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Surviving the Symptoms: Tips for Every Trimester

When you’re pregnant, crazy things like having the volume of blood in your body increase by a whopping 50 percent and experiencing your organs shift around to accommodate a growing baby become routine.

Your body undergoes drastic changes while you’re preggers, so side effects are guaranteed. Here’s a roundup of some of the most common pregnancy symptoms and how you can cope.


Your hormones are going totally crazy right now, so you could experience one or several of the following symptoms between weeks 1 through 12.

What to do when:

Everything makes you feel nauseous

Avoid an empty stomach. Eat small meals and snacks and avoid fried, spicy or high-fat foods. Keep your body temperature nice and cool; feeling too warm could bring on nausea.

You constantly have to pee

Cut back on caffeine to benefit both you and your baby. Drinking caffeinated beverages will make you have to go more often. Keep in mind, you may occasionally leak urine when sneezing or laughing, so stash some panty liners in your purse just in case.

You’re tired all the time

The rising progesterone levels in your body are to blame for the sleepiness. Get lots of rest, daily exercise and be sure to include enough protein and iron in your diet.

You feel lightheaded

Mild dizziness can happen. You can prevent it by not standing for long periods of time and getting up slowly after lying down or being seated. If the dizziness is severe, and you have abdominal pain or bleeding, get immediate medical care.


During weeks 13 -28 of your pregnancy, your morning sickness symptoms will probably go away (hurray!) and you should feel more energetic.

How to deal with:

The changes in your breasts

Your breasts are going to get larger as they prep for milk production and you could have some discharge from your nipples (it’s totally normal). Get through the discomfort with a support bra that has wide shoulder straps and an adjustable closure that fastens in the back.

Those dark patches on your skin

They could show up on your face or down the middle of your belly, either way it’s the hormones that increase skin pigmentation that are to blame. These patches usually fade, but sun exposure makes them worse—pack your hat and sunscreen!

That pain in your legs

Prevent leg cramps by staying hydrated and getting regular exercise. Since they often strike at night, doing calf stretches before bed can help. Got a cramp? Massage your leg and apply a warm towel or hot water bottle to relax that achy muscle.

A burning feeling when you pee

You’re at increased risk of getting a bladder infection now. This infection could cause pregnancy complications if it’s left untreated, so call the doc if you have symptoms.


You’re so close! Things may be getting a bit uncomfortable during weeks 27-40, but that beautiful baby of yours will be arriving soon.

Getting through:

Those annoying back pains

Since baby is growing heavier every day, your back is going to need some love. Make time for a massage from your partner or a pro and use heating pads or ice packs to soothe pain. Ditch the platforms and wear low-heeled shoes for now.

That breathless feeling

Your lungs are pretty much getting squashed by your growing uterus, which means you may have difficulty breathing. Try sleeping with your head and shoulders propped up on pillows. Lifting your arms over your head can also help you breathe easier.

The heartburn

>Because of your expanding uterus, your stomach is under pressure too. That can cause stomach acids to seep up into places they shouldn’t. Drink liquids in between meals instead of with them and try to avoid lying down (or even bending) after you eat.

All that puffiness

There is now so much extra fluid in your body that your legs, ankles and feet are likely to swell up. Even your hands and face could be affected. Prop up your legs and sit without crossing them to help reduce swelling. You can also bring swelling down and improve circulation by lying down on your left side.

Image: Getty

Baby in yellow shirt crawling in crib

20 Cool Retro Baby Names from 1916

I’m a little obsessed with looking through the Social Security baby names list and seeing what names are becoming popular or starting to be used less.

Recently, I pulled up the list of the top names from 100 years ago (1916!) and it was so fun to see what names have drifted into obscurity — Hedwig, anyone? – and which names have made a comeback in recent years.

I couldn’t help but make a list of some of my favorites for both boys and girls.

If you’re looking for something with staying power, try one of these on for size!


1. Stanford – 100 years ago, this name sat at 684 on the Social Security roster, but after 1973, it dropped off entirely, so if you’re looking for something that isn’t too popular, this is a great choice. I love it!

