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24 WEEKS, 5 DAYS

107 days to go...

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ultrasound of human fetus at 24 weeks and 5 days

Your baby today

Here the skin looks almost loose around the neck as the baby has turned his head slightly. This is normal at this stage: the lack of fat beneath the skin and the need to grow rapidly can make your baby appear as if he needs time to "grow into" his own skin.

Some meals may be followed by an uncomfortable bout of indigestion, but you can take steps to prevent and relieve this.

While you may be enjoying your food, you could be paying the price with indigestion. The pregnancy hormone progesterone relaxes the muscles in the entire digestive tract. This slows digestion and the sphincters, or rings of muscles, at each end of the stomach become less effective. This can cause heartburn and indigestion as acidic juices from the stomach leak back into the esophagus. In addition, as your pregnancy progresses, your growing baby is squashing your stomach so that you have a smaller space to digest food.

To relieve indigestion, eat little and often, eat slowly, don't eat late at night, and cut down on fatty or spicy foods. Make sure to talk to your doctor about any natural remedies, including peppermint tea. Rather than lie flat, prop yourself up with pillows. Check with your pharmacist before taking over-the-counter medicine.

Focus On... Dads

Arranging paternity leave

Although it's much less common than paid maternity leave, you may be entitled to paternity leave and pay (see Going back to work). Speak to your human resources department now to find out your rights and whether your company offers additional perks. To maximize the time you can take off once the baby is born, figure out how much vacation you have left and consider saving up days. You may also qualify for FMLA leave, but this is unpaid.

herbal home remedy

Natural remedies might seem harmless, but taking any herbal preparation, even peppermint tea, should be discussed with your doctor.

Think about gas

I seem to be gassier than usual lately. Is the pregnancy to blame?

Yes, pregnancy slows down your digestive tract, which can lead to unpleasant burping, bloating, passing gas, and an uncomfortable feeling in the stomach. Symptoms can be worse after you eat a large meal. To minimize problems:

  • Steer clear of foods that make you gassy. For many women, this may include cabbage, beans, and other foods rich in fiber. Some women have trouble with large amounts of dairy products.
  • Eat smaller meals more frequently rather than a couple of large meals.
  • Avoid swallowing air. This means you shouldn't hurry when you eat, you should chew every mouthful thoroughly, and you should avoid drinking through straws. Also, skip carbonated beverages and chewing gum.
  • Reduce your intake of fatty, fried foods which can contribute to bloating and discomfort.
  • Don't take any OTC indigestion remedies without first checking with your doctor.

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