Pregnancy Week 13
As soon as you complete 13th week of pregnancy-the threshold of next trimester-you will be entering in the most beautiful and exciting phase of your pregnancy. It is even said that second semester is honeymoon period of pregnancy, may be because many couples plan their so called baby moon during this time.
If you are undergoing a normal pregnancy without any complications, you are out of risk from major pregnancy issues and must be feeling well. Though, precautions and care are still needed but the period is not as sensitive as your first trimester.
At this stage, your baby is active, developed and very talented as he is kicking his legs, turning his head, yawning, hiccupping and swallowing despite being too small. Amazing, isn’t it?
Let’s see what all things your baby is doing inside his safe home.
Growth and Development of Baby
The beginning of week 13 means you are through the most critical part of the baby’s development. The forming and foundation work has been already done and now, the baby will only mature and grow in size.
By the week 13, your baby weighs around 23 grams and about 7-8 cm long. On comparing with some fruit, she is still the size of a ripe plum. However, by the time, she takes birth her body will catch up. You must know that all babies follow the same development pathways but the pace of development can vary a lot. Some are faster while others are quite slow.
Though, the baby is still smaller than a finger but her face has features and characteristics of her own. The skin is still very thin and one can notice veins and organs through it. The baby’s skin is covered with many hairs which protect her while he or she floats in the womb water. By now, the baby has clearly visible nose and lips. The neck is getting longer. The body has started catching up with the head making it just one third of the body’s size now. There are tiny bones developing in its arms and legs which allow her to make movements. Now, she can take her thumb inside her mouth. Your baby is developing her own individuality with the formation of fingertips on fingers.
There is tremendous development in the brain forming its connections with nerves and muscles. The intestines have started moving from umbilical cord to the baby’s belly. The kidneys are now fully functional and filtering the urine. The bone marrow has started producing white blood cells. The spleen is also developing. Your baby is experiencing prenatal hiccups which are essential to make diaphragm strong as to develop the respiratory system. The gall bladder, thyroid and pancreas are also working great.
The placenta is grown to a size of one ounce and will weigh one or two pounds at the time of birth. The reproductive organs are already placed at their positions. If you are having a girl, she has developed around 2 million eggs in her ovaries. However, by the time she will turn 17-18 years, she will be left with 2, 00,000 eggs only.
Major development: vocal cords
You must be very eager to hear momma or dada from your baby. Congratulations! The preparations for the same have been started. The vocal cords of the baby are developing now which allow him to make first cry after birth.
Changes in Mother’s Body
Though, you may feel better by 13th week especially from those irritating pregnancy symptoms but still, you are not symptom free yet. There are some women, whose nausea and fatigue may linger for longer. However, apart from that, you will be facing some other changes and issues in the second semester. But thankfully, they are not annoying as previous ones.
- Increased vaginal discharge: Recently, you must have noticed a marked increase in your vaginal discharge. Technically, this is termed as leucorrhea. There is white or milky, mild smelling or odorless discharge which steps up its production due to increase in estrogen hormone and increase blood flow to the pelvic area. Though, it may irritate you making you wet throughout the day but its there for noble cause. It protects the vaginal area from infections and maintains a healthy balance of bacteria.
To avoid being wet, you can use a panty liner but not tampon. Some women also trying douche but it is definitely harmful as it disrupts the normal balance of bacteria which can be the cause of vaginal infections.
- Constipation: As the bowel muscles relax, your bowels would become lazy and there will be difficulty in getting waste out of your body. The only way to get rid of constipation is to include more and more fiber in your diet like fruits, vegetables and whole grains. When you are eating fruits, try to eat them whole. Peeling or making juices reduces their fiber content.
- Visible veins: There may be many blue colored lines visible all over your skin. Don’t get irked with it as it is a sign of good health. Having so, means your body is having more blood in your veins and is carrying more oxygen and nutrition to your baby.
- Stretch marks: Though, it is too soon but some women may start noticing pink or reddish streaky lines on breasts and abdomen. It is like a gift of pregnancy and about 90% of women experience it. Instead of getting worried about them, just believe that you can’t help them. At best, you can see some vitamin E or alpha-hydroxy lotions. Apart from that, avoiding rapid weight gain through exercise or balanced diet may also help get lesser of them. The better of these is they will become less noticeable after birth of baby.
Make sure that you do not use any medicated lotions apart from those prescribed by your doctor. Any over the counter products may contain drugs which can be carried to the blood stream via skin tissues.
- Breasts changes: Unfortunately, the ultrasensitive and tenderness of breasts is still there. Our nipples may be protruding more than usual and your areolas may have become darker than before. Along with all these changes, your breasts would become nodular and lumpy as mammary ducts are beginning to prepare milk. The veins under the skin of your breasts may have become visible. A few weeks later, massaging the breasts may express the first stage of breasts milk.
To get some relief, you can use cotton sports bra while sleeping. Make your partner aware of the situation so that he can be cautious during love making and hugging.
- Tummy changes: Are you feeling any changes round your tummy? You definitely would be. Your tummy would have become more rounded and like a pot around your navel. Try to replace your wardrobe with loose fitting and comfortable clothes.
Some useful Tips
Now, as you are bit relieved and feeling better, why not spend time in preparations for baby. This is the good time to work on your ideas and plans for baby and parenting. You can even work on baby nursery but check with your doctor before touching paints and chemicals. Also, be careful when lifting weights or climbing stairs.
Try to schedule your ultrasound scans when your partner can accompany you. When you and your partner see those ultrasound images of your baby together, your partner will definitely develop the paternal feelings and will get into dad mode.
No matter how your sexual life is going through, try to maintain intimacy and closeness in your relationship. Discuss fears, needs and desires so that you can avoid negative feelings like hurt, anger and ignorance. Also, try to maintain physical contact in other ways if not sex. Kisses, hugs, back and foot massage are some ways through which you can express your love and care physically.
The second trimester itself makes you more energetic as you can eat properly now, but make sure that you are continuing your exercise as it will make you more energetic.
The ideal weight gain in pregnancy is 10-12 kilograms as you eat for two people. But, focus on quality rather than quantity otherwise you will pay for this later. Shedding the pregnancy weight gain is a tough task, believe me. Occasional treats are not restricted but just be sensible while you eat.
Sex life during Pregnancy
Did you notice that your lost libido is lifting up again? Though, you have that budding belly and that vaginal discharge, but still you may feel more attraction towards your partner. Despite having mutual feelings for making a relation, most of the couples refrain from that. This is because of the fear of harming their baby. However, you must know that your baby is well protected inside your womb by the amniotic fluid, by your abdomen and by the mucus plug which is at cervix protecting it against any infections.
So, there is no harm to relive your sexual life but it is always good to ease your concerns by talking to your health care provider and move ahead only after you get the green signal. This is because there are some pregnancies in which sexual activity is restricted. There may be different reasons for that like having premature birth or labor in previous pregnancy, history of miscarriage, low lying placenta, dilated cervix, unexplained vaginal bleeding or some sexually transmitted diseases.
With all these changes, you are now entering next trimester. Welcome and enjoy the second semester! Generally, this is the most favorite time for women in pregnancy as they feel pretty good in this. Many bad things about pregnancy are waning and good things are showing their presence. So, just enjoy your next three months.