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10 WEEKS, 6 DAYS

204 days to go...

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Your baby today

This is the umbilical cord of an 11-week-old fetus. The cord is a strand of tissue that contains the two spiraling arteries that carry blood to the placenta and a vein that returns blood to the developing baby.

Has sex been the last thing on your mind, or have you noticed an increase in your libido? It seems all women are different.

Being expectant parents can bring you emotionally closer as a couple, but not necessarily physically. While some women find that their libido increases during pregnancy, often much to their partner's surprise, the majority find that their sex drive diminishes in the early weeks.

In the first trimester many women are affected by fatigue and nausea, and so the last thing they want to do is have sex. If this is the case then make sure you explain how you feel to your partner, so that he doesn't feel rejected. Try to find other ways to stay physically connected with each other: perhaps you can still enjoy some aspects of foreplay, if not penetrative sex. If not, at least try to be affectionate to each other.

It may be your partner who's anxious about having sex. Many men worry about harming the baby through penetrative sex, although there is no chance of this happening.

Remember, if you do want to have sex, then unless a doctor tells you otherwise, it's safe to do so while you are pregnant.

Focus On... Your body

Tackling spider veins

Spider veins (or spider nevi) are tiny, red blood vessels that branch outward, just under the skin. They are caused by an increase in the level of estrogen during pregnancy. They usually appear on the face, upper chest, neck, arms, and legs. Often disappearing soon after birth, spider veins are not a cause for concern and can usually be covered with makeup. You can discourage spider veins by:

  • Upping your intake of vitamin C, which helps to strengthen your veins and capillaries.
  • Avoiding crossing your legs, which can exacerbate the problem.
  • Getting regular exercise because it keeps your blood circulating around your body.
  • Avoiding standing or sitting for long periods, and elevating your feet when you do sit down.
  • Avoid eating spicy food since some women have found that this helps reduce spider veins.

If you suddenly notice lots of broken veins appearing on your skin, see your doctor.

Ask A... Nutritionist

Is it safe to drink herbal teas?

Herbal teas do not contain caffeine, but herbs and other dietary supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, and there's not much research about the effects of many herbs on pregnancy. Stick to decaffeinated black teas. If you want to drink fruit or ginger teas, read the ingredient label carefully to make sure that no herbs are present. Also, limit green tea intake, because it may interfere with fetal growth.

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Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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