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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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