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WEEKS 1 AND 2
Baby: Your baby is still just a glimmer in your eye. Although it's confusing to think about a pregnancy starting before your child is even conceived, doctors calculate your due date from the beginning of your last cycle since it's hard to know exactly when conception occurred.
Mom-to-be: At the beginning of a cycle, about 20 ova begin to ripen and occupy fluid-filled sacs called follicles. One of these follicles matures and ruptures, releasing an egg that will travel down the fallopian tube, where it awaits fertilization. This all takes place about 14 days before the end of your cycle. This is the time you're most fertile, so light some candles take the phone off the hook, and set aside some intimate time. An egg can be fertilized for only about 12 to 24 hours once the ovum is released. Don't be disappointed if it doesn't work the first time. You have only about a 20 percent chance of getting pregnant each month.
Tip for the Week: Make sure you've scheduled a preconception visit with your OB-Gyn to determine risks of genetic diseases, environmental hazards and lifestyle changes necessary to ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby. Most important, make sure you've started taking 0.4 milligrams, or 400 micrograms, of folic acid a day. Folic acid taken a few months before conception has been shown to dramatically reduce the likelihood of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.
Baby: Congratulations! If your egg and your partner's sperm have joined successfully, your embryo is really there, although it's very small -- about 0.0006 inches or the size of the head of a pin. It doesn't look like a fetus or baby; it's just a group of about 100 cells multiplying and growing rapidly. The outer layer of cells will become the placenta, and the inner layer will become the embryo.
Mom-to-be: You won't notice any changes. It's too soon. Remember, you haven't even missed your period yet.
Tip for the Week: Home pregnancy tests are about as reliable as a urine test or blood test done in the doctor's office and can give you more immediate results than waiting for a doctor's visit. To ensure accuracy, make sure you've read the directions carefully and that all equipment being used is clean.
Baby: Your baby is still very small, only about 0.014 inches to 0.04 inches in length. The embryo, probably in about its second week of development, has multiplied to about 150 cells. Your baby is being nourished by secretions from the uterine lining. Layers of cells already are specialized according to functions. The outer layer will become the nervous system, skin and hair; the inner layer will be the breathing and digestive organs; and the middle layer will become the skeleton, bones, cartilage, muscles, circulatory system, kidneys and sex organs.
Tip for the Week: Try to eat healthfully, which means choosing a variety of foods from the recommended food groups and drinking at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. But you don't really need to "eat for two." You need only an extra 300 calories per day during pregnancy. And don't worry if your food intake drops a little in the beginning because of morning sickness. If you've been eating right already, your baby will get what it needs.
Baby: Your embryo still hasn't grown much. It's about 0.05 inches long. Heart, brain, spinal cord, muscle and bones are beginning to develop. The placenta, which will nourish your baby, and the amniotic sac, which provides a warm and safe environment where the baby can move easily, are still forming, too.
Mom-to-be: Still no big changes to notice in yourself, although you might suspect by now that you're pregnant. Some early pregnancy symptoms include nausea (called "morning sickness," although it can happen at any time of day), a tingling or soreness in your breasts and darkening of the areola, the need to urinate more frequently and feeling more tired than usual.
Tip for the Week: You'll want to schedule a visit to your OB-Gyn as soon as you suspect you're pregnant. Good prenatal care is one of the best assurances of a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby.
Baby: The embryo is starting to look like a tadpole. It's about 0.08 inches to 0.16 inches -- the size of a BB pellet -- from the top of the head to buttocks. (This crown-to-rump length is used more often than crown-to-heel length because the baby's legs are most often bent and hard to measure). The eyes and limb buds also are forming. A heartbeat can sometimes be detected by an ultrasound around now. This is also an extremely important time in the development of your baby, since between 17 and 56 days the embryo is most susceptible to factors that can interfere with its normal growth.