2. Harvey – This was in the top 100 back in 1916, but dropped off fast in the mid-’90s. Now it’s back with a vengeance, reappearing on the top 1000 in 2000 and currently sitting in the 400s!

3. Gilbert – I’m an Anne of Green Gables girl at heart, so I’ll always have a soft spot for this name.

4. Emmett – This name has serious longevity. It was in the top 200 names a century ago and now is in the top 150!

5. Forest – This name is popular but not TOO popular, currently sitting at 749.

6. Harlan – This name has German roots and means “rocky land.”

7. Booker – As a former librarian and lifelong avid reader, how could I not love this name?

8. Sterling – Sitting almost continually in the top 500 for the last century, this name is just a classic without being too overused.

9. Royal – If you’re looking for something strong and catchy, this is a great choice.

10. Pierce – This English name always makes me think of James Bond. Not the worst association you could have.


1. Coral – With so many old-fashioned baby names making a huge comeback, I was surprised to see that Coral hasn’t even made it back into the top 1000 since the early ’90s! If you like something vintage but not trendy, this is a great choice.

2. Audry – If you spell it “Audrey,” this name is a perennial favorite, usually in the top 100. But without the “e” it’s much less common.

3. Callie – I was really surprised to see that this name is currently at 196 – I’ve never met someone named this! (Mallie is also a fun choice that’s barely staying on the top 1000).

4. Dale – While this is generally consider a male name now, this name also showed up for girls fairly frequently until it disappeared from the list in 1971.

5. Nola – Nora is going nuts right now, currently sitting at 41, but Nola is at 767, so your child is much less likely to be the third one in her kindergarten class.

6. Allene – This pretty Slavonic name means “bright” and “beautiful.” Hard to go wrong there!

7. Nita – A Native American name that means “bear,” this one is simple, easy to spell, and just plain pretty.

8. Libby – I’m not usually a nickname person, but in this case, I love the shortened version of Elizabeth.

9. Tressie – This name hasn’t been on the top 1000 since 1939, but it’s so pretty, I’m surprised it’s not more popular!

10. Aurora – There’s always room in the top 1000 for a Disney Princess name, and this one is more pouplar than ever right now, at spot 79!

Image: Thinkstock

Dad feeding son with mickey mouse bib and eating utensils

100+ Baby Boy Names for Every Letter of the Alphabet

When I first found out I was pregnant, I was already set on a name for my baby if it was a girl. Chris and I both loved the name Kya Grace and we thought it went perfectly with the last name Carney. Then, 12 weeks into our pregnancy, we found out our first baby would be a boy! I thought, “Where do I even begin to find a name?” So we sat down and wrote out family names as options and scoured the internet to see which names were overused, popular, rare, or had a very cool meaning. After many, many days of searching, we finally settled on Kenneth James, after Chris’ dad Ken and grandfather James. It was nice to do a bit of research though, so that we knew what options were out there.

If you are having trouble deciding what to name your son, I hope this list will help! Here are 100 baby boy names for every letter of the alphabet!


Austin, Ace, Appolo, Asher


Benson, Brock, Baird, Bennett


Christopher, Caleb, Chaddick, Campbell, Callum


Dominic, Dayton, Davey, Dylan


Eli, Eastwood, Eddison, Emmett, Elliot


Ferris, Finn, Fuller


Grady, Garrison, Guy, Garth, Grayson


Henry, Hagan, Houston, Hartley, Holt


Isaiah, Indy, Irving


Josiah, Jordan, Jace, Jamison, Jack


Kingston, Kyler, Kade, Keegan, Kason


Landon, Luca, Lambert, Lincoln


Magnus, Micah, Malone, Monroe, Mickey :)


Nico, Nolan, Niles, Noah


Orion, Oakley, Oliver, Orin


Princeton, Parker, Porter, Paxton


Quinn, Quade, Quentin


Rafe, Remi, Ramsey, Rhett, Rowan


Sawyer, Samson, Sebastian, Shiloh


Thomas, Tristan, Topher, Tanner, Thornton (I mean….it IS a pretty cool first name!)


