Feeling all a-tingle these days? Chances are it isn't romance, or even excitement about the baby — it's carpal tunnel syndrome. If you're like many pregnant women (especially those who work at computers), you may have begun to notice an uncomfortable tingling and numbness in your wrists and fingers. Though it's usually associated with work that requires repetitive motion such as typing, carpal tunnel strikes pregnant women for a different reason (though repetitive motion can definitely contribute). The swelling that's so common during pregnancy can put pressure on the nerve that runs through your wrist, causing numbness, tingling, pain, or a dull ache in the fingers, hand, or wrist. You might feel yourself wrestling with wrist pain more at night. That's because fluids that accumulate in your lower extremities during the day are redistributed to the rest of your body (including your hands) when you're lying down. How can you find relief? Avoid sleeping on your hands, and if you feel numbness at night, prop your arms up with a pillow. Shaking your hands and wrists might also help. Be sure, too, that if you are doing repetitive motions such as piano playing or typing (which can aggravate your symptoms), take frequent hand-stretching breaks. If you're in a lot of pain, a wrist brace might be just the ticket to comfort. Luckily, when the regular swelling of pregnancy resolves after delivery, the carpal tunnel symptoms will diminish, too.
Your baby weighs more than a pound and a half right now and sports a crown-to-rump length of about eight and a half inches (standard letter size!). Wondering what (and who) your baby will look like? If you had a baby cam, you'd almost be able to tell by now. That beautiful face (though still tiny) is almost fully formed. What's still missing from the picture is the fat that will be piled on under baby's skin. Until those fat deposits are made, that very tender skin is still very transparent, which means a close look would let you see clear through to all the organs, bones, and blood vessels. Fortunately, that see-through look won't last much longer. Babies at this point are gaining about six ounces each week — with much of that gain coming from fat, in addition to growing organs, bones, and muscle. What's been playing on your little rocker's stereo system these days? All kinds of sounds: from air exhaling from your lungs (deep breath now), those gastric gurgles produced by your stomach and intestines, your voice and your partner's (which your baby will be able to recognize at birth), and even very loud sounds such as honking horns, barking dogs, or a wailing fire truck.
Weren't Expecting That?
Sure, you'd heard that pregnancy comes with a variety of symptoms, most of them not very pleasant (actually, none of them very pleasant — unless you count fast-growing hair, nails, and breasts). But maybe you didn't expect so many seemingly random symptoms — such as the red, itchy palms that have nothing to do with the amount of dishwashing you're doing. The red may spread, too, to the soles of your feet (though you're less likely to notice that once your feet become more difficult to see). As with virtually all the stranger symptoms you'll be experiencing as the months go by (such as the metallic taste in your mouth, skin tags appearing out of nowhere, bigger feet, increased saliva — am I drooling? — and vision changes, to name a few), you can blame your hormones (and throw darts at them, if you like — take that progesterone!). As for getting the red out, there are no sure solutions — besides delivery. Until then, avoid anything that makes the red redder — such as being overheated, taking long, hot baths or showers, or wearing too warm or too tight gloves or socks. You might even try going on a dishwashing strike while you're expecting (good luck with that plan!). Just tell your spouse it's doctor's orders!
Looking Good: Makeup 101
Keep it simple is the golden rule for any pregnancy makeup routine. (This is not the time to channel your inner Cher.) Right now, your new best friends are a good concealer to camouflage blotchy skin and dark circles, and a natural bronzer or pinkish blush to give you a bit of a glow (no need to tell anyone that your glow is coming from cosmetics and not from within). Besides, it's the best time to get used to a more natural look — since your makeup application time will be seriously compromised once your baby begins his or her more demanding life on the outside. One more beauty boost: Switch to a light, fresh scent, such as citrus, since you may be extra-sensitive to fragrance right now.
DAD: Have You Kissed Her Linea Nigra Today?
Chances are that an amazing thing has happened to her abdomen besides that growing bulge: A dark line now runs down the middle of her belly, from her navel to her nether regions. It varies in darkness from woman to woman, but when it's obvious, it looks like a seam on her tummy. Give it a kiss if she'll let you. You never know what it might lead to.