Blog Archives for category Pregnancy by Week
You’re now officially considered full term and it’s the calm before the storm. Changes in your baby’s weight have leveled off with only a few ounces of fat added this week. At this point your baby should weigh in at around 7 lbs and 20 inches (with boys somewhat heavier and longer than girls). Happily, as far as internal organs go, they are now developed enough to function in the outside world although the oh-so-important immune system is still developing and will continue to do so after birth. With a large boost of antibodies provided by breast milk when nursing begins. Fighting infection and staying healthy should be well within their physical capacity when your little fighter is born.
For all the weight and bulk you’re lugging around these days, you’d think your little champ should weigh much more than a mere 5 lbs and be a measly 17 inches in height, but nope, that’s about the average size for a baby in its thirty-third week. In terms of appearances, they’re getting cuter and pudgier every minute as they pile on the baby fat for those adorable little wrist rolls and chubby toes. And as we’re sure you’ve already noticed they’re getting stronger with every passing day. Nowadays, it’s possible to observe a well-placed kick just by watching your belly—but you already knew that didn’t you? Although they’re getting stronger, your bigger-by-the-day baby is losing space to move around, so the actual rate of movement will drop off in the last few weeks, despite that powerful drop-kick they’ve been working on. Hey, did you know you’ll continue feeling their movements even during labor?
Your baby measures about 18.9 inches long from head to toe and weighs almost 4 pounds. It fills almost all the space in your uterus now. A layer of fat is forming underneath the thin, wrinkly skin. Baby’s practicing opening his eyes and breathing. Most internal systems are well developed, but the lungs may still be immature. You may continue to get backaches and leg cramps and you may notice colostrum—a yellowish fluid that precedes milk production—leaking from your breasts.
Your not-so-little-one is just a bit closer to their birth weight and height at around 4 pounds and 17 inches. With each added layer of baby fat, your baby’s skin starts to look more and more like it will when they finally get to see the light of day. The heavy news: you can expect your miracle-gro muffin to gain about a half a pound of weight per week from now until about two weeks before birth. Great. That’s just what you needed. Even more weight to carry around!
Your baby’s still-developing immune system has gained substantial strength over the past few weeks getting them in full gear to face our disease-ridden world o’ wonders. Obviously, a large majority of your child’s immune strength will be derived from exposure to breast milk as well as the outside elements. Their cute little noggin’ (which could already be covered with luscious locks or just purty peach fuzz), is still soft because the skull bones have not yet fused together. As much as that sounds a little too vulnerable, their “skull softness” allows for a much smoother passage through the birth canal during labor—something both you and your little swimmer will appreciate when it’s finally time to “go!” Also, some babies will have that “soft spot” on their head for up to one year after birth.
Your baby measures about 10.4 inches from crown to rump, or a total length of about 16.7 inches from head to toe, and weighs about 2.7 pounds. At this stage a fetus’ eyes are almost always blue and can distinguish bright sunlight or artificial light through the wall of the uterus. Baby is performing fewer acrobatics as conditions in the womb have become cramped now that he is getting bigger. Your uterus is about 3.5 to 4 inches above your navel. Weight gain is probably between 19 and 25 pounds. If born now, your baby could probably survive outside the womb—although in a neonatal intensive-care unit. As your due date approaches, you may be feeling relieved and excited, or anxious about motherhood, your baby’s health, and labor and delivery.
If you’ve been feeling butterflies moving around in your belly, it’s not just your run-of-the-mill pre-birth performance anxiety. No, it’s your amazing baby with a case of the hiccups: a fairly common occurrence at this point resulting from practicing breathing for their big birthday. In addition, to getting a round of butterfly-like hiccups, your little swimmer has arduously managed to accumulate enough baby fat to account for nearly 3.5% of their overall body weight. Yeah, compared to we adults, it’s not a lot, but when they’re little like that—it’s certainly a healthy (and warming) accomplishment in its way. Another fantastic accomplishment: your baby’s spleen is now in charge of hematopoiesis—the 10 dollar name for the process involved in building up certain important blood components. Another fantastic-accomplishment: your little monkey has been peeing into their amniotic sac for a little while now (this is why potty training takes a while) and if you didn’t know, actually swallows it along with the rest of the amniotic fluid. Although the concept is nasty, their urine is sterile and as part of the amniotic fluid base, is replaced several times throughout the day. So if you didn’t know before, now you can tell people, that yes, you drank your own urine—you were still in the womb, but nonetheless, you’ve been there.
From What to Expect:
At eight inches and slightly over a pound, your baby is the size and shape of a small doll. (But then, you already knew that you were carrying a living doll, didn’t you?) This week marks the beginning of some serious weight gain. Your baby’s weight in the next four weeks alone should double (and you may feel as though yours is too). You have probably heard your baby’s heartbeat through a Doppler a number of times already (though you never get tired of hearing it), but by now you can also hear it through a standard stethoscope. What a heart throb! Your baby’s skin is reddish in color now because of the developing blood vessels underneath (remember, the skin is very thin still). It also hangs loosely from his or her little body at this point. That’s because the skin grows faster than the fat develops. But don’t worry. By the time your baby is born, he or she will be pleasantly plump and filled out—from chubby cheeks to chubby toes.
