The placenta is now fully-formed and functioning. It can now supply all the oxygen and nutrients to the growing baby via the umbilical cord. One blood vessel takes oxygen and nutrients to the baby and two small veins take waste products back into your own blood system for elimination.
The baby can now grasp the umbilical cord and suck its thumb. Its fingernails are beginning to grow and its own unique fingerprints will have developed. The face is more recognisably human though its skin is translucent and red.
To cope with the increased amount of blood circulating in your body and your baby’s need for oxygen your enlarged heart has increased its output by 20 per cent.
Start looking around for an antenatal class for you and your partner. Your chances of having a safer and more positive birth are greatly improved by being well-informed about the birth process.
Endorphins, known as the happy hormones, help blunt the sensations of pain and stress. The brain produces these hormones throughout pregnancy and childbirth. After the birth, the levels drop sharply. This fall in hormone levels has been linked to the baby blues and postnatal depression.
Cravings are often nature’s way of indicating nutritional deficiencies. Naturopaths believe that cravings for bananas or ice cream indicate a shortage of magnesium and that wanting sweets and chocolate indicates a sluggish liver and the need for B vitamins.
Listen to your body. If you are really worried call your doctor, no matter how trivial your concern may seem.