Pregnancy Articles

Week 20: Carbs Are Not the Enemy

Your Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy

Your Baby This Week

Congratulations--you're almost halfway there! Celebrate by talking to your baby; she can hear you now.

Weighing in at about 9 ounces (.25 kg) and measuring over 6 inches (15 cm) long, your baby is aware of all kinds of sounds, from the beating of your heart and growling of your tummy, to songs on the radio and the buzzing of your alarm clock. If you feel a "bounce" in your tummy when you hear a loud noise, it's because your baby hears it, too! This is the start of your baby's active phase. You'll feel every twist, turn, and wiggle. You may also hear your baby's heartbeat through a stethoscope, and it's probably faster than you expect--120 to 160 beats per minute.

Your Body This Week

If your doctor hasn't already measured your tummy, now is the time. Although the size of every uterus (and every baby) is different, most women measure around 8 inches (20 cm), from the top of the pubic area to top of the uterus. You will continue to grow about half an inch (almost 15 mm) per week for a while. If your measurement is much larger, it could mean your pregnancy is farther along than expected-or that you are carrying twins! If it's much smaller, it may indicate your baby is not growing as expected, or that your pregnancy is at an earlier stage. Either way, most women will have an ultrasound at this time to determine how their pregnancy is going and to find out the sex of the baby.

Not All Carbs Are Created Equal

A great debate is being fought right now in our kitchens and grocery stores: Carb good? Or carb bad? The answer is actually rather complex. Complex carbohydrates are extremely necessary for energy and are the only energy source for your brain. Thanks to their sugary counterparts (simple carbohydrates), they've earned a bad reputation as weight producers. In reality, complex carbs take longer to digest, so they're available to provide more energy and work more efficiently. Whenever possible, try to substitute whole grain breads, brown rice, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, and beans for more processed carbs. Here's everything you need to know about complex carbohydrates and how they work.

How to Do a Kegel

Kegel exercises play an important role in helping you heal and recover after labor. Kegels help keep your pelvic floor muscles strong during pregnancy and get them back in shape after delivery. Here's how to do a Kegel:

1. Exhale and tighten the muscles in the walls of your vagina, as if trying to stop peeing.

2. Count to 3 and inhale as you relax.

3. Repeat for a total of 5 repetitions. Do 5 sets of 5 reps, 3 times per day.

4. Gradually work up to holding each Kegel for a count of 10. Make them part of your regular abdominal exercises and lower body routine.

See what BabyFit moms and experts are saying about Kegels.
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