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14 WEEKS, 3 DAYS

179 days to go...

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hand of human fetus at 14 weeks and 3 days

Your baby today

The hands are well developed at this stage, but, as can be seen here, the skin is very thin and transparent, which means the developing bones of the fingers and the blood vessels can be seen.

Feel free to talk to your baby. His ears have now developed to the point where he can hear your voice.

Around this point in the second trimester, the bones of your baby's inner ear have formed and he starts to hear. Previously, your baby would have been able to feel the vibrations created by noise, especially when you talked, even though he couldn't hear sounds. Research has found that when an unborn baby hears something, his heart rate might change or he might move. You may be able to feel your baby move in response to a certain noise or type of music.

Your baby can now hear you when you talk to him, or when your partner talks to him (in fact, babies are thought to be able to hear deeper male voices more clearly than female ones), and when you give birth he will already be familiar with the sound of your voices.

Ask A... Doctor

How can I relieve my constipation?

Constipation is a common symptom of pregnancy, mainly because the hormone progesterone slows down your bowel function, making everything more sluggish. Many women exercise less than usual during pregnancy, which can also cause things to become blocked. Finally, iron pills, which may be prescribed for anemia, are notorious for causing constipation.

There are, thankfully, many ways to relieve the problem:

  • Eat more fiber: ensure that you are getting plenty of fiber in your diet, in the form of fresh fruit and vegetables, and whole grains, and drink plenty of water to aid the passing of stools.
  • Go natural: Psyllium (or ispaghula), a common ingredient in some laxatives, appears to be safe during pregnancy, although studies in pregnant women have not been done.
  • Exercise regularly: Exercise during pregnancy helps to reduce constipation.
  • Constipation during pregnancy can lead to itchy or painful hemorrhoids: If this happens to you, ask your doctor what medicines you can use for soothing relief.
  • Don't ignore the urge to go: Ignoring the urge too often can lead to constipation. Take care of your needs, even if you think you're too busy to stop what you're doing or if it means that you'll have to use a public toilet.

Animal magic

Do you share your home with a pet?

Recent research shows that living with a cat or dog in early childhood may reduce the risk of your child developing asthmatic symptoms. The study found that children residing with cats were more likely to have allergy-related antibodies to felines. Never leave your baby alone with a dog or cat.

pregnant woman with dog
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Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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