You are 8 Weeks and 4 Days 220 days to go…

Your baby’s bones are beginning to develop—and they will continue to lengthen from now until his teenage years.

Your baby today

In the upper limb bud, the flat expansion that will form the hand can be identified. The fingers are becoming more distinct and there will now be the first signs of movement at the elbows.

You won’t be aware of your developing baby’s activities inside the uterus for some months yet, but the fact that his elbows are forming allows him to make some small movements; the wrists do not yet move.

Your baby is looking more human by the day. His vertebrae and ribs are now in place, and his fingers are gradually lengthening. His body is less curled up than it was a few weeks ago.

The skeleton will gradually calcify and harden. With the exception of the cranial skull bones, all your baby’s bones have a soft cartilage core that will later be reabsorbed as it is converted into hard bone. This process of hardening, known as ossification, starts in so-called primary ossification centers during the next five weeks of your pregnancy. Within these primary centers, specialized cells form spongy then hard bone as calcium salts are laid down. Within the hard bone is red bone marrow, which in later weeks will become the main producer of the baby’s red blood cells.

Secondary ossification centers develop in the second trimester at the ends of each of your baby’s bones.

The portion of bone between the hardening primary and secondary centers is known as the growth plate. This plate is responsible for the continued lengthening of your unborn baby’s bones.

… Nutrition
Good mood foods

If being pregnant gets you down at times, try a dietary boost. Happy, relaxed people tend to have high levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that is produced when you consume protein-rich foods. So eat meat (especially turkey), fish , legumes, and well-cooked eggs .

Eating foods that are rich in vitamin B, such as bananas and avocados, can also help increase your serotonin levels.

More cheese please

Q:Tired of being told what you can’t eat?
A:It is a common myth that eating cheese harms the unborn baby. Only unpasteurized cheeses are potentially dangerous because they increase the risk of listeria (a rare bacterium that can attack the baby). These products may be produced at local cheese stores or dairy farms.

All other types of cheeses pose no danger and are regarded as a good source of calcium.

So, while there are some cheeses you should avoid eating, you can enjoy all of the following, if they’re pasteurized:

  • Hard cheese, such as Cheddar and Parmesan

  • Feta

  • Ricotta

  • Mascarpone

  • Cream cheese

  • Mozzarella

  • Cottage cheese

  • Processed cheese, such as spreads.

You are 8 Weeks and 5 Days 219 days to go…

It’s understandable that your pregnancy will be on your mind. Try to find ways to communicate this to your partner.

At a time when you want to feel close to your partner, you may find that your relationship is changing, and it may be quite fraught with issues. Often men say that their pregnant partners are more sensitive or now react to things differently and that this can be difficult for them to handle.

Your relationship will inevitably change—going through pregnancy together is momentous—but as long as you keep communicating, you will be able to support each other. Being united now will stand you in good stead for the first year of parenting.

During the early stages of pregnancy, your partner may find it hard to relate to the fact that you’re expecting a baby; the physical changes to your body won’t be that visible at this stage and he is yet to see his baby on a scan. Conversely, you will be very aware of the pregnancy and undergoing many physical and emotional changes.

Your partner may need more time than you to adjust to the idea of becoming a parent. He may be concerned about practical issues, such as the changes to your lifestyle and the financial implications of having a baby. Talking openly to each other can help ease anxieties for you both. Remember, that although many changes are happening to your body, your partner does have feelings and this is a big life change for him too. If you’ve told your family and close friends about the pregnancy, all the attention may be on you. Your partner may be feeling left out and this is something that often gets worse as the pregnancy progresses and after the baby arrives.

Take time to find out your partner’s concerns and look for ways to involve him more in the pregnancy, if that’s what he wants. If you have a good support network of friends, encourage him to spend time with male friends who have been through the expectant dad experience.

Support each other as you both go through the different emotions attached to becoming parents. Don’t lose sight of your relationship and be understanding of each other’s needs.

… Mom

Q:I’m worried we won’t have space in our small apartment, but is a house move inadvisable while I’m pregnant?
A:We started the process but thankfully it fell through since it was proving quite stressful, and it’s not advisable to deal with those kinds of pressures while you’re pregnant. We stayed in our apartment until our baby was one and it was fine. Remember that small babies have very few needs, other than being fed, loved, changed, and stimulated, and much of the paraphernalia that you think you need is unnecessary. If you have room for a crib, a stroller, a drawer for your baby’s clothes, and a corner for toys, you’ll be fine in a small space for the time being.

You are 8 Weeks and 6 Days 218 days to go…

It’s not long until you have your first prenatal appointment and will see your doctor.

Your baby today

This 3D ultrasound scan shows a baby lying on its back, in exactly the same orientation as the image opposite. It is just possible to pick out the limb buds on an ultrasound scan taken at this stage.

In a couple of weeks’ time, you will have your initial appointment  with the doctor. If you haven’t made an appointment for this yet, contact your doctor now to arrange it. You may or may not have a choice of hospitals. If you do have options, talk to women you know locally who have had their babies at those hospitals to find out about their experience. For example, some hospitals may have a birth center attached, and have a less medically managed approach to childbirth.

Start thinking now about the kind of questions you want to ask your doctor. It’s a good idea to write these down. Also make a note, in advance, of the key details of your medical history and any pregnancy symptoms.

Tackling colds

Cold medicines contain a variety of ingredients, including antihistamines, that are best avoided in pregnancy. Check the label and talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medications.

Try natural remedies, such as steam inhalations or saline nasal sprays before resorting to medication.

… Panel about home birth

Q:It’s my first pregnancy. Can I have a home birth?
A:Midwife: if you’re in good health with no complications, giving birth at home is an option. Many women enjoy the experience of giving birth at home, because they may feel more comfortable with familiar surroundings and people. Some women find labor easier when they get into water, either a familiar bathtub at home or a birthing pool that has been purchased or rented.

Obstetrician: there is no problem with this in general, but take advice from your doctor. You should avoid taking risks. If there is a history of long or complicated labors in your family, your baby is breech or very small, there are issues about the location of the cord or the placenta, you are very overweight or unhealthy, or you suffer from conditions such as diabetes, it might be worth erring on the side of caution. If you have your baby in a hospital, quick and early intervention can take place if needed. You may want to have a home birth; however, it is sensible to listen to the experts. Delivery of a healthy baby is the most important thing.

Mom: I had my first baby at home, and it was wonderful. I was nervous about what might go wrong, but my midwife reassured me that she would be monitoring me, and would get me to the hospital if there was a problem. She also explained I could change my mind if I didn’t think things were going well, and go to the hospital for the birth (and some pain relief!).

Find out from your doctor if a home birth is a possibility for you.

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