Lots going on this week! Your baby’s legs finally catch up the rest of its body and all limbs are now in proper proportion leaving a fairly newborn looking fetus. The pads of the feet, hands and fingers have also finished up and Vernix is forming all over your baby’s body. Vernix is a white waxy coating that protects the skin from the constant moisture of your womb until birth. It wasn’t present previously because this coating is produced by the oil glands that began under your baby’s skin last week! Myelin, another protective covering is also forming on all of your baby’s nerves. Myelin is very important for communication between nerves. It won’t finish covering all the nerves of your baby’s body until he or she reaches at least a year old! If you are having a girl, her uterus and fallopian tubes will finish up this week, and if you’re having a boy the penis has become more pronounced making identification easier through ultrasound. Most babies begin to form a sleep cycle around week eighteen. You may notice he or she has common periods of activity and rest, pay attention, many babies will keep this cycle for the first few weeks after birth. Your baby is now an estimated five and one half inches long from the tip of its tiny head the bottom of its butt and weighs about six ounces.
A lot less going on this week as far as your body goes. Your uterus has now reached the size of your average cantaloupe and your belly is getting big enough it could be beginning to affect your sleep. Seventy–eight percent of women end up with insomnia during pregnancy. This is due both to your growing size making you less comfortable and to your own anxieties and excitement about your pregnancy, not to mention the constant trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Some things you can do about it:
Sometimes insomnia during pregnancy can actually be due to a sleep disorder and not just discomfort or anxiety/excitement. If that is the case, you can discuss this with your doctor. Sleep is very important during pregnancy and the doctor will attempt to work out a safe solution for your baby.
Things to do this week:
Start a birth plan. I know it may seem early to be doing this, but a birth plan is important and some parts may take some time to figure out. Step one, If you’re having the baby in a hospital you’ll want to pick one. You should always visit the hospital you are thinking of using before deciding.
Once you do pick one, you can also take a tour while your there so you’ll know where things are when the big day comes.
When writing a birth plan try to stick to the things that really matter to you. If you get so involved you’ve written a step by step four page birth plan you are likely to be vastly disappointed during your labor because not everything will undoubtedly go as planned. The attempt to keep things on track to your exact plan can also create stress you don’t need.
It’s a good idea to use your birth plan as reference while you discuss with the doctor what you would like done in certain circumstances that could occur.