Upton, Urbain


Vance, Voss, Vinny


Weston, Wyatt, Wade


Xavier, Xander


Yates, York


Zeke, Zane

Image: Disney

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First trimester pregnancy: What to expect

The first trimester of pregnancy is marked by an invisible — yet amazing — transformation. And it happens quickly. Hormones trigger your body to begin nourishing the baby even before tests and a physical exam can confirm the pregnancy.

Knowing what physical and emotional changes to expect during the first trimester can help you face the months ahead with confidence.

First trimester pregnancy: Your body

Consider common physical changes during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Bouts of nausea

Morning sickness, which can strike at any time of the day or night, sometimes begins as early as three weeks after conception. Nausea might stem in part from rapidly rising levels of estrogen and progesterone, which cause the stomach to empty more slowly. Pregnant women also have a heightened sense of smell, so various odors — such as foods cooking, perfume or cigarette smoke — might cause waves of nausea in early pregnancy.

To help relieve nausea, eat small, frequent meals throughout the day. Choose foods that are low in fat and easy to digest. Avoid foods or smells that make your nausea worse. It's also helpful to drink plenty of fluids. Try drinking ginger ale.

For some women, motion sickness bands are helpful. For others, alternative therapies such as acupuncture or hypnosis offer relief. If you're considering an alternative therapy, get the OK from your health care provider first.

Contact your health care provider if the nausea is severe, you're passing only a small amount of urine or it's dark in color, you can't keep down liquids, you feel dizzy when standing up or you vomit blood.

Tender, swollen breasts

Soon after conception, hormonal changes might make your breasts tender, sensitive or sore. Or your breasts might feel fuller and heavier. Wearing a more supportive bra or a sports bra might help.

Increased urination

You might find yourself urinating more often than usual. Pressure from your enlarging uterus on your bladder might cause you to leak urine when sneezing, coughing or laughing. To help prevent urinary tract infections, urinate whenever you feel the urge.

If you're losing sleep due to middle-of-the-night bathroom trips, in the evening cut back on fluids containing caffeine, which can make you urinate more. If you're worried about leaking urine, panty liners can offer a sense of security.


Fatigue also ranks high among first trimester symptoms. During early pregnancy, levels of the hormone progesterone soar — which can put you to sleep.

You can't really fight this fatigue, so rest as much as you can. Make sure you're getting enough iron and protein. Include physical activity, such as a brisk walk, in your daily routine.

Food aversions or cravings

When you're pregnant, you might find yourself turning up your nose at certain foods. Food cravings are common, too. Like most other symptoms of pregnancy, these food preferences can be chalked up to hormonal changes — especially in the first trimester, when hormonal changes are the most dramatic.


Pregnancy causes your blood vessels to dilate and your blood pressure to drop, which might leave you lightheaded or dizzy. To prevent mild, occasional dizziness, avoid prolonged standing. Rise slowly after lying or sitting down. If you start to feel dizzy while you're driving, pull over. If you're standing when dizziness hits, lie down on your left side.

Seek prompt care if the dizziness is severe and occurs with abdominal pain or vaginal bleeding. This could indicate an ectopic pregnancy — a condition in which the fertilized egg implants itself outside the uterus. To prevent life-threatening complications, the ectopic tissue must be removed.

Heartburn and constipation

Pregnancy slows the movement of food through your digestive system. This gives nutrients more time to be absorbed into your bloodstream and reach your baby. Unfortunately, it can also lead to constipation. Pregnancy hormones relaxing the valve between your stomach and esophagus can allow stomach acid to leak into your esophagus, causing heartburn.

To prevent heartburn, eat small, frequent meals and avoid fried foods, carbonated drinks, citrus fruits or juices, and spicy foods. To prevent or relieve constipation, include plenty of fiber in your diet and drink lots of fluids. Regular physical activity also helps.

First trimester pregnancy: Your emotionsy

Pregnancy might leave you feeling delighted, anxious, exhilarated and exhausted — sometimes all at once. Even if you're thrilled about being pregnant, a new baby adds emotional stress to your life.

It's natural to worry about your baby's health, your adjustment to motherhood and the financial demands of raising a child. You might wonder how the baby will affect your relationship with your partner or what type of parent you'll be. If you're working, you might worry about your productivity on the job and how to balance the competing demands of family and career.

