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    Your Pregnancy Week by Week

    Congratulations on Your Pregnancy!

    Get ready for weekly tips from Lamaze, a trusted source for evidence-based information for a healthy pregnancy and a safe childbirth.

    Find a Lamaze class near you led by a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator.

    See a sample issue of Pregnancy Week by Week Email for week 6 below.  Click here to see other weeks.

    Your Pregnancy Week by Week
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    You're in week 6 of your pregnancy!

    "Ready or not, here I come!" If your little one could speak to you right now, he or she might just pipe up with this familiar childhood phrase. You may have eagerly awaited this pregnancy for months, or the news may have come as a surprise. No matter how you arrived, here you are, at the start of an unforgettable journey with this tiny little life.

    Take this time to nourish your body and your baby and prepare for each new day of pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. Lamaze seeks to serve you as a guide and a resource, and we'll be with you every step of the way. Look out for a newsletter from us each week with information and inspiration that will guide you through your pregnancy and birth experience. We invite you to read on, ask questions and enjoy!


    By the time your body starts to show signs of pregnancy, your tiny baby already has the beginnings of a brain, eyes, ears, lungs and heart.

    In fact, her heart has even begun to beat to its own rhythm! While your little one is no longer than a grain of rice, her tiny arm and leg buds have already started to form.










    What was your first clue that you were pregnant? Perhaps you missed a period, or you just had a hunch, or you felt a little queasy walking past the seafood market. Maybe you sensed something different about your body, little changes you'd never noticed before. Or you found your emotions were strung a little tighter than usual. You wondered: "Could I be pregnant?"

    Whether you confirmed your pregnancy with a home test or at a clinic, you likely knew beforehand that something was different by observing your body closely. That's just the first of many opportunities pregnancy offers you to be mindful--to pay close attention to your body, your baby, your environment and your instincts.

    Beginning at conception (when egg and sperm join), your body undergoes an avalanche of changes in a very short time. Each change supports the growth and development of the baby inside you, and eventually prepares you for labor and birth. If you take a quiet moment to stand before the mirror after a shower, you might notice some changes in your breasts--darker, bigger, bumpier nipples, or a feeling of tenderness or heaviness. Each of these developments signals an amazing physiological process taking place inside your body as it prepares to produce milk.

    "Rely on your own inner resources, trust your body's responses and take joy in preparing for the new life that is now becoming a part of yours."

    Peggy O'Mara, editor and publisher of Mothering Magazine



    "Right from the beginning of my pregnancy, I let go of the idea of a due date. When anyone asked me about my due date, I'd reply, 'The end of September,' rather than with a specific date. This way, I hoped to spare myself any unnecessary stress when the big DUE DATE came around and baby had not yet arrived in my arms. My baby and my body knew the perfect time for birth to happen, and they were not tied to a date on a calendar."

     



    You're still a few weeks away from knowing the gender of your baby. While you're waiting, though, you can still have some fun guessing whether your nursery will be painted pink or blue. Check out some of the ways women have tried to guess the gender of their baby.



    Question:
    I'm a little confused about my due date. I figured out a due date online using the day that I think I conceived. Then yesterday, at my first prenatal visit, my doctor asked me about my periods and then used a plastic wheel to come up with a date, which was a few days off from what I had come up with. Then she sent me for an ultrasound and it came up with another date, a few days off in the other direction. How do I know what my real due date is?

    Answer from Judith Lothian, RN, PhD, LCCE, FACCE, co-author of The Official Lamaze Guide: Giving Birth with Confidence, 2nd edition:
    Your estimated due date is just that--an estimate. It is calculated by adding 40 weeks to the date of your last period, and assumes that you have a 28-day cycle and your baby was conceived around day 14. Since this isn't true for many women, we always say that the due date is not exact. Calculating a due date based on when you conceived or based on an early ultrasound may give different dates, but these are still estimates. Your baby may be quite ready to be born up to two weeks earlier than your estimated due date, or two weeks later. Only your baby's birth day is your real due date!

    Many babies take more or less than 40 weeks to be ready for the outside world. In fact, only 5 percent of babies are born on their estimated due date. Imagine making a batch of popcorn. Most kernels pop during a few noisy moments. But, there are lots of early and late poppers, too. All the popped kernels are perfect--but each needs a slightly different amount of time to be fully cooked. The same is true for babies!

    By adopting a relaxed attitude about your due date in early pregnancy, you're practicing patience and trust that will serve you well as your pregnancy progresses. More than likely, you will go into labor only at the right time for you and your baby.

    Judith Lothian is a childbirth educator and an associate professor of nursing at Seton Hall University. Judith writes and lectures on issues related to birth, breastfeeding and childbirth education. She is the associate editor of The Journal of Perinatal Education and co-author of The Official Lamaze Guide: Giving Birth with Confidence, 2nd edition.




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