Mom-to-be: You may have gained a few pounds by now, but if you're experiencing morning sickness you may have lost weight, which is also normal. You're starting to notice some changes in your body: clothes getting a little tighter around the waist, weight gain in your legs and breasts. With a pelvic exam, your practitioner will be able to notice a change in the size of your uterus.
Tip for the Week: Make sure you're following good prenatal habits, like eating right and taking your prenatal vitamins. Since the neural tube (which is the beginning of the central nervous system) has formed by now, taking folic acid to prevent spinal cord defects such as spina bifida, has been crucial. If you haven't already, stop smoking and drinking.
Mom-to-be: You're still not "showing," but by now you're really feeling the changes in your body. You still may be experiencing morning sickness and the other symptoms of early pregnancy. Breasts will probably be tingly and tender.
Tip of the Week: To settle a queasy stomach, never let your stomach get empty. Keep snacks on hand around the clock, and eat lots of little meals rather than three big ones. To prevent a drop in blood sugar, include some protein like adding some cheese on crackers.
Baby: Your embryo, now about in its sixth week of development, is about the size of a grape -- 0.56 to 0.8 inches from crown to rump. Eyelid folds and ears are forming and even the tip of the nose is visible. The arms have grown longer and bend at the elbows. Places where fingers and toes eventually will grow are becoming notched.
Mom-to-be: Your uterus, once the size of your fist, is now about the size of a grapefruit. You may feel some cramping or pain in your lower abdomen or sides, but that's because your uterus typically tightens or contracts throughout pregnancy. Consult your doctor if contractions are accompanied by vaginal bleeding.
Tip of the Week: Good breast support during pregnancy will help you feel more comfortable and prevent future sagging. Exercises to keep your chest muscles toned can be useful, too.
Mom-to-be: Your uterus is continuing to grow, and you may begin to see your waistline thickening. But unless you tell people the good news, your pregnancy still won't be noticeable to others. Weight gain is still small, if at all, since you could be experiencing food aversions, cravings, heartburn, indigestion, nausea and bloating. Mood swings and weepiness similar to PMS symptoms are common, too.
Tip for the Week: Eat plenty of foods that contain calcium -- such as cheeses, sardines and broccoli -- to provide sufficient calcium for the development of your baby's teeth and bones.
Baby: Congratulations! Your baby is now officially called a "fetus." It looks a little like a medium shrimp, measuring 1.25 to 1.68 inches from crown to rump, and weighing a little less than two-tenths of an ounce. You might be reassured to know that most physical malformations, when they occur, have occurred by the end of this week, so the most critical part of your baby's development is safely behind you. But other developmental processes, such as those affecting behavior and intelligence, will continue throughout pregnancy. Eyes are covered by skin that will eventually split to form eyelids.
Mom-to-be: You still probably don't show, but you may be wearing looser clothes. You may even be starting to eye maternity clothes, although you probably still don't need them. You may continue to feel tired and moody, but take heart: These symptoms shouldn't last too much longer.
Tip for the Week: If you're going to have chorionic villus sampling (CVS), a prenatal test used to detect genetic defects such as Tay-Sachs, sickle cell anemia, most types of cystic fibrosis and Down syndrome, it will probably be scheduled between now and 12 weeks.
Baby: Your fetus, about the size of a large lime, measures about 1.75 to 2.4 inches from crown to rump and weighs about three-tenths of an ounce. About now the rapid "swooshing" noises of the heartbeat can be heard through a Doppler sound-wave stethoscope. Fingernails and external genitalia are showing distinguishing characteristics, and the baby is swallowing and kicking, although you still won't feel it.
Mom-to-be: Your uterus is almost big enough to fill your pelvis and may be felt in your lower abdomen. You may also experience changes in hair, skin, fingernails or toenails.
Tip for the Week: Don't ignore your dental hygiene during pregnancy. Floss and brush regularly, and make sure you see your dentist at least once in these nine months. Your gums may bleed more because of hormones during pregnancy and because of increased blood volume.
