OB ABCs

Week 19

week_19As your pregnancy progresses into the middle of the second trimester, changes to your body and the way you engage in certain everyday activities will become commonplace.

The most obvious physical sign of pregnancy is an expanded abdomen, which corresponds to the increase in size of the uterus as it makes room for a growing baby. The higher, more forward position of the uterus pushes it beyond the bounds of the pelvis and may cause a noticeable change to your stomach’s appearance: a protruding navel or belly button. A navel that sticks out is the natural outgrowth of pressure from an expanding uterus. After the birth of your baby, the navel almost always returns to its normal shape and size.

A difference in your navel’s appearance isn’t the only change to the abdomen you’ll notice during the second trimester or sooner. If you looked closely at your abdomen before pregnancy, you may have noticed a faint pale line stretching from the navel to the pubic bone. This line, called the linea alba (white line), sometimes darkens during pregnancy, when it is known as the linea nigra (black line). The line’s shift from light to dark results when hormones spur the body to produce extra pigment. The change in coloration can occur during the first trimester and persist until the baby is born. Linea nigra can’t be prevented, but it will fade after birth.

The Best Position for Catching ZZZs

Back pain, heartburn and a larger abdomen may make sleep difficult during pregnancy, but some simple changes to your sleeping position can be healthy for you and baby.

For starters, remember to sleep on your side (SOS). It’s not a plea for help, but a simple reminder to sleep on your left side. SOS increases the amount of blood and nutrients that reach your baby via the placenta and can also alleviate the shortness of breath you may feel later in pregnancy. For optimal left side sleep, keep your legs and knees bent and place a pillow between your legs from knees to ankles. Back pain and heartburn can be reduced by propping the upper body with pillows while sleeping in the SOS position.

TIPS

  • Linea nigra likely isn’t the only skin darkening a woman will experience during pregnancy. More than 90 percent of pregnant women notice dark spots on their breasts, nipples or inner thighs due to an increase in melanin, a compound that gives skin its color.
  • According to the National Sleep Foundation, what you eat during pregnancy has a significant impact on the quality of your slumber. Prevent heartburn by avoiding spicy and fried foods, as well as acidic items such as tomato products. Crackers can help keep your stomach full and stave off nausea.