Pregnancy: Week 11

Week eleven carries you into the second-to-last week of your first trimester. Your baby is making enormous developmental strides and it won’t be long until you can feel your baby and start showing your pregnancy through your physical appearance. If you haven’t already done so, now is a good time to start looking at maternity clothes.

Physiological Development

Your baby is now two inches long, weighs 1/3oz, and can breathe underwater. Right now, it is busy developing its sex organs, testes if it is a boy, and ovaries if it is a girl. You won’t be able to tell the sex of the baby on your week eleven ultrasound, though, so don’t get your hopes up. Their external genitalia is forming, however, so it should not be too long until you can find out your child’s sex. Individual fingers and toes are forming, replacing the frog-like webbed hands and feet that have been present. And on these individually-formed fingers and toes, tiny nailbeds are forming. By now, your baby’s body is straightening out and is capable of a wide range of movements; it can stretch, perform forward rolls, do somersaults—it’s as if there’s a tiny gymnastics meet going on inside your womb. 

Week 11 Ultrasound

Your baby is rapidly growing and looking more and more like a human baby every day. You’ll be able to clearly see the head, which is still the same size as the rest of its body, but his/her body-to-head ratio will normalize by the time it’s born. On your ultrasound for week eleven, you should be able to see your baby kicking clearly defined limbs and even see some blood vessels, as the skin is still very translucent.

Changes in You

The progesterone in your body is keeping you healthy, but it’s also to blame for a lot of the side effects you are currently feeling. Burping, bloating, passing gas, slowing down digestion—all of this is the work of progesterone, which relaxes your body’s smooth muscles (including the gastrointestinal tract), which is what causes digestion to slow so that the body can absorb more nutrients. You may also start to notice that your abdomen feels uncomfortable, especially after eating. The sensation is not unlike that felt after overeating as if you are too full. This will only get worse because as your uterus continues to grow, it’ll put more pressure on your digestive tract. You can help with the bloating by avoiding large meals and instead eating little bits of food throughout the day, a strategy called “grazing over gorging”.

Week eleven is perhaps the first week in which you may finally start to show a small baby bump, though everyone develops at a different rate. You may not be showing at all, especially if this is your first pregnancy.

What You Should Be Doing

Week eleven is often the first week that doctors will perform the first-trimester nuchal translucency screening to see if your baby is at risk for certain birth defects (see Week 8 for more information on genetic testing) Now is also a good time to schedule a dentist appointment. Pregnancy can cause teeth to become weaker due to calcium loss, so be sure to maintain your oral health routine and get all of your calcium.

It is also wise to be mindful of your diet. Your doctor should be able to tell you how much weight you should gain during your pregnancy, but most women, only need to eat 300 extra calories per day. Even though you’re nearing the end of your first trimester, you might not have gained much weight—do not be dismayed (or overly joyful), most women do not gain more than a few pounds during their first trimester and some may even lose weight if their morning sickness is bad enough.

Additionally, now is not the time to be taking on extra responsibilities or making a lot of commitments; pregnancy fatigue will leave you feeling lethargic and listless, so you should be getting plenty of rest, both at night and throughout the day. In fact, should your daily routine become too much for you, you should not hesitate to ask for help. Talk to your partner about your condition and impress upon them the need for you to rest in order to have a healthy pregnancy. Even just a little help around the house can do a lot to alleviate your fatigue.

End of Week 11

As you end week eleven and enter week twelve, you begin the last week of your first trimester. Be glad—many women find that their more unpleasant pregnancy symptoms start to subside.

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