YOUR CHANGING LIFE
Get ready to feel better!
Welcome to week 11 of your pregnancy! The past several months have probably been pretty difficult with all of the morning sickness, heartburn, constipation and mood swings going on – those hormones have really been wreaking havoc. But the good news is that now that you're nearing the end of the first trimester, you should be starting to feel a bit better! (It's about time, huh?)
Around this time, many women start to notice that their nausea is finally subsiding and they're starting to feel more energetic. That means your body will let you eat more and you'll start to put on that necessary pregnancy weight. And, now that you're not feeling sluggish all the time, you'll be able to keep the weight gain at a healthy level by exercising while pregnant.
Aside from those exciting developments, your body is still more or less the same as it was last week. Your baby bump probably isn't showing yet, but if this isn't your first pregnancy, you might've noticed a slight pooch to your belly. Otherwise, you may just feel a bit bloated. If you're eager to start rubbing that bump, rest assured – it should start making a more pronounced appearance soon!
YOUR BABY THIS WEEK
From prune to fig
This week, your baby is about the size of a thumb, which roughly translates to the size of a small, ripe fig. Your little one's head accounts for roughly half this size, but over the next few weeks his or her body will finally catch up – no more looking like a tiny alien!
What else has been going on with your baby this week? Mostly a lot of growing, as the major body parts have likely developed by now. Little hands and feet are moving around in front of his or her body, the ears are fully formed, open nasal passages (which are inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid by now to train those little lungs) sit on the tip of the nose and even visible nipples have formed.
Hair follicles, taste buds, teeth, fingernails and bones are also starting to form, and pretty soon your baby will be able to open and close his or her fists. A lot of movement has been going on – even hiccups now that the diaphragm is developing – but you won't likely notice anything happening for another month or two.
If you have a prenatal appointment scheduled this week, you'll probably get to hear your baby's heartbeat, which is one of the most exciting developments thus far! But before you start wondering if you're having a girl or a boy, you should know that it's still too early for a doctor to tell. Your little one has genitals forming, but they're too small to be distinguished yet.
Eat a balanced diet for two
Now that your appetite is returning and your stomach is allowing you to keep foods down, you'll get to eat a lot more – no more boring, bland safety foods! But before you start wolfing down the things you've been craving, it's important to get a good idea of what you should – and shouldn't – be eating.
Every woman is different, and only your healthcare provider can tell you how much weight you should be aiming to gain during your pregnancy. That being said, the average woman puts on about 25 to 35 pounds, which is distributed to several different areas. The baby itself should end up weighing around 7 pounds, the amniotic fluid will be nearly 2 pounds, the placenta should be about 1 ½ pounds, your uterus will be 2 pounds, your boobs should be 2 pounds, your bodily fluids will be about 4 pounds, your blood will weigh nearly 4 pounds and your maternal stores (fat, nutrients and proteins) should be around 7 pounds. Whew!
And all of these pounds need to be added gradually throughout your pregnancy – about 1 pound every week. But before you start thinking that you literally need to eat for two people, take a step back and picture the size of your baby. He or she doesn't need the same amount of calories as you do!
Most experts agree that if you're eating anywhere from 1,800 to 2,200 calories a day (which is the average for adult women), you only need to add about 300 more during your pregnancy. That's not a lot – some women simply have an extra glass of milk to get to this number!
Try to transform your diet by adding a lot of healthy foods (if you're not eating a lot already) – fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy products are key. They'll provide you and your baby with the vitamins and minerals you need, but it never hurts to take a prenatal vitamin to make sure you're getting the proper amounts.