Your baby measures about 8 inches from crown to rump and weighs almost 1 pound. His body is starting to look more like a newborn, but his skin is still wrinkled as more weight is to be gained. By now, there is no mistaking that you are pregnant and you have likely gained about 12 to 15 pounds. Vaginal secretions that are typically clear-to-yellowish with a faint smell increase during pregnancy. Check with your practitioner if the color or odor changes significantly since it could signal an infection. If you have aches in the small of your back, consider treating yourself to a pregnancy massage or apply a warm (not hot) heating pad or hot water bottle for a short period of time to the area.
At this point you’ve pretty much adjusted to the fact you’ve got a moving little gymnast inside of you, but now they’re going to kick up the party a notch because they can hear and react to sounds from the outside world. Sounds from your alarm clock, a thunder roll, or that darned car honking at you across the intersection can actually jar their little ears enough to elicit a kick or violent bout of squirming. Of course this also means that their little ears are picking up the sounds of your voice and those near you. So go ahead, sing a lullaby to your little angel—if they start kicking, it’s likely they just want you to stop… or maybe it was a kick of approval? You decide. Your baby’s tiny taste buds are still growing and their bones are continuing to ossify (harden), their tiny veins are visible through their translucent yet wrinkly skin. (Think of it this way: they’ve been swimming in the equivalent of a long hot bath for the past 23 weeks, so you can’t blame them for being a little prune-like.)
Your amazing little baby is now around 10 inches in length! If this seems a bit shocking, you’ll be relieved to know they’ve not actually grown over 3 inches, but that their little legs are now straight enough to be measured. This is when doctors begin measuring fetal growth from head to toe, (no longer “crown to rump” or CR). Lanugo (little hairs) covers their whole body now, trapping that charming cheese-like vernix caseosa (see week 18) to the surface to the skin. This week your lil’ fetus will start on an appetizing diet of amniotic fluid which they are now capable of swallowing, digesting, and passing the fluid as far as their tiny “large” intestines. Fortunately for you, this nice little lump of baby-poop won’t be coming out while they’re still in your womb. Some time shortly after they’re born, this fun lump will become the first in a long line of baby poops. (What finally comes out— commonly known as “meconium” to the science world, will be black and sticky, and you’ll be very glad it happens only once!)
Your baby measures about 5.2 to 6 inches from crown to rump and weighs about 7 ounces. The baby’s skin is developing and is transparent, appearing red because of the visible blood vessels. A creamy white protective coating, called vernix, is also developing. As your baby continues to grow, you may be feeling some mid-pregnancy aches and pains—lower abdominal achiness, dizziness, heartburn, constipation, leg cramps, mild swelling of ankles and feet, and a backache are all normal. Dilated blood vessels might cause tiny, temporary red marks (called spider nevi) on your face, shoulders and arms.
Your baby now measures about 4.3 to 4.6 inches from crown to rump and weighs about 2.8 ounces. Fingernails are well-formed and the fine hair, called lanugo, continues to grow on the head. Arms and legs are moving, the nervous system is functioning and muscles are responding to stimulation from your baby’s brain. You may be able to hear the baby’s heartbeat in the doctor’s office. Your uterus has grown significantly by now and weighs about 8.75 ounces. Within the next few weeks you may start to feel your baby move, called “quickening.” It’s often described as a gas bubble or subtle fluttering movement. As it happens more regularly, you’ll know it’s your baby. There are other physiological changes happening in your body. Increased blood volume to support your growing fetus may cause nosebleeds, and veins may become more apparent. Because your uterus is shifting, you may not have to urinate as much.
Over the past three weeks your astounding growing baby has managed to stretch yet another 2 full inches (totaling about 4.5 inches) and weighs around 3.5 ounces. Yessireee, that’s some pretty serious growth… and with it comes several physical developments! For starters, their head to body ratio is finally starting to even out a bit as the rest of the body is actually growing faster than the head at this point. Yes, your little light bulb is not so top-heavy. Their adorable little limbs have lengthened, almost reaching their normal proportions which they will have at birth. Their eyes are still closed but moving and if you had an ultrasound, which many doctors recommend you have at about this time, you may even see your little one sucking on a thumb, not to mention the necessary signifiers to let you know whether you’ve got a wee lad or lassie.
Your fetus now measures about 4.1 to 4.5 inches from crown to rump and weighs about 1.75 ounces. Its body is covered by an ultrafine hair, called lanugo, which is usually shed by birth. Eyebrows and hair on the top of the head are beginning to grow and his bones are getting harder. He may even be sucking his thumb by now. Your uterus can probably be felt about three to four inches below your navel.
