You are 28 Weeks and 3 Days 81 days to go…

If you’re starting to feel that you’ve been eclipsed by your belly, it’s time to do something just for you.

Your baby today

This image offers the first view of the eye opening. The lids have separated and the dark pupil can be seen. There is no true reflection of color on ultrasound so the white of the eye is colored the same as the eyelids and face. The “eyebrows” are in fact shadow.

Like many pregnant women, you may feel that you’ve disappeared behind your belly; that the essence of who you are has been lost in the guise of “pregnant woman.” People may no longer ask about how you’re feeling, or what’s going on in your life. Instead of “How are you?”, they might ask, “Is everything OK with the baby?”

It can be difficult for people, and even for you, to remember that you still exist in a role that is separate from pregnant woman or mother. If during your pregnancy you are feeling very frustrated by this, consider doing something just for you, maybe some pampering or a dinner for two, to make you feel special again.

… Nutrition
Grazing through the day

You need to eat plenty of good-quality protein to encourage your baby’s growth and keep you in glowing good health, so try to eat either eggs, cheese, lean meats, fish, legumes, or grains at every meal. Add to that lots of fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and some unrefined carbohydrates .

Break the food down into a plan of five to seven small meals and snacks each day. If you usually have soup and a sandwich for lunch, try a vegetable soup mid-morning, and have the sandwich later; prepare snacks such as raw vegetables, cheese, nuts, and fruit and graze on them through the afternoon. Perhaps have a bowl of oatmeal early evening, followed by fruit later.

There are no “rules” about when food needs to be eaten, so eat these “mini-meals” when you’re hungry. As long as you get the nutrients you need and don’t overeat, you can graze as often as you like.

… Doctor
Q: I have a sharp pain in my lower back and leg. What causes this?
A: This sounds like sciatica, a sharp pain that travels down the back and leg when the sciatic nerve—the longest nerve in the body—is trapped in a joint in the lower back. This is not related to your pregnancy, although it can get worse in pregnancy. For lower back pain, warm baths and a warm compress can help, as can gentle massage by an experienced practitioner. Exercise such as yoga or water aerobics classes can help strengthen back muscles, but check with your doctor before embarking on a new exercise regimen. Watch your posture  and wear comfortable, supportive shoes.

If you have sciatica, ask your doctor to refer you to a physical therapist. You’ll be shown exercises to help relieve the pain and minimize the risk of it recurring.

You are 28 Weeks and 4 Days 80 days to go…

Your baby’s growth depends on many factors and its rate varies through the course of your pregnancy.

Your baby today

The sleep–wake cycle is now more established, however just because your baby is moving you cannot assume that he is awake. He spends little time fully active with his eyes open, so many of the movements you are feeling are happening while he is asleep.

The growth of your baby relies on a steady stream of nutrients. Most nutrients are transferred unaltered across the placenta, but some substances are made by the placenta itself and a few are produced from scratch by your baby. These include the hormone thyroxine, the production of which depends on iodine from the mother crossing the placenta. Thyroxine has several functions and its level needs to be controlled very precisely. The placenta forms a nearly perfect barrier to thyroxine, enabling you and your baby to adjust thyroxine levels independently of each other. In the early stages of pregnancy, genetic factors largely determined the size of your baby, but by now environmental factors are becoming more important. Overall, your baby’s final birthweight is determined about 40 percent by genetic factors and 60 percent by environmental factors. Your baby grows at a steady rate from 24 weeks until the last 2–3 weeks, when growth continues but more slowly. (If you’re expecting twins, your babies grow as if alone in the uterus up until 28 weeks but from this point there is a reduction in their growth rate.) Your baby’s internal organs account for much of his current growth. The liver and brain, in particular, continue to enlarge and muscle mass increases. Later, fat will be deposited under the skin, rounding out your baby’s contours.

The number of twin births has been jumped 66 percent from 1980 to 2003.

The number of triplet births or more increased four-fold in the same time period. Twins are born, on average, 17 minutes apart.

… Twins
Buying for your twins

The clothes you buy for your twins should be easy to put on and take off, and, of course, machine washable. You’ll probably be given outfits as presents, so just buy the basics.

For each baby, you’re likely to need at least:

  • Six undershirts

  • Six onesies

  • Two jackets

  • One or two hats (sun hat for summer)

  • Several burp cloths and bibs.

Keep in mind when choosing diapers that twins are often smaller on arrival than a single baby, and you may therefore get through a wide range of sizes in the first few months.

It’s advisable to buy a good-quality double stroller, since it will be used for quite a while. When choosing a stroller, a side-by-side model is preferable to a tandem stroller, so that your babies can see each other and communicate as they grow older.

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