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: Tearing during delivery?

How can I avoid tearing during delivery?

Re: How can I avoid tearing during delivery?

The Bump Expert

Sorry, but there’s no surefire way to prevent tears in the skin surrounding your vagina during delivery. (Yes, ouch.) But, some studies do show that regular perineal massage during the final six weeks can reduce your risk. This technique gently stretches the vaginal opening, making it more elastic and better able to fit around baby's noggin.

To perform the massage yourself, wash your hands and lube up your fingers with KY jelly, vegetable oil or vitamin E. Sit on your bed or on the floor with your knees bent and your legs slightly spread. Place your thumbs three to four centimeters inside your vagina, with the pads of your thumbs pressing on the bottom. Use your thumbs to stretch the vaginal opening downward and to the sides, and hold until it stings slightly. Then gently but firmly massage the bottom half of the vagina, and place a thumb inside and pull outward on the lower rim. Repeat twice a day, and feel free to ask your partner for help! Remember, though: Despite some studies that show that women who massage have fewer tears, many OBs believe it helps very little (or not at all).

watch: more about episiotomies

Paula Kashtan

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