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24 WEEKS, 3 DAYS

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ultrasound of human fetus at 24 weeks and 3 days

Your baby today

Here the baby is lying with an arm up to the face and the face lying on the placenta. The eyes are shut at this time and it will be a couple of weeks before they start to open. The hand is held in the most relaxed position, with the fingers slightly curled.

Your body is working hard to grow your baby, so take care of it by enjoying some pampering.

Think of your pregnancy as a time to focus on yourself and your body; once your baby is born, the majority of your focus will be on baby care.

If you have the time and money, treat yourself to a day at a spa. Most spas will have special packages for pregnant women. Spending time at a spa, where you can go for a gentle swim, have some pampering treatments, and enjoy being in a tranquil environment, is a great way to relax and unwind. If a spa day is out of the question, create your own at home. Run a bath, add some relaxing music (for a background soundtrack), light some candles, and relax. If you don't want to be disturbed, let your partner know and turn off the phone.

Pregnancy massage (see You are 20 Weeks and 4 Days) either from a professional or your partner, can be very therapeutic, both physically and emotionally. Another great treatment to have at this stage is a pedicure; you'll increasingly be unable to see your toes, let alone reach them, so it's a treat for someone else to take care of them for you.

On your feet

You may now find it more of a struggle to be on your feet, especially for long periods of time. Weight gain, changes in your center of gravity (particularly during the second and third trimesters), and hormones can cause foot pain and swelling (see Wearing maternity hose and Swollen feet and ankles). The pregnancy hormones that relax your joints ready for childbirth can also work to loosen the ligaments in your feet and hips, which can cause some discomfort.

To minimize foot discomfort:

  • Wear sports shoes that have a good arch support to help reduce strain on your spine. They may also prevent a condition called plantar fascitis-this is where the large ligament that connects the heel to the ball of the foot becomes inflamed.
  • Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes. In addition to being uncomfortable, they may make you unsteady on your feet and cause you to fall.
  • Ensure that your shoes fit correctly and invest in new ones if not. Some pregnant women's feet expand by a size, and never return to their normal size after pregnancy.
  • Get regular exercise, and avoid standing for long periods. Take regular breaks if your job involves standing.

woman getting facial spa treatment

Now is the time to indulge yourself in a little pampering. When booking beauty treatments, always make it known that you're pregnant.

Ask A... Doctor

I haven't felt my baby move for four hours. Should I be worried?

Contact your doctor and explain your baby's usual pattern of movements. She can examine you and provide reassurance.

If you're not familiar with your baby's movements, lie down-he is more likely to sleep when you're active. Try encouraging him to move around (see You are 18 Weeks and 4 Days).

excerpted from:

Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
Buy this book now!

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