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13 Weeks Pregnant: Baby And Mama Turn A Huge Corner
What’s it like?
You are almost into the second trimester. Your body is going through a number of important changes from the stabilization of pregnancy hormones to the shifting of your uterus into the abdominal cavity. Your baby looks more human – you may be able to see some of yourself or your partner in his or her features. She is still small – about the size of a small egg, but her growth rate is about to accelerate.
Your baby’s growth
- Body size
By the end of the 13th week, your baby will measure between 2.3 and 2.5 inches (60 and 65 millimeters).
- Head characteristics
Your baby’s head size represents a third of his or her entire body. Now your child’s eyes and ears are perfectly identifiable, though his or her eyelids are still fused to protect the eyes which are still immature and will only open around the 28th week of pregnancy. All future tooth buds are forming now, as well as your baby’s vocal cords.
- Body appearance
Your little one can now move suddenly, bending the arms and kicking with his or her feet. You cannot feel it yet – it will take about another six weeks. You baby will form their own fingerprints and her veins and organs are clearly visible through her still-thin skin. His or her ribs are visible but they are extremely small.
- Internal organs
The kidneys and the urinary tract are functional. Your baby begins to eliminate the amniotic liquid he or she has swallowed into the amniotic sac.
What happens inside your body?
As your progesterone levels calm down, so too will your nausea, headaches. Your baby is almost completely formed, although still very small, and the risk of miscarriage has dropped greatly. While the morning sickness and mood swings have probably eased, there are two more symptoms you might notice: abdominal cramps and varicose veins.
Your uterus has shifted, moving up into the abdominal cavity. While that means less pressure on your bladder, easing your frequent urination issues, some women find that it also created abdominal cramps. The ligaments that support your uterus stretch which can be mildly painful. It will probably feel like a sharp pain, accompanied by discomfort in the lower abdomen, and is more likely when you change positions or when you suddenly stand up.
How different will you look?
In the past weeks, you have visible, even varicose veins on your legs, as a result of the increased blood flow. (The volume of blood increases by 50 % during pregnancy). If they occur in the vulva and rectum too, they are called hemorrhoids. The good news is that these will likely disappear after pregnancy, especially if you didn’t already have varicose veins. Daily exercise will help with spider or varicose veins, as will elevating your feet. Try not to stand for long periods so the blood doesn’t accumulate in your legs.
Tips for fathers – How can you care for both of your loved ones?
Your partner is now through the most risky part of the pregnancy, so if you haven’t told everyone yet, now’s an opportune time to do so. Whether or not you tell your boss is up to you; most states don’t offer paid paternity leave, although a few do. For example, Washington offers 5 weeks for $250 per week, and California offers six weeks at 55 % of your salary. In most European countries and Canada, the paid paternity leave is longer.
Tips for mothers – Tips to help you go through trimester
Avoid varicose veins. There are a number of things that you can do to help prevent varicose veins:
- Daily exercise: aim for at least 30 minutes daily
- Don’t stand for long periods of time: don’t allow the blood to accumulate in your feet and legs.
- Sleep on your left hand side: Wedge a pillow behind your back to keep yourself tilted to the left. Since the inferior vena cava is on the right side, lying on your left side relieves the vein of the weight of the womb, thus lowering pressure on the veins in your legs and feet.
- Elevate your feet: put them up on a chair or if lying down, on a pillow.
- Thick stockings: Graduated-compression stockings, which are twice as thick as normal pantyhose, work best. They are available from medical supply stores and pharmacies.
And if none of these work, don’t worry, remember that your spider or varicose veins will probably disappear after the birth anyway. You’re only one week away from the end of the first trimester. Well done! The good news is that as the pregnancy hormones ease and the fatigue subsides, many couples notice a libido lift. As you head into second trimester, the most peaceful stage of your pregnancy, why not celebrate with a romantic evening and a mocktail or a glass of sparkling cider. You deserve it.
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Approaching the end of the second trimester, you will see the first of several changes that will make your life a lot easier.
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