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23 WEEKS, 5 DAYS

114 days to go...

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ultrasound of human fetus at 23 weeks and 5 days

Your baby today

In this color 2D ultrasound scan the baby is lying face upward. it is now increasingly difficult to show the whole baby using this type of ultrasound because it only shows a thin slice at any one time. Here, only the upper part of the baby can be seen.

Practicing yoga in pregnancy can be hugely beneficial, both physically and emotionally.

In addition to strengthening and toning muscles, yoga aims to bring about a greater awareness of your breathing. Learning to control your breathing is a great way to relax during pregnancy and an invaluable way to prepare to breathe through the contractions when you're in labor.

Standing poses in yoga focus on achieving core stability, thereby strengthening the back and abdominal muscles. This is beneficial during pregnancy when the additional weight you're carrying can affect your balance and cause unsteadiness. Calm sitting poses that concentrate on aligning your spine help you focus on steadying your breathing and centering yourself. If you feel unsteady doing yoga poses, you can simply lean against a wall.

Pilates is also a good exercise to do in pregnancy because it heightens your bodily awareness, giving you greater control of-and confidence in-your body. Pilates also incorporates Kegel exercises (see Try these simple steps to tone your pelvic floor:).

Whatever classes you're doing, it's important to find an accredited instructor who is experienced in teaching pregnant women. There are now many specialized pregnancy yoga and Pilates classes.

Ask A... Doctor

Why are hemorrhoids common in pregnancy?

Hemorrhoids are, like varicose veins, dilated veins, but they occur around your anus. The weight of your baby pushes down on your back passage, restricting blood flow and causing the veins to dilate.

Hemorrhoids can be itchy and sore, and may cause a throbbing sensation. The discomfort can be relieved with cold packs and creams containing lubricants to help the passage of stools, and/or local anesthetics to relieve soreness. Hemorrhoids can bleed-you may notice bright red blood on the toilet paper after you pass a stool.

If you have hemorrhoids, it is important to try not to get constipated (see Constipation) since this means you have to strain and push to pass stools, which increases the pressure on the hemorrhoids and makes them worse. Ensure that you drink lots of water and eat sufficient fiber.

If your hemorrhoids are becoming very problematic and uncomfortable, seek your doctor's advice.

As A Matter Of Fact

Practicing prenatal yoga under expert supervision can be safe and may reduce the risk of complications.

A recent study found that pregnant women who practiced yoga had a reduced risk of developing pregnancy-induced high blood pressure and of going into premature labor.

pregnancy yoga class

Going to pregnancy yoga classes is a great way to exercise gently, while also meeting other pregnant women.

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Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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