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Pregnancy at Week 13

Pregnancy at Week 13

How the Baby is Growing

Your baby is starting to look less like an alien and more like a human. Your baby is about the size of a pea pod, and his head is about a third of his overall body size. Your little pea pod weighs approximately one ounce.

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    Babies now have tiny fingerprints on their tiny fingertips. Your baby has sucking muscles in his cheeks, so when you poke your stomach the baby will start rooting. This is an automatic behavior and instinct of searching for your nipple that babies have once they are born.

    Organs are continuing to develop and some are functional. Their organs can still be seen through their thin skin. The urinary tract has started functioning and your little pea pod is starting to urinate out the amniotic fluid that he has been swallowing. If you are having a girl, she now has over 2 million eggs in her ovaries. This number will decrease to a million by the time she is born and will have dropped to about 200,000 by the time she is 17.

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    During pregnancy week 13, your baby is beginning to develop bones in his legs and arms. This gives him the strength to begin jerking his arms around and may allow him to find his thumb. With the sucking muscles developed, it is possible that your baby could begin sucking his thumb as little as week 13.

    Your little pea pod’s vocal chords are growing, which is the first step to him saying, “I love you, Mommy.” Unfortunately sound is unable to travel through the uterus so you will have to wait until the baby is born and wakes you up at 2 a.m. to appreciate his beautiful vocals.

    At this point, fetus growth will vary from fetus to fetus, so do not compare your fetus to the one next door. All babies will grow through the same developmental stages, but some babies will grow at a faster pace while others will grow a slower pace. It is natural and part of the process.

    Mother Body Development

    This is the last week of your first trimester, which means your risk for a miscarriage drops significantly compared to the first few weeks. You should start to feel better as you move into the second trimester, which is considered to be a time of relative comfort.

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    For a majority of women, the feelings of nausea and fatigue are decreasing, but just in time for clumsiness. From tripping to dropping dishes, you will start to feel more clumsy. Your body is secreting hormones that relax your muscles in preparation for the day you need your pelvis to be relaxed.

    If you are still feeling nausea and fatigue, do not worry, some women will continue to experience these symptoms into their 16th or 20th week of pregnancy. Bloating, constipation and headaches may also be first trimester symptoms that stick around for the rest of your pregnancy.

    Your placenta is continuing to grow, along with the baby, so you will notice a slight weight gain during this week. For many women, the baby has recently moved to the north of your uterus, so this week you will continue to develop that rounded, “Yes, I am pregnant!” belly.

    You may also begin to experience increased amounts of vaginal discharge, which serves the purpose of keeping your birth canal from infection and maintaining a natural balance of bacteria. Unfortunately, this can make a mess of your underwear. If it makes you more comfortable, you can use a panty liner, but never anything more. Do not use a tampon or douche will you are pregnant because it can lead to vaginal infections.

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    Common Symptoms Experienced In This Week

    Along with the older symptoms of nausea and fatigue, you may feel breast tenderness, heartburn and have visible veins.

    Your breasts have started making colostrum, the nutrient-rich fluid that feeds your baby for the first few days before your milk starts to flow. The increased blood flow in your body can make your breasts more sensitive. Be sure to pick a bra with plenty of support to ease your discomfort.

    As the baby pushes north, the muscles at the top of the stomach relax to allow room for the baby. Unfortunately, this allows digestive acids to rise up into the esophagus, causing a burning in the chest. To reduce your heartburn and indigestion, avoid trigger foods and drinks. Reduce or eliminate your consumption of caffeinated drinks, mint, citrus, chocolate, spicy foods and fatty foods.

    Your blood circulation has increased as the placenta grows, supplying more nutrients to your little pea pod. These veins might be an unwelcomed site, but they are a good sign as the baby is getting the nutrients they need.

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    Activities During Pregnancy Week 13

    Along with all of the vaginal discharge and other symptoms, you might experience an increase in sex drive. When it comes to sex in pregnancy week 13, try going with the flow. Your partner may be captivated by your ripening breasts and belly, but you might not want him to feel your body at the moment. You might feel hotter than ever, but your husband is turned off. This is all normal and will likely change throughout the pregnancy.

    Tips in This Week

    Continue preparing for the baby’s coming by discussing parenting views and styles with your partner. For a creative exercise, try writing a list of things your parents always did or never did. For example, “My mother always…” Once you are done creating your lists, talk about them with your partner. Talk about what behaviors you value and want to use to raise your child.

    Featured photo credit: Rumpleteaser via flickr.com

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    Published on January 30, 2019

    How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

    How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

    In roughly 60 percent of two-parent households with children under the age of 18, both parents work full time. But who takes time off work when the kids are sick in your house? And if you are a manager, how do you react when a man says he needs time to take his baby to the pediatrician?

    The sad truth is, the default in many companies and families is to value the man’s work over the woman’s—even when there is no significant difference in their professional obligations or compensation. This translates into stereotypes in the workplace that women are the primary caregivers, which can negatively impact women’s success on the job and their upward mobility.