You might also experience misgivings and bouts of weepiness or mood swings. Remind yourself that what you're feeling is normal. Take good care of yourself, and look to your partner and other loved ones for understanding and encouragement. If the mood changes become severe or intense, consult your health care provider for additional support.

Your relationship with your partnery

Becoming a mother takes time away from other roles and relationships. You might struggle to retain your psychological identity as a partner and lover — but good communication can help you keep intimacy alive.

Be honest with your partner about your needs and try to identify stress points in your relationship before they become problematic. Encourage your partner to share any doubts or worries. Do the same yourself. Discussing your feelings will strengthen your relationship and help you begin preparing a home for your baby.

Appointments with your health care providery

Whether you choose a family physician, obstetrician, nurse-midwife or other pregnancy specialist, your health care provider will treat, educate and reassure you throughout your pregnancy. He or she is there to help you celebrate the miracle of birth.

Your first visit will focus mainly on assessing your overall health, identifying any risk factors and determining your baby's gestational age. Your health care provider will ask detailed questions about your health history. Be honest. The answers you provide will help you and your baby receive the best care. If you're uncomfortable discussing your health history in front of your partner, schedule a private consultation.

Also expect to learn about first trimester screening for chromosomal abnormalities.

After the first visit, you'll probably be asked to schedule checkups every four to six weeks. During these appointments, raise any concerns or fears you might have about pregnancy, childbirth or life with a newborn. Remember, no question is silly or unimportant — and the answers can help you take the best care of yourself and your baby.

This article was from Mayo Clinic Health Information Library and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Image : Getty


10 Signs You’re Nearing the End of Pregnancy

My due date is 20 days from now, and as it approaches, I’ve been thinking about how different these final days are in comparison with the rest of pregnancy. Obviously the end of pregnancy looks different for each woman, but for the most part, these are some signs that the end is near… at least for me!

1. You buy milk and the expiration date is after your due date

I remember this happening with my daughter and it’s about to start happening with this pregnancy. It’s the weirdest thing knowing you’ll probably bring home a new baby sooner than you’ll bring home a new gallon of milk!

2. Your fear of the pain of birth has been outweighed by your desire to be un-pregnant

Especially if this is your first pregnancy, it can be easy to focus on the pain that comes with childbirth, but as the end of pregnancy approaches, this fear is replaced by a desire to simply not be pregnant and uncomfortable anymore. A little bit of discomfort in birth is better than another month of the discomfort of pregnancy, right? Or at least this seems to be my end-of-pregnancy logic.

3. Nothing fits

Like… seriously nothing at all. Last week I ripped a hole in my only pair of maternity jeans, so now I’m relegated to leggings and the two dresses that sort of still fit me. Most of my dresses have become shirts and all of my shirts have become unwearable.

4. Puffy face, hands, feet…

Oh the puffiness. My face looks eerily similar to the time I got my wisdom teeth taken out and all of the rings on my fingers have been removed. In addition, my feet have decided to boycott all shoes.

5. People keep telling you that you look “ready to pop”

Random strangers start giving you that “Whoa!” look like you just might give birth in the middle of the grocery store aisle and telling you that you look like you’re “ready to pop”… just in case you hadn’t noticed.

6. You start nesting like Martha Stewart on six shots of espresso

Some people are more intense than others during the nesting stage (like my friend Amnah here at Disney Baby!), but many women experience nesting to some degree or another as labor gets closer. For me, nesting takes on the form of scheduling blog posts ahead of time and making sure my house is tidy and dishes are done every night before bed. It also means purging old things and organizing the nursery and completing any other last-minute pre-birth tasks.

7. You’re practically sleepwalking

In the days and weeks leading up to your due date you may feel extra tired. I know I become positively narcoleptic. I doze off on the couch in the middle of the day, even though I’m not usually a napper at all. I’d like to think it’s my body’s way of telling me to store up all the extra sleep I can, because I’m definitely going to need it.

8. Your grooming habits suddenly improve

The idea of going into labor with unshaven legs and a serious need for a pedicure inspires you to up your grooming game. You schedule yourself a pedicure and start shaving your legs again on a regular basis. You may even start showering/doing your hair more often “just in case.” You never can be too prepared for those photo ops, you know!

