Things are really starting to happen now as we move towards the end of the first trimester. Your baby moves from being an embryo to being a fetus, your body is changing and you're officially eating for two :) Let’s continue to walk through these amazing 280 days together, week by week...
Week 9 - 224 days to go
During the 9th week your little embryo is over 2cm long. All four chambers of the heart are now functioning beautifully with the heart valves ensuring that the blood is flowing smoothly. Both eyes now face forward and the external ears are forming. The digestive system is starting to develop but will take a little while to be ready to function properly. The hard and soft palate of the mouth will start to form this week and once they have fused together the nose will develop. The little milk tooth buds are all lined up now and once in place the jaw will develop. Did you know that the elbows are the first joints that will start to move this week! The yolk sac is starting to shrink as the placenta increases in size.
Feelings of nausea are probably just awful at the moment and may occur at any time during the day. The hormone levels maintaining your pregnancy are responsible and they are now in full flight. You may be vomiting as well and these symptoms may be worse when you are feeling tired. If you can’t keep any food down then see your midwife or doctor. Only about 1% of women will have such extreme nausea and vomiting that they will need to be admitted to hospital. Your uterus is now the size of a grapefruit and you may start to notice that you are gaining weight. Your clothes may seem tight and you may feel bloated as well. Some women start experiencing food cravings as well. There is no doubt that you are pregnant!
Week 10 - 217 days to go
This is the last week of your baby being an embryo. This first embryonic phase included the development of the heart, circulation and nervous system followed by the gut, limbs and facial features. The nose, mouth, lips and the external ears have formed and the head has lifted off the chest. The eyelids have formed but will stay fused until around 26 weeks as the optic nerves are starting to develop. The fingers and toes have lengthened and separated now and the wrist has formed and can bend. The hips and knees will be flexed and your baby appears to have its legs crossed. The placenta is now functioning properly moving blood from mum to baby and back again via the umbilical cord. The little yolk sac is starting to shrink away.
You may be concerned about your baby getting enough nutrition if you are still nauseous and vomiting. Rest assured that your baby will be doing fine absorbing everything available directly from your own nutritional stores. You may be taking pregnancy multivitamins and these will help your body stay topped up. Don’t forget to take your folic acid tablets and keep eating foods with folate such as green vegies plus peas, beans and chickpeas and of course our traditional Aussie Vegemite!
Your breasts are feeling a lot bigger this week and your veins on your chest may seem more obvious now. Remember to keep your fluids up as and your bladder may feel full so you will be passing urine frequently. You may experience a tiny implantation bleed as the placenta starts growing more rapidly – if you are worried please check with your midwife or GP but this is usually quite normal.
Week 11 - 210 days to go
This is the week that your baby is officially called a fetus. It no longer looks like a little bean and is now unmistakeably a little person. The placenta is in charge of filtering every substance entering the baby’s bloodstream and eliminating all baby’s waste products. It is an amazing organ and the only organ in your body that is created and expelled within 280 days!
Your little fetus is now over 4cm long and has started to move and kick inside your uterus. The head is able to nod and turn from side to side as the neck has lengthened. This is the week when the ovaries or testes start to develop so it is technically possible to find out if you are having a girl or a boy although these early tests are a little expensive. It is not possible to identify the gender on ultrasound just yet. The kidneys and bladder are also starting to develop but they will take a little longer to become functional. Your little fetus is doing a lot of growing inside the pelvis this week.
The diaphragm has developed and the gut is starting to form within the abdominal cavity.
The spinal cord is now completely formed and functional. The startle reflex is one of the early reflexes beginning to develop and the mouth begins to open and close this week.
You will have had your first few GP or midwife appointments by now. Look out for your local community based midwife who will keep a close eye on your progress. Your choices regarding screening tests will have been discussed with you and the blood tests and scans can be booked if you are planning to have these done.
Ligament pains may surprise you when you twist and turn in bed or lean over to get the shopping out of the car. These ligaments are supporting your growing uterus and can cause quite a sudden twinge of pain. The key is to tighten up those abdominal muscles and start strengthening your pelvic floor muscles as they are going to have a busy time supporting the growing weight in your pelvis.
It is very important to pay attention to your teeth and gums in pregnancy. The hormone progesterone that keeps the uterus soft allowing excellent blood flow to the placenta also keeps the gums soft and can cause bleeding when you brush your teeth. Dental care is very important and if you are experiencing tooth ache, please ensure that you see your dentist for treatment. Dental infections can cause premature labour so don’t delay in having a check-up if you are concerned. Regular brushing and flossing every day should keep trouble at bay.
Week 12 - 203 days to go
This week your fetus will be over 5cm in length. The intestines that were being formed at the base of the umbilical cord are now moving into the abdominal cavity as there is more room as the body has lengthened. The umbilical cord will continue to lengthen throughout the pregnancy and will eventually be around 50cm in length at the time of birth. The arms and legs, hands and feet are also fully formed and will be kicking gently and waving about. The mouth is now yawning and sucking and gentle hiccups will occur as your baby has started to swallow the amniotic fluid. The head is definitely becoming more rounded and that will give you a beautiful image on your scan.
This is the final week of your first trimester. Up until now all babies grow at approximately the same rate so this helps to confirm your dates on the ultrasound scan. Many of the early pregnancy symptoms you have been experiencing many be settling at last. The fatigue may be less but you may still feel a little breathless with exertion. This is because you need about 20% more oxygen to support your baby’s growth.
Your breasts feel bigger and so does your tummy. Time to start changing into maternity clothes or pants and skirts with an elastic waist. Be very mindful of your posture; sit upright with both feet on the floor. No slouching or lying back on the couch
You will probably have your 12 week ultrasound scan at the end of this week.
Only 196 days to go!!!
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