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ultrasound of human fetus at 24 weeks and 4 days

Your baby today

This 3D scan shows the baby thumb sucking. The 3D technique uses several routine 2D images, linked together to give the 3D effect. In a 4D scan, a series of 3D images are shown in quick succession to give almost real-time movements: the 4th dimension is time.

A natural temperature-regulating mechanism within the uterus means your baby never gets cold.

The temperature inside the uterus is between a third and half a degree higher than yours. Because your body temperature is so closely controlled, your baby never becomes cold so never needs to shiver. He has started to lay down a special form of brown fat, particularly around the neck, chest, and back. After birth, metabolism of this fat produces both energy and heat. In the uterus, however, the baby cannot use this fat to raise his temperature. Some temperature control occurs as heat is lost from the baby's skin into the amniotic fluid through the uterine wall and then into your body tissues. However, the regulation of temperature is predominantly achieved by means of the blood flow to the placenta. The large surface area of the placenta allows it to act as a heat exchange, keeping the temperature of the blood leaving the baby in the umbilical arteries constant with that of the oxygenated blood returning to the baby through the umbilical vein.

After birth, babies lose heat quickly. They are still unable to shiver and cannot maintain their temperature, cooling rapidly if they're not wrapped up warmly or held skin-to-skin shortly after the birth.

Sensible snacking

In addition to eating three meals a day, you may find you need to snack throughout the day, too. There's nothing wrong with that as long as you're choosing the right foods, and not reaching for the cookies and chips all the time. These tempting foods might satisfy a hunger pang, but the lack of nutrients and empty calories won't serve you any real purpose. Healthy snacking can be accomplished with a bit of planning before you go shopping:

  • Dried fruits should be a mainstay of your snacking, since they can easily be stored and carried. Enjoy a wide variety of dried fruits, since the more variety you consume, the more likely you are to obtain the nutrients you need. Try dried apricots, raisins, cranberries, cherries, and peaches.
  • Lightly salted mixed nuts will satisfy any salt craving you may have in a healthy way.
  • Opt for pretzels, oatcakes, or crackers, rather than potato chips.
  • Fresh fruit is a convenient and nutrient-rich snack; always carry one or two pieces with you when you're out and about, and make fruit salads that you can keep in the fridge. Keep frozen fruit on hand, and along with some vanilla yogurt, you can whip up a smoothie in no time at all.
  • Frozen yogurt and low-fat ice cream both make good snacks and desserts. Stock up on a variety of low-fat yogurt brands.

pregnant woman packing healthy lunch snacks

Always take a healthy snack with you when you leave the house.

excerpted from:

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