Your little baby is growing rapidly! He or she is approximately 3.4 inches in length this week or the size of a naval orange, measuring from crown to rump. By the end of this week, your baby will weigh close to 2 ounces. There are quite a few things happening this week with your baby-on-the-way. He or she already has all twenty teeth waiting just beneath the gums. It will be a while yet before you have to worry about teething troubles, though! Your baby’s neck is now complete and continues to get longer. The chin no longer rests on the chest at this point. If you haven’t heard your baby’s heartbeat yet, you will get to this week, if you have a prenatal appointment. Your doctor or midwife would use a device called a “Doppler”, because it’s still too early to hear the heartbeat using a stethoscope.
Your baby is making more and more cute facial expressions now and besides facial muscles, many other muscles are working (with the help of the brain and joints), to allow your baby to move about in the amniotic fluid. Your baby is very active in there, but you most likely won’t feel the first movements (called “quickening”) until closer to 18 weeks or more, especially if this is your very first pregnancy. These sensations feel almost like fluttering butterflies or even similar to a gas bubble. A few women claim they have felt quickening beginning as early as this week, but if you don’t feel anything now, it’s because it’s just too early and your little one is too tiny. Soon, you will be aware of your baby kicking, stretching out and even hiccupping!
Your baby practices breathing movements, and in turn, his or her chest rises and falls in a regular pattern. Your little one “breathes” amniotic fluid in and out of the lungs. Another very exciting thing your baby is beginning to do is suck his or her thumb! This is because your baby’s sucking reflex is developed now. If you have an ultrasound, starting this week, you may even catch your baby sucking his or her thumb on the screen. That’d make for a neat photo to take home with you!
This week, your baby’s hair has begun to sprout! Very fine hair is beginning to form on his or her head. Some newborns have a full, thick head of hair and some look bald, while others are in between with only a little bit of hair. You’re probably wondering which it will be for your little one. Downy hair (called “lanugo”) is also growing all over your baby’s body, which protects the skin. This hair will continue its growth until just before your baby is born, when most of it will disappear. Your baby is developing eyebrows above his or her eyes now and eyelashes are growing on the eyelids, as well.
Your Body in Pregnancy
Your uterus continues to grow larger and is moving upward. You are noticeably loosing your waistline now! Skin and muscles may give way much faster if you’ve had previous pregnancies; meaning you’ll feel bigger faster.
Some women can get by for a while by not buttoning or zipping their pants up all the way or by using rubber bands to avoid wearing maternity clothes until later on. You can even wear your partner’s clothes, but soon enough you’ll want to go shopping for some real maternity clothes, because you’re going to get much bigger before your baby’s arrival.
You’ll enjoy your pregnancy more if you wear looser-fitting clothes that provide room to grow. Many women look forward to wearing maternity clothes, so they can show their pregnancy off to the world, even if maternity clothes aren’t quite necessary yet.
Around this time, you may start feeling “round ligament pain”. This discomfort is typically described as a brief pulling or sharp pain on one side of your lower abdomen or the other. Sometimes it may feel more like a longer-lasting abdominal achiness.
As your uterus grows during pregnancy, it puts strain on the round ligaments, which are located on each side of your uterus.
The ligaments support your growing uterus and may cause you pain as your uterus gets bigger and stretches. The round ligaments also stretch and even thicken during pregnancy.
The most common causes of round ligament pain are: changing positions or turning your body quickly, coughing, rolling over in bed or having a more active day than normal.
If you feel a sharp, stabbing pain, changing positions may bring immediate relief. You can also try lying on the side that is sore.
Make sure you’re getting enough rest and relaxation. If you’re feeling a dull achiness, you may want to try a soak in a warm (but not too warm) bath.
If your pain persists after you rest or take a bath, or if it gets worse, you should report it to your doctor or midwife.
Pregnancy can make moles, freckles and skin tags change and grow. They may appear for the first time during pregnancy and existing ones may get larger and darken.
Birthmarks or brown spots may become browner now. This is completely normal. Most moles are totally harmless, but in some cases they can become cancerous. If you are concerned about any moles that have grown, raised from your skin or have an irregular border, you should contact your doctor or midwife (or a dermatologist).