regarding the types of exercise that are safe and advantageous for you to engage in.
  • Monitor your levels. Once diagnosed, your doctor will want to perform (or have you perform) regular tests to monitor your blood sugar levels.  If your blood sugar levels remain too high even after changing your diet and implementing some moderate exercise, your doctor may prescribe insulin in an attempt to keep your glucose level lower.


  Your "To-Do" List
           If you are planning to send out birth announcements after your little one makes her big arrival, now is the time to get the process started.  Many professional companies will allow you to order the format of the announcement that you desire and will then send you the envelopes ahead of time so that you can begin addressing them.  Once you deliver, you simply send in all of the important details and photographs and the company will complete the announcements and send them to you.  Since your envelopes will already be addressed to friends and family, all you have to do is place an announcement in each envelope and drop them in the mail box.  This is a wonderful way to announce the birth of your baby in a timely manner, as it is often difficult to find time to accomplish a large task such as ordering, addressing, stamping and mailing these notes during those first few sleep deprived weeks.

       If you are feeling particularly crafty, take advantage of your second trimester energy and create your own announcements.  Visit your local craft store, get inspired and get started!  Similar to the professional companies, you can design and create a card to announce your little one's birth and then fill in all of the important details once she makes her arrival.  While you are purchasing the necessary supplies for your project, be sure to pick up some envelopes so that you can begin addressing these ahead of time too.


Your Homework: Preparing For Parenthood
           Do you remember the game Memory from your childhood?  The game consisted of several square cards that each had a picture on one side.  Each card had one card that matched it perfectly to form a pair.  To play, the cards were laid out on a table in ordered rows and turned over so that the pictures on the underneath side could not be seen.  The object of the game was to turn over two cards during each player's turn and try to make a match.  If the two selected cards formed a pair, the player would collect the cards and go again.  If they were not a pair, the cards were turned back over and the next player would select two.  At the end of the game, the player with the most matches won.  This is a wonderful game for young children to play because it helps to increase their memory, hence the name!  This week your homework assignment is to play Holiday Memory with your partner, but there is a twist.  Follow these instructions for some fun competition and great conversation:
  1. Make a set of game cards.  Using clip art or drawings create two cards with one image for each holiday that you celebrated as a child.  You might choose to use a picture of a cake to symbolize birthdays, a Christmas tree for Christmas, and a firecracker for the Fourth of July.  Your cards can be as simple or as complex as you would like for them to be...just have fun!
  2. Once your set is complete, spread them out with your partner and let the game begin.
  3. Here's the twist:  Every time you or your partner make a match, share your favorite childhood memory from the holiday you just selected.  As you share your reminisces about your younger years, talk about the things that you look forward to doing with your child during these different holidays as well.  This game will not only be a fun way to spend an evening, but also a great way to learn about your partner's past and collectively look towards your family's future.


  My Experience
           Memory is a game that my family still enjoys playing together.  We will often play using photographs (double prints) from recent family vacations, holidays celebrated or even old baby pictures.  Any time we can incorporate great conversation into an evening of family fun, my husband and I feel like we've created a win-win situation.  Not only can we giggle at the game at hand, but we can also reminisce about favorite family memories and often learn something new about our children or each other in the process.


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