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Pregnancy At Week 23

Pregnancy At Week 23

Week 23 of pregnancy is well over half-way! Congratulations on surviving the first big phase of parenting. This week marks the beginning of some serious weight gain for the baby (and maybe for you too! That’s okay!), and the reality of your precious little baby is becoming more and more present.

Changes with Baby

Your baby is now approximately 8 inches long and weighs just over a pound. About the size of a mango! This week begins a serious growth spurt and your baby will just about double in size in the next four weeks. That is some serious weight gain-but don’t worry mama, your body can handle it. Your babies skin is a little saggy right now because their skin grows faster than their fat does. But they will soon fill out and be a cute plump and full little baby by the time they are born. Right now your babies skin has a reddish hue because of the developing arteries and veins underneath the surface. You can see your baby’s vital organs through her skin because it is so thin at this point, but that will go away as your baby fattens up.

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    Your baby is big enough now to hear her heart beat through a stethescope! You’ve probably heard it through a Doppler machine, but now that your baby has grown, it’s easy to hear that beautiful little rhythmic flutter that will make your own heart melt.

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    Your babies limbs are longer and stronger now and you will probably be able to see baby moving and grooving underneath your shirt. So turn on some music and dance along with your babies movements! Sounds like music, your partner’s voice, and your dog barking will all be familiar sounds to your baby by the time they are born.

    Changes with You

    By pregnancy week 23 every square inch of your body is probably feeling the effects of your pregnancy. Your baby may be cuddled up cozily in your abdomen, but your entire body is pregnant. Your mind is probably fuzzy from the waves of progesterone washing over your brain. Ever lose your keys and find them in the freezer? This is called “pregnancy brain”. Once the baby comes you will be so tired that you will be living with Mommy Brain. Basically, expect to never remember where your keys are. But it’s worth it.

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    Your feet and ankles may swollen by this point, and your ankles will almost certainly begin to swell at night after a long day or in the summer heat. Blood circulation changes and water retention can account for these changes. This water retention is called edema. Your body will flush out all of your excess water once you have the baby. Expect to sweat and pee a lot during this first few days post-delivery!

    Another big change with your body might be the new arrival of a dark, inexplicable line down the middle of your belly. This line, called the linea nigra, is a super common symptom of pregnancy. Women with darker skin are more likely to see this change. This line is caused by the same pregnancy hormones that cause the darkening of your areolas and freckles. Some women also experience a darkening of the skin on their faces. Not to fear-these changes won’t last forever! A few weeks after you deliver the baby your skin will go back to it’s normal coloration.

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    What do to this week

    This week is a great time to begin taking your labor plans seriously. I’m not saying your should expect to go into labor soon, but thinking about it and preparing is an important part of the process. Visualizing what you want and processing your expectations for your labor and delivery take some time. Begin now by simply practicing relaxation techniques. Whether you intend to labor and deliver naturally or not, odds are you will experience a fair few contractions. I don’t know any women who would consider contractions to be a relaxing experience, so it’s a good idea to have some techniques up your sleeve to help you relax through the pain.

    Simple breathing exercises are a great place to start. Not only will this help you prepare for labor, but it will also have positive benefits for you during your pregnancy too. Stress hormones aren’t good for you or the baby. When you feel the normal anxieties associated with bringing a new little human into the world, take a minute and breathe. Try breathing in through your nose for 8 counts and out through your mouth for 8 counts. Repeat this cycle five times. You should feel your heart rate reduce, your mind clear a bit and your thoughts come back under control. This trick will help you through those shocking early contractions as well!

    Some more tips for this week

    • Keep drinking water! Staying hydrated is so important for the development of the baby and your own health. Your body is working hard. Give it what it needs!
    • Look into your insurance policy and make sure you complete all of the necessary paperwork for when baby arrives. If you haven’t do this already, it is extremely important to begin this conversation!
    • Contact HR if you’re working and begin planning for your maternity leave.
    • Don’t forget about paternity leave! Have your partner communicate with their place of work and see what their options are for time off when the baby comes.
    • Keep breathing! You’re getting there!

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Hunter via flickr.com

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    Emily Myrin

    Copywriter

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    Published on January 30, 2019

    How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

    How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

    In roughly 60 percent of two-parent households with children under the age of 18, both parents work full time. But who takes time off work when the kids are sick in your house? And if you are a manager, how do you react when a man says he needs time to take his baby to the pediatrician?

    The sad truth is, the default in many companies and families is to value the man’s work over the woman’s—even when there is no significant difference in their professional obligations or compensation. This translates into stereotypes in the workplace that women are the primary caregivers, which can negatively impact women’s success on the job and their upward mobility.

    According to a Pew Research Center analysis of long-term time-use data (1965–2011), fathers in dual-income couples devote significantly less time than mothers do to child care.[1] Dads are doing more than twice as much housework as they used to (from an average of about four hours per week to about 10 hours), but there is still a significant imbalance.

