This week, your baby weighs approximately 1 1/2 pounds. His heart is beating so loudly that anyone who presses an ear to your belly can hear it. His lungs are getting ready to take their first breath, and, though the sex of your baby was determined long ago, genital differentiation is now becoming complete. He can make a fist and reach his feet, and he may already exhibit a preference for his left or right hand.
You're already a soccer mom, so to speak, in that your uterus is now about the size of a soccer ball. During the day, you're juggling the many tasks related to the baby's arrival, including touring hospitals, ordering equipment, and going for checkups, but you're just as busy at night, when vivid and lengthy dreams take center stage.
Do's and Don'ts
Do keep a water bottle handy and drink from it frequently. Staying hydrated prevents swelling in your hands and feet, which is common at this stage, especially when it's hot and humid. If your hands and face seem unusually puffy or if swelling comes on suddenly, check in with your health care provider. You'll want to rule out preeclampsia, a potentially dangerous health condition that can occur during pregnancy.
Planning a vacation before the baby comes? Be sure to schedule any flights for before your 36th week, which is the cutoff for most airlines. (If you're at risk for preterm labor your doctor or midwife may ground you even earlier.) Experts have linked sitting still during long flights to the formation of potentially harmful blood clots -- so be sure to stand up and stretch your legs often. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Mom to Mom
"I really liked having an obstetrician who'd given birth herself. I felt she knew exactly what I was going through and understood all of my concerns. When I asked if I could have an epidural, she said, 'Sure. I really enjoyed mine!'"--Sylvia Eastwold, Montgomery, AL
The right workout wear is almost as important as the workouts themselves. Comfort is key, so avoid garments that are 100 percent nylon or polyester; they can make you feel overheated. Cotton-and-Lycra blends are comfortable alternatives, but synthetics made especially to wick sweat away from your skin, such as Dri-Fit and Coolmax, are even better at keeping you cool and dry.
Tread lightly as your pregnancy progresses. Your balance is increasingly precarious, so consider skipping--or at least take extra care during--exercises that require hopping or quick changes of direction, such as jogging and step aerobics.
If your busy schedules haven't allowed for much time together, book a lunch date with your spouse. Resolve to spend only the first five minutes talking about the baby, and then move on to other topics.
To lay the groundwork for the new baby's arrival, show your child his baby pictures and tell him how he acted when he was small. You can say that he cried a lot because he couldn't talk, and Mommy and Daddy had to pay a lot of attention to him. Emphasize that though the baby will take up a lot of your time early on, he'll eventually be a big kid just like his brother.
If you're on bed rest, you're not alone: Many women expecting twins find their daily activities restricted in the second half of the pregnancy. Clarify with your doctor exactly what you can and cannot do. Some women need only a few hours off their feet during the day; others need more rest.