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14 WEEKS, 4 DAYS

178 days to go...

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To function successfully, the placenta needs a good maternal blood supply to the arteries in the wall of the uterus.

The placenta now starts a second wave of growth that will take almost six weeks. The outer layer of cells in the placenta move into the coiled, or spiral, arteries in the uterus, destroying their muscular wall. This causes the arteries to dilate, resulting in a low resistance to blood flow. Only those arteries beneath the placenta (80-100 vessels) are invaded by the placental cells in this way. If these cells move too deeply, they can fuse too tightly with the muscle of the uterus and have difficulty separating after delivery. If the wave of invading cells is inadequate, however, the low resistance to blood flow doesn't develop. This can increase the risk of the mother developing preeclampsia, and cause the baby growth problems.

Sleep remedies

Even though you may not need to go to the bathroom as much at night as you did in the first trimester, and may not yet be suffering from too many aches and pains, sleep may still escape you in the second trimester.

You may find that during this life-changing time you may be having especially vivid dreams, which can disrupt your sleep. Even if you're feeling well, it's essential to get adequate sleep: after all, your body is working hard to create another life. To get more sleep:

  • Eat a late-night snack containing the amino acid tryptophan (see ... Nutritionist), which is sleep inducing.
  • Don't watch TV in bed for an easier time falling asleep.
  • Cut down on caffeine (see ... Nutritionist) and make non-herbal fruit tea your bedtime drink instead.
  • Take a bath before bedtime, with soft music or candlelight (see below). Make sure the water isn't hot since because this can stimulate rather than relax.

pregnant woman relaxing in bath

Ask A... Doctor

I'm trying to stay out of the sun but is it okay to use fake tanning lotions?

Sunless tanning lotions are safer than sunbathing or tanning beds but they have not been tested on pregnant women so their effects aren't known. It may be better to err on the side of caution and go without a tan while you're pregnant. Bear in mind that a fake tan does not protect your skin so, if you do wear it, you'll need to wear additional protection when you are in the sun.

No tanning pills of any kind have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. They may contain canthaxanthin and can be toxic to your unborn baby, and also have been known to cause hepatitis and eye damage.

As A Matter Of Fact

It is a native Hawaiian belief that the placenta is part of the child.

It is a tradition to plant the placenta with a tree, which then grows alongside the child.

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