Wednesday, January 3, 2007

4-Month Check-up (Wednesday, January 3, 2007)

16-week checkup: weight 148 pounds; blood pressure 117/70.

Today was our 4-month visit. My weight has gone up 10 pounds (what?!). Blood pressure remains low. My trousers fit the same so hope the extra weight is due mostly to bigger breasts, the bump and the clothes I was wearing. The results of the blood tests from the last visit were all negative (HIV, anemia, STDs, etc).

It took awhile for the nurse to find the Bean’s heartbeat but she found it low in my abdomen. The heartbeat would fade as the baby moved away from the monitor, but the nurse tracked its movement and charted the heart rate between 145 – 152 beats per minute, which she said was good.

The fetal heartbeat sounds ike a "sh sh sh sh" sound (vs. thump thump thump). The nurse said it's fetal bowels we're hearing.

Dr. Holden told us there was a mix-up with our final CVS test results (!). The preliminary lab results that were given to us were accurate. The first set of final results that the geneticist gave me via a phone message were actually for a different ‘Melissa’. However, during the follow-up phone call to discuss final results in person, the results she shared were ours, and were normal as well. Although there was a mix-up, there has been no harm done.

Mentioned to Dr. Holden that it is easy to wonder about the health of the baby since I can’t feel anything yet. He said this is a common concern for women in the early part of the second trimester -- ‘no mans land’ -- since there are no direct signs of progress other than the bump getting bigger.

We can expect to start feeling the Bean move in the 5th month (February). At the next visit, he will teach me tactics to feel the baby and look for signs that things are ok.

We are scheduled for an ultrasound on January 19th and the next monthly visit on February 1st.

They took blood before I left the office to test spinal cord development in the baby. This time I laid on a table during the test and had no problems.

I noticed that another woman who had gone in for an appointment ahead of mine was laying on the floor with her feet propped up on the wall after having just given blood. Happy to see I'm not the only one who struggles to stay upright for blood tests.

On to more interesting news: an article published by Finnish scientists in New Science Magazine reported that women who eat chocolate regularly during their pregnancies are more likely to have placid babies. Big thanks to Carey -- a friend in Australia and new mom for the 2nd time -- for mentioning this study!

"Six months after birth, the researchers asked mothers to rate their infants' behaviour in various categories, including fear, soothability, smiling and laughter.

The babies born to women who had been eating chocolate daily during pregnancy were more active and "positively reactive" - a measure that encompasses traits such as smiling and laughter. And the babies of stressed women who had regularly consumed chocolate showed less fear of new situations than babies of stressed women who abstained.

The researchers point out that they cannot rule out the possibility that chocolate consumption and baby behaviour are both linked with some other factor. But they speculate that the effects they observed could result from chemicals in chocolate associated with positive mood being passed on to the baby in the womb."

Journal reference: Early Human Development (vol 76, p 139)

Ate some Hersheys Dark Chocolate tonight in support of the research. :-)

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