You are 21 Weeks and 2 Days 131 days to go…

What’s in a name? Well, quite a lot actually, as you’ll discover when you start trying to choose one for your baby.

Your baby today

The next three months are a time of particularly rapid growth for your baby. Cells are dividing, expanding, and maturing in every part of her body. The placenta too is growing and maturing, but this is far less important than your baby’s growth from now on.

Deciding on a name for your baby is fun but not necessarily an easy task. In addition to finding one that you and your partner agree on, it can feel as though everyone has an opinion. Friends may tell you that they have already chosen a name, that it is “theirs” so you can’t use it! Your family may have traditions that they want upheld, such as passing on a name that has been in the family for generations.

It’s a good idea for you and your partner individually to write down a list of names that you like. Then look at each other’s list and talk about which ones you do and don’t like. If you’re lucky, there will be one or more names on both lists that match.

Factors to consider include: does the name sound right with your last name? Does the middle name go well with the first name? What will the initials be? For example, Robert Anthony Taylor will become RAT! Are the meanings of the names important to you? If so, find out what the meaning is of your favorite names—it can be fun to tell your child what her name means when she’s older. Is there a short version of the name that you can use informally or, conversely, do you hate names being shortened? If so, avoid those. If you’re feeling obligated to use a family name, perhaps make it a middle name.

It’s advisable to come up with a few alternative choices, since you may find that the name you have decided upon just doesn’t seem to suit your newborn baby when you finally see her.

Researching in books or on the internet is a good way to find less popular names, and to discover interesting facts about the origin of names.

Popular names

Do you want your child to have an original name, or are you influenced by what’s in fashion? Bear in mind that opting for a popular name may mean your child is in a class full of namesakes.

Below is the list of the top 20 most popular girls’ and boys’ names in the US in 2008.

Girls’ names
  1. Emily

  2. Isabella

  3. Emma

  4. Ava

  5. Madison

  6. Sophia

  7. Olivia

  8. Abigail

  9. Hannah

  10. Elizabeth

  11. Addison

  12. Samantha

  13. Ashley

  14. Alyssa

  15. Mia

  16. Chloe

  17. Natalie

  18. Sarah

  19. Alexis

  20. Grace

Boys’ names
  1. Jacob

  2. Michael

  3. Ethan

  4. Joshua

  5. Daniel

  6. Christopher

  7. Anthony

  8. William

  9. Matthew

  10. Andrew

  11. Alexander

  12. David

  13. Joseph

  14. Noah

  15. James

  16. Ryan

  17. Logan

  18. Jayden

  19. John

  20. Nicholas

You are 21 Weeks and 3 Days 130 days to go…

In addition to using fat for essential growth and development, your baby is now beginning to store it.

Your baby today

In this 3D scan the baby’s skin looks quite lumpy in parts. This isn’t really the case. If the baby suddenly moves during a scan, the image can have difficulty “keeping up” and creates this unusual effect.

Up until this time, your baby has had little opportunity to store fat, because growth has been the most important priority. But now your baby starts to lay down a layer of fat beneath her skin and it becomes less translucent. The placenta is responsible for supplying fats to your baby.

Fat circulates in your bloodstream and within the placenta it is broken down into three free fatty acids, as well as cholesterol, which are passed into your baby’s circulation. These fatty acids then recombine to form fats for storage or growth.

Fats are important for adequate nerve and brain development. A layer of fat covers each nerve cell, insulating it from adjacent nerves and improving its connections with other nerve cells.

… Twins
Bill and Ben?

Choosing one name can be difficult enough, so if you’re expecting twins, start thinking now. If you want to avoid people making jokes at your twins’ expense, avoid obvious pairs such as Jack and Jill, and Holly and Ivy. Consider how the names might sound when abbreviated (William and Benjamin, for instance, becomes Bill and Ben).

Finally, it might be a good idea to opt for names of similar length and complexity. For example, young Christopher may be discouraged as he struggles to spell his name, while his twin Jack has no trouble.

… Mom
Q: Should we tell people the name that we’ve chosen?
A: I would advise you not to. We told people at first and found it upsetting to find we had so many negative reactions. People freely told us how they had negative associations with the name or that they knew a cat or gerbil called that—a fact that we didn’t need to know! Older relatives told us it was “odd” and went on to give us a list of alternatives.

So I would say keep it to yourself until the baby is born and it’s all a fait accompli. It takes a bold person to question your choice once your baby has been named.

In Hawaii parents often choose names that are associated with beauty.

Some examples of these are: Nohea—“loveliness”; Leia—“child of heaven”; Maka Nani—“beautiful eyes”; Hiwalani—“the attractive one”; Pualani—“heaven’s flower”; and Nani, meaning “beautiful, pretty one.”

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