Pregnancy: Weeks 21 to 24
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Your baby's a bruiser: He or she will probably reach the one pound mark by week twenty-five. What else can you expect to occur?
Transcript: Weeks 21 through 24 of your pregnancy bring some huge changes for your growing baby. He or she has probably...
Weeks 21 through 24 of your pregnancy bring some huge changes for your growing baby. He or she has probably broken the one-pound mark! By the end of month six, your baby will weigh up to a pound and a half and be approximately eight inches long, the size of a standard letter. Have you ever wondered how your baby eats? Believe it or not, he or she is swallowing several ounces of amniotic fluid each day, an exercise that helps the digestive system mature and provides practice for life post-womb. The taste of your amniotic fluid differs based on what you've eaten, and research has shown that babies who are exposed to certain foods in the womb are more likely to eat them later. See, it's never too early to get your little guy or gal to eat veggies! And speaking of eating, your baby may now get bouts of the hiccups! You might perceive them as a small repetitive and rhythmic movement that occurs for a few minutes at a time and then recedes, a common and harmless occurrence. Although your baby's eyes are still fused shut, he or she can perceive lightness and darkness now. Your little one is also developing a sense of touch. By the end of your sixth month, your baby's transparent, saggy skin will become less so, as your fetus gains weight from fat and growing organs, bones, and muscle. In fact, he or she will start gaining about three ounces a week! The most fun part of this month is that you'll probably be able to hear your baby's heartbeat through a plain old stethoscope (forget that Doppler!) While your baby grows, so do you...and your feet! That growth can be attributed to normal pregnancy swelling and many expectant moms find that their feet balloon up a full size...and stay that way post-birth. That's because relaxin, the hormone that loosens the ligaments in your pelvis, also loosens the ligaments in your feet. Pregnancy hormones may also cause some temporary skin discolorations. You may have noticed a dark line, or linea nigra, which runs between your belly button and pubic bone. Some women may also experience discoloration around the face, known as "the mask of pregnancy," or melasma. And you may have started to notice the literal marks your baby is leaving on your belly, buttocks, thighs, hips, and breasts...stretch marks! These reddish, purplish streaks are caused by tiny tears in the tissue under skin that has been stretched to its limit. More than half of women get stretch marks, and the tendency to do so is genetic. Take heart though: Stretch marks DO fade over time and should be worn as a badge of honor...40-weeks of pregnancy is no easy feat! You're almost done with your second trimester and your little one is getting bigger, and more ready to leave your belly and snuggle in your arms.More »
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During week 22 of fetal development, your baby will start sucking on its thumb. Check out this video for more information about this developmental stage.
Transcript: This week your fetus will begin to discover its sense of touch. Because your baby's brain and nerve...
This week your fetus will begin to discover its sense of touch. Because your baby's brain and nerve endings are almost fully formed, he or she will begin experimenting with this newfound sense! As such, an ultrasound may show your baby stroking his face, sucking her thumb, or feeling other body parts. And now that your fetus has officially hit the one pound, 11-inch mark, he'll really start to look like a person this week. Of course, he's still covered with that downy coating of lanugo, and he also sports deep wrinkles of skin on his body. But don't worry: Before your fetus is ready to be born, he'll shed that fur and will also fill in the wrinkles with oh-so-pinchable baby fat! In other developments, a baby girl's vagina is almost fully formed now, while a boy's testes will begin to descend this week. And deep within your baby's belly, the pancreas continues to grow and get ready to produce vital hormones. Want to know more? Check back right here for your weekly fetal development update!More »
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During week 23 of pregnancy, you'll become more aware of your baby's movements. Find out more about this by watching the video.
Transcript: Can you believe that just a few weeks ago you could barely discern your baby's fluttering movements?...
