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: Trouble sleeping during pregnancy?

Between the cramps, backache, shortness of breath, odd dreams, big belly and worries, nighttime is really hard. Any tips on falling and staying asleep?

Re: Between the cramps, backache, shortness of breath, odd dreams, big belly and worries, nighttime is really hard. Any tips on falling and staying asleep?

The Bump Expert

Maria Kammerer, CNM: Tips for falling and staying asleep depend on the reason for the difficulty sleeping. If leg cramps are the problem, stretching your calf muscles before bed and in the morning can help decrease their frequency. Upping your calcium and potassium intake (try a yogurt and banana smoothie) can also help. Enlist your partner to flex your feet when cramps do come -- this can decrease the severity. Backaches have many causes, but using an abdominal support belt during the day and lots of pillows under your stomach and between your legs during the night can reduce some of the discomfort. Shortness of breath can happen anytime in pregnancy, but many women experience it most during the third trimester. Using pillows to prop yourself up in bed or sleeping in the living room in a recliner can help. Worries about the pregnancy, your baby's health, labor and impending parenthood are very normal. I usually recommend taking stress reduction and/or childbirth preparation classes. You can also try writing down a list of your worries before bed and setting it aside so you don’t dwell on these worries into the night. A few tools and a little knowledge can go a long way toward reducing your stress.

In order to fall asleep, establish a calming routine to help you wind down after a busy day. This might include reading a book, drinking a small glass of chamomile tea, reducing your overall fluid intake after 7 p.m., getting a neck, shoulder, back or foot massage from your partner (whichever area needs it most!), and/or taking a warm bath. Stay active during the day, but don’t overdo it. Regular, low-impact exercise like swimming, walking and prenatal yoga can improve sleep and is also a good habit to get into for after pregnancy.

Basically, it comes down to figuring out what seems to be disturbing your sleep most, and working to reduce that. Then you can work on the other things -- don’t try to change everything at once!  And expect the cause of your sleeplessness to change as pregnancy progresses. For me, it was hip pain in the third trimester. Keeping one pillow between my legs helped a bit. What also helped was knowing that my discomfort was limited. Soon my little one would be born and the pain would be gone. (And I’d have a whole new set of reasons why I wasn’t getting sleep!)

If you’ve gone several nights with little sleep and basic comfort measures haven’t helped, don’t hesitate to talk with your provider.

Maria Kammerer


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