Your baby this week
24 weeks pregnant

Not real...

What are Braxton-Hicks? These "practice" contractions occur at various times during pregnancy, but can increase in intensity during your last month. They happen at random and are typically not painful. They do not dilate the cervix as "real" contractions do.

>> What do Braxton Hicks contractions feel like?


... but not fake

Fetal monitor in laborWhat does a "real" contraction feel like, anyway? There is no universal answer as to what a contraction feels like. The only constant is that once labor gets going in a term pregnancy, the fact that they're true contractions -- not just Braxton-Hicks -- will be undeniable.

When trying to figure out if what you're feeling is an actual labor contraction or not, it may help to visualize what's going on. During a contraction, the pain (people who call it "pressure" instead of "pain" probably had the epidural early on) comes from the uterus working first to open the cervix, and then to push the baby down the birth canal. As labor progresses, contractions gradually become stronger, longer and closer together... and, yes, often harder to cope with.


In the know

The placenta now weighs about a pound and a half and is deep red -- it looks a lot like a big piece of raw liver. For more details (and a couple photos), see the article, What does the placenta look like?


pregnant woman and husband

Advice & support

The countdown to motherhood is officially on. Soon, you will finally get to meet your new baby. While you might be tempted to fast-forward through the rest of your pregnancy in your eagerness to meet the pint-sized passenger who has been hitching a ride in your belly, these final weeks of pregnancy are actually a time to be savored and enjoyed. They are, after all, your last chance to take advantage of the perks of the pre-baby lifestyle -- in other words, your last hurrah! Read more right here...


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Sushi do?

Sushi

Can you eat sushi during pregnancy? Nutritionist Tracy Herrmann, PhD, RD, says, "Some types of sushi, such as cooked eel and rolls with steamed crab/veggies, are safe to eat during pregnancy. But avoid eating raw seafood, because it can contain parasites such as tapeworm," which -- in addition to being completely disgusting -- will steal important nutrients in your body that are needed for your growing baby.

Click here to read more about sushi, and check out this article on 10 foods pregnant women should avoid.