Pregnancy Articles

Week 14: Easing Aches and Ills

Your Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy

Your Baby This Week

Your baby is hitting a real growth spurt now, growing to between 3.25 inches and 4 inches (10 cm) in length and weighing easily one ounce. There's no more hiding your pregnancy now--you're definitely showing!

During this week your baby's ears will move higher up the side of the head into a more normal position, while the eyes will begin centering on the middle of the face. Your baby's chin is no longer resting on his or her chest, as neck muscles continue to grow and support the head. The genitals also continue to develop, although there is still a good chance of mistaking the sex of your baby when viewing an ultrasound.

Your Body This Week

If this is your second (or third or fourth) baby, you may be larger than you were with your first, since supporting muscles are already stretched. You may also see the start of stretch marks--red lines surrounding your tummy in a "beach ball" pattern. Additionally, be on the lookout for hemorrhoids, which are dilated blood vessels in and around your anus. They occur when the weight of your uterus reduces blood flow to the area, sometimes causing a blockage. Avoid constipation by eating lots of high-fiber fruits and vegetables (think apples and broccoli), and whole grains. Also watch your skin during this time, because hormones will encourage the growth of moles and skin tags (fleshy little growths). Both are normal, but beware of moles that grow thicker or darker, and bring them to your doctor's attention. Get the scoop on fiber.

Easing Pregnancy Symptoms

Even though you're at the end of your first trimester, you've probably been experiencing some of the surprising "joys" of pregnancy for some time now. Some of the earliest discomforts include gassiness, bloating, belching and overall intestinal misery. It's common, but can still be uncomfortable and more than a little embarrassing at times. Thankfully, with just a few smart food choices, you can avoid some awkward situations and irritating gas pains. Learn more about alleviating and preventing these uncomfortable symptoms.

Ouch! Preventing Back Pain

As you've probably heard and witnessed from other mothers, the next two trimesters will bring some special challenges as your baby - and belly - start to grow. One of these looming hurdles is the aching back. The discomfort of back pain can sap the fun out of your pregnancy experience, making even the smallest everyday activities just a little more difficult. The good news is that you can do something about it now BEFORE it becomes a problem. A set of simple exercises and stretches can strengthen the right muscles that will ease some of the potential pain. Check out this series of back-friendly exercises and stretches.
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