Can you believe that just a few weeks ago you could barely discern your baby's fluttering movements? By now, there's no doubt that you'll feel your little martial artist as he or she kicks, squirms, and somersaults in your belly. In fact, you'll be so attuned to your little one's movements that you'll know your fetus's sleep/wake schedules. This can be frustrating if they're different from your own, but just look at this as great practice for your baby's eventual arrival! The reason it's so easy to feel your fetus now is that your baby is much bigger. In fact, your little one weighs in at about one pound. And as your baby grows, he continues to prepare for the real world with ever keener senses. In particular, your fetus's hearing will allow him to discern loud, disruptive noises, like the dog barking or the vacuum cleaner. Exposure to these sounds in the womb will mean that your baby will unlikely be fazed by them once he arrives-which is good news for you! For more on your baby's impressive development, check back right here for your weekly video update.More »
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During week 24 of pregnancy, your baby will get a sense of its movement and position. Check out this video for more information.
Transcript: You probably won't know whether your baby is floating upside down or right side up-but as of this week,...
You probably won't know whether your baby is floating upside down or right side up-but as of this week, he or she sure will! As the development of the inner ear becomes complete, this important component of the vestibular system enhances the baby's sense of movement and position. In addition, your rapidly growing fetus has gained four ounces since last week, and he's now about the length of an ear of corn. While your baby is in utero, he receives oxygen through your placenta, but you both know that won't always be the case. To prepare for the work of taking in oxygen once he's born, your baby's lungs are beginning to produce surfactant. Surfactant is a substance that keeps the air sacs in the lungs from collapsing or sticking together during breathing. In addition, your fetus's brain and taste buds are continuing to grow and develop during your 24th week. To see what's in store for your baby's continued development, check back next week for your newest video update!More »
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During weeks 1 to 4 of pregnancy, your baby is in its initial stages of development. To learn more about this stage, watch this video.
Transcript: It may seem strange, but it's true: By the time you see that positive result, you've already been pregnant...
It may seem strange, but it's true: By the time you see that positive result, you've already been pregnant for nearly four weeks! It's difficult for doctors to pinpoint the EXACT moment when sperm meets egg. So to keep things consistent, most consider the start date of your 40-week pregnancy to be the first day of your last period. For the first two weeks before your egg is fertilized, your body is training itself for your pregnancy...even if you don't plan to have a baby! During this time, your uterus sheds its lining and your body releases estrogen, which promotes the growth a new one. You also release a hormone called LH, encouraging your ovaries to release an egg 24 to 36 hours later. Once your egg is released, you have a 7 to 10 day window to conceive. If a sperm meets the egg during this time, you will be "officially" pregnant. The fertilized egg will spend the next two weeks making its way down your fallopian tubes into your uterus. There, it will burrow into the uterine wall to make its home for the next nine months. By the end of the first month, your baby will be about the size of a poppy seed. But don't let that tiny size fool you...That baby has already made significant strides! He or she...yes, sex has already been genetically determined!...has developed specialized cells, which will become bones, organs, muscles, hair, and skin. Your baby is also forming its placenta, which is the organ that provides food and oxygen, as well as its amniotic sac, which are thin membranes filled with fluid to cushion your baby. Expect to feel pretty normal those first two weeks after conception, as your body continues its usual cycle. After your egg is fertilized, you may experience typical PMS symptoms, such as mood swings, bloating, and cramping, although some women don't even notice this. During week four, some women experience very light bleeding as the egg burrows into the uterine wall. This can be completely normal, and may not be an indication that something is wrong. Because the changes during month one are so miniscule, it's unlikely you'll know you're pregnant before seeing that positive test. But if you're trying, it's never too early to ACT like you're pregnant! That means eating nutritious foods and exercising moderately. It also can't hurt to start taking a prenatal vitamin, since the folic acid in it may help prevent birth defects of the brain and spinal cord. At the same time, restrict your alcohol intake and avoid smoking and other potentially harmful activities. As soon as you know you're pregnant, it's time to make that initial appointment with an obstetrician-gynecologist. He or she will guide you through the following months and help to ensure your healthiest child!More »
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Morning sickness? Unfortunately! This video shows you what to expect during month two of your pregnancy.