Baby: The fetus now measures about 2.5 inches from crown to rump and weighs between three-tenths of an ounce and half an ounce. It is fully formed, from tooth buds to toenails, and your baby's job now is to continue getting larger and stronger for the rest of your pregnancy. With the most critical development behind the fetus, the chance of miscarriage drops considerably after this week.
Mom-to-be: Nausea and energy start to improve. You may be experiencing occasional headaches, dizziness and fatigue from hormonal changes. If it's your first baby, you still could be wearing loose-fitting clothes, but if you've had other pregnancies, you'll probably start to show earlier and may be in maternity clothes. The typical weight gain by now is about three to five pounds. Fathers-to-be might also experience pregnancy symptoms, called couvade or "hatching," during the third month and at delivery, including nausea, abdominal pain, appetite changes and weight gain.
Tip for the Week: Most women develop stretch marks on their abdomen, breasts, hips or buttocks sometime during their pregnancy. They won't go away, but they'll usually fade after pregnancy. Despite claims from manufacturers, creams and oils don't minimize them. It depends on your skin's natural elasticity. Gradual rather than rapid weight gain may help, though.
Baby: Your fully formed fetus, now in about its 11th week of development, measures 2.6 to 3.1 inches from crown to rump and weighs between half an ounce and seven-tenths of an ounce -- about the size of a peach. The head is still disproportionately bigger than the body, but the rest of the body is starting to catch up. In fact, your baby is growing rapidly these days. The face is starting to look more human, with eyes moving closer together. Toes and fingers are clearly separate, and ankles and wrists have formed. External genitalia are becoming visible. Intestines are shifting into their proper place, too.
Mom-to-be: Your uterus has grown a lot. It's filling your pelvis now and starting to grow upward into your abdomen. It probably feels like a soft, smooth ball. If you haven't put on any weight yet because of morning sickness, you'll begin to now as you start to feel better.
Tip for the Week: It's easy for your partner to feel left out of the pregnancy since he isn't feeling the same physical changes that you are. Both of you should share your excitement about having a child, your dreams, worries and your partner's level of involvement. Suggest that your partner goes to a check-up with you to hear the baby's heartbeat.
Baby: Your baby measures about 3.2 to 4.1 inches from crown to rump now and weighs almost an ounce. The ears are shifting from the neck to the sides of the head, and the neck is getting longer and chin more prominent. Facial features and unique fingerprints are all there. Your baby is beginning to respond to outside stimuli. If your abdomen is poked, the fetus will try to wriggle away.
Mom-to-be: You're probably wearing maternity clothes now. Your skin and muscles are starting to stretch to accommodate your growing baby. You may notice some constipation because pregnancy hormones relax the bowel.
Tip for the Week: Try to alleviate constipation with moderate exercise, and by drinking plenty of fluids and eating lots of fruit and vegetables, preferably raw.
Mom-to-be: Your uterus can probably be felt about three to four inches below your navel. Sometime in the next five weeks you'll be offered a triple-screen maternal serum screening test, which measures three chemicals in your blood -- alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) and estrogen produced by the placenta. The test is a more accurate predictor of Down syndrome than AFP testing alone. Amniocentesis, which tests a small sample of amniotic fluid withdrawn by an ultrasound-guided needle, is usually performed between now and 18 weeks. It may be recommended if you're 35 or older or if your AFP or triple-screen test results were suspicious.
Tip for the Week: Start learning to sleep on your left side because circulation is best that way. Lying on your back or stomach after about the fourth or fifth month can put extra pressure on your growing uterus and decrease circulation to your baby. You can try tucking pillows behind you and between your legs. Some manufacturers make a pregnancy pillow that supports your entire body.
Baby: Your baby now measures about 4.3 to 4.6 inches from crown to rump and weighs about 2.8 ounces. Fingernails are well-formed and the fine hair, lanugo, may be growing on the head. Arms and legs are moving. The nervous system is functioning and muscles are responding to stimulation from your baby's brain. You may be able to hear the baby's heartbeat in the doctor's office.
