You are 15 Weeks and 5 Days 170 days to go…

Your doctor may speak to you about writing a birth plan so she can get an idea of the type of labor and birth you want.

Your baby today

Here the baby is seen within the amniotic sac. For the first time, her head is smaller than her body, marking another developmental milestone. Having a large, heavy head is not a problem in the nearly weightless environment of the uterus.

The purpose of a birth plan is to communicate your wishes for labor and birth to those who are caring for you. Writing a plan will help you to address different aspects of the labor, such as methods of pain relief and who you’d like to attend the birth. It also gives you a chance to ask questions about procedures such as induction and other types of medical intervention. Filling in a plan is also a useful way for your birth partner to be made aware of your wishes so that he or she can communicate these to the doctor while you’re in labor.

Bear in mind that circumstances may dictate that not all of your preferences are met, but there’s more chance of you getting the labor and birth you want if you’ve thought it through and written down your views. Being as informed as possible about labor and your choices will help you to prepare in advance.

… Doctor
Q: I have dry eyes and am finding it hard to wear my contact lenses. What can I do?
A: During pregnancy, hormonal changes may cause your eyes to feel dry, and you may experience burning, itching, and a feeling that there is a foreign object under your eyelid. This is common in pregnancy. Dry eyes can also occur after menopause, when there are similar hormonal fluctuations.

The condition appears to be caused by a change in the composition and quantity of tears, leaving the eye dry and inadequately lubricated. The discomfort can be remedied with “artificial tears” (see image), available from an optician or pharmacist, and it usually disappears once the baby is born. In the meantime, limit the time you wear your lenses and wear your glasses more often, especially if you are looking at a computer screen for long periods of time.

Your birth plan

Scented candles, womb music, and beanbags… or serious pain relief from the first contraction? Writing a birth plan is an opportunity for you to think about how you’d like your labor and delivery to go. Discuss your birth plan with your doctor and birth partner as early as this week, so you’re all clear about your objectives .

  • Write everything down: your birth partner(s), pain-relief preferences, whether you’d like an active labor, and the environment you’d prefer to give birth in. You might know you want to give birth in the hospital or at home, or in a birth center, which offers a home-style setting with the backup of medical technology.

  • Be specific: for example, you might want to use a birthing pool to labor in or want to give birth in an upright position. You might want minimal medical intervention.

  • Be flexible: labor doesn’t always go according to plan and your baby’s safe delivery is the most important thing.

You are 15 Weeks and 6 Days 169 days to go…

To help your baby’s lungs expand and develop in preparation for breathing, the chest wall must be fully bathed in amniotic fluid.

Your baby today

The upper limbs are well differentiated into forearms, wrists, hands, and fingers; these develop at a faster rate than the lower limbs, a feature that continues even after the birth.

Your baby’s lungs continue to branch and divide. The cells lining the airways constantly produce fluid that leaves the lungs when your baby makes breathing movements. The release of this fluid is regulated by the vocal cords within the larynx.

In addition to fluid, the lungs have glands that produce mucus. Cells with tiny hairlike structures, known as cilia, have appeared that help move the mucus. This production of mucus is important once the baby is born to prevent the constant flow of air from drying the lining of the lungs, to trap dust particles, and to act as a barrier to infection.

Because the gut is still very immature, the gradual increase in amniotic fluid is due to the relatively low frequency of fetal swallowing. By 37 weeks your baby will be swallowing 1.75 pints (almost a liter), half of the total amniotic fluid volume, each day.

In this close-up the baby’s left arm and chest wall can be seen. Because the skin is almost transparent the ribs are easy to see. They are very soft at this stage and still predominantly made of cartilage.

… Relationships
Surprisingly sexy

You may be taken aback by a sudden increase in your libido. Often, in the second trimester, women find that they feel far more energetic and sexy. The increased blood flow to the pelvic area combined with an increased lubrication of the vagina means that, in theory, having sex can be better than ever.

High levels of progesterone and estrogen make your breasts and vagina super sensitive so expect to become more easily aroused during foreplay. You may also find that you orgasm more quickly than usual. The uterus tightens when you orgasm, so be prepared for this.

Your partner may be delighted by this up-turn in events, as well as approving of a beautiful rounded body to explore, but if he isn’t responding positively, talk to him about how he’s feeling.

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