At almost one inch long, your baby-to-be is about the size of a large grape! The embryonic period is almost complete: most of the developing physical structures such as the head, arms, legs, and torso are in place, and are now ready to grow rapidly. The fingers and toes are better defined and the plates of the skull are forming. The baby’s head is more erect; however, it still looks slightly larger than the rest of the body. The earlobes have formed, and during this week, the inner structures of the ears will be completed. The baby’s upper lip is fully formed, and the mouth and nose are more distinct. Small eyelids are forming and almost cover the eyes. The retinal nerve cells in the back of the eyes are growing. By this point, the baby’s heart has most likely divided into four separate chambers. At nine weeks, your little one has started developing sex organs, but they won’t be discernible as male or female yet.
Many women report some nasal congestion during pregnancy. This stuffiness is due to increased blood flow, which causes swelling of the mucus membranes. Nosebleeds and snoring are also common concerns related to this swelling—some women report having postnasal drip and cough. To help you breathe easier, try using a saline spray or saline drops in your nose. Since nasal congestion is aggravated by dry air, use a humidifier to add moisture to the air, especially at night. If needed, ask your doctor which medications are safe to help with congestion.
You may be apprehensive about the changes that are happening in your body now and that will continue during the next several months. Many women have struggled with the fear of giving up control of their bodies in order to have children. You can remind yourself that the changes are happening for a very good reason: you’re creating a baby! Some women report feeling more comfortable with their bodies during pregnancy; they feel more relaxed and have a sense of peace. Feeling alternately ecstatic and terrified about becoming a parent is also completely normal. Almost all expectant moms worry about how a new baby will change their lives. (For one mom’s journey, read “Parenthood: A New Kind of Adventure.”)
Hot Topic: Relaxation Techniques
Feeling constant anxiety and worry is very common for many pregnant women, especially if it’s your first pregnancy. It’s important to find ways to relax and relieve stress. Even if you don’t have a lot of time in your day, you can still find ways to relax. If you feel yourself getting tense or upset often, try these suggestions:
- Exercise: Take a walk, use a pregnancy exercise DVD, play tennis, go for a swim
- Deep breathing: Put one hand on your abdomen and practice breathing all the way into your abdomen so that your hand rises and falls while you breathe
- Indulge your senses: Play your favorite music, have flowers in your room or office, get a pregnancy massage
- Do an activity you enjoy: Practice some of your hobbies, or start a new one
- Meditate: Just ten minutes can make a difference
- Socialize: Talk to a supportive friend or family member
Lisa’s Suggestion: Sometimes by just smiling and presenting a positive attitude, you can lift your own mood!
Eating For Two: Dinner
This can be served over couscous (store bought kind cooks in five minutes!) and with a mixed, organic green salad with tomatoes and walnuts for added antioxidants.
Laura’s Chicken Marbella
- Four organic chicken breasts, cut into strips
- Handful of apricots
- Handful of prunes
- Handful of a variety of your favorite olives
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon good balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup of oregano
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 1/4 cup olive oil, more if needed
- 3 tablespoons chopped garlic
- Salt & pepper
- 1/2 cup white cooking wine or sherry
- Two bay leaves
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. In a glass casserole dish, combine all ingredients except the cooking wine.
3. Stir well, cover with plastic wrap. Leave in fridge overnight or all day to marinate.
4. Take out, add white cooking wine or sherry and a dash of salt and pepper to taste.
5. Place in oven and cook thirty minutes.
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