9. You stop making plans

As much as you try to remind yourself that this pregnancy might last beyond your due date, it’s hard to just carry on with life as usual. If you’re anything like me, you slowly stop making plans… just in case. I didn’t realize I was doing this until I looked at my schedule recently and saw that it’s gotten more and more empty as my due date is approaching. I guess I wanted to make sure I didn’t double book my birth with anything else!

10. Getting extra emotional about life changes

Toward the end of my first pregnancy, I found myself getting emotional about all of the changes that were about to take place. Going from being a married couple to being parents felt intimidating at times, and like the end of an era. I definitely got nostalgic. This time around, I’ve slowly started feeling the same about the change in our family dynamic — going from three of us to four. I get weepy about it multiple times a day — sometimes because I’m a little sad and other times because I’m happy. Pregnancy emotions… they’ll get you every time.

What would you add to my list?

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Mother holding baby with a tiara on

7 Moms Reveal Their Silliest Pregnancy Cravings

Everyone knows that pregnant women have some weird cravings. That’s why you see so many jokes about pregnant women eating pickles and ice cream!

When I was pregnant with Liam, I didn’t have cravings for pickles and ice cream, but I do remember making my husband drive to the gas station one night to get some Ruffles chips and French onion dip because I HAD TO HAVE IT. When I was pregnant with Isabel, I just wanted copious amounts of ice cream. But that’s nothing new; I always want ice cream. Those cravings are tame, however, compared to some cravings other women have had.

Some of my friends shared with me their weirdest pregnancy cravings:

Apryl says she had her husband go to the store for steak, Nutella, and marshmallow puffs. Once her husband grilled up that nice juicy steak, she proceeded to spread the Nutella and marshmallow puffs over the steak and devoured it. What?!

Megan just wanted plain cream cheese. No bagel. No bread. Just cream cheese.

Jennifer is currently pregnant with her second child and says that just the other night, she had a sandwich with Swiss cheese and banana peppers. Her husband thought it was gross, but Jennifer was ready for seconds.

Elizabeth’s request was ice. But not just any ice. She had to have ice from Sonic. I have to admit, there is something really good about the ice from that restaurant.

Katherine hadn’t touched hot dogs in 12 years, but something about being pregnant made her really want one. Funny how pregnancy can make you want foods you normally wouldn’t like.

My sister, Danibel, wanted 2% milk with lots of ice when she was pregnant.

And my aunt would eat Oreo cookies with V8 juice (yeah, the vegetable juice) and peeled lime with salt and milk for breakfast. Wow!

Did you experience any strange cravings while you were pregnant?

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Woman in white dress in a brith kitchen chopping vegetables for some kind of glorious feast.

10 Baby Names Inspired by Common Pregnancy Cravings

Cravings go hand in hand with pregnancy, and it’s one of the first questions people tend to ask pregnant ladies: What are you craving?

If you’re still on the hunt for the perfect baby name, why not focus on inspiration that’s all around you, like those pregnancy cravings? Think of the adorable story you can tell your child when they’re older about why you chose the name you did for them.

If you’re all about ice cream or chocolate or one of the other top pregnancy cravings, there are some amazingly cute names that may be the perfect one you’ve been looking for.

Ice Cream

Pregnancy and ice cream go together like peanut butter and jelly! While it may not be a food every pregnant woman wants to devour, it has to be one of the first cravings many think about for a reason.

If you’re a fan of ice cream, two adorable names for your baby-to-be can be found right in the ice cream brand.

Robin – After Baskin-Robbins, this name is perfect for boy or girl.

Ben – Who doesn’t love their Ben & Jerry’s ice cream? If you’re a fan of any of their awesome flavors, Ben is a great name that’s not too obvious where the inspiration came from.

Salty Food

For some women, pregnancy brings a craving for all things salty. If you’re a fan of the potato chips, the pickles, or other salty goodness, there are some fun names for your baby that can totally show off your love for the sodium.

Chip – While you may think of this more as a nickname, the name on its own is adorable and spells out your pregnancy craving.

