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ultrasound of human fetus at 33 weeks and 2 days

Your baby today

Shadows give the impression of hair on the eyebrows and eyelashes on this 3D image. Because this baby was lying head down, the view of the top part of the head is lost in the shadows caused by the mother's pelvis.

With well-developed hearing, your baby may not be getting as much peace and quiet as she would like in the uterus.

Although some quieter high-pitched sounds don't penetrate the uterus, it is not quite as peaceful for your baby as you might think. There will be a constant background noise produced by your heart beating, your breathing, and your stomach rumbling. While the uterus and amniotic fluid will prevent many quieter sounds from reaching your baby, voices do penetrate quite easily. Your baby has already learned to adapt to repetitive sounds but is now acquiring a memory for familiar noises. The most familiar sound is, of course, your voice. Your baby will startle and turn toward loud or unfamiliar sounds and these will also cause her heart rate to increase.

Ask A... Doctor

What is perineal massage and how do I do it?

Spending just five minutes a day massaging your perineum (the area between the vagina and anus) with oil could reduce your risk of tearing or having an episiotomy during the birth. It also means you're less likely to experience pain in that sensitive spot after the birth-even after having an episiotomy.

    Here's how to do it:

  • Wash your hands. Apply a mild lubricant, like K-Y jelly, to your thumbs, then slide them an inch inside the vagina. Gently stretch the vagina until you feel a slight stinging sensation.
  • When you feel that sensation, hold the pressure steady until you no longer feel the stinging. Then gently massage the lower half of the vagina with your thumbs. With your thumbs hooked in the vagina, pull forward to stretch the skin.
  • Not sure you're doing the first part properly? Insert your fingers into the corners of your mouth and pull your mouth open to the sides for a similar "burning" sensation.

Focus On... Your baby

Lie and presentation

Your baby's lie and presentation will be assessed by your doctor at every prenatal appointment.

Your baby's "lie" means which way round she is lying, vertically or horizontally-a horizontal lie is known as transverse. The "presentation" refers to which part of the baby is closest to the pelvis, and would come out first.

The most common presentation is head down, bottom up, called the cephalic presentation. Breech presentation is when the baby is bottom or feet down with the head upward. A footling breech means that the baby is head up, with one leg and foot extended downward while the other is tucked in. In an anterior presentation, your baby's head is down and faces your back. In a posterior presentation, your baby's head faces your belly, which can prolong labor and may increase the chances of an assisted delivery.

Breech baby in womb

Cephalic presentation.

Cephalic baby in womb

Breech presentation

excerpted from:

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

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