women

1. How Big Is Your Baby?

Crown-to-rump length of the growing fetus is 5¼ to 6 inches (13 to 15cm) by this week. Your baby weighs about 7 ounces (200g). It’s incredible to think your baby will increase its weight more than 15 times between now and delivery!

2. How Big Are You?

You can feel your uterus about ½ inch (1.3cm) below your bellybutton. Your uterus and your growing baby. A side view really shows the changes in you!

Your total weight gain at this point should be between 8 and 14 pounds (3.6 and 6.3kg). Only about 7 ounces (200g) is baby. The placenta weighs about 6 ounces (170g); the amniotic fluid weighs another 11 ounces (320g). The uterus weighs 11 ounces (320g). Your breasts have each increased in weight by about 6½ ounces (180g). The rest of the weight you have gained is due to increased blood volume and other maternal stores.

3. How Your Baby Is Growing and Developing

Around this time, your baby begins hearing sounds from you—your beating heart, lungs filling with air, swishing blood and digesting food. “Hearing” in a fetus is really a matter of feeling vibrations in the skull that are then transmitted to baby’s inner ear. Baby “hears” your voice as it vibrates through your bones. Research shows lower-pitched sounds are heard more clearly in utero than high-pitched ones.

Eat More Meals Every Day!

Eating frequent, small meals during the day may provide better nutrition to baby than if you eat three large meals. Though you’re eating the same amount of calories, there is a difference. Studies show keeping your blood level of nutrients constant (by eating frequent, small meals) is better for baby than if you eat a large meal, then don’t eat again for quite a while. Three larger meals means nutrient levels rise and fall during the day, which isn’t as good for the growing baby. Eating small meals frequently can also help ease or avoid some pregnancy problems.

Hydrocephalus

Hydrocephalus causes enlargement of baby’s head. Occurring in about 1 in 2000 babies, it is responsible for about 12% of all severe birth defects. Hydrocephalus is often associated with spina bifida, meningomyelocele and omphalocele.

Between 15 and 45 ounces of fluid (500 to 1500ml) can accumulate in the skull, but more has been found. Brain tissue is compressed by all this fluid, which is a major concern.

Ultrasound is the best way to diagnose the problem. Hydrocephalus can usually be seen on ultrasound by 19 weeks of pregnancy. Occasionally it is found by routine exams and by “feeling” or measuring your uterus.

In the past, nothing could be done until after delivery. Today, treatment while the fetus is still in the uterus can be done in some cases. There are two methods of treating hydrocephalus inside the uterus. In one method, a needle passes through the mother’s abdomen into the area of the baby’s brain where fluid is collecting. Some fluid is removed to relieve pressure on the baby’s brain. In another method, a small plastic tube is placed into the area where fluid collects in the baby’s brain. This tube is left in place to drain fluid continuously.

Image

Comparative size of the uterus at 19 weeks of pregnancy
(fetal age—17 weeks). The uterus can be felt
just under the umbilicus (bellybutton).

Hydrocephalus is a high-risk problem. These procedures are highly specialized and should be performed only by someone experienced in the latest techniques. It requires consultation with a perinatologist specializing in high-risk pregnancies.

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