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20 WEEKS, 1 DAY

139 days to go...

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Your baby today

Your baby's movements are still based on a set of reflex actions but this is now beginning to change. As the nerve pathways develop, expand, and mature, your baby gains greater and greater control of his actions.

You're in the second half of your pregnancy and in the months that follow you'll have more regular contact with your doctor.

Your prenatal appointments will become more frequent in the second half of your pregnancy. Even if you are in good health, and your baby has been thoroughly assessed at the 20-week ultrasound scan (see What the scan reveals), it can be reassuring to have these regular checkups with the doctor.

The number of appointments you have will differ depending on whether you've had any complications, or whether you are having a high-risk pregnancy for another reason, such as a preexisting medical condition like diabetes. If it's a low-risk pregnancy, you can expect around 14 appointments unless there are complications. As a general rule you can expect to have prenatal appointments from now on: every 4 weeks until you reach 30 weeks' gestation, then appointments at 2-week intervals until you reach 36 weeks' gestation. From then on, you'll have appointments weekly. And if you pass your due date (see You are 11 Weeks and 2 Days), you'll need to see your doctor once or twice weekly However, you can contact your doctor if you have any concerns.

If you're expecting twins, appointments will be more frequent and will depend on the type of twins you're having: non-identical or identical. If identical, care will depend on whether they share any of their support system (see A shared support system).

Focus On... Your body

Dressing well

With your usual office clothing straining at the seams, you might have to rethink your work wardrobe. The good news is that, unlike in years gone by, there is now a wealth of beautiful maternity clothing available and much at affordable everyday prices. These are often designed as coordinated sets, which makes putting them together easy.

Remember that you'll be wearing maternity clothing for a few months, and it's easy to become bored by the same items. If possible, designate a little of your wardrobe budget to buy yourself one or two items every month. If you're tired of your black elastic pants, sleeveless top, and smock dress, buy a pretty new shirt or jacket to jazz them up; you can wear them unbuttoned if necessary.

Don't hesitate to accept hand-me-downs; even if they are not right for your office dress code, wearing them at home will enable you to spend a little more on work clothing. And don't forget your shoes; if you were a stiletto girl before becoming pregnant, you'll need to rethink (see On your feet).

The wide range of maternity clothes that is now available means you can still look good at work. Look for items that you can also wear after the birth.
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Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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