Mom-to-be: Your uterus has grown significantly by now and weighs about 8.75 ounces. Within the next few weeks you may start to feel your baby move, called "quickening." It's often like a gas bubble or subtle fluttering movement. As it happens more regularly, you'll know it's your baby. There are other physiological changes happening in your body. Increased blood volume to support your growing fetus may produce nosebleeds, and veins may become more apparent. Your uterus is shifting so you may not have to urinate so much.
Tip for the Week: If veins in your legs are beginning to bulge, you may want to use support stockings, elevate your feet when you can and exercise to improve blood flow.
Baby: Your baby, now about in its 15th week of development, measures about 4.4 to 4.8 inches from crown to rump and has doubled in weight in the last two weeks to about 3.5 ounces. Fat begins to form, helping your baby's heat production and metabolism. The lungs are beginning to exhale amniotic fluid, and the circulatory and urinary systems are working. Hair on head, eyebrows and eyelashes is filling in.
Mom-to-be: You're showing more now, with an obvious swelling in your lower abdomen. A five- to 10-pound weight gain is typical by now. You also may be noticing an increase in appetite.
Tip for the Week: Change positions slowly, especially when you move from a lying down position to sitting or from a sitting position to standing to avoid feeling dizzy or faint. If you feel lightheaded, sit down and lower your head, or lie down for a moment.
Baby: Your baby measures 5 to 5.6 inches from crown to rump and weighs about 5.25 ounces. The rapid growth spurt is tapering off, but reflexes are kicking in. It can yawn, stretch and make facial expressions, even frown. Taste buds are beginning to develop and can distinguish sweet from bitter tastes. The baby will suck if its lips are stroked and it can swallow, and even get the hiccups. The retinas have become sensitive to light, so if a bright light is shined on your abdomen, baby will probably move to shield its eyes.
Mom-to-be: Your uterus, about the size of a cantaloupe, can probably be felt just below your navel. You're most likely feeling the baby move by now. A mid-pregnancy ultrasound may be performed between now and 22 weeks to assess fetal growth and development and to verify the due date. If the baby is in the right position, the ultrasound may even be able to determine whether it's a boy or a girl. Your heart has to work 40 percent to 50 percent harder now to support your pregnancy.
Tip for the Week: Suggest that your partner go with you for the ultrasound. It's a chance to catch the first glimpse of your baby together, as well as provide a snapshot to show friends and family later. Sonograms still don't guarantee a healthy baby, but they can provide reassurance and spot some problems.
Baby: Your baby measures about 5.2 to 6 inches from crown to rump and weighs about 7 ounces. Skin is developing and transparent, appearing red because blood vessels are visible through it. Creamy white protective coating, called vernix, begins to develop.
Mom-to-be: As your baby continues to grow, you may be feeling some mid-pregnancy aches and pains by now -- lower abdominal achiness, dizziness, heartburn, constipation, leg cramps, mild swelling of ankles and feet, and a backache. Dilated blood vessels might cause tiny, temporary red marks (called spider nevi) on your face, shoulders and arms.
Tip for the Week: Take care not to get overtired since rapid growth of the baby can compound the burden on your heart, lungs and kidneys.
Baby: The fetus measures about 5.6 to 6.4 inches from crown to rump and weighs about 9 ounces. Your baby can hear sounds by now -- your voice, heart and your stomach growling, as well as sounds outside your body. It will cover its ears with its hands if a loud sound is made near you, and it may even become startled and "jump." The baby is moving often, too -- twisting, turning, wiggling, punching and kicking. It sleeps and wakes as much as a newborn.
Mom-to-be: Congratulations! You're at about the midpoint of your pregnancy. Your uterus is just about even with your navel. Your waistline has pretty much disappeared, but only temporarily! The risk of bladder infections increases because the smooth muscles in the urinary tract relax. Your breathing will become deeper and you may perspire more than usual from a more active thyroid gland.
