You have officially entered the second trimester in your pregnancy, week 13! Congratulations! You may start to feel better than you have so far during your pregnancy, especially if you were bothered by morning sickness. The second trimester may very well be the most enjoyable trimester of your pregnancy.You may be starting to feel pregnant now, but you’re not far enough along to be uncomfortable, because your belly isn’t in your way quite yet. Loose-fitting clothes may be a “must” for some women by the end of this week, while others may still fit into some of their pre-pregnancy clothes (if this is their first pregnancy). Many women experience an increase in their energy level right about now, but if you’re still feeling tired, make sure you’re getting enough rest.
Your Emotions and Mood Swings
It’s not unusual to feel very emotional and irritable during pregnancy, because pregnancy hormones (estrogen and progesterone being the two main ones) tend to have this affect on your emotions. You may feel very similar to how you feel leading up to menstruation (which would be PMS). This is quite common and completely normal.
You may start to notice mood swings soon after you find out you’re expecting and they may continue throughout your pregnancy. Shifts in your mood and weepiness can feel almost like a roller coaster; one minute you may intensely happy and the next you may feel overwhelmingly sad. Feelings of depression are also not uncommon during pregnancy. You may cry at the drop of a hat, for no apparent reason, which can leave your partner feeling quite confused.
Around this week, your pregnancy may be starting to seem more real and you may feel some uncertainty, even if it was planned. You may have fears about labor and giving birth and even of becoming a mother; all a completely normal part of pregnancy. If this pregnancy wasn’t planned, you may be having financial concerns or may feel the timing isn’t right, which may add to your anxieties.
Dizziness and Feeling Faint
You may experience dizziness around this time in your pregnancy. Some women begin having dizzy spells very soon after conception and for some it continues even up until delivery. Feeling faint is a very common occurrence during pregnancy. Things that trigger light-headedness include: standing up too quickly or for long periods of time, high or low blood sugar levels, low blood pressure (hypotension), laying flat on your back, getting too warm, fatigue and anemia. In very early pregnancy, dizziness can even be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy (particularly accompanied by cramping, pain and bleeding), although you’re way past that point now.
One of the best ways to combat feeling dizzy is to make sure you never skip meals. Eat regularly; not ever letting your stomach become completely empty, to maintain your blood sugar level. Several small meals and healthy snacks throughout the course of your day will help fight dizziness.
When you sleep, avoid sleeping directly on your back. When you lie flat for more than a few minutes at a time, it can lower your blood pressure, because of the weight from your growing uterus pressing on your inferior vena cava (which is a major blood vessel that runs to your heart). Moving from a lying to a sitting position or a sitting to a standing position can also cause a drop in your blood pressure. To avoid feeling light-headed, change positions slowly and also stand up gradually if you’re lying or sitting down.
Avoid getting overheated and steer clear of stuffy rooms. If you feel yourself becoming dizzy, find a place to sit down. This will not only help with the dizziness, but also will keep you from falling down. If you’re in a stuffy room, you may want to get out in the fresh air, which could very well do the trick. You may need a snack to boost your blood sugar, if you haven’t eaten in a while. If your dizziness persists or if you’re concerned about it, you should contact your doctor or midwife.
Your Baby – Week 13
If you are now 13 weeks pregnant, your baby is between 2.5 – 3 inches in length, measuring from crown to rump. By the end of this week, your baby will weigh about 1 ounce; what a big growth spurt! Still very small, though, about the size of a lemon and has plenty of room as he or she floats in the amniotic sac. Soon, the living quarters will become very cramped! Your baby’s head is still very large (compared to the rest of his or her body), but it’s growth is slowing, as the body is gradually catching up. Your baby can even turn his or her large head from side to side now, because by this week, the neck is fully formed and able to support these movements.
Your Doctor’s Visit
If you have a doctor’s check-up this week, you will get to listen to your baby’s heart beat. You may have already been lucky enough to hear it, if you seen your doctor or midwife during the last couple of weeks. This is surely a very exciting event in your pregnancy! Your doctor or midwife will use a Doppler instrument, which is somewhat similar to a stethoscope (although with a stethoscope, you can’t hear your baby’s heart beat until at least 20th week). This device uses harmless sound waves (like ultrasound), which bounce off of your baby’s heart, to amplify the heart beat so you can hear it out loud. You can even buy Doppler-like devices at some stores now, but you may have difficulty finding the heart beat yourself, which can be alarming. You may be better off sticking to waiting until your monthly prenatal appointments.
At your check-up, your doctor or midwife is able to tell the difference between your baby’s heart beat and yours, because a normal heart rate for you would be under 100 beats per minute, but your baby’s is normally between 120 and 160. If you are carrying twins, it may be difficult to distinguish the two heart rates, particularly if they are very similar. If your doctor or midwife suspects he or she has heard two separate heart beats at two different places in your belly, you will probably get an ultrasound to check and see how many little ones are in there! From now on, your doctor or midwife will routinely listen to your baby’s heart beat at every prenatal visit, since it should be heard consistently now. Hearing the heart beat before now sometimes depends more on luck than anything, because the Doppler would have to be at just the right angle and, depending on if you’re very slender or heavy, it may not be heard.