Your little one is approximately 11- 11 ½ inches in length, measuring from crown to rump and will weigh close to 1 ¾ pounds by the end of this week. Your baby is beginning to absorb small amounts of sugar from the sweet amniotic fluid he or she swallows, although the placenta provides nearly all of your baby’s nourishment. Your baby does receive a small amount of caloric intake from swallowed amniotic fluid, which contributes to his or her nourishment. Your baby can even pass sugar from the small intestine into his or her body now.
Your baby appears very much like he or she will at birth. Even though your baby is developing and growing quite rapidly, he or she is fairly thin and will put on a lot of fat and fill out over the next few months. Your baby’s skin is growing faster than the layer of fat underneath it, therefore it still has a very wrinkled look to it, although it is gradually smoothing out. The constant immersion in the amniotic fluid doesn’t help with the wrinkled skin, it contributes to it as well. Your baby’s thin skin is looking less transparent now and taking on more of a reddish-pink or reddish-purple tone (regardless of ethnic background), although veins and arteries are still visible through the skin. The delicate skin is starting to thicken slightly and capillaries (tiny blood vessels) are developing underneath it. The sweat and oil glands are functioning by this week of development.
The inner ear, which is a labyrinth of hard boney chambers, is completely developed by this week. This part of your baby’s ear contains thousands of tiny hair cells, which translate vibrations into electrical nerve impulses. These impulses are sent to the auditory nerves, which connects the inner ear to the brain. The neural impulses are interpreted as sound, by the brain. Since your baby’s inner ear is developed, your baby is capable of knowing when he or she is upside down or right side up, because this part of the ear controls balance, as well hearing.
The top of your uterus may have made its way up to 2 ½ inches above your belly button by the end of this week. You’re probably not too uncomfortable, yet, with your increasing belly size, but tying your shoes will gradually become more and more difficult in the coming weeks! You may want to invest in some good, supportive slip-on shoes now. Shoes should be low-heeled and need to fit properly. Keep in mind that your feet may have actually grown a half a size (or possibly even an entire shoe size) because of swelling and hormonal changes. You’ve most likely already passed that awkward period when your clothes are tight on you, but maternity clothes don’t fit properly. You will find that you’ll fill out most maternity clothes quite nicely, as your tummy grows outward and becomes more round.
Sometimes during the last part of the second or third trimester of pregnancy, women develop a condition called “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome” (or CTS). It is caused when fluid collects around the joints in your wrists (swelling), which leads to your nerves becoming compressed. If you begin experiencing pain and numbness in your hands or wrists or sharp pains that shoot from your wrists up your arms, you may have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Tingling and pain often gets much worse at night, waking you up or keeping you from falling back asleep, sometimes to the point where you have to sleep sitting up. It also may get worse while you are driving or have your hands up to wash your hair. Resting your fingers, hands and wrists in a neutral position is the best treatment. Try reducing your intake of salt to prevent further swelling and avoid laying on your hands at night. If you wake up in pain, try dangling your hand over the side of your bed. If you have a moderate to severe case, you may need to consider wearing a splint or wrist support, at least at night to reduce pain. The good news: usually pregnancy-induced Carpal Tunnel Syndrome improves immediately following delivery.
Have you chosen a name (or names, if you are unsure of the gender) for your baby? Deciding on a name for your little one is likely one of the most important and exciting things you will do during your pregnancy. It may also be one of the most difficult things to agree on. With careful thought, you should be able to come up with a name you and your partner can both happily agree on. You may want to consider a name of ethnic origin or choose a biblical name or maybe even a name of a family member. Some people like to give their child a middle name after a close relative. Others prefer names of famous actor or actresses. Just remember this is your decision. Choose a name that you believe is best suited for your baby.