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Week #8 of Pregnancy

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Your Pregnancy: Week 8

By Erin Horner, edHelperBaby

Your Baby
           This week in your pregnancy has brought about several internal and external changes for your sweet one.  Deep within your little one's heart, valves are now present.  Simple bronchial tubes leading from his throat to his lungs have begun to branch out.  His trunk is also elongating and becoming straighter.  Your sweet one's ears are continuing to develop both internally and externally as is his nose.  His eyelid folds are now forming and the nerve cells in his retinas are starting to lay the foundation for his future eyesight.  Your little one's legs and arms are extending outward with his arms bending slightly at his now present elbows.  Digital rays that will become fingers are now notched and toe rays that will create those ten kissable piggies are present as well.  While hard to comprehend, all of this is taking place this week in your little inch (think: kidney bean!) miracle.  Isn't pregnancy amazing?


Your Body
           By this week in your pregnancy, you may feel as though you look a bit chubby, rather than pregnant!  Rest assured, in the weeks to come, your growing belly will dispel any "chubby" rumors once your baby's growth begins to take over your mid-section.  Your uterus is now the size of a grapefruit and will continue to expand with each passing week.  Even though you may not think that you look pregnant, you are probably feeling more and more pregnant and may be getting anxious to share your big news with the world around you.  While your little one is still secretly nestled deep within you and those around you who have not yet been let in on your little secret are undoubtedly unaware of the miracle that you are creating, you may be ready to let the "cat out of the bag" even though the "bun will still be in the oven" for a while.  Some women joyfully share the news of their expanding family with everyone around them very early on in their pregnancy.  This may simply be because they are too excited to keep the news to themselves or may be due to the fact that their early pregnancy symptoms require a bit of explaining to their co-workers, employers, family and friends.  Others choose to wait until they have completed their first trimester and the risk of miscarrying has lessened.  There is no one right time to share your good news.  The decision on when and how to share your news is up to you and your partner.  If you are excited to share about your pregnancy, but fear having to face those around you if something happened and you were to miscarry, remember this general rule: The people that you would want to have comfort you in the midst of your mourning are the ones that you should go ahead and tell.  If you would want your sister, mother-in-law or best friend to comfort you and assist you should the unthinkable happen, then you should go ahead and tell them now.  They will enjoy celebrating with you as you joyfully anticipate this wonderful new season of life and will also be able to support you as your pregnancy progresses, even during these early weeks.  If, on the other hand, you would rather not have to answer personal questions from the postman or grocer should something happen, you might want to wait before sharing the news about your little one with acquaintances and those around town.


  You're Wondering. . .
           I am looking forward to telling my extended family that my partner and I are expecting, but I want to do it in a creative way.  Any suggestions as to how I can make the big announcement in a "big" way?

       Sharing the news of your little one's upcoming arrival is one of the most joyful aspects of pregnancy.  Here are a few suggestions of ways to let those you love in on your little secret.  Remember, no matter how you choose to share your good news, be sure to have a camera ready and maybe earplugs as you experience the aftermath of their excitement!
  1. Delight your loved ones over dinner  Host a dinner party for those you love but keep the evening's menu a secret.  Plan to serve baby back ribs, baby asparagus and baby carrots.  Then for dessert bring out individual servings of ice-cream with a pickle sliver in each bowl.
  2. A pacifier for a present Send out a small box containing a pacifier to each of your friends and family members.  Include a note that says that you just want to make sure that you will always have one handy whenever you and the baby come over to visit.
  3. Gifts galore My husband and I sent out copies of Mercer Mayer's book Just Grandma and Me and Just Grandpa and Me to our baby's future grandparents.  Inside the book's cover we wrote, "To: grandma and grandpa.  Love: Baby Horner Due February 12."  Another idea is to give baby picture frames to those you love with an insert that says "picture coming_______________(fill in your due date).  If your baby will be the first grandchild on one or both sides of the family any present with the word "grandma or grandpa" will be sure to elicit joyful tears and great excitement.  Consider presenting your parents with a "World's best Grandma and Grandpa" t-shirt or a wall plaque that says, "Grandchildren spoiled here!"
  4. Let a t-shirt do the talking If you have an older child, or older children, purchase a t-shirt for them that reads, "I'm the big brother!" or "I'm the big sister." Then, take a picture of them wearing their new shirt and mail the photos out to family members and friends.  Be sure to order an "I'm the little brother or sister" shirt for your baby too and plan to take another photo at the hospital once your little one is born.  You can then send out this new photo to those you love announcing the official expansion of your family!


