Tuesday, May 22, 2007


(from www.WhatToExpect.com)

Body: Your Protruding Navel
You're two-thirds of the way through your pregnancy and your uterus is about two and a half inches above your belly button. And speaking of your belly button, have you noticed that it's taken on a life of its own — a larger-than-life life? Protruding navels may not be your idea of forward fashion (especially when you're in a bikini, or when your once innie belly button now bulges through tight clothes), but it's de rigueur for the pregnant set. And it's easy to understand why. Beginning somewhere around the middle to end of your second trimester, your enlarging uterus swells enough to push your abdomen forward, making your navel pop out like a timer on a well-done turkey (even though you have a way to go before your baby is "well done"). Your belly button should revert back to its regular position a few months after delivery — (though it may have that stretched-out, "lived in" look). Until then, you can look at the bright side of your protruding navel: it gives you a chance to clean out all the lint that's accumulated there since you were a kid.

Seeing Straight
Your eyes are yet another seemingly random part of the body affected by those kooky pregnancy hormones. During this time, your vision might be less sharp (Is that you, Honey?) and your contact lenses might be less comfortable to wear. (A wild new pair of glasses may be just the look right now — literally.) Another twist in the eye story: Even though fluid retention may be partially to blame, ironically, your eyes may be drier than ever. So break out the Visine, but don't worry — eye symptoms, like skin symptoms, will disappear after delivery. Just be sure to let your practitioner know what's going on, so he or she can…well, keep an eye on things.

A Smooth Landing
It's not just what you do, it's what you do it on. To lessen impact on your loosened-up joints and ligaments, opt for a wood floor or carpet over tile or concrete when exercising indoors. Outside, choose a soft running track or a dirt trail over a hard road or sidewalk, but avoid bumpy paths, as your balance (you might have noticed) isn't what it used to be.

Baby: Eyes Wide (Almost)Open
Look who's looking. Your baby's eyes — which have been closed for the past few months (so that the retina, the part of the eye that allows images to come into focus, could develop) — are now beginning to open. What this means is that your baby is able to see what's going on now (unfortunately the view in your uterus isn't all that exciting). But do try this at home for kicks (baby's that is): Shine a flashlight at your stomach. Your baby might kick in response (as in: "Get that light out of my eyes!"). The iris, the colored part of the eye, still doesn't have much pigmentation (that'll fill in over the next month or two), so it's too early to start guessing your baby's eye color. Even the color your baby will be born with might not be the permanent shade; so you may be kept guessing until your baby is close to six months old. Look what else is going on this week: Your baby's brain-wave activity is kicking in, which means your little one can not only hear noises but can now also respond to them. Not in so many words, of course, but with an increase in pulse rate or activity. And talking about activity, at your baby's current height and weight (about nine inches tall and two pounds), and at the rate he or she is growing, your baby will soon be feeling a little cramped in your uterus. Not to worry, there's still plenty of room for your baby to grow. It just means your gymnast will have less room for those somersaults, cartwheels, and other Olympic feats.

Extra: The Karate Kid
Feel like your baby is practicing kickboxing inside your belly? He or she is…sort of. Your baby is actually practicing all kinds of movements that will eventually be used in life on the outside — including pedaling against your belly, a sort of pre-walking skill. As your baby's nervous system becomes more developed, the movements will become much more coordinated. And as the baby gets bigger and stronger, the movements will become much more powerful…and occasionally, even painful to you. If your baby lands a good one, that tiny left hook might hurt — a lot. Another trick he or she may try — stretching that leg out so far that the foot becomes lodged between your ribs (ouch). Next time you come under attack from the karate kid, try changing positions or doing some stretches of your own. You can also gently push your baby back with your hand when your knee-jerker jerks a little too hard. You just might be able to send your slugger back into the corner of the ring!

Daddy: Weekend Getaway
Hurry up and dip into those expiring frequent-flyer miles. Most airlines require a doctor's letter for third-trimester travel, and after 36 weeks some airlines won't let her fly at all. Now's the perfect time (and it may be the last time for a while) for a romantic fling. Plus, it'll never be as easy to travel with your baby again. (Babies give new meaning to the words "carry on.") So get up and go, with the practitioner's okay. Expect to carry the bulk of the luggage (remember, she's carrying plenty as it is) as well as plenty of bottled water for her — that beverage cart can't come down the aisle often enough for her. And speaking of the aisle — make sure she gets a seat on it. And near the lavatory.

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