    This is not just an issue between spouses; it’s a workplace culture issue. In many offices, it is still taboo for dads to openly express that they have family obligations that need their attention. In contrast, the assumption that moms will be on the front lines of any family crisis is one that runs deep.

    Consider an example from my company. A few years back, one of our team members joined us for an off-site meeting soon after returning from maternity leave. Not even two hours into her trip, her husband called to say that the baby had been crying nonstop. While there was little our colleague could practically do to help with the situation, this call was clearly unsettling, and the result was that her attention was divided for the rest of an important business dinner.

    This was her first night away since the baby’s birth, and I know that her spouse had already been on several business trips before this event. Yet, I doubt she called him during his conferences to ask child-care questions. Like so many moms everywhere, she was expected to figure things out on her own.

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    The numbers show that this story is far from the exception. In another Pew survey, 47 percent of dual-income parents agreed that the moms take on more of the work when a child gets sick.[2] In addition, 39 percent of working mothers said they had taken a significant amount of time off from work to care for their child compared to just 24 percent of working fathers. Mothers are also more likely than fathers (27 percent to 10 percent) to say they had quit their job at some point for family reasons.

    Before any amazing stay-at-home-dads post an angry rebuttal comment, I want to be very clear that I am not judging how families choose to divide and conquer their personal and professional responsibilities; that’s 100 percent their prerogative. Rather, I am taking aim at the culture of inequity that persists even when spouses have similar or identical professional responsibilities. This is an important issue for all of us because we are leaving untapped business and human potential on the table.

    What’s more, I think my fellow men can do a lot about this. For those out there who still privately think that being a good dad just means helping out mom, it’s time to man up. Stop expecting working partners—who have similar professional responsibilities—to bear the majority of the child-care responsibilities as well.

    Consider these ways to support your working spouse:

    1. Have higher expectations for yourself as a father; you are a parent, not a babysitter.

    Know who your pediatrician is and how to reach him or her. Have a back-up plan for transportation and emergency coverage.

    Don’t simply expect your partner to manage all these invisible tasks on her own. Parenting takes effort and preparation for the unexpected.

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    As in other areas of life, the way to build confidence is to learn by doing. Moms aren’t born knowing how to do this stuff any more than dads are.

    2. Treat your partner the way you’d want to be treated.

    I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard a man on a business trip say to his wife on a call something to the effect of, “I am in the middle of a meeting. What do you want me to do about it?”

    However, when the tables are turned, men often make that same call at the first sign of trouble.

    Distractions like this make it difficult to focus and engage with work, which perpetuates the stereotype that working moms aren’t sufficiently committed.

    When you’re in charge of the kids, do what she would do: Figure it out.

    3. When you need to take care of your kids, don’t make an excuse that revolves around your partner’s availability.

    This implies that the children are her first priority and your second.

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    I admit I have been guilty in the past of telling clients, “I have the kids today because my wife had something she could not move.” What I should have said was, “I’m taking care of my kids today.”

    Why is it so hard for men to admit they have personal responsibilities? Remember that you are setting an example for your sons and daughters, and do the right thing.

    4. As a manager, be supportive of both your male and female colleagues when unexpected situations arise at home.

    No one likes or wants disruptions, but life happens, and everyone will face a day when the troubling phone call comes from his sitter, her school nurse, or even elderly parents.

    Accommodating personal needs is not a sign of weakness as a leader. Employees will be more likely to do great work if they know that you care about their personal obligations and family—and show them that you care about your own.

    5. Don’t keep score or track time.

    At home, it’s juvenile to get into debates about who last changed a diaper or did the dishes; everyone needs to contribute, but the big picture is what matters. Is everyone healthy and getting enough sleep? Are you enjoying each other’s company?

    In business, too, avoid the trap of punching a clock. The focus should be on outcomes and performance rather than effort and inputs. That’s the way to maintain momentum toward overall goals.

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    The Bottom Line

    To be clear, I recognize that a great many working dads are doing a terrific job both on the home front and in their professional lives. My concern is that these standouts often aren’t visible to their colleagues; they intentionally or inadvertently let their work as parents fly under the radar. Dads need to be open and honest about family responsibilities to change perceptions in the workplace.

    The question “How do you balance it all?” should not be something that’s just asked of women. Frankly, no one can answer that question. Juggling a career and parental responsibilities is tough. At times, really tough.

    But it’s something that more parents should be doing together, as a team. This can be a real bonus for the couple relationship as well, because nothing gets in the way of good partnership faster than feelings of inequity.

    On the plus side, I can tell you that parenting skills really do get better with practice—and that’s great for people of both sexes. I think our cultural expectations that women are the “nurturers” and men are the “providers” needs to evolve. Expanding these definitions will open the doors to richer contributions from everyone, because women can and should be both—and so should men.

    Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

    Reference

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