Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Vernix



Petry is well into his/her 19th week of development and we are almost at the half way point of gestation. Yay!

At six inches long and about eight ounces, Petry is the size of a large mango. In comparison, I have gained somewhere between 6 and 8 pounds depending on the day and how much I indulge the night before. In the morning, when I get up for the gym and off to work, there is a little pooch near my belly button BUT as the day goes on, it swells and after dinner I have a whole different look going on. Between the full stomach, indigestion, and muscles movement the pooch expands dramatically in the evening and the deflates overnight. Its very weird.

Fetal Development Week 19As of today Petry's arms and legs are in proportion, neurons are connecting the brain and the muscles, and cartilage is turning to bone. I am also told that women can start feeling the baby move at this time but it may feel like a gas cramp, which since I am usually gassy has been difficult to differentiate.


Petry is also covered in a protective substance called vernix caseosa (translated in Latin, this means "vanish cheese" - yum). This greasy, white substance is made up of lanugo (a downy hair), oil from the baby's glands, and dead skin cells. The vernix protects the baby's skin from the amniotic fluid . This prevents the baby from looking very wrinkled at birth. 

On my end, other than indigestion which really only occurs after dinner and before bed, I seem to have developed restless leg syndrome and leg cramps. 

At night my legs take on a life of their own and it takes me about 20 minutes of trial and error to figure out what position they would like to be in. Sometimes they want to be elevated on pillows, other times curled in a ball, or even dangling off the side of the bed. These positions satisfy my legs for about an hour and then we have to start all over again in an effort to accommodate them. 
If RLS isn't the issue, then my legs decide to cramp. I have never had a Charlie Horse, so I am not sure if the pain is similar but a jolt of pain will radiate down the back of my thigh down to my calf for no apparent reason. It ususally doesn't last long, but depending on the timing - it can make for some very awkward stretching in public places. 
As with most pregnancy symptoms, one can blame hormones or "the unknown". Cramping falls into the "unknown" but some think it could be my leg muscles are more fatigued than usual or that the blood vessels that carry blood to and from my legs are compressed by the growing uterus. Either way, both RLS and leg cramping seem to be nothing compared to some of the other pregnancy troubles women face and can be calmed with a little stretching and patience.