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: Do I need a birth plan?

Do I need a birth plan? What's the point of having one?

Re: Do I need a birth plan? What's the point of having one?

The Bump Expert

A "birth plan" is just that -- a game-plan for baby's arrival. You can never be totally in charge of your labor and delivery (childbirth is generally a pretty out of control thing), but a birth plan ensures that you and your mate are at least on the same page as your doctors and nurses. The birth plan is a place to make clear your desires about issues like pain meds, people involved, episiotomies and cord cutting.

How it works: document your wishes, talk them over with your doctor, make sure they fit in with hospital policies, and then see to it that you, your doctor, and the hospital each have a copy. If a birth plan is in place, everyone involved in your delivery can be reminded of your wishes if decisions need to be made. That way, you can just focus on the pushin'.

Even though you've got a birth plan, it's important to talk over everything on it with your doc. You both should know exactly what your wishes are. And, there might be some things on the plan that your doctor doesn't quite agree with. You're much better off talking these things out before giving birth than on the actual day. And remember, birth plans are not legal documents -- they're more like basic guidelines. Health and safety of mommy and baby always comes first, and birth plans change accordingly.

Ready to create your birth plan? Start here.

Paula Kashtan

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