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Your Pregnancy: Week 24

The Anatomical Travelogue

Your Baby

Your baby is about 12 inches long and weighs a little over a pound. She has developed the sweet face you'll soon see, with eyes and ears placed just where they should be. She's big enough that she can no longer do cartwheels and tumbles, but she's just as touchy-feely with her surroundings as she has been. She's also even more attuned into sounds outside the womb. If a loud noise disturbs her, she may be restless for hours.

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Your Body

Faint red marks may begin to stretch across your abdomen now that your uterus has risen to two inches above your belly button. They may also show up on your hips and breasts. While there's not much you can do to stop stretch marks from appearing, know that soon after delivery they'll likely fade to nearly invisible silvery or white streaks. And if they don't, consider them a loving reminder of your nine-month adventure.

Your Pregnant Body:

Do's and Don'ts

Do wear sunglasses when you step out in warmer months. It's a good habit to develop even if you aren't pregnant, but it's especially helpful now that your eyes have grown more sensitive to the light.

Health

Breaking up is hard to do, but if you're unhappy with the care you're receiving from your doctor or midwife and have tried to address it without success, make a change. Staying with a health-care provider with whom you are uncomfortable shortchanges both you and your baby. When you go into labor, you'll want someone whom you trust completely by your side.

Mom to Mom

Dream on.... "When I was about six months pregnant, I dreamed that I gave birth to a fully developed baby who was only as big as my palm. She slept in a tiny bassinet that I kept on top of my dresser. She never cried, and in the dream, my husband and I went on vacation and left her at home. When we returned, she was still there, smiling at us."--Emily Nelson, Wausau, WI

Shopping

Interested in surrounding your baby with all things organic? Shop for environmentally friendly clothing and bedding at Green Babies or Ecobaby Organics.

Exercise

Even if you're pressed for time, try not to skip warm-ups and cool-downs at your exercise class. Easing into and out of a workout prevents injuries and slowly increases or decreases your breathing and heart rates. Some quick and easy moves: Rotate your arms in large circles or walk in place.

Relationships

While it's important to spend time together, it's just as vital to have time for yourself. Once you become parents, you won't have as much time to invest in your individual pursuits, so allow each other the space to do so now. Garden while your husband stays indoors to watch a game on TV, or catch a movie with a friend while he's at the bookstore.

Siblings

Whenever your firstborn's interest in anything baby-related flags, hold off before you bring up the subject again. After all, if nine months seems long to you, imagine how long the wait for a sibling must feel to a young child. When her interest picks up, include her in some of your decision-making, such as choosing colors for the nursery.

Twins

Twins have an undeniable bond, but they're individuals, too, so foster their separateness by starting a baby book for each of them. Someday they'll appreciate that you nurtured their individuality right from the start.

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