Your Body in Pregnancy

Your uterus can now be felt just below your belly button, approximately 1.5 – 2 inches. Others can notice your growing belly easily, especially if you’ve been pregnant previously and also if you’re wearing maternity clothing. You are really starting to expand, although you have some time before you’re big enough to feel uncomfortable. You may be just starting to really and truly feel pregnant!

You may have gained around 8-10 pounds or so by now, although weight gain varies widely from woman to woman. The appropriate total weight gain depends on your pre-pregnancy weight, your height and also your age. If you were “average” weight before you conceived, it’s generally recommended that you put on between 25-35 pounds. Of course if you’re expecting multiples, you’ll need to gain more, depending how many babies you’re carrying. It’s a good idea to ask your doctor or midwife what a healthy weight gain for you would be.

This week, you may start to feel your baby moving around and kicking in your womb for the very first time. What an exciting time! These first detectable movements are often called “quickening” and may feel like twitches, light flutters (like butterflies) or even bubbles. These delicate sensations will intensify as the weeks pass, until you begin to feel like a human punching bag! Don’t worry if you haven’t noticed anything quite yet, because the average time frame for a woman to notice quickening is between 16 and 24 weeks. Every mother is different, but once you start feeling these movements, you’ll likely feel your baby every day.

There are several factors that help determine when quickening will begin: if this is your first pregnancy, your body weight, the position of your baby and also the placenta. Second or third-time moms tend to feel their baby’s movements a bit earlier than first-time moms, because of more relaxed uterine muscles and also experience of what quickening feels like. Your body frame also has quite a bit to do with when you’ll experience your baby moving for the first time. Thinner women tend to notice movements earlier than women who are overweight. If you haven’t felt anything yet, you will soon, within the coming weeks. If you are concerned about lack of movement, don’t hesitate to call your doctor or midwife for reassurance.

It’s most likely become uncomfortable for you to continue sleeping on your stomach by now. The best position for sleep during pregnancy is on one side or the other. Hopefully you have already started getting into the habit of sleeping on your side. Lying on your growing belly may put too much pressure on your uterus and your baby (besides the fact that it’s far from comfortable at this point), while sleeping on your back isn’t a good idea either. Lying on your back can cause your enlarging uterus and the weight of your growing baby to rest against and compress major blood vessels, particularly the aorta and the inferior vena cava. This may decrease circulation to your baby. Your left side is the best, because your liver is on the right side, therefore lying on your left side keeps your uterus off of it.

To sleep more soundly as your pregnancy progresses, you may want to try using a special pregnancy body pillow for support. For the most comfort, try lying on your side with your knees bent and a pillow between your legs (or part of the body pillow under your knee). You can place a pillow behind your back to prop you up and keep you from rolling during the night. During this time, you will probably get a better night’s sleep than when the third trimester rolls around.

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