Tip for the Week: To alleviate backaches, maintain good posture. Sit with a footstool or use an ergonomic chair at the office, avoid standing for too long, sleep with a small pillow under your side at the waist, and lift things with your legs instead of your back.
Mom-to-be: Friends, relatives, even strangers can probably tell you're pregnant by now. Your uterus is starting to extend above your navel. You've probably gained between 10 and 14 pounds by now.
Tip for the week: Start looking into childbirth classes if you haven't already.
Baby: Your baby measures about 7.6 inches and weighs about 12.3 ounces. The muscles are getting stronger every week now, and the eyelids and eyebrows are developed. Your baby's acrobatics are pretty constant, and since he responds to sound, rhythm and melody, you can try singing and talking to him. After he's born, the same sounds will soothe him.
Mom-to-be: Your uterus is continuing to grow, but you're probably feeling pretty good -- no more morning sickness, and your abdomen isn't so large that it's getting in the way very much. You may still be getting leg and foot cramps, as well as mild swelling of ankles and feet.
Tip for the Week: To reduce cramping, increase your intake of calcium and potassium. Have a glass of milk before bedtime or snack on potassium-rich foods, such as grapefruits, oranges and bananas. If you do get a leg cramp, try forcing your toes back toward your face and pushing down on the knee to straighten your leg.
Baby: Your baby is about 8 inches from crown to rump and weighs almost 1 pound. The body is becoming proportioned more like a newborn, but skin is still wrinkled because your baby still has more weight to gain. Lanugo hair on the body sometimes turns darker.
Mom-to-be: Your round belly is definitely noticeable by now. Weight gain will be about 12 to 15 pounds. Vaginal secretions that are typically clear-to-yellowish with a faint smell increase during pregnancy. Check with your practitioner if the color or odor changes significantly since it could signal an infection. You may still have aches in the small of your back. Lying down, massages and applying a heating pad or hot water bottle to the area can help.
Tip for the Week: As your skin continues to stretch, it may become dry and itchy. Keeping it moist with lotions or cream can help reduce these symptoms.
Baby: Your baby, now about in its 22nd week of development, is 8.4 inches from crown to rump and weighs about 1.2 pounds. It is starting to produce white blood cells, mostly for combating disease and infection, and may respond to your touch or sounds. If you haven't felt hiccups yet, you might feel some jerking motion now.
Mom-to-be: Your uterus is about 1.5 to 2 inches above your navel. Expect to gain about a pound per week this month. Glucose screens for detecting gestational diabetes are given between this week and 28 weeks.
Tip for the Week: Dad-to-be might be able to hear the baby's heartbeat by putting his ear to your abdomen.
Baby: Your developing baby now measures about 8.8 inches from crown to rump and weighs 1.5 pounds. Skin now becomes opaque instead of transparent. Its body is still covered with folds like a puppy dog that need to grow into its skin. Heartbeat can be heard through a stethoscope or, depending on the position of the baby, by others putting an ear against your belly.
Mom-to-be: Besides your uterus growing upward, it may be getting bigger on the sides of your abdomen. You may be experiencing hemorrhoids, which are dilated blood vessels in the rectal area caused by increased blood flow, constipation, indigestion and heartburn.
Tip for the Week: To soothe hemorrhoids, apply an ice pack or witch hazel, or try a sitz bath (soaking your bottom in shallow warm water) or over-the-counter suppositories. Don't take laxatives or mineral oil.
Baby: Your baby measures about 20 inches from crown to rump and weighs almost 2 pounds now. Its hearing is fully developed. As the fetus reacts to sounds, its pulse increases. Your baby will even move in rhythm to music. Lungs are still growing but are not yet mature. Patterns of your baby's brain waves appear like a full-term newborn. It also has patterns of sleeping and waking.
