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22 WEEKS, 3 DAYS

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mouth and nose of human fetus at 22 weeks and 3 days

Your baby today

The baby's mouth and nose are well developed. The nervous and muscular systems are now mature enough for the baby to suck in amniotic fluid, which the kidneys slowly process. Waste is eliminated via the placenta.

During your pregnancy you'll probably make some new friends, but you may find that some old friendships are affected.

One thing you may not have anticipated before you were pregnant is how your friendships might change. It's normal to be drawn to other women who are pregnant or who have recently had a baby, and common to make friends at prenatal classes (see Classes for two). It's natural to want to surround yourself with people who are going through or who have been through the same experience as you, not least because you will have so many questions they can answer. You might also feel closer to female relatives, especially your mother (see You are 19 Weeks Exactly).

You may find that friends who are not pregnant or who don't have children may not be as interested in all the details of your pregnancy. It may be difficult for them to comprehend how all-encompassing pregnancy and then having a child is; it may be literally all you can think about. If these are friendships you value, make an effort to have some "nonpregnancy" chats. It will be good for you not to be 100 percent focused on the pregnancy.

If you find you drift apart from these friends for a while, don't worry. Good friends will always remain just that, whether or not your lives temporarily go in different directions.

As A Matter Of Fact

The number of women over 40 becoming pregnant is at its highest level ever.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the birth rate for women 40-44 more than doubled since 1981 and rose 65 percent since 1990. Birth rates for women 45-49 and 50 and over have also risen. The mean age for first-time moms giving birth is 25.2.

pregnant women at swimming pool

By spending time with women who are also expecting a baby, you can share the ups and downs of your pregnancy experiences. It can also be fun to do activities together, such as going swimming or to water aerobics classes.

Ask A... Doctor

My fingers are tingling and I've been told I have carpal tunnel syndrome. What is it?

This condition occurs when swollen tissues in the wrist compress the nerves and cause pins and needles and numbness in your fingers. There may also be difficulty grasping and a weakness in the hands. In pregnancy, it's caused by an increase in blood volume and fluid, especially in the second and third trimesters. There are ways to reduce the symptoms, such as circling and stretching exercises to improve circulation and increase wrist mobility. Your doctor will be able to demonstrate these exercises. Wearing wrist splints and elevating your hands on a pillow at night can also help.

Carpal tunnel syndrome disappears after the birth, once there is no longer excess fluid.

excerpted from:

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