Pregnancy: Weeks 17 to 20
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During pregnancy weeks 17 to 20, your baby is growing fast and has now developed his or her own fingerprints. Learn more about this stage of pregnancy by watching this video.
Transcript: As you enter the half-way point of your pregnancy, you may notice some mild effects, but considering...
As you enter the half-way point of your pregnancy, you may notice some mild effects, but considering your baby's rapid growth this month, you'd be amazed that you don't feel even more! By the end of your twentieth week, your baby will weigh about 10 ounces and be around six and a half inches long...officially the size of a small cantaloupe! Your little gymnast is now equipped to do cartwheels! Arms and legs that are at last proportionate to the body, combined with new bone growth, give your baby the ability to kick and stretch in your belly. At last, you'll likely experience quickening, which is the ability to feel those fetal movements! During the end of your fifth month, your baby will also begin to develop a protective "coating" called vernix caseosa. This "varnish" is made up of your baby's downy hair, oil and dead skin cells. It may sound a little unappetizing, but the vernix protects your baby's thin skin from the amniotic fluid that surrounds it. Two particularly neat things happen this month: The first is that your little individual will actually develop his or her own unique fingerprints. By week twenty, if you're having a little boy, his testicles will begin to descend. A baby girl's uterus will be fully formed this week, and she'll have developed eggs in her ovaries. All of this development means that if you want to know your baby's sex, an ultrasound exam should be able to tell you what color to paint the nursery! So much rapid growing is hard work, and your baby is hungry. That means that you're probably hungry too, and eating everything in sight! While it's good to eat more when you're pregnant, remember that moderation is key. You don't ACTUALLY get to eat for two, because your baby IS only the size of a cantaloupe! During month five, you're probably also starting to experience pain in your back and cramping in your legs that gets worse at night. Doctors aren't sure exactly where those nighttime leg cramps come from, but the back pain is often caused by a shift in the uterus that pulls your lower back forward. Isn't it about time pregnancy caused a GOOD change in your body? You'll probably have noticed that your hair and nails look great! You can thank your increased circulation for bringing more nutrients to these areas, but, unfortunately, those lustrous locks and long nails will probably disappear once your baby makes his or her debut. By the end of month five you're halfway to your due date. Day-by-day your baby is becoming a real little person and you're doing just great at housing him or her while that happens!More »
Last Modified: 2013-04-11 | Tags »
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One of the more common conditions during pregnancy is gestational diabetes. If you don’t know too much about the condition, you can use this video s a guide to understanding gestational diabetes.
Transcript: Every year in the United States, 135,000, or 5 percent, of pregnant women are diagnosed with gestational...
Every year in the United States, 135,000, or 5 percent, of pregnant women are diagnosed with gestational diabetes. To help reduce the confusion that often follows, keep watching! Gestational diabetes occurs when a woman's hormones reduce the effectiveness of her insulin. This happens only in pregnant women and is usually diagnosed between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy. Let's look at how gestational diabetes develops. During pregnancy, the baby's nutrient center, the placenta, produces hormones like estrogen and cortisol that are vital to a child's development. In the last trimesters, the placenta secretes even more of these hormones to help your baby grow. Unfortunately, these pregnancy hormones can sometimes reduce the effectiveness of the mother's insulin. Without adequate insulin, blood sugar rises, resulting in the condition known as gestational diabetes. If left untreated, gestational diabetes can result in high birth weight, low blood sugar, or respiratory difficulties in your baby. Because gestational diabetes has no discernable symptoms, it's important to know if you are a high risk candidate for developing the disease. Most often, gestational diabetes occurs in women who are over 25, have a family history of type 2 diabetes, a previous history of gestational diabetes, are of non-Caucasian descent or who were overweight prior to pregnancy. If you are a high-risk candidate for developing gestational diabetes, your doctor will screen you by giving you a glucose challenge test. This involves drinking a sugary beverage and measuring blood sugar levels afterward. Levels above 140 mg/dl are considered gestational-positive. If you have gestational diabetes, you will need to monitor your blood glucose levels several times a day to keep you and your baby healthy during pregnancy. Here are some simple ways to keep blood glucose normal. Gentle exercise, like brisk walking or swimming, is essential for women with gestational diabetes. But please ask your doctor before starting any exercise regimen while pregnant. It is also important for women with gestational diabetes to eat a healthy variety of foods. A dietician can help plan meals that are low in simple sugars and carbohydrates. Usually, regular exercise and a healthy diet will effectively treat gestational diabetes. If blood sugar remains high however, a doctor may recommend medications or insulin injections to help regulate glucose. After a mother delivers, her hormones return to normal levels and gestational diabetes usually goes away. She should still have a blood glucose test after pregnancy, to be sure that her sugar has indeed returned to the proper range. Women who develop gestational diabetes in pregnancy are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future, so they need to be tested periodically throughout their lives. They also need to be diligent to lose excess body weight after delivery. If you are pregnant, ask your doctor about getting tested for gestational diabetes. Doing so will help ensure a healthy pregnancy for you and a healthy start for your child.More »
Last Modified: 2013-04-15 | Tags »
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There are a number of important physical and sensory changes your baby will go through during week 19 of pregnancy. Watch this video for more information.
Transcript: Your baby is experiencing some serious sensory action this week as the brain develops specialized areas...
Your baby is experiencing some serious sensory action this week as the brain develops specialized areas for each of the five senses. Aside from the sensory explosion, your baby begins to grow a white, waxy skin coating this week. Called vernix caseosa, this coating ensures your fetus's delicate skin doesn't become scratched or pickled in its bed of amniotic fluid. If your baby arrives prematurely, he or she may still be coated with an entire layer of vernix, although most babies will shed much of this pre-birth. In addition, this week brings about the development of brown fat, which will help keep your fetus warm after birth. About now, your baby is the size of a large heirloom tomato, weighing about 8 1/2 ounces and measuring six inches. In other news, your little one is essentially proportional now, from the legs to the arms to the head. The organs are well-developed and become easier to view sonographically Your fetus's kidneys continue to make urine and the mini-lungs continue to "breathe" amniotic fluid. For more on your little one's developmental progress, get your weekly play by play right here.More »
Last Modified: 2013-04-11 | Tags »
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