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Weeks 14 to 18 of Your Pregnancy: Care Instructions

Fetal development at the 16th week

Your Care Instructions

During this time, you may start to "show," so that you look pregnant to people around you. You may also notice some changes in your skin, such as itchy spots on your palms or acne on your face.

Your baby is now able to pass urine, and your baby's first stool (meconium) is starting to collect in his or her intestines. Hair is also beginning to grow on your baby's head.

At your next visit, between weeks 18 and 20, you may have an ultrasound test. The test allows your doctor or midwife to check for certain problems. You may find out the sex of your baby. This is a good time to think about whether you want to know whether your baby is a boy or a girl.

Talk to your doctor about getting a influenza (flu) vaccine to help keep you healthy during your pregnancy.

As your pregnancy moves along, it is common to worry or feel anxious. Your body is changing a lot. And you are thinking about giving birth, the health of your baby, and becoming a parent. You can learn to cope with any anxiety and stress you feel.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Reduce stress

  • Ask for help with cooking and housekeeping.
  • Figure out who or what causes your stress. Avoid these people or situations as much as possible.
  • Relax every day. Taking 10- to 15-minute breaks can make a big difference. Take a walk, listen to music, or take a warm bath.
  • Learn relaxation techniques at prenatal or yoga class. Or buy a relaxation tape.
  • List your fears about having a baby and becoming a parent. Share the list with someone you trust. Decide which worries are really small, and try to let them go.

Exercise

 
  • If you did not exercise much before pregnancy, start slowly. Walking is best. Pace yourself, and do a little more every day.
  • Brisk walking, easy jogging, low-impact aerobics, water aerobics, and yoga are good choices. Some sports, such as scuba diving, horseback riding, downhill skiing, gymnastics, and water skiing, are not a good idea.
  • Try to do at least 2½ hours a week of moderate exercise, such as a fast walk. One way to do this is to be active 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. It's fine to be active in blocks of 10 minutes or more throughout your day and week.
  • Wear loose clothing. And wear shoes and a bra that provide good support.
  • Warm up and cool down to start and finish your exercise.
  • If you want to use weights, be sure to use light weights. They reduce stress on your joints.

Stay at the best weight for you

Weight gain during pregnancy

Ideally, you will gain weight slowly over your entire pregnancy:

  • Up to 1.8 kg during the first trimester
  • About 0.5 kg a week during the second and third trimesters

If you stop gaining weight for more than 2 weeks, or if you gain weight faster than these recommendations, consult your doctor or midwife.

Women who are pregnant with one baby

  • Underweight (body mass index (BMI) less than 18.5): Try to gain about 12.5 kg to 18 kg.
  • Normal weight (BMI 18.5 to 24.9): Try to gain about 11.5 kg to 16 kg.
  • Overweight (BMI 25.0 to 29.9): Try to gain about 7 kg to 11.5 kg.
  • Obese (BMI 30 or higher): Try to gain about 5 kg to 9 kg.

Women who are pregnant with twins

  • Normal weight: Try to gain about 17 kg to 25 kg.
  • Overweight (BMI 25.0 to 29.9): Try to gain about 14 kg to 23 kg.
  • Obese (BMI 30 or higher): Try to gain about 11 kg to 19 kg.

If you are having twins or more, your doctor or midwife may refer you to a dietitian.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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