YOUR CHANGING LIFE
No bump yet, but burns and spins
Welcome to week 12, the second-to-last week of your first trimester! You may have had a rough time of it with all those mood swings, bathroom trips, fatigue and morning sickness, but pretty soon you'll start feeling a bit more normal (phew!). So what's going on with you this week?
By now, your uterus has moved from the pelvic floor to the front of your abdomen, which means your doctor may be able to feel the top of it very low in your belly. If this isn't your first pregnancy, you might've noticed a slight bump at this point – otherwise you have a few more weeks to go before making your baby bump debut. Either way, comfortable, loose clothing probably feels the best right now – your pre-pregnancy jeans are likely too tight!
You might also be experiencing a little heartburn every now and then, which happens as the progesterone hormone relaxes your muscles (in this case, the one that closes up your esophagus from your stomach). When you lie down or eat a big meal, some of the gastric juices in your stomach may get backed up into the esophagus, resulting in an uncomfortable burning sensation. To ease the situation, skip fatty, acidic or spicy foods as much as possible, eat smaller, more frequent meals and take a few antacids if you feel it coming on.
Dizziness might also be impacting you lately because of the higher progesterone levels. When your blood vessels relax to increase the blood flow to your baby, you might feel a little weak and dizzy. Your lower blood sugar levels also play a role in this. Keep your equilibrium by eating regular meals, standing up slowly and resting whenever you're feeling tired.
YOUR BABY THIS WEEK
From fig to lime
This is the last week that your baby's considered an embryo – next week he or she will graduate to a fetus! At about 2 ½ inches long, your little one is about the size of a lime, looking a lot more human than ever before with all the facial features in place. So what are the big developments?
One of the most exciting things to happen this week is your baby's new reflexes. He or she is now able to open and close those little fingers, curl his or her toes, clench the eye muscles and make sucking movements with that tiny mouth. If you poke your belly, your little one will even squirm around in response, but you won't feel it yet.
The intestines have been growing rapidly, so much so that they're protruding into the umbilical cord, but this week they'll start to move back where they belong in your baby's abdominal cavity. The kidneys will also start excreting urine into the bladder around this time, and the digestive system is starting to practice the contraction movements needed to digest future meals.
Brain development has also kicked into high gear, with nerve cells rapidly developing and synapses forming and firing regularly. The thyroid gland has even started to produce hormones at this point, preparing your baby for life down the road.
Increase your sex drive
Some women experience an elevated sex drive during pregnancy, while others are so turned off by sex that it might seem like it'll never happen again. It's completely normal to feel hungry for sex at one time during your pregnancy and totally over it the next – your hormones are to blame, as well as how you feel physically.
While your breasts are getting bigger, your hair is getting thicker and your skin may be starting to glow, you might feel a little uncomfortable with yourself as you start putting on the baby weight. Plus, some things that used to feel good, particularly regarding your nipples, might be a bit painful now. But that doesn't mean you can't get back into the swing of things!
To increase your sex drive, start by reducing your stress levels. All that planning and worrying about being a parent might be starting to get to you, as well as changes in your relationship or workplace. Take time to put these thoughts aside and relax, maybe in a nice bath or at a trip to the salon.
Also, it helps to communicate with your partner about what you're feeling. He'll totally understand if you're a little self-conscious about your pregnancy body, and who knows, he might be able to make you feel better with a few compliments! Of course, you should also tell him if anything in particular feels worse than normal, as well as offer suggestions for what types of activities would turn you on.
Getting a good night's sleep whenever possible, eating healthy foods and exercising as much as you can are also great ways to boost your sex drive. Take a prenatal vitamin to ensure you don't have any deficiencies, and try doing a few pelvic floor muscle exercises (Kegels) to strengthen those muscles. This can improve sexual sensations, not to mention make delivery easier later on!