Transcript: Even if you havent taken a pregnancy test yet, youll still have some confirmation of your condition this...
Even if you havent taken a pregnancy test yet, youll still have some confirmation of your condition this monthin the form of a missed period. But if youre pregnant, a missed period means there is plenty going on inside your body! At this time, youre producing estrogen, progesterone, and other hormones at record levels to help your baby grow. By the end of month two, your baby will be as big as a raspberry, which is 10,000 times bigger than it was at conception! This month brings continued growth spurts for your baby-to-be. Your baby is getting smarter, as well. By the end of month two, he or she is generating roughly 100 new brain cells every minute! That tiny heart is already completely formed, too, and is hard at work pumping blood to other developing organs. Arm and leg buds are now growing into full-fledged limbs, while fingers and toes are separating into individual digits. All that growth is great for your baby, but its bound to leave YOU feeling exhausted. And youre probably having some trouble sleeping, due to pregnancys infamous side-effects. As your uterus expands, it puts more pressure on your bladder. The result? Youll need to urinate more frequently. Nearly 75 percent of pregnant women also experience morning sickness. Despite its name, though, this queasiness and vomiting can strike at any time of day. These symptoms are unpleasant, but dont worry: Theyll become less frequent during your second trimester! Despite morning sickness, youll probably begin experiencing food cravings. Pickles and Jell-O? Bring it on! You may also find yourself desiring foods you dont usually like. Fulfilling these cravings (within reason, of course!) will help you gain the two to five pounds you need during your first trimester. By far the most noticeable changes this month are happening with your breasts, which are getting ready to feed your baby. They may have grown a full cup size by now! Your nipples and the surrounding area will be darker, and will stick out a bit more. Your breasts will also become extremely tender to the touch, so go easy on them! At your first visit with your ob-gyn this month, your doctor will conduct a full diagnostic workup on both your blood and urine. Your vagina will be examined, and a Pap smear may be taken. Your doctor will also test you for genetic abnormalities that could affect your child, such as sickle-cell anemia or Tay-Sachs disease. Are you ready for the big news? This visit is also the first time youll see your babys heartbeat, as the doctor confirms your pregnancy with an ultrasound. Remember to take care of yourself during month number two of your pregnancyand every month thereafter! Your healthy baby is worth the work (and the wait).More »
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During weeks 9 to 12 of pregnancy your little one will grow rapidly. Find out how your baby will grow in this video.
Transcript: If you've felt like you're asleep on your feet during the past three months, it's little wonder. Your...
If you've felt like you're asleep on your feet during the past three months, it's little wonder. Your rapidly growing baby has just made the progression from embryo to fetus! That means that your little guy or gal is just that...His or her genitals are beginning to show definitive signs of male or female gender. And your baby is bigger, as well. It's grown to about two and a half inches, or the length of a plum. Although that may sound small, it represents a doubling in size during this month alone! During this period, your baby will begin to move his or her arms and legs, but you won't feel these butterfly movements yet. You'll have to wait another two months or so for that! Bones and cartilage are forming inside your baby, and knees, ankles, and elbows are present now. In addition, teeth are developing under your child's gums, although they won't make an appearance until after birth. Guess what else? Your baby is producing urine, digestive juices, white blood cells, hormones and, if it's a boy, testosterone! During the last week of month three, your baby's body systems are almost completely formed. At this point, he or she will enter the maintenance phase, during which all of these systems will continue to mature and grow. While your baby is having a grand time growing, you're probably feeling the sleepy effects. That "drag-your-feet" feeling is a normal and frequent symptom of early pregnancy. The reason is simple: Growing a baby is hard work! While your metabolism and hormone levels have increased, your blood sugar and blood pressure have dropped...leaving you feeling like you ran a marathon. In addition, some of pregnancy's more awkward side effects are probably starting to show: Burping and passing gas. The pregnancy hormone progesterone relaxes the muscles in your digestive tract, allowing more time for nutrients to be absorbed. This slowed digestion is great for your baby, but may leave YOU feeling bloated and gassy. You may also experience bouts of dizziness, also due to progesterone. The hormone increases the blood flow to your baby, but slows the return of blood to you. This can lead to that light-headed feeling. You can often lessen dizziness by sitting with your head lowered between your knees while taking deep breaths. Once the feeling passes, have something to eat or drink. While dizziness and gassiness are no fun, you'll be happy to hear that the nausea, constant urination, and breast-tenderness that were with you in the beginning will usually start to abate by the end of month three. And you may have started to notice a slight rounding of your lower abdomen. After all, your uterus has now reached the size of a grapefruit and is rising up from the pelvis into this area! Congratulations! You've almost completed your first trimester. Your baby is now a fetus and you have 28 more weeks to grow and change together!More »
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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 »
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By weeks 25 to 28 of pregnancy, your baby will likely be able to hear and see. Check out this video to learn more about this stage of pregnancy.