Kale/Cale – If you’re more all about the kale chips, which can still be really salty, this name is perfect for your little boy who will soon be in your arms.


Chocolate is like any woman’s best friend and when you’re pregnant, the love just grows. If you’re a fan of chocolate, whether it was a real pregnancy craving or not, inspired baby names are totally acceptable.

Reese – Peanut butter and chocolate go amazingly well together, and we know this thanks to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

York – If you’re more all about the mint and chocolate, this name inspired by York Peppermint Patties is too cute to pass on.


I craved so much fruit when I was pregnant with boys that I swear I could eat my weight in strawberries, melons, and apples. If you are as big as a fan as I was, these names are cute for your baby.

Apple – While this name isn’t one that was considered person-worthy a few years ago, it’s been repurposed for cute girl names, and it works.

Huckleberry – They look kind of like blueberries and taste amazing. Also, how cute is Huck for a nickname?

Spicy Food

If you’re not plagued by heartburn in pregnancy and you can tolerate spices, you’re awesome. For about one week only in my last pregnancy, I was craving curry, but for the most part, I wanted blander foods. If you crave the spice, there are many more of you out there, too.

Pepper – When I think of this name, I think of Pepper from the Iron Man series, and it’s also one of my favorite spices! It’s a cute name for a sweet little girl and an ode to your love for the spice.

Ginger – Spice Girls unite! This spice gives just the right amount of kick without sending taste buds into over-drive, and it’s an adorable baby name, too.

What is your biggest pregnancy craving? Share in the comments!

This article was written by EverydayFamily from Everyday Family and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Image : Getty

Blue wool baby booties with pregnancy test next to them

Symptoms of pregnancy: What happens first

Could you be pregnant? The proof is in the pregnancy test. But even before you miss a period, you might suspect — or hope — that you're pregnant. Know the first signs of pregnancy and why they occur.

Classic pregnancy signs and symptoms

The most common early signs and symptoms of pregnancy might include:

  • Missed period

    If you're in your childbearing years and a week or more has passed without the start of an expected menstrual cycle, you might be pregnant. However, this symptom can be misleading if you have an irregular menstrual cycle.

  • Tender, swollen breasts

    Early in pregnancy hormonal changes might make your breasts sensitive and sore. The discomfort will likely decrease after a few weeks as your body adjusts to hormonal changes.

  • Nausea with or without vomiting

    Morning sickness, which can strike at any time of the day or night, often begins one month after you become pregnant. However, some women feel nausea earlier and some never experience it. While the cause of nausea during pregnancy isn't clear, pregnancy hormones likely play a role.

  • Increased urination

    You might find yourself urinating more often than usual. The amount of blood in your body increases during pregnancy, causing your kidneys to process extra fluid that ends up in your bladder.

  • Fatigue

    Fatigue also ranks high among early symptoms of pregnancy. During early pregnancy, levels of the hormone progesterone soar — which might make you feel sleepy.

Other pregnancy signs and symptoms

Other less obvious signs and symptoms of pregnancy that you might experience during the first trimester include:

  • Moodiness

    The flood of hormones in your body in early pregnancy can make you unusually emotional and weepy. Mood swings also are common.

  • Bloating

    Hormonal changes during early pregnancy can cause you to feel bloated, similar to how you might feel at the start of a menstrual period.

  • Light spotting

    Sometimes a small amount of light spotting is one of the first signs of pregnancy. Known as implantation bleeding, it happens when the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus — about 10 to 14 days after conception. Implantation bleeding occurs around the time of a menstrual period. However, not all women have it.

  • Cramping

    Some women experience mild uterine cramping early in pregnancy.

  • Constipation

    Hormonal changes cause your digestive system to slow down, which can lead to constipation.

  • Food aversions

    When you're pregnant, you might become more sensitive to certain odors and your sense of taste might change. Like most other symptoms of pregnancy, these food preferences can be chalked up to hormonal changes.

  • Nasal congestion

    Increasing hormone levels and blood production can cause the mucous membranes in your nose to swell, dry out and bleed easily. This might cause you to have a stuffy or runny nose.

