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21 WEEKS, 1 DAY

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ultrasound of human fetus at 21 weeks and 1 day

Your baby today

Fine capillaries carrying blood underneath the skin lend a pinkish tone to your baby. Fat deposits are still sparse so the skin is still quite thin. Within the capillaries red blood cells are carrying oxygen to every part of your baby's body.

If you often walk into a room and forget why you're there, don't be concerned-you've simply developed "pregnancy brain"!

Is your mind not feeling quite as sharp these days? Many women find themselves very frustrated by the onset of "pregnancy brain," which makes them so forgetful that they might not remember what they're talking about halfway through a sentence. Your ability to concentrate and pay attention to tasks may also be affected. Doctors are not sure why this happens, but it's likely to be a result of hormonal changes. It may also happen because during pregnancy you're focused internally: you're going through such a major life event, and there are so many changes happening to your body and lifestyle, that you simply pay less attention to other things.

As frustrating as it is, this tendency to forgetfulness is only temporary (although it may last into the first year of motherhood). In the meantime, try making lists at the beginning of each day and check off tasks as you go. Delegate at home and work when you can and, for once in your life, don't try to multitask. Focusing on one thing at a time will help you remember and achieve more.

As A Matter Of Fact

"Pregnancy brain" might last until your child's first birthday.

This finding is based on research done around the world. After in-depth analysis of the results, the experts concluded that sleep deprivation in the first year of parenting may be a factor.

woman experiencing pregnancy brain

If you're finding you're more forgetful these days, write things down and prioritize so that you aren't overwhelmed with tasks.

Ask A... Doctor

I've always been an enthusiastic walker, but should I cut down on the number of miles now that I'm over halfway through my pregnancy?

No, you shouldn't need to, but you might want to take extra precautions. Walking is ideal since it is low-impact exercise that can be maintained throughout pregnancy. In fact, it's a great exercise in the later months because it doesn't jar your knees and ankles.

If you plan to continue lengthy walks and like to walk briskly, try combining this with a slower, more leisurely pace. It's important to control your body temperature so that you don't overheat and feel uncomfortable. To do this, drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and wear layers that you can take on and off as required.

As your belly grows, you may find hill climbing causes physical instability, as may trekking over uneven terrain, so stick to level paths. If you find yourself getting breathless, take frequent breaks. Of course always make sure you wear good, sturdy footwear, and avoid carrying heavy loads.

excerpted from:

Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
Buy this book now!

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