Welcome To Week 27
Your Baby: Growing Inside And Out
At this point, your baby weighs roughly 2 pounds (900 g), and measures about 15 inches long from head to toe (10 inches from crown to rump). On the outside, his skin looks wrinkled from floating in water. So don't be surprised if your newborn has a crinkled, prune-like appearance for a few weeks after birth as he fills out into a baby. The lungs and immune system are still continuing to mature during this period of time.
Your Body: Travel Do's And Don'ts
There's no better time than the second trimester to take a vacation "with baby" as long as you've checked in with your doctor and you've gotten the go ahead. That said, you should keep stress to a minimum and plan a relaxing trip. Below are some recommendations that may help you plan for your trip.
Traveling is generally considered safe during pregnancy. The key with traveling while pregnant is to make sure you are going to be comfortable and as safe as possible. It is best to notify your doctor of your travel plans and ask for any recommendations specific to you and your pregnancy. Whether you are traveling by plane, car, or train, it is important to do the following:
- Continue to eat regularly.
- Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Get up and walk around every hour or so to help your circulation and to keep the swelling down.
- Wear comfortable shoes and clothing that are not binding.
- Take crackers and juice with you to prevent nausea.
DO NOT take over the counter medicines or any non-prescribed medications without checking with your doctor. This includes medication for motion sickness or bowel problems related to traveling. Foreign travel: If you are planning a trip out of the country, discuss your trip with your doctor. Plan ahead to allow time for any shots or medications you may need, and be prepared to take a copy of your prenatal record with you.
Traveling to high altitudes may cause problems during pregnancy, as your body and your fetus adjust to the lower air pressure and lower levels of oxygen. It’s generally best to let your body adjust to moderate altitudes – 6,000 – 8,000 feet – for a few days before going above 8,000 feet. Women with complicated pregnancies may want to avoid mountain-top excursions altogether.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends the following when traveling by land, air, or sea:
- Land: No more than 5-6 hours a day. Always wear your seatbelt. (Place the lap belt under your abdomen and across your upper thighs so that it fits snugly and comfortably. Put the shoulder strap between your breasts and across your shoulder. ALWAYS wear the lap shoulder strap when traveling while pregnant. Take frequent breaks and get out and walk for a few minutes. This helps the circulation in your legs and prevents blood clots from forming.
The fluid-filled sac inside the uterus, which is further protected by muscles, organs, and bones, cushions the baby. Unless the mother has a serious injury in an accident, the baby will likely not be harmed. However, if you are in an accident, you should always check with your doctor to make sure you and your baby are fine.
- Air: Flying during pregnancy is generally safe. In the United States, pregnant women are allowed to fly up to 36 weeks of pregnancy. You should consider getting an aisle seat for more room and to make it easier to walk around and get to the bathroom. Wear layered clothing so you can have some control when there are temperature changes. Be sure to get up and walk at least once an hour, and drink plenty of fluids, to reduce the risk of blood clots forming in your legs.
Travel may not be indicated in someone with medical or obstetrical complications. You should discuss your travel plans with your health care provider. Women with complicated pregnancies – those with high risk of preterm delivery, pre-eclampsia, or signs of poor fetal growth – may need supplemental oxygen when flying. Talk to your health care provider before you travel to see if you need additional oxygen.
Air travel also exposes passengers to small amounts of cosmic radiation. This is rarely an issue for passengers, but flight attendants and pilots may be exposed to inappropriate levels of radiation.
- Sea: If you have never been on a cruise, now may not be the best time to take one. When traveling by sea, the motion can upset your stomach (even without being pregnant) and may be more likely if you are pregnant. If you do decide to go on a cruise, check what medical care will be available to you and always inform your physician of your plans before departing.
On a Different Note: What's The Deal With Delivery?
If this is your first pregnancy and you can't imagine how you're going to get this baby out of you in a few months time, then this vaginal delivery animation is a must-see. With a simple click of the button, you'll see the whole birthing process right before your eyes.
If you know where you plan to give birth or if you are considering a few places, you and your spouse should pay a visit. Many hospitals give tours of the labor and delivery ward so you know exactly where to go, where to park, and what to do when the time is right. Then, once you've made your final decision, you should pre-register and fill out all the necessary paperwork -- for the hospital and for insurance -- ahead of time.
Irina Burd, MD, PhD, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
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