Are you really pregnant?

Unfortunately, many of these signs and symptoms aren't unique to pregnancy. Some can indicate that you're getting sick or that your period is about to start. Likewise, you can be pregnant without experiencing many of these symptoms.

Still, if you miss a period and notice some of the above signs or symptoms, take a home pregnancy test or see your health care provider. If your home pregnancy test is positive, make an appointment with your health care provider. The sooner your pregnancy is confirmed, the sooner you can begin prenatal care.

This article was from Mayo Clinic Health Information Library and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Image : Getty

Pregnant lady looking down at Ultra sound picture of what probably is her baby

Your Pregnancy at 20 Weeks: What’s Going on With You and Baby

You’re halfway there, mom-to-be! You’ve spent the past 20 weeks managing early pregnancy symptoms and starting to prepare you and your partner for the arrival of a new family member. Find out about what’s going on now with your body and your baby at this exciting point in your pregnancy.

What’s Going on With You

Chances are you’re feeling a bit of relief from pregnancy symptoms at 20 weeks. Your belly is popping and folks probably now notice that you’re pregnant. According to the Office on Women's Health (OWH;, the following are common symptoms and milestones at this stage of your pregnancy:

  • Your belly size has grown! The top of the uterus is now about level with your navel.

  • You’re gaining weight (about 8-10 pounds so far). Medical experts suggest that you’ll gain about a half pound to 1 pound every week for the remainder of your pregnancy.

  • Many new moms notice at 20 weeks (you’re halfway there!) that several early pregnancy symptoms — such as morning sickness and feeling tired — are now waning, and might even feel a boost of energy.

  • You’re nesting. If you’ve not yet started to get your home ready for baby, chances are this week you’re working on the nursery, picking out layette items, and enjoying preparing for your baby’s arrival.

  • Your dreams may be more vivid. As your hormones race, your baby grows, and your due date edges closer, many Mom-to-Be find that their dreams are more memorable — and more vivid—at this point in pregnancy. Keep a journal by your bedside and make a habit of writing down what you remember upon waking!

  • What’s Going on With Your Baby

    Your little one also is going through major changes at 20 weeks of fetal development. Here’s a peek at what’s happening during this week of your pregnancy, according to the OWH:

  • Your developing baby is now about 6 inches long and weighs about 9 ounces. That’s roughly the size of a bell pepper.

  • Your baby is much more active at this stage, and chances are you may feel a bit of kicking going on inside your belly. These little flutters signal that your baby is testing limbs and moving around.

  • Time to read to your baby. Your baby can now hear! Babies grow accustomed to the sound of your and your partner’s voices. This is a great time to be reading, singing, and talking to your baby.

  • If you could see in your womb right now, you’d notice a fine, downy hair covering your baby’s entire body. This fuzzy coat, called lanugo, is coupled with a waxy covering called vernix. Both of these layers are protecting baby’s still-developing skin underneath.

  • Your little one is busy growing eyebrows, eyelashes, fingernails, and toenails.

  • Your baby is also swallowing (you may even feel these hiccups!).

  • Baby’s gender is now visible. During your fifth month of pregnancy, you can finally discover the gender of your baby! A qualified technician should be able to discern now if you’ll be having a boy or a girl.

  • Image : Getty

     Pregnant woman in red dress relaxin got a couch

    Frequently Asked Questions about Pregnancy

    Congratulations, mom-to-be! No doubt you have questions about what your pregnancy will be like, and you might even be a little nervous about what lies ahead. Speaking with your doctor and learning as much as possible about pregnancy will empower you to be the best mother you can. The following answers to some frequently asked pregnancy questions will help you get started.

    Help! I’m feeling nervous about my pregnancy. What can I do?

    Don’t be afraid to reach out to others and express your concerns. “Talk with your partner, family or friends about how you are feeling. Keeping your feelings bottled up will only make you feel worse,” says the Office on Women’s Health ( Take time to speak to your partner, your family and friends and let them know you’re nervous. Building a support network now will help you throughout your pregnancy. Share your questions, concerns and excitement with your support network and you may be surprised how many mom friends and family members felt the same way you do now. And, chances are, those moms-in-the-know have advice you can use, too.

