December 21 2004 17:23 (+ 5 - 5 )
posted by (gen_here)

How your baby's growing: Your baby now weighs about 4 3/4 pounds and is probably almost 18 inches long. Her fat layers which she'll need to regulate her body temperature once she's born are filling her out, making her rounder. Her central nervous system is still maturing and her lungs are well developed by now. If you've been nervous about going into preterm labor, you'll be happy to know that 99 percent of babies this age can survive outside the womb and most have no major long-term problems related to prematurity.

How your life's changing: You may be feeling a little fatigued lately, and that's perfectly understandable. Let yourself slow down and save some energy for labor day. If you have to spend a lot of time on your feet, try wearing a maternity belt that supports your abdomen and helps redistribute some of the weight. And if you've been sitting or lying down for a long time, don't jump up too quickly. Blood can pool in your feet and legs, which may cause a temporary (but rapid) drop in your blood pressure and make you feel dizzy when you get up.

Many midwives recommend massaging the perineum (the area around your vagina) to help prevent tearing during childbirth. This is a good time to start, though not everyone is comfortable with this technique and it may not help in every case. You can learn how to do it here.

You may notice itchy red bumps or welts on your belly (they might even spread to your thighs and buttocks). This is usually a harmless condition called pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP for short), but let your practitioner make a diagnosis to be sure. Also be sure to call her if you feel itchy all over your body, even if you don't have a rash. It could signal a liver problem.

Not much to add to this. I have been having enough energy to get different things done these days (like Christmas baking and cleaning), but I can definitely feel the fatigue by about 9pm. And I noticed this Sunday that I also have the "pregnancy waddle" going on when I walk. What can I say - the "difficulties" will keep coming until the baby's on the outside... but they are so worth putting up with.

Because it's easier to get appointments in Salem than it is in Sioux Falls, I called and found out which weeks my doctor would be at which clinic yesterday. In the process, I made all the appointments that we will (hopefully) need through the end of pregnancy. This was a momentous thing for me because, after the New Year, we will be on weekly appointments and all the church "stuff" will be back on (Bible studies, Ladies' meetings, etc). So it was important that our appointments be made for Geof's day off (Monday) - and we were able to do it! So we will have a doctor's appointment every Monday from January 3rd through February 7th... and hopefully the baby will be here by then so some of those can be cancelled.

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