Mom-to-be: The baby's constant movements should be reassuring. You'll be putting on weight at the rate of about 1 pound per week now. You may be feeling some rib pain as your baby grows and pushes upward on your rib cage. The pressure may also be causing indigestion and heartburn. You may even be feeling stitch-like pains down the sides of your abdomen as your uterine muscle stretches.
Mom-to-be: You may see stretch marks as your uterus continues to expand. Most women have gained about 16 to 22 pounds by now. Balance and mobility also may be changing as you grow larger.
Tip for the Week: During your last trimester you should talk to your doctor or midwife about the delivery. You'll learn such things as signs to predict labor and how far apart the contractions should be before going to the hospital or birth center. It's also the time to begin interviewing pediatricians and to take care of other logistics, like pre-registration and a birthing plan (what you envision your labor and delivery will be like). This plan should be written in your patient record or attached to it in the form of a birth plan.
Mom-to-be: Your uterus extends well above your navel. As baby gets bigger and stronger this month, you may be experiencing leg cramps and mild swelling of ankles and feet, difficulty sleeping, shortness of breath, lower abdominal achiness, clumsiness or scattered Braxton Hicks contractions (hardening and relaxing of the uterus, like rehearsals for labor). You may also be urinating more frequently again as the uterus continues to push on your bladder.
Tip for the Week: Even if your husband is planning on being with you in the delivery room, you might want to consider hiring a doula -- a professional labor assistant who provides support, but not medical aid, for the mother and her partner. Studies show that doulas can shorten a woman's labor and reduce the likelihood of needing pain medication, forceps deliveries or a Caesarean section.
Mom-to-be: Your uterus is about 3.5 to 4 inches above your navel. Weight gain is probably between 19 and 25 pounds. As odds improve that baby could survive outside the womb -- although in a neonatal intensive-care unit -- you may be feeling relieved and excited, or anxious about motherhood, your baby's health, and labor and delivery. If you do experience premature labor, signs include menstrual-like cramps or lower back pain, a trickle of amniotic fluid, or a watery pinkish or brownish discharge preceded sometimes by the passage of a thick, gelatinous mucus plug. Your practitioner often can stop labor from progressing with bed rest, muscle relaxants or other drugs, possibly requiring hospitalization.
Tip for the Week: Your blood pressure typically may rise a little around the seventh month, but contact your practitioner if you get severe headaches, blurred vision or severe swelling of hands, feet or ankles, or if you experience severe weight gain. These symptoms could signal the beginning of pre-eclampsia, which is pregnancy-induced hypertension.
Baby: Your baby measures about 17 inches from head to toe and weighs about 3 pounds. Baby is growing plumper and beginning to control its own body temperature. Eyebrows and eyelashes are fully developed, and hair on the head is getting thicker. Head and body are now proportioned like a newborn's. Hands are now fully formed and fingernails are growing.
Mom-to-be: Your uterus is about four inches above your navel, and it's hard to believe you still have about 10 weeks to go as baby continues to push on your ribs. You may be feeling more discomfort in your pelvis and abdomen. You'll probably be gaining about a pound a week.
Tip for the Week: The membranes around the baby that contain the amniotic fluid are called the bag of waters. They usually do not break until just before the onset of labor, but if it does break prematurely, your risk of infection increases so call your practitioner immediately.
Mom-to-be: Your uterus now fills a large part of your abdomen, and you've probably gained between 21 and 27 pounds. You're probably feeling increasing excitement and anxiousness about the birth -- it won't be long now.
Tip for the Week: Practice your breathing and relaxation exercises. A glucose screen may be repeated in the next few weeks.
Mom-to-be: Although you've only been seeing the doctor monthly, now you'll probably start seeing your practitioner every two weeks until the last month, when you'll probably switch to weekly visits. You may continue to get backaches and leg cramps. You may also notice colostrum leaking from your breasts, a yellowish fluid that precedes milk production.
