Weeks 14 to 18 of Your Pregnancy: Care Instructions

Fetus in uterus, with detail of development at 16 weeks pregnant

Overview

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 your baby's intestines. Hair is also starting to grow on your baby's head.

At your next visit, between weeks 18 and 20, your doctor may do an ultrasound test. The test allows your doctor to check for certain problems. Your doctor can also tell the sex of your baby. So this a good time to think about whether you want to know.

Talk to your doctor about getting a flu shot to help keep you healthy during your pregnancy.

As your pregnancy moves along, it's 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 talk to your doctor about 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 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.
  • 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

  • Experts recommend that you gain about 1 pound a month during the first 3 months of your pregnancy.
  • Experts recommend that you gain about 1 pound a week during your last 6 months of pregnancy, for a total weight gain of 25 to 35 pounds.
  • If you are underweight, you will need to gain more weight (about 28 to 40 pounds).
  • If you are overweight, you may not need to gain as much weight (about 15 to 25 pounds).
  • If you are gaining weight too fast, use common sense. Exercise every day, and limit sweets, fast foods, and fats. Choose lean meats, fruits, and vegetables.
  • If you are having twins or more, your doctor may refer you to a dietitian.

Where can you learn more?

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

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