You are 14 Weeks and 6 Days 176 days to go…

The neural tube, the basis of your baby’s spinal cord, developed in the very early weeks; now the spinal cord is fully formed.

Your baby today

Your baby is starting to swallow amniotic fluid more regularly: this enters the stomach (seen here as a dark circle in the center of the abdomen). The tiny bladder is also visible as a black fluid-filled structure within the lower pelvis.

Nerves from your baby’s spinal cord are linked to each set of vertebrae, but as your baby lengthens the spinal cord does not grow at the same rate, and the lower tip ends up lying at the mid-lumbar level, half way between the hips and lowest rib.

Below the mid-lumbar level, the nerves leaving the spinal cord have lengthened so that they still exit between the lowest vertebrae. In adult life, the cord will end slightly higher than in the newborn baby. Because the spinal cord does not extend the entire length of the vertebral canal, a fluid-filled space fills the lower portion.

By the end of this week, your baby is able to use fat as a source of energy. This isn’t, however, an important source of energy because that need is met largely by glucose crossing the placenta from your bloodstream. Free fatty acids in your circulation easily cross the placenta to your baby and are used for organ growth, forming cell walls, making myelin sheaths around nerves to insulate them, and for many other functions.

Cholesterol is not only supplied to your unborn baby via the placenta, but he is also forming it within his own body. For this reason, your cholesterol level bears little relation to your baby’s, which needs to be high for your baby to produce fat, especially in the first few months of pregnancy.

In this computer-generated image, the internal organs of the fetus can be seen. The skull, spine, and rib cage are also clearly visible. The lungs (pink) are protected by the rib cage; the kidneys (red) are below.

Your baby could be tuning in to your favorite TV show!

Research examined babies of mothers who watched the Australian show, Neighbours, while pregnant alongside women who didn’t. After the birth those babies who had heard the music in the uterus became quiet and “paid attention” to the tune, while the other group of babies ignored it.

… Doctor
Q: When can my baby first suck his thumb?
A: Ultrasound scans have shown unborn babies sucking their thumbs from as early as 12–14 weeks of pregnancy. However, this is likely to be a reflex at this stage as the brain does not have any conscious control over movement until the fetus is much more developed later on in pregnancy.

Some research has suggested that if an unborn baby shows a preference for sucking, for example, his right thumb, then he will prefer to lie with his head turned to the right after the birth. The same research suggested that this preference could be used to predict right- or left-handedness in the baby as he grows older.

You are 15 Weeks Exactly 175 days to go…

It’s worthwhile finding comfortable sleeping positions now; these will stand you in good stead throughout pregnancy.

Your baby today

This profile view shows that the bridge of the nose is shallow and the eyes are still dominating the face. The jaw is lengthening and the chin held away from the chest. The hands (with outstretched fingers) are in a common position—close to the face.

Your belly will be getting bigger by the day and, as a result, you may find it increasingly difficult to get comfortable when you’re lying down, especially during the night.

You should avoid sleeping on your back in the second half of your pregnancy, so start practicing some new positions now. This is because the weight of your uterus will press on the major veins that return blood to your heart, which may result in dizziness, low blood pressure, and possibly a reduction in blood flow to the uterus. Ideally, lie on your left side (although it will do you or your baby no harm to lie on your right side) since this is actually good for you and the baby. It improves blood flow to the placenta and helps your kidneys eliminate fluids and waste products. Don’t worry if you wake to find you’re lying on your back: just roll onto your side and support yourself with pillows if necessary.

It’s fine to lie on your front if you prefer (your baby is safely cushioned in the amniotic fluid), but the bigger you get, the more difficult this will become.

… Your baby
Quiet times

Times when you can focus quietly on your baby are precious bonding opportunities and a great way to relax. You may want to visualize your baby floating in the amniotic fluid.

Try this “butterfly” pose with the soles of your feet together. Place your hands on your abdomen and massage your baby using different strokes. Think of your baby and shed your preoccupations with each out-breath.

… Doctor
Q: My doctor is great but she’s always in a hurry. How can I get her to answer my questions?
A: This is a common problem. Doctors’ practices are often very busy, with lots of women for the doctor to see. As a result, many doctors allow only a certain amount of time for each appointment—sometimes barely enough time to go through the basic physical checkup. However, it is important that your questions are addressed and it may be helpful to write them down so that you remember what you want to ask. If your doctor doesn’t have time to discuss the issues during your appointment, ask her to arrange to talk to you at a mutually convenient time. This could be in the form of a phone call, or another appointment at her office. Or she may be able to direct you to other sources of information such as books, websites, or other health-care professionals.

It’s a crucial part of your prenatal care that you feel comfortable with your caregivers and are given the opportunity to discuss any questions you have or issues that arise since they will be involved with your labor and delivery, which is a very important time for you.

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