Hooray! Let's crack open the sparkling grape juice and celebrate the official start of your second trimester!
By now hopefully the dreaded morning sickness symptoms will begin to subside and your energy levels begin to return and you can start looking forward to people telling you that you are 'blooming'! You'll also be pleased to hear your appetite will making a welcome return which will no doubt be a relief.
Changes to you and your bodyYour ‘bump’ may become more obvious as the womb continues to expand into the abdomen. As skin begins to be stretched tighter over your tummy and breast area and blood flow increases, you may feel a bit itchier than usual. Isolated rashes are also fairly common – but nothing that a little moisturising and loose-fitting clothes shouldn't be able to fix.
However, if symptoms worsen or you show any signs of jaundice (such as a yellowing of the skin or eyeballs) you should seek medical help immediately as these could possibly be related to a more serious but very rare condition known as obstetric cholestasis.
Changes to your babyBy Week 13, your baby should be fully developed and look exactly as it will at birth – just in miniature – measuring approximately 7.5cms in length – the height of a good-sized orange or large potato. With arms and legs having fully developed, baby is keen to exercise his or her new appendages, so do not be surprised if you start to feel the occasional movement, much like butterflies in your tummy. Most first time mum's don't usually start to feel these movements until around 16-18 weeks, whereas if you've already had a baby, you may notice and recognise the feeling a little earlier on. Although bones and skin are all in place, your baby will not have much body fat, so limbs will appear to be virtually transparent, with veins etc. clearly visible.
By Week 13, your baby should be fully developed and look exactly as they will at birth – just a miniature version– about the same size of a good-sized orange or large potato!
At this stage of development, baby’s head is probably a bit bigger than his or her body. With the mouth fully formed, he or she will also be able to yawn, swallow, and even hiccup, which could make for some interesting sensations! This oral sucking action is important for helping intestines develop but probably won’t be visible to the naked eye until much further on in the pregnancy. Ongoing kidney development in the foetus may also result in an increased need to visit the loo on your part!
Tips for a happy pregnancyLoose-fitting clothes and proper maternity wear are probably called for now as your waistline expands and your skin starts to feel a bit taut and itchy. Baby will also probably not appreciate being squeezed into trousers with tight waistbands and wriggle or kick to let you know. Try for natural fabrics such as cotton or linen rather than synthetics as this can help lessen the possibility of any skin irritation developing.
Sleeping may also be easier, especially if you use place an extra pillow between your legs when resting on your side. Hormonal changes and increased blood flow to the pelvic region could also result in a surge in libido – a more welcome side effect! This is perfectly normal and provided you do not experience any complications or pain, it is perfectly safe to have sex throughout your pregnancy.
Urinary tract infections are fairly common because of the proximity of the womb to the bladder, as well as the excess pressure placed on your kidneys as you filter waste, both for yourself and for your baby. If your urine burns, it may be worth drinking a little cranberry juice to keep urine acidic and therefore less attractive to bacteria. See a doctor if symptoms persist or worsen to avoid getting a kidney infection.
Avoiding harmful medications and giving up habits such as drinking or smoking are also strongly advised during pregnancy to avoid complications, defects, or low birth weight.