Tip for the Week: You might be carrying differently from others at the same stage of pregnancy. Whether you're carrying higher or lower, bigger or smaller, wider or more compact depends on the size and position of baby, your body type and how much weight you've gained. For more comfort, drink plenty of fluids, elevate your legs when sitting, lie on your left side and wear support stockings.
Mom-to-be: The uterus is about 5.2 inches above your navel, and you've gained between 22 and 28 pounds. Of the pound a week you're gaining now, roughly half is going to your baby.
Tip for the Week: It's medically safe to continue having sex with your partner, but you may be too uncomfortable. Talk with your spouse about other ways to remain intimate, including backrubs and foot massages.
Mom-to-be: Your uterus hardens and contracts as practice for labor, known as Braxton Hicks contractions, but you may not feel them yet. Your pelvis has expanded and may ache, especially at the back. Uterus is pushed hard against your lower ribs and your rib cage may be sore, and your navel is probably pushing out as a result of your abdomen being stretched.
Tip for the Week: Start thinking about whether you want to breast-feed, which helps increase your child's immunities. You may want to consult a lactation expert or the La Leche League, an organization that encourages and promotes breast-feeding, or simply talk with friends or relatives who can share their experiences.
Mom-to-be: Your uterus is about six inches above your navel. By now your weight gain is probably between 24 and 29 pounds. Your doctor will test you for Group B streptococcus bacteria between now and 37 weeks. You may be getting more uncomfortable and not sleeping very well. You also may be getting more anxious about the labor and delivery, and you may even be moodier and more irritable.
Tip for the Week: Be sure you've collected the necessary baby clothes, equipment -- especially a car seat -- and furniture to get you through the first few weeks, at least.
Mom-to-be: Your uterus has grown bigger these last few weeks and is probably up under your ribs. But you're in the home stretch; after this week you'll be seeing your doctor weekly. You may be alternating between fatigue or extra bursts of energy. You may also be experiencing increased backache and heaviness, constipation, heartburn and discomfort in your buttocks and pelvis.
Tip for the Week: Start stocking your freezer with foods that can be easily popped into the oven or microwave after you bring your baby home. Chili, casseroles and many other dishes can be prepared and frozen ahead of time for use later.
Mom-to-be: Your uterus may stay the same size as it was for the last week or two. Your weight gain should be about as high as it will go, about 25 to 35 pounds. About this time, your doctor might perform a pelvic exam to help judge the progress of your pregnancy.
Tip for the Week: Fewer than 5 percent of babies are breech (head pointing upward) after 37 weeks. Some still may turn before labor begins. Make sure you've discussed your options with your practitioner, including a Caesarean section or an external version, which involves manually turning the baby with the assistance of ultrasound in a hospital.
Mom-to-be: You're probably not getting any bigger, but you may be feeling more uncomfortable. Make sure you have a bag packed. It won't be long now -- 95 percent of all babies are born within two weeks of their mother's due date.
Tip for the Week: Consider whether you'll circumcise your baby if it's a boy. Circumcision isn't as much a medical issue as a cultural or religious one.
Mom-to-be: You're probably feeling quite large and uncomfortable. Your uterus has filled your pelvis and most of your abdomen, pushing everything else out of the way. Your center of gravity has shifted, so you may be clumsier than usual.
Tip for the Week: Watch for signs of labor, but don't get too obsessed. It could happen soon or still be weeks away. Some differences between false labor and contractions: False labor begins in the lower abdomen, while the real thing typically begins in the lower back and spreads to the lower abdomen. Real labor also becomes stronger and more powerful as time passes.
Mom-to-be: Birth should be soon now, but don't worry if your due date comes and goes. Only 5 percent of all babies are born exactly on the due date. It may be more difficult for you to get a good night's sleep because it's hard to find a comfortable position, but try to rest as much as possible, with your feet up if you can.
Tip for the Week: If you think you're in labor, don't eat. Even something light in your stomach can cause nausea.