  Your "To-Do" List
           If you are looking for a good way to gage whether or not the pounds that you are adding during your pregnancy are actually "baby weight" as opposed to "Too many munchies," take a moment this week and measure the circumference of your upper thighs.  Your upper thigh is a good indication of your own body fat and should therefore remain about the same throughout your entire pregnancy.  Write down your starting circumference and then use the "date" of your due date as your measurement day for the next seven months.  If you are due on June 12, on the 12th of each month take a moment and measure your thighs and record the new number.  If you find that your circumference is continually increasing, you may want to reevaluate your pregnancy diet.  Remember, while it is important to allow yourself to gain weight while pregnant, it is equally important, if not more so, to not overindulge and inadvertently create health problems for you and your little one.


Your Homework: Preparing For Parenthood

       It is no secret that the United States and the world at large are currently facing a childhood obesity epidemic.  A recently released research study found that 16% (over 9 million) children ages 6-19 are obese and an additional 15% are at risk for becoming overweight.  The study also found that in the past thirty years the obesity rate has more than doubled in children ages 2-5 and 12-19 and has tripled among children ages 6-12.  The World Health Organization pointed out that these figures are alarming because obese children and teens have a 70% chance of becoming obese adults, and obesity is one of the leading causes of several serious health problems.  As you begin to prepare yourself for parenthood, even at this early stage of your pregnancy, one of the best things that you can do for your growing little one's current and future health is to become active.  An unrelated study that followed pregnant women and their children found that women who were physically active during their pregnancies had children who grew up to be more physically active than those moms who were sedentary throughout their pregnancies.  While this phenomenon may have more to do with psychology than biology, as the kiddos may be mimicking the actions of their parents and inadvertently adopting the family's fitness routine, the end result is the same.  Active, physically fit parents tend to raise active, physically fit children.  Your homework assignment this week is to find a type of exercise or physical activity that you enjoy and begin making it a part of your weekly, if not daily, routine.  You will find that becoming active and exercising will not only increase your energy level and help to keep your pregnancy weight gain in check, but it will also alleviate several uncomfortable side-effects of pregnancy.  By creating this healthy lifestyle habit now, you will also find that it will be easier to continue once your little one is born.   If you have specific concerns about the safety of certain exercises, follow the link to another EDhelper baby article or speak to your health care provider.


  My Experience
           When I was younger, I was very active and fairly physically fit.  I played sports as a child and in high school (yes, cheerleading is a sport!) and did my best to avoid the dreaded "freshmen fifteen" pounds that so many young women gain when heading off to college.  After I was married, however, the importance of exercising began to drop lower and lower on my priority list.  It wasn't a conscious decision, but rather the hectic pace of life, marriage and a career that kept me from making it to the gym as often as I should have.  When I began teaching full time I was alarmed by the number of obese first graders that I had in my classroom.  These precious children were dealing with health issues at the age of 6 or 7 that someone five times their age should not even be concerned with.  It was then that I recommitted myself to my own personal fitness regimen, recognizing that part of my role as their teacher was to serve as a role model for them in their lifestyle choices as well as in their academic aspirations.  I began exercising more regularly and incorporating fitness into my classes' everyday routines.  I would tell the children about the things that I was doing at home to remain physically fit and would encourage them to do the same.  These active and healthy habits have been easily carried over into my family life and my children love it.  By making fitness fun and a part of our everyday life, we have created an environment where my children are often exercising and they don't even know it!  On rainy days we make a "dance floor" in the living room, sing silly songs and dance to the lyrics.  My kiddos will put on dance recitals or gymnastics shows for us, that they have "choreographed" themselves.   We make it a point to play outside together as a family every evening after dinner.  We go on weekly bike rides to the library and walk/jog to the park and climb on the play structure together.  What I have learned is that these family activities are about a lot more than physical fitness.  The time that we spend together being active, is also time that we are spending making memories.  While I hope that my children grow up remembering the many benefits of physical fitness, I really hope that my children grow up remembering that their mom and dad took the time to play with them.


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