Pregnancy
14 weeks and 3 days pregnant

The hands are well developed at this stage, but, as can be seen here, the skin is very thin and transparent, which means the developing bones of the fingers and the blood vessels can be seen.

Your baby’s external sex organs are now visible and it may be possible to identify gender from an ultrasound scan.

By around this point in the second trimester, the sex of the baby’s external genitals has become apparent. When the genitals first began to form at around four weeks, they were the same in males and females. They consisted of a rounded bump called the genital tubercle and two ridges called labioscrotal swellings separated by a membrane. From around six weeks, differences started to occur, driven by the presence or absence of a male (Y) chromosome. By the 14th week, in boys the genital tubercle has elongated to become the penis and the labioscrotal swellings have fused to form the scrotum. In girls the labioscrotal swellings remain separate, forming the labia (lips), while the genital tubercle forms the clitoris.

Do you share your home with a pet?

Recent research shows that living with a cat or dog in early childhood may reduce the risk of your child developing asthmatic symptoms. The study found that children residing with cats were more likely to have allergy-related antibodies to felines. Never leave your baby alone with a dog or cat.

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How can I relieve my constipation?

Constipation is a common symptom of pregnancy, mainly because the hormone progesterone slows down your bowel function, making everything more sluggish. Many women exercise less than usual during pregnancy, which can also cause things to become blocked up. Finally, iron tablets, which may be prescribed for anaemia, are notorious for causing constipation.

There are, thankfully, many ways to relieve the problem:

  • Eat more fibre: ensure that you are getting plenty of fibre in your diet, in the form of fresh fruit and vegetables, and wholegrains, and drink plenty of water to aid the passing of your stools.

  • Go natural: studies have shown that psyllium husks, from the crushed seeds of thePlantago ovataplant, are an effective natural remedy.

  • Try reflexology: this has been shown to be an effective treatment: one study found that 85 per cent of women reported a positive result, and regular bowel movements. Visit a registered therapist, who is experienced in treating pregnant women, or do a little yourself at home. Try massaging the base of the heel of your foot, and the arch, pushing your thumb evenly and deeply into the tissue of your foot.

  • Massage: gently rub your abdomen with two drops of bergamot essential oil, blended in a tablespoon of light carrier oil, such as grapeseed.

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