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: Avoiding preterm labor?

Is there anything I can do to reduce my risk of preterm labor?

Re: Is there anything I can do to reduce my risk of preterm labor?

The Bump Expert

Preterm birth affects approximately 12% of pregnancies in the United States, and 80% of these are due to preterm labor or preterm premature rupture of membranes (breaking your water early). Although preterm birth (delivery before week 37) can't always be prevented, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk.

First, get to know the symptoms -- if you catch them early and get to the doctor, actual delivery might be avoided. Look for contractions occurring at least four times in an hour, lower back pain, pelvic pressure, blood-tinged vaginal discharge, menstrual-like cramping or diarrhea. Pay special attention if you have an incompetent cervix, experienced vaginal bleeding in the second or third trimester, or are carrying multiples, underweight, a smoker or under age 20 or over 35. (All these factors increase your risk.)

To guard against preterm labor, begin prenatal care early, be consistent with doctor appointments throughout your pregnancy, maintain a healthy pregnancy weight, stay hydrated, avoid smoking or substance use, contact your doctor at the start of any illness or infection and manage your stress levels.

During pregnancy, your number one priority is taking extremely good care of yourself -- treat it like a job. And, don’t ever feel embarrassed about calling your doctor if you think you're going into labor early -- a false alarm is still cause for action.

Dr. Ashley Roman

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