The coiling umbilical cord is very clearly seen in this image. The umbilical cord grows as your baby grows and will be about the same length as your baby at this stage of your pregnancy: about 36.6cm (14.4in).
When you settle down for a nap it can be frustrating if your baby starts exercising, but take this as a sign that all is well.
You may have noticed that your baby is more active at some times than at others, often when you’re trying to relax or sleep! This is likely to be because when you’re busy or distracted, you’re less aware of your baby moving because you’re not paying him as much attention as at other times. The moment you stop and sit down to put your feet up or go to bed will be the time your baby starts to do his somersaults.
Remember that, like newborns, babies still in the uterus spend a lot of time sleeping, so there will be periods when you don’t feel your baby being very active – it’s fine for him not to be moving all the time. Every baby has a different cycle of waking and sleeping, and there are no rules as to when your baby should be kicking and when he should be still.
If you’re familiar with your baby’s pattern of movements and are concerned that you haven’t felt him move, try lying down on your side and relaxing or playing music to see if your baby responds. If, however, you’re concerned, then see your doctor or midwife, who will be able to examine you and listen for the baby’s heartbeat.
Some women count their baby’s kicks using a chart, noting down when they feel the baby move. Kick charts are not often used now, unless recommended by a doctor or midwife, as they are thought to cause unnecessary concern. Babies have an individual pattern of movements, and it is this, rather than the number of kicks, that’s important.
I’ve never looked after a baby and I don’t even know how to put a nappy on one! What can I do?
You’re not alone: I had never been around babies much and was full of questions. How do nappies work? What do babies do all day? What if I drop my baby? Luckily a friend had a three-month-old who we “borrowed”. As you’ll soon realize, there are plenty of weary mums and dads out there, and almost certainly someone among your family and friends will be only too happy to take a break. But before you remove the baby from his comfort zone, spend time with him and his parent(s). Feed him and change nappies under his mother’s watchful eye. If she’s confident that you’re up to the job, offer to take charge, perhaps just for a few hours at first.
If all goes well, you could build up to a day – or even overnight. It’ll work wonders for your confidence and eliminate any fears you have about babycare. When it comes to looking after your newborn, you’ll have some idea of what to expect and feel more sure about what you’re doing.
During pregnancy your total volume of blood is 50 per cent higher than normal.
The amount of blood pumped with each heartbeat increases by about 40 per cent and you make around 20 per cent more red blood cells than normal.
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