Transcript: As you near the end of your second trimester, you're probably unlikely to call your condition "comfortable!"...
As you near the end of your second trimester, you're probably unlikely to call your condition "comfortable!" But you can be proud of your baby's progress in this month. He or she is really growing now! By the end of your 28th week, your baby will weight in at around two and a half pounds, with a length of about 16 inches. Your baby is starting to develop blood vessels in the lungs, bringing them even closer to working on their own. In addition, the nostrils are opening, allowing him or her to practice breathing. Your baby's eyes, which have been closed up to this point, will open this month, so he or she will be even more sensitive to light than before. In addition, your previously transparent baby is turning pinker. This happens as his or her tiny capillaries begin to fill with blood. While your baby has had the capacity to hear muffled sounds for some time, stronger nerves leading to the ear and advanced brain-wave activity are now developing. That means that your baby may be able to hear and respond to your voice! So try reading and talking to your tummy this month. What else is going on in there? When not practicing for life outside your body, your baby is sleeping. And brain wave scans show that he or she is experiencing dreams. Aside from that protruding navel...which occurs when your uterus swells enough to push your abdomen forward...what else will you notice during your seventh month? As unpleasant as it may be, if you're like more than half of pregnant women, you're experiencing an embarrassing pregnancy symptom on the backside: hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids, which are really varicose veins in your rectal wall, can cause itching and pain, especially during a bowel movement. They occur as increased blood flow to the pelvic area causes swelling. For hemorrhoid relief, increase your fluid and fiber intake to ensure that you don't become constipated. Over-the-counter hemorrhoidal creams or a witch hazel compress may also help. As you enter your third trimester at this month's end, you will probably notice an increase in edema, or swelling, to your hands, feet, and ankles. Another unpleasant symptom that some women notice this month is sciatica, a sharp pain that radiates from the buttocks to the legs. Sciatica pain may occur as your fetus grows and puts pressure on the sciatic nerve in your spine. Gentle stretching exercises, physical therapy, or massage may ease the pain. Two trimesters down...one to go! Before you know it, your baby will be in your arms and annoying symptoms, from swelling to sciatica, will be a distant memory.More »
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Is it hard for you to go to sleep as you move into the last quarter of your pregnancy. Don’t worry, these symptoms are quite common in pregnancy weeks 33 to 36. Watch this video and learn more.
Transcript: You would do anything to get some sleep, but your little passenger isn't making that easy. Up to 70%...
