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Pregnancy Calendar – Week Twenty-Three

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At eleven inches long, the baby now weighs over one pound. Your immunities are being transferred to your baby now, and this will protect the baby for up to six months after birth. The baby’s nostrils begin to open, and blood vessels in the lungs are developing in preparation for that first breath after birth. Fat continues to accumulate on the baby’s body, but the skin still appears wrinkled because the skin is being produced more rapidly than the fat. The veins are still visible through the baby’s skin, and the lanugo, or fine hair on the fetus, has gotten darker.

You may have some swelling due to fluid retention (called edema), especially in your feet and ankles. Your uterus is now putting extra pressure on the veins returning the blood from the lower part of you body, so the fluids stay in these tissues of your body. Continue to drink plenty of water because staying hydrated can help to prevent swelling. You should also avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time, exercise regularly to increase circulation, and put your feet up as much as you can. Edema can also cause aches and numbness in your fingers, hands, and wrists. The swelling of the tissues in your wrist puts pressure on the carpal tunnel, and the nerves that are in this area get pinched. If you feel tingling and pain in your wrists and hands, you can wear a brace made for this problem. Also, stretch your hands, fingers, and wrists regularly, and try propping your arm on a pillow when you sleep. If you notice rapid or severe swelling in your hands and face, be sure to call your midwife or doctor immediately because it could be a sign of a serious condition called preeclampsia.

Fast Fact: Preeclampsia is a serious medical condition affecting all organs of the body. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), symptoms include swelling (edema) of the face and hands, high blood pressure, headaches, visual problems, and rapid weight gain. Call your health practitioner immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.

Hot Topic: Exercise

You might want to make some modifications to your exercise routine around this time. You can continue to exercise; just make a few adjustments to allow for the extra strain on your body at this time.


  • Keep your exercise at a moderate level
  • Don’t lie on your back
  • Take extra care to warm up and stretch
  • Avoid bouncing and sudden changes in position
  • Keep your feet moving
  • Stay cool and avoid overheating
  • Continue to drink lots of water when exercising
  • Squatting is an excellent stretch, since it helps your pelvis to open up


 
Q&A: Sarah Maddison, MD, an experienced obstetrician in Raleigh, North Carolina, answers our readers’ questions.

Q: Do you think there is a link between eating too much sugar and high birth weights?

A: People whose blood sugar is too high definitely have larger babies. If people have normal glucose metabolism, they can get away with almost anything—like eating sugary foods without drastically affecting their health. The hormone human placental lactogen (HPL) is made to help insure that the baby is supplied with enough blood sugar. Those with high carbohydrate diets are especially susceptible to getting gestational diabetes (GDM). Women who do have GDM can control it by limiting calories and carbohydrates, but some have high blood sugars even when they are eating next to nothing and losing weight. These women have to go on insulin to restore normal blood sugars.


Eating for Two: Breakfast

Although sitting at the table and eating your food slowly is always preferred, this “handy” meal is great to go!


Sarah’s Scrambled Eggs in a Tortilla


  • Four eggs (or 1 cup egg substitute), lightly beaten
  • One small tomato, chopped
  • Four 6-inch whole-wheat tortillas
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 4 tablespoons shredded low-fat Monterey Jack cheese or cheddar cheese



Directions


1. Coat a small nonstick skillet lightly with olive oil; heat. Add the eggs and tomato; cook, stirring constantly, until the eggs are scrambled, about two to three minutes.

2. Spoon the egg mixture evenly over the tortillas; top evenly with the salsa and cheese. 

3. Microwave the tortillas one at a time on medium-high until heated through and the cheese is melted, about one minute. 

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