Monday, May 18, 2009

12 Weeks Pregnant

How my baby's growing:  The most dramatic development this week: reflexes.  My baby's fingers will soon begin to open and close, the toes will curl, the eye muscles will clench, and the mouth will make sucking movements.  In fact, if you prod my abdomen, my baby will squirm in response, although I won't be able to feel it.  The intestines, which have grown so fast that they protrude into the umbilical cord, will start to move into the abdominal cavity about now and the kidneys will begin excreting urine into the bladder.

Meanwhile, nerve cells are multiplying rapidly and in my baby's brain, synapses are forming furiously.  The face looks unquestionably human: the eyes have moved from the sides to the front of the head, and the ears are right where they should be.  From crown to rump, my baby-to-be is just over 2 inches long (about the size of a lime) and weighs half an ounce.

How my life's changing:  My uterus has grown to the point where my healthcare provider can now feel the top of it low in my abdomen (although we have not been for another check-up yet).  Loose, less restrictive clothing has become a friend of mine.  

I'm beginning to feel a bit of heartburn with certain foods.  Many women get heartburn for the first time during pregnancy, however this is not my first bout with it.  During pregnancy, the placenta produces a lot of the hormone progesterone, which relaxes the valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach.  Particularly when I'm laying down, gastric acid can seep back up the pipe, which causes the uncomfortable burning sensation.  It's said to get worse as the uterus grows and starts to push up on the stomach more.  

Nearing the end of my first trimester, 13 weeks will begin the 2nd trimester and will last through 27 weeks.  Next week will also mark the beginning of 4 months.

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