This is a close-up of the baby's skin just behind the ear. Every part of the skin's surface has small ridges and hollows in a unique pattern. During this week the dermal ridges-the deeper layers of skin-start to mature, giving rise to finger- and toeprints.
At the end of this week, your baby's anal sphincter muscle is fully functional. This should prevent any small particles of meconium from being passed into the amniotic fluid. Meconium is first produced at 12 weeks. It is the somewhat greenish/black first poop that nine out of 10 newborn babies pass in the first 24 hours.
Meconium is formed mainly from cells discarded from the lining of the gut as it lengthens and expands, and the waste of any nutrients which have been absorbed from the swallowed amniotic fluid. It is continuously produced, slowly moving down the gut to enter the large bowel (colon) by 16 weeks. Meconium is sterile since there are no organisms inside the gut and no bowel gas is produced.
The unborn baby will move her hand to her mouth and even suck her thumb.
Research has shown that the baby may even open her mouth in anticipation. Anything that the hands encounter is firmly grasped and this grip is strong enough to support all of the baby's body weight.
Effective strength training during pregnancy, using free weights or a machine at your gym, will help your body deal with the demands of pregnancy. Being stronger will help you carry the increase in body weight and also help you recover after the baby is born. Having more toned limbs will help you look and feel better, too.
Like all aspects of exercise during pregnancy, there are guidelines that should be followed:
Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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