    According to a Pew Research Center analysis of long-term time-use data (1965–2011), fathers in dual-income couples devote significantly less time than mothers do to child care.[1] Dads are doing more than twice as much housework as they used to (from an average of about four hours per week to about 10 hours), but there is still a significant imbalance.

    This is not just an issue between spouses; it’s a workplace culture issue. In many offices, it is still taboo for dads to openly express that they have family obligations that need their attention. In contrast, the assumption that moms will be on the front lines of any family crisis is one that runs deep.

    Consider an example from my company. A few years back, one of our team members joined us for an off-site meeting soon after returning from maternity leave. Not even two hours into her trip, her husband called to say that the baby had been crying nonstop. While there was little our colleague could practically do to help with the situation, this call was clearly unsettling, and the result was that her attention was divided for the rest of an important business dinner.

    This was her first night away since the baby’s birth, and I know that her spouse had already been on several business trips before this event. Yet, I doubt she called him during his conferences to ask child-care questions. Like so many moms everywhere, she was expected to figure things out on her own.

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    The numbers show that this story is far from the exception. In another Pew survey, 47 percent of dual-income parents agreed that the moms take on more of the work when a child gets sick.[2] In addition, 39 percent of working mothers said they had taken a significant amount of time off from work to care for their child compared to just 24 percent of working fathers. Mothers are also more likely than fathers (27 percent to 10 percent) to say they had quit their job at some point for family reasons.

    Before any amazing stay-at-home-dads post an angry rebuttal comment, I want to be very clear that I am not judging how families choose to divide and conquer their personal and professional responsibilities; that’s 100 percent their prerogative. Rather, I am taking aim at the culture of inequity that persists even when spouses have similar or identical professional responsibilities. This is an important issue for all of us because we are leaving untapped business and human potential on the table.

    What’s more, I think my fellow men can do a lot about this. For those out there who still privately think that being a good dad just means helping out mom, it’s time to man up. Stop expecting working partners—who have similar professional responsibilities—to bear the majority of the child-care responsibilities as well.

    Consider these ways to support your working spouse:

    1. Have higher expectations for yourself as a father; you are a parent, not a babysitter.

    Know who your pediatrician is and how to reach him or her. Have a back-up plan for transportation and emergency coverage.

    Don’t simply expect your partner to manage all these invisible tasks on her own. Parenting takes effort and preparation for the unexpected.

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    As in other areas of life, the way to build confidence is to learn by doing. Moms aren’t born knowing how to do this stuff any more than dads are.

    2. Treat your partner the way you’d want to be treated.

    I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard a man on a business trip say to his wife on a call something to the effect of, “I am in the middle of a meeting. What do you want me to do about it?”

    However, when the tables are turned, men often make that same call at the first sign of trouble.

    Distractions like this make it difficult to focus and engage with work, which perpetuates the stereotype that working moms aren’t sufficiently committed.

    When you’re in charge of the kids, do what she would do: Figure it out.

    3. When you need to take care of your kids, don’t make an excuse that revolves around your partner’s availability.

    This implies that the children are her first priority and your second.

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    I admit I have been guilty in the past of telling clients, “I have the kids today because my wife had something she could not move.” What I should have said was, “I’m taking care of my kids today.”

    Why is it so hard for men to admit they have personal responsibilities? Remember that you are setting an example for your sons and daughters, and do the right thing.

    4. As a manager, be supportive of both your male and female colleagues when unexpected situations arise at home.

    No one likes or wants disruptions, but life happens, and everyone will face a day when the troubling phone call comes from his sitter, her school nurse, or even elderly parents.

    Accommodating personal needs is not a sign of weakness as a leader. Employees will be more likely to do great work if they know that you care about their personal obligations and family—and show them that you care about your own.

    5. Don’t keep score or track time.

    At home, it’s juvenile to get into debates about who last changed a diaper or did the dishes; everyone needs to contribute, but the big picture is what matters. Is everyone healthy and getting enough sleep? Are you enjoying each other’s company?

    In business, too, avoid the trap of punching a clock. The focus should be on outcomes and performance rather than effort and inputs. That’s the way to maintain momentum toward overall goals.

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    The Bottom Line

    To be clear, I recognize that a great many working dads are doing a terrific job both on the home front and in their professional lives. My concern is that these standouts often aren’t visible to their colleagues; they intentionally or inadvertently let their work as parents fly under the radar. Dads need to be open and honest about family responsibilities to change perceptions in the workplace.

    The question “How do you balance it all?” should not be something that’s just asked of women. Frankly, no one can answer that question. Juggling a career and parental responsibilities is tough. At times, really tough.

    But it’s something that more parents should be doing together, as a team. This can be a real bonus for the couple relationship as well, because nothing gets in the way of good partnership faster than feelings of inequity.

    On the plus side, I can tell you that parenting skills really do get better with practice—and that’s great for people of both sexes. I think our cultural expectations that women are the “nurturers” and men are the “providers” needs to evolve. Expanding these definitions will open the doors to richer contributions from everyone, because women can and should be both—and so should men.

    Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

    Reference

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