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ultrasound of human fetus at 16 weeks and 5 days

Your baby today

The baby's face is partially obscured by the hand in this 3D image. Babies at this stage are small enough to fit onto the ultrasound screen, but beyond 20 weeks it is increasingly only possible to see a smaller part of the baby at any one time.

Ensuring you drink enough fluids is essential to good health in pregnancy, so carry your bottle of water everywhere.

Staying hydrated in pregnancy can be a challenge. Because of the hormonal changes taking place, some of the fluid you take in leaks into your body tissues, rather than staying within the bloodstream.

It's difficult to recommend an exact amount of fluid that should be drunk to keep you hydrated, since this depends on many factors, such as the foods you eat (some naturally contain water), your size, the amount you exercise, and the heat and humidity in the environment. Therefore, you need to listen to your own body to determine if you're adequately hydrated. One of the best ways to do this is to look at your urine. If it's clear to light yellow, you're adequately hydrated. If it's bright yellow or orange, you're likely to be dehydrated.

Drinking plenty of water is important. Sometimes, though, if you are nauseous, or just plain tired of drinking water, you may want to try other options for hydration, such as drinking juice or eating more fruit. Remember that caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, are not hydrating; caffeine has a diuretic effect, which means that you will want to urinate more often.

In the second and third trimester, dehydration in pregnancy can lead to premature contractions. This is because an anti-diuretic hormone is produced to help your body hold on to water. This hormone acts a lot like oxytocin, the hormone that triggers labor, causing contractions. Staying hydrated will prevent this from happening.

Focus On... Nutrition

Fabulous fruit

One great way to stay hydrated is to eat fruit. Many fruits are very high in water, especially melons, grapes, and strawberries. The water in fruit is very well absorbed in your body, because it comes partnered with sugar, which helps the water stay in your bloodstream.

In addition, fruit is highly nutritious and contains many of the vitamins and electrolytes that your body needs to stay in balance.

Ask A... Doctor

Should I stop picking up my toddler while I'm pregnant?

You may be experiencing some back pain and discomfort as your hormones begin to soften your ligaments. This means that your joints are less stable than usual, and injury is more likely.

Lifting your toddler will not harm your baby, but it may cause you discomfort, and you may be more likely to lose your balance. Ask your toddler to climb onto a chair so that you don't need to lift from bending position. To lift from floor level, squat down and use your legs to bear the weight. Avoid bending, which strains your back. Encourage your toddler to get onto your lap for a hug.

pregnant woman picking up toddler

excerpted from:

Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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