    Also, learn as much as you can about pregnancy. Check out books from your library, explore reputable medical resources online, and be sure to speak with your doctor. “By educating yourself, you will know what to expect and feel more in control,” assures the OWH.

    Do I really need to take a prenatal vitamin?

    This is a good question for you and your doctor to discuss. But most OB-GYNs and pediatricians suggestion expectant moms take a prenatal vitamin containing folic acid throughout their pregnancy. As the U.S. Public Health Service explains, “all women capable of becoming pregnant (should) consume 400 micrograms of folic acid daily to prevent neural tube defects (NTDs).”

    How many appointments will I need throughout my pregnancy?

    Prenatal care during pregnancy is absolutely essential. “This consistent care can help keep you and your baby healthy, spot problems if they occur, and prevent problems during delivery,” explains the OWH.

    Routine checkups usually occur:

  • Once each month, from week four through week 28

  • Twice a month, from week 28 through week 36

  • Weekly from week 36 until you give birth.

  • The above schedule may change slightly, depending on your pregnancy and your OB-GYN’s practice policies. Be sure to speak with you doctor for a complete schedule of your prenatal appointments.

    How many ultrasounds will I have?

    Ultrasound exams can be performed at any point during pregnancy, but they aren’t always considered a routine prenatal test. Most OB-GYNs suggest moms-to-be have at least two:

  • The first test usually occurs during your first trimester as part of a biophysical profile (a prenatal ultrasound evaluation).

  • The second is typically scheduled between 18 and 20 weeks, “to look for signs of problems with the baby's organs and body systems and confirm the age of the fetus and proper growth,” says the OWH.

    When can I find out the gender of my baby?

    During your second-trimester ultrasound appointment, you may be able to learn the gender of your baby; generally between 18 and 20 weeks, according to the OWH.

    Can I still exercise during my pregnancy?

    The Office of Women’s Health reports that you can indeed exercise throughout your pregnancy. “Unless your doctor tells you not to, try to get at least two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week,” the OWH advises.

    To maximize the health benefits of working out during pregnancy, and to keep you and your baby safe, spread out your workouts throughout the week. “If you worked out regularly before pregnancy, you can keep up your activity level as long as your health doesn’t change and you talk to your doctor about your activity level throughout your pregnancy,” adds the OWH.

    How much weight should I gain during pregnancy?

    “You should gain weight gradually during your pregnancy, with most of the weight gained in the last three months,” according to the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.

    The government agency suggests women gain weight at the following rate:

  • 1 to 4 pounds total during the first three months (first trimester)

  • 2 to 4 pounds per month during the fourth to ninth months (second and third trimesters)

  • The total amount you gain during pregnancy depends on your weight at the time of conception. For women who maintained a healthy preconception weight, the USDA suggests gaining between 25 and 35 pounds. Be sure to speak with you doctor to find out what rate and amount of weight gain are right for you.

    How will I know when it's time to go to the hospital?

    Clock your contractions to track when they start, how long they last and time between each. This is a good indicator of how soon the first stages of labor will start. “With true labor, contractions become regular, stronger and more frequent,” says the OWH. These contractions will also establish a regular pattern and not taper off or go away, even if you change position or alter your activity.

    “If you ever are unsure if contractions are true labor, call your doctor,” recommends the OWH. A quick phone chat will ease your mind and help you understand if you need to stay home and wait a bit longer, or jump in the car and head to the hospital.

    About Our Experts

    Office on Women’s Health (

    Part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Office on Women's Health provides leadership and coordination to improve the health of women and girls through policy, education and model programs.

    American Academy of Pediatrics (

    The AAP is medical organization composed of over 60,000 pediatricians committed to supporting and educating families with infants through young adults to better develop and maintain optimal physical, mental and social health and well-being.

    U.S. Public Health Service (

    The Public Health Service is a government organization overseen by the Surgeon General that focuses on providing education and services to protect, promote and advance the health of U.S. citizens.

    USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (

    The CNPP was established in 1994 to improve the nutrition and well-being of Americans; the USDA Food Guidance System is one of this government agency’s core programs.

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