External appearances are deceptive: although your baby seems very well developed, it’s still early in the pregnancy – the state of the cervix and progesterone produced by the placenta both play a part in ensuring that labour does not start for some months yet.
You may be surprised by the strength of feeling you have for your baby, and this maternal instinct will grow stronger each day.
Do you feel as though you’re a mum yet? Whether or not you’re a maternal person, you’ll already have started, instinctively, the process of becoming a mother. You may be taking better care of yourself, eating better, and making lifestyle changes, not necessarily to benefit your own health but for your baby. You’re likely to find yourself being very protective and nurturing towards your bump, wanting the best for your baby, and being worried about anything happening to him. It’s nothing to worry about if you don’t feel this strong bond: all women are different and it may not be until you’re holding and caring for your baby that you experience strong maternal feelings.
Your partner may not have this strong parental instinct, but the more you involve him in the pregnancy, the greater the chance of him getting close to his unborn child. By reading in books or on the internet about how the baby is developing at every stage, and attending some or all of the antenatal appointments with you, he will be able to picture the baby and follow his progress as closely as possible.
You’ll find that your baby occupies your thoughts a lot of the time. Being pregnant makes most women act selflessly in the best interests of their baby.
If you have a toddler already, she will undoubtedly be curious about why you have suddenly got so fat! Keep things simple, along the lines of “Mummy is growing you a baby sister or brother, but she/he won’t be here just yet.” Over the coming weeks, explain in more detail what having a new baby means.
There’s no need to tell your toddler how the baby got there, or to keep reminding her about it. Just answer her questions when she asks, without showing too much preoccupation with the matter.
I’ve got flu. Will this harm my baby?
No, your baby should be fine but because your immune system is compromised during pregnancy, your symptoms might last longer than usual. Drink plenty of fluid to stay hydrated, and eat several small meals a day to maintain your energy levels. Call your doctor if you don’t improve after 24–48 hours, or your temperature exceeds 101°F (38°C).
Very few pregnant women do experience complications, but if you feel very unwell, and, in particular, you experience problems breathing, see your doctor immediately. Ask the pharmacist’s advice before taking any over-the-counter medication.
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