Your baby is growing fast – and you may be too! You might hear their heartbeat for the first time at your antenatal appointments.
Your baby’s hands find their way to their mouth and sometimes they look like they might be yawning or breathing. At this stage your baby only sleeps for a few minutes at a time but later in pregnancy, they’ll start sleeping for longer stretches and you might even notice a pattern, or routine emerging.
Your baby’s ovaries or testes have developed inside their body and a tiny willy or penis is now forming where a bump was before.
Your body at 13 Weeks Pregnant
You’ve just about made it to your second trimester, which many moms-to-be describe as the honeymoon period of pregnancy. The discomforts you may have experienced in the first trimester — fatigue, nausea, and frequent urination — often ease up a bit, and you may even feel a surge of energy during this trimester.
By this stage, your blood supply and flow are fully linked to the placenta, which will continue to grow as your pregnancy progresses. By the time you give birth, the placenta may weigh about one and a half pounds.
At your upcoming prenatal appointments, your healthcare provider may monitor your fundal height — the distance from your pubic bone to the top of your uterus (the fundus). This measurement helps your provider determine how your baby is doing by measuring the size of your growing uterus.
Breast tenderness may continue on and off, and other issues like constipation, bloating, and heartburn are normal at this stage, too, as your increased hormone levels can slow down digestion.
13 Weeks Pregnant: Your Symptoms
- Vaginal discharge. A clear to milky-colored discharge known as leukorrhea may increase around this point in your pregnancy. You might be surprised to learn that this discharge has a unique purpose: It helps keep your vagina and birth canal clear of infection and irritation. If it gets a little messy, panty liners can be a big help.
- Changing sex drive. It’s perfectly normal for you and your partner to feel an increase or a decrease in sexual desire at various times during pregnancy. If your pregnancy is normal and both of you feel the urge, go ahead and enjoy the intimacy. Don’t worry — your baby will be safe! Your uterus and the amniotic sac provide protection for your baby. Talk to your healthcare provider if you’re worried or have questions about this or anything else. Note that your provider might advise you to abstain from sex if you have complications including a history of miscarriage or if you are at risk of preterm labor.
- Heartburn. Heartburn and indigestion can come and go throughout your pregnancy as your baby moves from one position to the next, and as your growing uterus puts pressure on your stomach. Pregnancy hormones also cause the muscle at the top of your stomach to relax, allowing stomach acid to travel up into the esophagus, which causes heartburn; this is more likely to happen if you lie down after having just eaten a large meal. You can reduce the discomfort by sitting upright after eating and avoiding potential triggers such as chocolate, citrus fruits, and fried or spicy foods.
- Constipation. Hormones strike again! Progesterone and estrogen play an important role in pregnancy, but right now they might be causing your digestive system to work more slowly than usual. This means that you may be feeling a bit backed up. Adding more fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain foods to your diet increases your fiber intake and helps keep things moving along. Drinking prune juice might also help, as can drinking lots of water and doing regular exercise.
- Leaking colostrum. You may start to notice a thick, yellow fluid leaking from your breasts right about now. This is called colostrum, and it’s the milk that appears for the first few days after you give birth. It is completely normal, but you may want to try using disposable or cotton breast pads (without plastic liners) to help absorb any leaking fluid.
Things to do for a healthy pregnancy
It’s never too late to start healthy eating habits that will nourish your body and your baby. Focus on whole foods that contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and good fats. Whole-grain toast with peanut butter is a solid way to start the day. Fruits high in antioxidants, like berries, make wonderful snacks. Try incorporating lean protein from beans, eggs, and oily fish into your meals. Just remember to steer clear of:
- seafood high in mercury
- raw seafood, including sushi
- undercooked meats
- lunch meats, though these are generally considered safe if you heat them up before eating
- unpasteurized foods, which include many soft cheeses
- unwashed fruits and vegetables
- raw eggs
- caffeine and alcohol
- some herbal teas
READ ALSO: Foods to avoid during Pregnancy
Exercise is still recommended if it’s been cleared by your doctor. Walking, swimming, jogging, yoga, and light weights are all great options. At 13 weeks, you should start finding alternatives to abdominal exercises, like situps, that require you to lie flat on your back. The increasing weight from your uterus can decrease blood flow to your heart, making you lightheaded, and in turn, slowing the delivery of oxygen to your baby.
Always contact your doctor if you experience any pelvic or abdominal cramping, spotting, or bleeding, as these may be signs of miscarriage. Also, if you are experiencing anxiety, depression, or excessive stress, it’s a good idea to seek help.
13 Weeks pregnant checklist
- Start doing research into your childcare options. You can ask friends, neighbors, or coworkers for recommendations for in-home care or childcare centers.
- If you work, find out about your maternity leave rights and options, including how many weeks you may have, and how much of that time might be paid. You can also ask if your employer offers any additional benefits.
- Plan how to share your big news with your wider circle of family and friends.
- Start making a shortlist of possible names for your little one.
Categories: Pregnancy week by week