It’s week 11 and you’re probably thinking “here we go again with the symptoms and hormonal changes.” Well, you’re not wrong and in case you don’t realize it, your first trimester is almost at an end.
If this is your first pregnancy, you would likely not be showing just yet, but if this is your second or more, chances are that you’re already showing. The same goes for multiple babies.
You recall that your baby has started to look more and more human, and this continues this week. This week also sees some rapid growth and significant developments in your baby.
Notable of these developments is that your baby would begin to move around quite a bit. It would be doing a bit of stretching and just rolling around in your uterus.
With or without a baby bump, you would definitely feel pregnant right about now and it has both the upside and downside—the upside is the fact that you’re carrying a baby and the downside is the symptoms and changes in your body of course.
Around this time, you may also experience fuller hair, glowing skin, and stronger nails. Blemishes and some hair growth on your face may occur too.
Your consolation is that you’re about to enter the second trimester where the hormones begin to take a backseat and you would regain your energy.
This week also heralds some tests including blood pressure, urine, and blood. These tests are voluntary but it’s a good idea to know where you are physiologically.
And finally, saving the best for the last, the 11th week may mark your first ultrasound scan—you get to take a first look at your future baby!
Your Baby’s Development
At week 11, your baby sees some major changes alongside significant progress and development that has already been taking place.
By this time, your baby is around 41mm in length and about the size of a lime.
It is starting to look a lot more human too and the fingers and toes are fast becoming separated and losing their webbing. Nail beds are developing too.
Hands and feet are in front of its body now and nasal passages are beginning to open on the tip of the nose. Ears are assuming their final shape and the mouth is sporting the tongue and palate now. The tooth buds are continuing to form and for some activity on the chest, nipples are beginning to grow.
Also, the diaphragm which is a wide, flat muscle that separates the chest and the abdominal cavity is developing great.
On the head, hair follicles are forming and the same can be said for your baby’s skin. And although the early delicate skin is still pretty translucent, bones are hardening, and fingernails are still growing.
You cannot tell gender just yet, but if your baby is a girl, rest assured that she is already developing ovaries. This week also sees some lengthening in the torso as well as strategies by your baby, forward rolls, and somersaults.
Your Body & Symptoms
You might assume that your thickening waist and bump has gotten really obvious and can be seen by most people. But at this time, most people would still be oblivious to the fact that you’re carrying a baby. While a repeat pregnancy may be obvious at this time, a first wouldn’t be.
However, your uterus continues to expand this week and you would start to bulge slightly. This results in your ligaments and muscles get stretched out and it can result in abdominal pain. If this pain gets too intense, you would need to see a medical expert.
Around this time, your body is still pumping up to 50 percent more blood than the regular and while the blood is necessary for your baby’s nutrition, it may have physical effects on you such as heavy sweating, sensations of heat, and well as lightheadedness. If you ever feel this way, then you need to get some rest immediately.
The placenta is already in charge of nourishing your baby and eliminating waste, and with the switch from the yolk sac that previously fed your baby to the placenta involves hormones that would make you feel so much more emotional and fatigued too.
Your baby would be experiencing rapid growth around this time too, and to maintain this pace, the blood vessels present in the placenta would experience significant growth in number and size.
And as always, here are some of the common symptoms that you would experience this week:
1. Frequent Urination
You’re still going to be a frequent visitor to the bathroom this week. Of course, you should already know that the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is responsible for this.
It increases blood flow to the kidneys and pelvic region, bringing about the sensation of always having to pee. And as has been mentioned in previous weeks, do not attempt to reduce your fluid intake because you and your baby need to stay hydrated all the time.
Take more water instead and reduce your intake of caffeinated drinks since they just make you run to the bathroom more often.
2. Dizziness and Lightheadedness
This symptom isn’t going to be ruled out just yet, because your circulatory system is constantly expanding and your body is striving to produce enough blood to fill the new space. It is this occasional scarcity of blood that results in lightheadedness and dizziness.
You can feel better by lying down and elevating your feet so that it is above your heart level. This results in an increase in blood pressure all through your body. If you’re unable to do this, an alternative is to put your head between your knees and take deep breaths.
3. Increased Appetite
You may notice that your appetite is a lot larger and you may feel more voracious. This is a positive development and an indication that your morning sickness is gradually lifting and your appetite is coming back to allow for nourishment for you and your baby.
However, you should watch your diet closely so that you don’t become overweight. The best way to do this is by opting for more nutritious food and cutting back on junk.
4. Burping and Bloating
Although your bump isn’t obvious just yet, it doesn’t mean that you would still slip into your jeans as easily as you used to. Your belly might be flat as a board and getting into your jeans would be a struggle.
Thanks to the pregnancy hormone progesterone, you would be needing a new pair that is your size. Progesterone plays a major role in ensuring that you have a healthy pregnancy, but it does leave some not-so-pleasant reminders of its presence such as burping, bloating, and gas.
Progesterone stimulates relaxation in smooth muscle tissue within your body as well as the gastrointestinal tract and effectively slows down digestion so that your body has more time to get nutrients from the food and then it is absorbed into your bloodstream and transported to your baby.
This is why your abdomen feels pretty full for a while after every meal—a bloated feeling and while this isn’t exactly what you want to hear, this feeling would persist and may even get worse.
An increase in the size of your uterus leads to its crowding your stomach and intestines. This leads to an increase in pressure on the digestive tract, thus giving you the sensation of being bloated.
On the bright side, all of the discomforts are felt by you, your baby remains supremely comfortable. As a matter of fact, the gurgling of your gastric symphony can be pretty soothing for it.
A practical way to avoid bloating and gas is by avoiding foods such as soda, fried foods, sweets, beans as well as other foods that are known for producing gas.
Measures To Begin To Observe
1. Take Your Vitamins!
As with other weeks, you’re advised to consume up to 400 micrograms of folic acid up until at least week 12. This would aid in the formation of your baby’s nervous system and prevent conditions like spina bifida.
Also, you should take vitamin D supplements. Usually, we get sufficient vitamin D from sunlight, but given that you would be spending lots of time indoors, supplements can come in handy.
2. Give Up Your Bad Habits
If you haven’t stopped, you really should at this point in time. Put a pause on alcohol and caffeine. Cigarette smoke whether primary or secondary should be avoided too.
Pregnant women are expected to work out at least 30 minutes every day. Nothing tasking or strenuous, activities like a power walk outside is advised. You could also get a treadmill indoors, it’s a perfect set up.
You’re still in the peak period of morning sickness and you may have some difficulty keeping food down.
However, eating healthy cannot be replaced with some other alternative, so you would need to find out what works for you. Also, pay close attention to your symptoms in case you need to call your doctor’s attention to something unusual