You would do anything to get some sleep, but your little passenger isn't making that easy. Up to 70% of pregnant women experience third trimester insomnia. Now that you've reached month 9, you're probably ready to burst. By the end of week 36, your no-longer-little baby will weight about 6lbs and measure 20'' or more in length. Expect weight to continue to increase, but your baby doesn't have room to get much longer. These days, your fetus is acting more like a baby, closing his or her eyes while asleep and opening them while awake. Your baby has also finally developed his or her own immune system, a must for those upcoming days on the playground. And if your baby is a he, he'll reach an important milestone this month: his testicles should be dropping from abdomen to scrotum. Now that your baby's bodily systems are close to fully mature, he or she will focus on expansion, both in weight and in brain power. It's interesting that both the head that houses that brain and the bones that hold that weight are still quite soft. This is so your baby can push easily out of your birth canal. Thinking about that impending birth, not to mention dealing with heartburn, leg cramps, and a gigantic belly may be keeping you up at night. Third trimester insomnia is very common. Try to avoid exercise too close to bedtime. It can also help to enjoy a banana or glass of milk in the evening, because both contain sleep-enhancing hormones. Remember in the beginning of your pregnancy, when you couldn't stop going to the bathroom? You're probably experiencing the same need to urinate constantly once again. Because your baby's head is now pressing squarely against your bladder, this is very normal. One place you could use some extra moisture, is your eyes, as they may suddenly become dry and uncomfortable. You can blame those pregnancy hormones for this irritation which is due to a decrease in tear production. But take heart, the finish line is in sight and soon you'll be holding that little boy or girl in your arms.More »
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Week 21 of your pregnancy will see a number of exciting changes in your baby. Check out this video and find out about the changes your baby will go through.
Transcript: Your fetus still relies on you for most things, but this week, your baby will start to learn a whole...
Your fetus still relies on you for most things, but this week, your baby will start to learn a whole new lesson in self-reliance. Although your baby still gets most of his or her nourishment directly from you via the placenta, your little one's intestines have further developed, and your baby will begin absorbing small amounts of sugar from the amniotic fluid. During week 21, your ever-growing fetus weighs about of a pound and is comparable to a carrot's ten and a half inches in length. If you're having a little girl, her vaginal canal will start to form this week. And no matter your fetus's sex, his or her bone marrow spaces are now developed enough to start making red blood cells. Previously, this was done by your baby's liver and spleen, but both of these organs will retire red blood cell production in the coming weeks. Phew! If you think this week was interesting, check back to see the surprises that wait in week 22!More »
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Just like any other week in your pregnancy, week 25 will bring a number of changes as your baby grows-- think hair! Find out more by watching this video.
Transcript: Week 25 is a period of continued growth for your baby. Your fetus will continue to make his or her presence...
Week 25 is a period of continued growth for your baby. Your fetus will continue to make his or her presence known with kicks and jabs, which you may notice most at night. If your fetus is prone to sleeping the most during YOUR day, it's because the movements of your active body are soothing. Your baby's grown a full inch and a half since last week, and now measures in at about thirteen and a half inches. He's bigger too, and that pound and a half frame can be compared in size to a rutabaga. And while your baby has been covered with downy lanugo for some time, he'll start growing additional hair on that little head this week. To find out what week 26 brings, check back right here for your next video update!More »
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Did you know that by fetal development week 26 your baby measures more than 12 inches? Find out more by watching this video.
Transcript: As your delivery date draws ever closer, your baby will be focusing on getting nice and plump for the...
As your delivery date draws ever closer, your baby will be focusing on getting nice and plump for the big day! Sure, your fetus still looks a bit wrinkly, but that booming baby is almost two full pounds by his 26th week, and should measure somewhere around 14-inches from crown to rump, which is about the size of an English hothouse cucumber. Your fetus continues to practice for life outside the womb, inhaling and exhaling small amounts of your amniotic fluid. That little heart keeps beating a strong rhythm, which you may be able to hear with just a basic stethoscope now. Plus, the nerve pathways in your baby's ears continue to develop, and you may notice that your baby frequently jumps at loud sounds. Interesting to note, the baby also responds to strong vibrations like the bass at rock concerts. If you're not already doing so, make a point to talk to your baby from here on out, and encourage your partner to follow suit. After all, your voices are one of the first things your little one will recognize outside the womb. Check back next week to see what your baby has in store for the start of your third trimester!More »
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