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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: Does stress affect pregnancy?

I have a very high-pressure job and was wondering if high stress rates could have negative effect on my baby? If so, what can I do about it?

Re: I have a very high-pressure job and was wondering if high stress rates could have negative effect on my baby? If so, what can I do about it?

The Bump Expert

The simple and honest answer is yes. But, stress is an inevitable part of all our lives, and only one factor among many in a healthy pregnancy. And the last thing I want is for women to start stressing about the stress in their lives. We have enough to worry about already! I tell the women I work with to change the things they can, and learn ways to cope with what they can't.

With work stress, think about ways to take on a lighter load, or consider participating in a job share arrangement. Now is the time to wrap up projects, not take on new ones. After all, maternity leave is right around the corner. If reducing your work load is not possible, there are plenty of tools out there to help you manage the stress, including journaling, meditation, yoga, counseling and stress reduction classes. If you haven’t tried any of these before, pregnancy is an excellent time to begin.

One resource I particularly like is Mindful Birthing, a stress reduction program developed by John Kabat-Zinn in Massachusetts. It was designed for people with chronic pain, but has been adapted to help women with the stresses and uncertainties of childbirth and parenting, and focuses on staying in the moment.  But any class, book, tape, or counseling session that helps you cope with stress is beneficial, during your pregnancy as well as when you're a new parent. And don't forget to set aside time for regular, low-impact exercise and eat small, frequent, healthy meals and snacks throughout the day. The healthier your body, the better it will handle the inevitable stress thrown at it.

Maria Kammerer

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