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 1 antenatal check and heard your baby’s heartbeat by now. In some strange way, having a professional such as a midwife or doctor talk about your baby confirms your pregnancy as an absolute reality.
You may have even 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 life as they’ve known it is about to change.
Now, where do I sit?
Seeing other pregnant women in a waiting room can make you feel you are part of a select club, one which requires a unique entry pass. Many women enjoy this sense of unity with others. Alternatively, it can leave some with a vague sense of concern that they are really doing the right thing. Everyone else may be looking so much more confident and relaxed than you’re feeling. Don’t worry if you really can’t get your head around exactly how you came to be there. You are all waiting for similar reasons, though each of you will have your own, unique story. These doubts are completely 100% normal.
Your physical changes this week
- That sluggish feeling in your bowel is still an unwelcome guest. Many pregnant women find themselves thinking more about their bathroom habits than they really want to. 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.
- It’s citrus fruit time for you in week 13. Your uterus is the size of a grapefruit and just as full. You may be more conscious of feeling a 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. Not so much that you need to revolutionise your wardrobe quite yet, but just a bit softer in some way.
- 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 which support your abdomen are more lax and have been stretched before. Winter time, with all its extra bulky clothing, can provide a perfect means of disguising an enlarging tummy. That’s if you want to keep your news a secret for a while longer of course.
- 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. There is research to support the fact that women who are pregnant with a boy, tend to eat more than if they are carrying a girl.
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. You may have been spending more time facing the toilet than him lately. A sad fact, but true. 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. Get used to the glances.
Your baby’s changes this week
- It’s still stone fruit season this week and your baby is in the peach section. That’s right; it 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 in all that water.
- 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, a mix between relief and longing to calm them. There will be times of course when you’ll wish those vocal chords didn’t work quite as well as they do. Welcome to parenthood.
- 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 Week 13
- 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 (not so) 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”. You will only pay for this later when it can be really hard to lose excess pregnancy weight. An ideal weight gain in pregnancy is between 10-12 kgs. 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 just be sensible about what you put into your mouth.
- Start looking for maternity clothes. If your budget is tight, you can borrow from someone else who has had her baby or buy second hand maternity clothes. You can get second hand maternity clothes that are in great condition because they’ve not been worn for so long.