The changes happening in pregnancy week 11 to your body are probably happening much more slowly than with your baby, but by now your uterus has risen above your pelvis and your uterus just about fills it. It is starting to shift upwards and slightly forwards, as it grows larger, so it may not feel as if it’s pressing on your bladder quite as much now. Enjoy the less frequent bathroom trips while you can, because they will be back soon, when your uterus grows larger and is sitting on your bladder once again, towards the end of the second trimester.
If you press your fingers into your belly just above your pubic bone, you may be able to feel your uterus. Your doctor or midwife can feel your uterus during an external abdominal exam at this point. Your uterus will grow and expand in capacity about 500 to 1,000 times the size it was prior to pregnancy, to hold your growing baby, growing placenta and ever-increasing amniotic fluid. You’ve almost made it to the second trimester and your uterus is about the size of a grapefruit already. You probably still aren’t needing maternity clothes quite yet, unless this isn’t your first pregnancy.
You may discover that your typical vaginal discharge is increasing. This odorless (or possibly mild-smelling) milky white, yellowish or clear pregnancy discharge is often called “leukorrhea” and is a very common thing. It tends to increase as your due date draws closer and closer. As your pregnancy progresses, you may have to resort to wearing a panty liner for comfort, if it becomes an annoyance. Leukorrhea is caused by the ever-increasing blood flow to your vaginal area (including the skin and muscles) and also possibly because of increased levels of estrogen. If this discharge turns green, yellow or is foul-smelling and becomes itchy or causes irritation, you may have an infection. In this case, you would need to contact your doctor or midwife to get a prescription for an antibiotic which can be safely used during pregnancy.
Increasing blood flow to the vaginal area also causes other changes as well, particularly one called the Chadwick’s Sign. Increased blood flow leads to engorgement in the genital area, causing the vaginal tissue and cervix to darken. This tissue is normally a shade of light pink pre-pregnancy, but early in pregnancy it takes on a more bluish or purplish shade. This is visible to your doctor or midwife if they perform a pelvic exam, even as early as the 6th week of pregnancy sometimes. Goodell’s Sign is yet another change which occurs from the increased flow of blood to the vaginal region. This is described as when your cervix becomes significantly softer usually stating between 6-8 weeks along.
Your Baby – Week 11
Your little one in pregnancy week 11, is up to between 1.6 inches long, measuring from crown to rump. By the end of this week, your baby will weigh about 8 grams and his or her “tail” will have completely vanished. Your baby is looking more and more like a human baby all the time! During this time, your baby’s most vital body systems are already in place, completely developed and beginning to function, but they will continue to grow. These internal organ systems include: the circulatory system, nervous system, reproductive system and digestive system.
Your baby’s heart is continuing it’s job of pumping blood to all of your baby’s many internal organs, including the umbilical cord. This cord is the tube that contains arteries and veins, particularly two major arteries and one major vein, which connects your baby to the placenta. The vein inside the cord carries nutrient-rich blood and oxygen to your baby, while the two arteries within the cord return blood from your baby to the placenta.
The arms and legs are growing longer, but are still quite thin. Your baby’s joints are fully formed and he or she is very active at this stage. Your baby has been flexing his or her arms and legs, but you still can’t feel these movements, because your baby is still too small for you to notice. Your baby’s fingers and toes have been webbed up until now. They are newly-separated and clearly defined. These fingers and toes are actually growing little nails already! Can you believe that your baby has the ability to grab onto an object if something were placed in his or her tiny hand now? Absolutely amazing! Fingerprints have even appeared on your baby’s tiny fingers by now.
External genitalia is present and beginning to show male and female characteristics this week, although your baby’s gender was determined the very moment conception occurred; nine weeks ago. It will still be several weeks before it’s possible to tell by ultrasound if your baby is a boy or a girl, but ultrasound images aren’t fool-proof, therefore they cannot guarantee the gender.
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