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: Nonstress test during pregnancy?

I'm scheduled for a nonstress test soon... what should I expect? And what exactly is my doctor looking for?

Re: I'm scheduled for a nonstress test soon... what should I expect? And what exactly is my doctor looking for?

The Bump Expert

Good news: The nonstress test lives up to its name, both for you and baby. It's totally noninvasive, and poses no risk to baby. Be prepared, though -- it can easily take up to 40 minutes (make a bathroom stop first!), and might be a little noninteresting for you.

The nonstress test evaluates baby's wellbeing by measuring how her heart rate responds to movement. It's a fetal monitoring method, meaning the purpose is simply to check on her well-being -- not cure a problem or ensure that baby's born healthy. It's normally performed after 28 weeks, most often in post term and high-risk pregnancies.

For the test, a Doppler device will be strapped around your belly with a belt. The device is attached to ultrasound transducers which measure baby's heart rate. At the same time, baby's movements will be recorded, either with another device placed around your abdomen or a button that you press. If baby isn't doing much moving, she's probably snoozin'. Your doc may use a (completely safe!) buzzer-like device to create sound and vibration to wake her, or ask you to eat or drink something to encourage a stir.

What's your doc looking for? Ideally, baby's heart rate will quicken when she moves. If this isn't the case, there could (meaning no need to freak out!) be a problem with baby's health, and your doc may recommend repeating the test or doing another procedure such as a contraction stress test. If baby doesn't respond after an hour and a half or so, you also may be asked to repeat the test.

American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists. Your pregnancy and birth. 4th ed. Washington, DC: ACOG; 2005.

The Bump Editors

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