Belly Diaries – Week 17

How your baby’s growing:

Your baby’s skeleton is changing from soft cartilage to bone, and the umbilical cord — her lifeline to the placenta — is growing stronger and thicker. Your baby weighs 5 ounces now (about as much as a turnip), and she’s around 5 inches long from head to bottom. She can move her joints, and her sweat glands are starting to develop.

17

How your life’s changing:

Starting to feel a bit off balance? As your belly grows, your center of gravity changes, so you may begin to occasionally feel a little unsteady on your feet. Try to avoid situations with a high risk of falling. Wear low-heeled shoes to reduce your risk of taking a tumble; trauma to your abdomen could be dangerous for you and your baby. You’ll also want to be sure to buckle up when you’re in a car — keep the lap portion of the seat belt under your belly, drawn snugly across your hips, and also use the shoulder harness, which should fit snugly between your breasts.

You may also notice your eyes becoming drier. Using over-the-counter lubricating drops may help. If your contact lenses become uncomfortable, try wearing them for shorter stretches of time. If you still have discomfort, switch to glasses until after you give birth.

Dreams During Pregnancy

Many women report that their dream life shifts into high gear during pregnancy. Interestingly, during the second and third trimesters, you spend less sleep time in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the cycle in which most dreams occur. Why, then, all those frequent and vivid dream memories?

It’s probably at least in part because you may be interrupting a dream-filled cycle when you wake up to pee, cope with heartburn, leg cramps, restless legs, or a backache, or to shift to a more comfortable position. Waking up during REM sleep makes you more likely to remember your dreams.

It may also be in part that dreams seem so vivid during pregnancy because for most women pregnancy is a time of such heightened emotions — from joy to apprehension and everything in between — but no one really knows for sure.

Here’s a look at some common themes and what they may mean, according to Patricia Garfield, a clinical psychologist and author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Dreams.

You’re caring for baby animals. During the second trimester, many pregnant women dream about cuddly, baby-like animals, such as puppies, chicks, and kittens. Friendly creatures in your dreams are generally thought to signify that you’re tuned in to your instincts. Menacing animals, on the other hand, may represent ambivalence about the strange new creature entering your life.

You have a sexy encounter with an old flame. Many mothers-to-be are concerned about their changing figure and its effect on their sex life — while many others feel more sexually charged than ever. Both feelings are often reflected in your dreams. Not only do erotic dreams offer comforting reassurance, but they may mirror the sexiness you feel during your waking hours, too.

Your mate is straying. If you dream that your partner hooks up with an ex-girlfriend or a total stranger, it can signal insecurity about holding his love and attention through a time of great change. Right now, you’re dependent on the goodwill and support of those around you, especially your partner. Fearing his loss is a common emotional reaction to being pregnant.

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