Pregnancy Week by Week

Get a window on what’s happening in your pregnancy, week by week. From week four to week 42, your baby is experiencing a miraculous transformation from a clump of cells to a fully formed (and totally cute) newborn. Just imagine, as early as five weeks, your baby is already starting to form major organs (heart, stomach, liver, and kidneys) and systems (digestive, circulatory, nervous). By eight weeks, your raspberry-sized womb-mate is moving her arms and legs. At the beginning of your second trimester (week 14), your wee one is sucking his thumb. By week 28, the first week of the third trimester, baby (now as big as an eggplant) is prepping for breathing, developing his eyesight and packing on pounds in anticipation of life outside the womb. Each week is a new miracle. Less miraculous is how a mom-to-be may feel. Pregnancy Week-by-Week charts your baby’s development but also lets mom know what she might be feeling during each week of her pregnancy. Pregnancy week by Week includes everything mom needs to know to feel a sense of control over her pregnancy. Each week offers a complete guide to what you might feel, your must-do’s, your nice-to do’s, and answers and advice on everything pregnancy-related. Plus each week’s guide offers tips on maintaining a healthy and comfortable pregnancy from strategies on coping with pregnancy symptoms (morning sickness anyone?) to ideas for healthy eating, and pointers on talking to your OB. Let us guide you along your pregnancy, week by week.

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Q&A: Childbirth classes?

I’m confused by all the types of childbirth classes. What’s what?

Re: I’m confused by all the types of childbirth classes. What’s what?

The Bump Expert

Use this guide to distinguish between the different options, and look at Lila Guide to find classes in your area. Childbirth education is worth checking out even if you’re dead set on an epidural. Good classes include info on pregnancy, labor and postpartum issues that are relevant and beneficial for every expecting woman (and her partner). You’ll also learn relaxation techniques and get the opportunity to meet other expecting couples.

Used by one fourth of all mothers, Lamaze is by far the most popular childbirth method. You’ll learn simple, natural strategies like rhythmic breathing, hydrotherapy, massage, position changes and walking to deal during delivery. Your labor partner will also learn how to encourage and support you. The classes (at least 12 hours overall) include a wide range of info on what to expect during and after delivery, possible complications, how to be an active participant and effectively communicate with hospital staff, and tips for breastfeeding and interacting once baby comes. Contrary to what you may have heard, Lamaze is not anti-pain meds; all of your options will be covered during class.

Natural childbirth is the goal of this method- about 90% of class participants deliver without meds. The Bradley technique focuses on self-awareness and trusting the body, and emphasizes relaxation (rather than distraction) for dealing with the pain and stress of labor. The 12-week class series also stresses nutrition and exercise as precursors to a healthy delivery. You’ll learn techniques for breathing and tuning into your body, with your labor partner as an active coach.

This method, which teaches posture and movement techniques to ease muscle tension, is actually a general practice adapted for expecting women. The Alexander technique aims to restore your original poise and posture, which will improve balance, coordination, back pain, breathing and digestion as your body adjusts to pregnancy. (Consider starting these classes early.) You’ll also work to coordinate your breathing and strengthen your pelvic muscles in preparation for delivery.

No, not like that guy you saw in Vegas. Hypnobirthing relies on the power of suggestion to help you relax and let your muscles work as they were intended. Affirmations and visualizations -- from yourself, a professional hypnotherapist, or a tape -- are used to guide thoughts and breathing and naturally decrease stress and fear.

Paula Kashtan


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