All About Baby

Week 10 marks a milestone for your baby-to-be. All her cells have been directed to their places — brain tissue is growing rapidly, muscles are forming, fingers and toes are becoming defined. At about 10 weeks, Baby’s fingernails even start to appear. Soon, she’ll have toenails as well. Baby also has eyelids — but the bottom and top halves have fused together and will keep the eyes shut for several more weeks, like a kitten’s. Ears, which (oddly) began developing on the neck, are moving into their normal place on the sides of the head. The baby can now swallow amniotic fluid and its life-sustaining organs (think heart, brain, liver, kidneys, intestines) are beginning to work. And her tiny heart, which already has claim on yours, has all four chambers now.

All About You

Is somebody a little moody? Wild highs and truly horrendous lows, sudden mood swings, and crazy behavior are typical during pregnancy. Some of this is due to hormones, and some of it is because this is, truly, a very emotional time!

Even if you’re not moody, you’ve gotta be tired. Many pregnant women spend the first few months so exhausted they can barely hold their heads up. Try to take naps, go to bed early, and delegate as much work as you can to others. Remember that you’re working incredibly hard. Growing another human being is hard work!

Staying in Shape

Now that your bump is starting to show, you may be wondering what you can do to keep your weight in check and what kind of exercise is sensible. The answer is different for every woman, but by listening to your body and not exerting yourself too much, exercising will not only help you feel good but prepare your body for the biggest workout of all — labor and delivery!

Here’s what’s happening with your body (and what might hamper your exercise routine):

Fatigue: Several factors contribute to fatigue in pregnancy. In some women the increased level of progesterone has a numbing effect — almost like a sedative. In addition, your body’s blood volume increases to deliver nutrients to your developing baby. That means your heart is working harder to pump blood. Take it easy with your workout and make sure to get plenty of rest.

Nausea: Morning sickness is common in pregnancy. If you haven’t been able to keep down much more than graham crackers, don’t expect to be doing your normal 3-mile run for a workout. You may have to put your normal exercise routine off indefinitely in favor of light workouts if you’re suffering from frequent nausea. (Learn how to create an anti-nausea kit.)

Relaxing ligaments: Your body prepares itself for delivering your baby from the beginning. A hormone called relaxin is released into your body to help loosen and stretch your ligaments. As your baby grows, it’s important that your body is flexible enough to accommodate her. Later, in labor, your muscles and ligaments will have to stretch even more so that your baby can make her first appearance.

Tenderness: Your breasts and abdomen may be especially tender during these first few weeks of pregnancy. Make sure when you exercise to have supportive undergarments — in other words, time to buy a good bra!

A Few Benefits of Exercise

Stress relief: You probably have a lot on your mind, from choosing a name for your baby to finding the right doctor to picking out colors for the nursery. Take a walk or a swim. Exercise can melt your stresses away.

Mood lifter: Not only can exercise ease stress, it can lift your spirits, too. Exercise releases endorphins, which can give your mind and body a boost.

Strengthener: As your body changes during pregnancy you’re bound to have more than a few aches. Exercising can tone and strengthen your muscles, helping you ward off some of these pregnancy pains. When it’s time to deliver your baby, strong muscles are a must — you’ll be glad for every time you didn’t ditch your prenatal yoga class.

Before beginning any exercise routine, talk to your healthcare provider. She’ll be able to give you specific guidelines that will be right for your body. Also, she may be able to recommend a prenatal fitness class in your area. After all, it’s always more fun to work out with women who understand what you’re going through.