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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Ways to make baby smarter before birth?

Is it worth trying to stimulate my baby’s development in utero?

Re:

Is it worth trying to stimulate my baby’s development in utero?

The Bump Expert

If you think about it, you’re already stimulating baby’s development! What baby needs most now is a safe, healthy environment. So before you worry about doing something outrageous, make sure you have the basics down pat: no smoking. (And it’s best not to hang out around smokers either). No drinking. (Some docs okay the occasional glass of wine, but that’s a highly charged subject. Talk to your OB.) Eat good, healthy foods, including plenty of fruits and veggies. Get rest. And continue to exercise and stay active throughout your pregnancy.

Got that down? Then the next step is to lose the idea that playing classical music for your baby will make her some kind of genius. The so-called Mozart effect -- the idea that listening to classical music somehow makes you smarter, has been debunked -- although some marketers still try to lure parents in with CDs and other products designed to enhance babies’ IQs.

Researchers have shown, though, the babies can hear outside sounds while in the womb, so if you want to play music to your baby or read to your belly, go ahead and give it a shot. It definitely can’t hurt. Reading or singing to your baby -- or playing her your favorite music -- can help you feel closer to her, and that’s always a good thing. And who knows? She just might recognize the tune (or story) after birth. “I played a classical CD when I was pregnant with both my children,” says Kelly Kasper, MD. “I swear that when they were fussy after birth and I would play it, they would calm down.”

Plus, more from The Bump:

How often should baby kick?

Your Guide to Prenatal Tests and Doctor Visits

What’s baby doing this week?

Kelly Kasper, MD, ob-gyn and associate clinical professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine

Ways to make baby smarter before birth?

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My dad played an alternative jazz CD all the time when my mom was pregnant with me, and when I was an infant, it would calm me down during the "evening fussies" without fail. Then he put the CD away for years, and he didn't pull it back out until I was in my late teens. He played it for me without giving me any backstory, and I instantly had a "memory" of being warm and comforted. My heart rate slowed, my muscles relaxed, and I had no idea what was going on. I'm a music teacher, so I could go on and on about the effects of music on children. I don't know that listening to that music in utero improved my cognitive abilities, but it did have a physiological impact on me that continued years later.

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