Your nearly four-inch long gymnast is happily mobile inside your womb and if you’re really lucky, you’ll notice a point when your sneezing, coughing or laughing results in a little kick here or a poke there. Still, many women don’t feel anything until the 17th week or later. Although the poking and kicking isn’t very charming during sleeping hours, it’s a good sign as it means your baby is actually reacting to outside events. Yay! You’ve got yourself one active healthy baby! Their little elbows and knees are bending more freely this week and their little legs are finally growing longer than their arms and getting pumped up for prenatal Richard Simmons. Many of their major organ systems are increasing in capacity—particularly that amazing tiny heart and complex circulation system, which is now pumping about 25 quarts of blood per day, and will increase to a very impressive 200 quarts per day by the end of the pregnancy. As far as hair goes, we’ve got some new scalp patterns beginning to develop on the head, although actual head hair is not yet present.
Congratulations, Jen! You’re 13 weeks pregnant. Your fully formed fetus, now in about its 11th week of development, measures 2.6 to 3.1 inches from crown to rump and weighs between half an ounce and seven-tenths of an ounce—about the size of a peach. The head is still disproportionately bigger than the body, but the rest of the body is starting to catch up. In fact, your baby is growing rapidly these days. The face is starting to look more human, with eyes moving closer together. Toes and fingers are clearly separate, and ankles and wrists have formed. External genitalia are becoming visible. Intestines are shifting into their proper place, too. Your uterus is filling your pelvis now and starting to grow upward into your abdomen. It probably feels like a soft, smooth ball. If you haven’t put on weight yet because of morning sickness, you’ll begin to now as you start to feel better.
This is your final week in the first trimester and your little weed continues to grow and grow and grow. Of the three trimesters, this one has been the most important for your little one’s development. Assuming you’ve carefully adopted a healthy diet, continue to exercise and get ample rest, your little one is set up perfectly for even more growth and development in tri-two! Way to go! He or she now weighs about 2.5 ounces and is roughly 3.5 inches in length. Little hairs, known as lanugo, will start to cover their body this week, as their sense of taste and smell are further refined. Their cozy little amniotic sac is also increasing in size and mass as it continues to fill with more fluid.
Your baby now measures about 2.5 inches from crown to rump and weighs between three-tenths of an ounce and half an ounce. It is fully formed, from tooth buds to toenails. Your baby’s job now is to continue to grow big and strong. With the most critical time in your baby’s development behind you, the chance of miscarriage drops considerably after this week. Nausea and energy start to improve but occasional headaches, dizziness and fatigue from hormone changes may be present. If it’s your first baby, you still could be wearing loose-fitting clothes, but if you’ve had other pregnancies, you most likely are back in maternity clothes. The typical weight gain by now is about three to five pounds. Fathers-to-be might also experience pregnancy symptoms, called couvade or “hatching,” during the third month and at delivery, including nausea, abdominal pain, appetite changes and weight gain.
Even though your little Einstein’s body is still growing quite rapidly 2 inches long right now, the overall super-speedy growth of their amazing brain continues to leave the head proportionately larger than the body—and is actually slightly more than one third of their total body mass! The head and neck are still straightening at this point as can be seen by their little chin lifting off of the chest. Your baby is also actively rehearsing “breathing” by using amniotic fluid to prepare the lungs for future air respiration.
The big news: your little pooper is now officially going to need diapers! Although a majority of the waste produced is transferred to the mother’s system for discharge (to avoid having it linger in the amniotic sac), some urine is released to the amniotic fluid and your baby will actually breathe it in before it passing it on to your for discharge. Not to worry, urine—in this particular form, is completely harmless to your baby.
Your fetus, about the size of a large lime, measures about 1.75 to 2.4 inches from crown to rump and weighs about three-tenths of an ounce. About now the rapid “swooshing” noises of the heartbeat may be heard using an electronic Doppler device. Fingernails and external genitalia are showing distinguishing characteristics, and the baby is swallowing and kicking, although you still won’t feel it. Your uterus is almost big enough to fill your pelvis and may be felt in your lower abdomen. You may also be seeing changes in your hair, skin, fingernails or toenails.
From Baby-Gaga (sometimes a little more humorous take, but not always):
Maybe you’ve noticed… your baby is a super-duper grower! Your lil’ fetus will be gaining a substantial amount of weight this week and has already achieved fruit-size-status comparable to a plum. What’s more, your little scientist is already starting to explore their body, focusing most intently on touching their head, and especially their face and mouth. Their mouth in particular will provide them with hours of entertainment. This happens not only because your baby is gaining coordination, and is therefore able to move a hand on command, but also because their palms have gained sensation and can actually “feel” what it touches.They’re also developing their swallow reflex this week. And lastly, your baby’s smelling and other olfactory senses will begin developing this week, which when combined with the maturing taste buds, will provide your baby with their first experiences of taste and smell.