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It has been wisely said, ‘A baby fills a space in your heart that you never knew was empty.’
Every moment after you conceive the baby is precious. Every week, you discover something new that only intensifies the bonding between you and the baby inside your womb. Week 13 is no different. In fact, the moment you enter week 13 of your pregnancy, you are filled with a sense of jubilation, as you are now about to complete the 1st trimester and are just a week away from entering the 2nd trimester of pregnancy.
No more morning sickness; what a relief that is! Then what’s next, you ask? Here is all you need to know!
Your Baby’s Growth During Pregnancy-Week 13
If you could see your baby in the 13th week, she may look like an alien! But don’t worry; there is no alien growing inside you. It is just that the size of the baby’s head is now half the size of the complete length of the baby’s body, hence, making the little one look rather odd. As the foetus develops, it is the head of the baby that grows first and the body forms later.
Another interesting development that takes place in the baby during the 13th week of pregnancy is the development of the baby’s intestines and the vocal cord. The intestine leaves the umbilical cord in the 13th week and moves to baby’s stomach for good.
At the 13th week of pregnancy, tiny bones start forming in the arms and the legs. The baby now moves in a spasmodic manner, and you may be able to feel subtle butterfly movements soon.
What Is the Baby’s Size?
At 13 weeks pregnant, your baby’s size is three inches from head to toe, and it weighs close to an ounce (28 grams). Your little munchkin is progressing steadily and has grown from the size of a lime to as large as a peach or a pea pod. Now, your little one also learns to turn her head and is capable of swallowing, yawning, and even hiccuping.
Common Bodily Changes
Most women leave the fatigue and nausea from the 1st trimester behind, to enter the smoothest phase of pregnancy.
The 13th week of pregnancy is also the time when you get the radiant glow that comes with pregnancy. One of the most critical bodily changes during pregnancy that you will observe in yourself during the last week of the 1st trimester is that your clothes will start feeling a little uncomfortable since your baby bump might begin to show a bit more, which means you can start shopping for pregnancy wear.
However, in some cases, some of the symptoms from the first trimester like bloating, constipation, headache, and tenderness of breasts can continue throughout the pregnancy, especially if you are carrying twins
Another significant yet not so pleasant change that you may observe during the 13th week is an increase in white vaginal discharge. This thin, milky, mild-smelling discharge is perfectly normal, and increases as the pregnancy progresses. This discharge protects the birth canal from infection and helps maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria in the vagina.
Symptoms of pregnancy during week 13
Some of the common symptoms during the 13th week of pregnancy are:
- Decreasing Fatigue: Now that your body has adjusted to the pregnancy, you will start regaining your energy. You can now engage in a mild workout regime.
- Food Cravings: Although you may still crave junk food, you may want to start eating healthy consciously. Indulging in small portions of junk food is allowed throughout the pregnancy, so, you don’t have to give up on your indulgences altogether.
- A Burning Sensation in the chest: As your pregnancy progresses, the muscle on top of the stomach relaxes and allows digestive acids to rise in the oesophagus. This is the reason for a burning sensation in the chest. However, there is not too much that you can do about it besides staying away from foods that trigger heartburn like chocolates, mints, spicy foods and alcohol.
- Changes in Sex Drive: Increased blood flow to the pelvis in this period causes a significant change in your sex drive. You may either want to abstain altogether or feel a higher libido. The rush of blood to the genitals may cause engorgement and more natural lubrication, making sex pleasant.
Some of the other mild symptoms that you can add to the above list are constipation, dizziness, and visible veins due to increased blood flow.
Your Belly at 13 Weeks of Pregnancy
It’s the 13th week, and your uterus has expanded enough to make your belly ‘pop’. People you haven’t shared the good news with will now start guessing that you are pregnant. Your jeans too will start feeling a little tight around the belly, and your body-hugging tops may just about give away your happy secret.
The Ultrasound at 13 Weeks
An ultrasound scan is a sonogram taken to evaluate the growth and development of the foetus. Throughout the last week of the first trimester, a number of developments take place in the foetus, although you may not be able to see or experience all of it during the ultrasound. This is the week when your baby will finally have a functioning kidney and urinary tract. You can see in the sonogram that your baby’s arm and legs look more proportionate to the size of the body. In this week, the body frame starts growing, and the head now looks one-third of the size of the body. You may notice during the ultrasound that the baby’s fingertips and tooth buds too have started to develop.
What to Eat?
Since the baby is growing fast now, you must take care of your food. Maintaining a diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients is essential. Try to include fresh fruits and vegetables and protein-packed food like lean meat, dried beans, and low-fat dairy products in your diet.
Avoid soft cheeses as they can contain listeria – a bacteria that triggers an infection called listeriosis in pregnant women. Make sure you stick to cheese that is made with pasteurised milk only. Also avoid fish like tilefish, king and mackerel as these varieties of fish have a very high level of mercury which should be avoided during pregnancy since Mercury, when ingested, can hurt the developing brain and nervous system of the baby.
Here is a list of dos and don’ts to keep in mind during the last phase of your first trimester.
- Consume lots of folate, calcium, iron, zinc, and fibre.
- Eat healthy and homely food.
- Drink 10 to 12 glasses of water and other fluids every day.
- Do get your dose of omega 3 fatty acids.
- Sleep well.
- Exercise moderately.
- Don’t start eating for two.
- Don’t ignore food safety.
- Don’t expose yourself to pesticides.
- Avoid junk food.
- Avoid heavy exercising.
- Avoid sex if you have a history of miscarriage.
What You Need to Shop for
Shopping is always exciting, but this time around you have an adorable reason to shop. The 13th week of pregnancy may be a little too early to indulge in a huge bucket list of shopping as your baby bump has just started showing. So, shop for comfortable and stretchable clothes that you can wear for the next few weeks as you will definitely have to go for another round of shopping soon.
As you step out of the first trimester, the initial discomfort of pregnancy begins to fade. You will soon be entering the most comfortable period of the journey to motherhood. Use the increase in energy to indulge your nesting instincts and prepare for the physically taxing months ahead.
Read this article in Arabic: الأسبوع 13 من الحمل