By the time you are 13 weeks pregnant, you are rapidly closing in on the end of your first trimester. Hopefully, you are feeling a little better than you have been and are starting to think that somehow, pregnancy isn't so bad after all. You've probably had at least one ante-natal check-up and heard your baby's heartbeat by now. In some strange way, having a professional like a doctor talk about your baby, confirms your pregnancy as an absolute reality.
You may even have had an ultrasound by the time you are 13 weeks pregnant, particularly if you have threatened to miscarry. For women who have felt ambivalent about conceiving, or found the news of their pregnancy a shock, this first ultrasound can be almost life-changing. It brings the reality of the baby into sharp focus and gives a visual reminder that this is real and it’s happening.
Seeing other pregnant women in a waiting room can make you feel you are part of a select club, one which requires a unique kind of entry pass. Many women enjoy this sense of unity with others. Alternatively, it can leave some with a vague sense of concern whether they are really doing the right thing. Everyone else may be looking so much more confident and relaxed than you're feeling. Comparisons may start happening and you will want to discuss each detail of your pregnancy with other women. Don't worry about not being as calm or as excited as the other person. You are all waiting for similar reasons, though each of you will have your own, unique story. These doubts are completely, utterly, 100 percent normal!
Your physical changes this week
- That sluggish feeling in your bowel is still an unwelcome guest. Progesterone is the culprit, the hormone which works so well in relaxing muscle fibres. Fibre and lots of it, water, exercise, fresh juices especially orange and prune juice, as well as cereals with grains and wholemeal all help to relieve constipation. Stick with food and fluid based remedies rather than medication, no matter how "natural" they claim to be.
- Your uterus is still the size of a grapefruit and just as full. You may be more conscious of feeling a sense of heaviness when you sit down or at the end of the day.
- You may be looking a bit different around the tummy. More rounded with less of a defined waist and a bit of a pot around your navel. But not so much that you need to revolutionise your wardrobe quite yet.
- If you've had babies before, you will probably find that you "show" earlier than if it is your first pregnancy. The muscles and ligaments that support your abdomen are more lax and have been stretched before. A little layering or wearing slightly oversized clothes is a good way to hide that little bulge, but that's if you want to keep your news a secret for a while longer.
- If you are still feeling nauseous, you may find that eating 5-6 smaller meals a day is better than restricting yourself to the standard 3. Try not to wait too long before you eat and aim to keep your blood sugar at a steady level.
Your emotional changes this week
- Lots of pregnant women feel they've settled into the idea of being pregnant by week 13. The size of their tummy isn't restricting them from usual physical movement and that dreaded rush to the toilet has settled, for a while at least. You may find yourself feeling a bit more calm and serene this week, more accepting and going with the flow.
- If you are feeling more energetic, think about nurturing your relationship with your partner. Take the time to have some fun together and try to talk about something other than how you've been feeling. He needs to be listened to as well.
- Your breasts may seem to have taken over your chest by now, which means they are bringing you some unwanted attention. Trying to hide them under loose-fitting tops is only partially effective. It is a fact of pregnancy that a woman's breasts need to prepare for breastfeeding and change their usual appearance to lactate effectively. It can be very unsettling, but don’t let the glances bother you.
Your baby's changes this week
- This week, your baby is the size of a ripe peach and is probably just as fuzzy at this stage of its development. The fine hair which covers the surface of your baby's body at 13 weeks serves to protect its skin when it is floating around.
- Your baby is preparing its vocal chords from this week. One of the most amazing noises you will ever hear is your baby's first cry, inciting a mix between relief and longing to calm them.
- The connections between your baby's brain, muscles and nerves have all formed by now. They are able to move freely and use their muscles to push and pull themselves into various positions.
Tips For The Week
- Start carrying around some tissues and make sure you've got plenty on hand. Nasal congestion can start from week 13 which is not because of a cold. Nose bleeds and blocked ears can also be a common symptom. These are all due to the increased blood supply to your mucous membranes.
- Avoid thinking you are now able to "eat for two". All that extra food can cause a toll on your digestion. It’s helpful to know that an ideal weight gain in pregnancy is between 10-12 kgs. But if you’re under or over, worry not. As long as your doctor says your healthy, don’t fuss! Remember, it is the quality, rather than the quantity of food that you need to be careful about. Don't deny yourself the occasional treat but make sure it's from a known source!
- Start looking for maternity clothes. If your budget is tight, you could think about borrowing from someone who has had a baby. Second-hand maternity clothes are usually in great condition because they've not been worn for very long.