You are 20 Weeks and 3 Days 137 days to go…

Part of the fun of not knowing your baby’s sex is anticipating what it might be, but be prepared for others to do the same.

Your baby today

The eyelids are still fused shut to protect your baby’s developing eyes from prying fingers and toes. Deep within the brain, connections are starting to form to link the senses to those areas within the brain that are able to process information.

If you and your partner decided against finding out the sex of your baby at the 20-week scan, the guessing games will begin and you won’t be short of people telling you what they think you’re having.

Perhaps your own instinct is the best of all: in one study that asked women to guess the sex of their baby, 71 percent of the expectant moms surveyed guessed correctly.

Although you may prefer to have a child of a different gender, you might find that your children are delighted to be having another same-sex playmate.

It’s definitely a…

If you like testing a few old wives’ tales on gender, consider these:

  • Ask someone to tie a gold ring on to a piece of string and dangle it over your belly to “dowse” for the sex. If it swings from side to side or back and forth, it’s a boy; if it spins around in a circular motion, you’re having a girl.

  • Hairier than usual? Apparently, according to the “old wives,” you’re more likely to be carrying a boy.

  • If your baby’s heart rate is faster than 140 beats per minute, you’re having a girl (but see You are 16 Weeks and 4 Days!).

  • Craving sugar, spice, and all things sweet: girl. Sour or salty foods: boy.

… Mom
Q: I’ve found out at the 20-week scan that I’m having my third girl, but I so wanted a boy. How can I feel better about this?
A: It can be enormously disappointing to find out that your baby’s sex is different than what you wanted, and perhaps even expected. I felt that I’d let my husband down in some way, especially since I knew he wanted a son.

The good news is that by the time our daughter was born, we were both over the disappointment, and were able to focus on being parents. We always said that if we’d waited until the birth to find out, it would have been hard to come to terms with it at the same time as trying to bond with our newborn baby.

Remember that you haven’t met your new daughter yet, and it may be difficult to imagine loving another daughter, but you will do, in time. Try to focus on the fact that she is healthy and that you’re having a beautiful baby.

You are 20 Weeks and 4 Days 136 days to go…

There are few better ways to relieve those pregnancy aches and pains, and to wind down, than to have a soothing massage.

Your baby today

Shown here is a Doppler ultrasound scan. Your doctor may use a handheld Doppler ultrasound machine to identify your baby’s heartbeat; Doppler scanning can also pick up sudden movements and the whoosh of blood through the placenta.

When you book a massage, make sure you do so with a therapist who is experienced in prenatal massage. Although it’s unlikely to occur at this stage, massaging the wrong areas or certain acupressure points can trigger uterine contractions (this can actually make a massage beneficial during labor when you want to speed things up).

Before making an appointment for a massage, check with your doctor that it’s okay to have one. Massage may not be recommended if you’ve had complications such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

Comfort is crucial and most therapists will position you lying on your side with your head supported by a pillow (see image). Don’t hesitate to tell the therapist if you’re uncomfortable or if any aspect of the massage hurts. An experienced therapist should check that you’re comfortable throughout the massage and stop if you’re not.

If you don’t want to book a professional massage, you can always call on your partner or a willing friend. It is, however, important that the person who is massaging you is careful and does not attempt to work on the abdominal area.

In addition to making a world of difference to those aches and pains and helping you to relax, a massage from your partner is a good way to be intimate with him at times when you might not feel like having sex.

If you don’t feel up to having a full massage, a foot, hand, or head massage can be very soothing.

Having a professional massage during pregnancy can be a real treat. Besides feeling blissful, research shows that it eases aches and pains, helps you sleep, and can reduce stress.

… Doctor
Q: I can’t look in the mirror because I’m feeling so down about my size. Will things get better?
A: You’re not alone in battling with your self-image in pregnancy. For some women, their changing body shape can create negative feelings. Eating a healthy diet and getting some exercise helps prevent excessive weight gain, and exercising will also lift your spirits and improve your sense of well-being.

There’s no set emotional response to pregnancy, but in addition to coming to terms with a momentous life and body change, you are also under the influence of fluctuating hormones, all of which affects your mood and can add to feelings of negativity.

Mild depression in pregnancy is often helped by reassurance and support from your partner, family, or friends. Talking over your fears and concerns may help relieve your anxieties—you’ll probably find that other pregnant women are experiencing the same feelings.

If you are feeling very low and desperate, don’t hesitate to consult your doctor.

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