Pregnancy week 13 – The long-awaited end of the first trimester

September 24, 2012 by

Pregnancy week 13 – The long-awaited end of the first trimester

YOUR CHANGING LIFE

Sayonara morning sickness, hello energy
Welcome to week 13 of your pregnancy, the last week of your first trimester. It may have felt like this glorious time would never come, but now you should start to feel a bit better overall. Many women report that morning sickness starts to fade around this time along with fatigue, which means you'll likely have more energy and fewer emergency trips to the bathroom.

So what else is going on with your body this week? Well, you might be feeling more heartburn than you did over the past few weeks as your womb gets larger and the relaxin hormone makes the muscle at the top of your stomach weaker, allowing the occasional leak of stomach acid to seep up into your esophagus. Stay away from foods that usually trigger heartburn, like those that are fried or spicy, eat smaller meals and try not to lie down for a few hours after indulging.

While your baby bump may be starting to make an appearance, you're probably not wearing pregnancy clothes just yet. But you may have had to delve deeper into your closet to find loose-fitting garments that are more comfortable around your midsection. Your belly will only be getting bigger, and stretch marks might be starting to appear within the next few weeks. You may be able to help prevent them by maintaining a healthy weight – that means slowly gaining a couple of pounds each week. It might also help to use lotions with vitamin E or alpha hydroxy acids on the areas that are showing marks.

Another thing you might have noticed? Visible veins. It might seem weird, but now that you have an increased amount of blood in your body and more blood flow, you may start to notice bulging veins on the back of your hands or arms as well as veins right under the surface of your skin, especially around your breasts. This is totally normal and they should become less prominent after delivery.

Finally, you might be feeling a bit clumsier than usual lately. Maybe your partner's started calling you 'butterfingers' because things seem to just slip out of your hands, or you can't seem to walk anywhere without at least one minor trip. Blame this on relaxin, that hormone that relaxes your body in order to prepare you for delivery. It's useful for helping your pelvic region expand, but unfortunately it affects the rest of your body too, including your hands and feet. That's why you might feel like a klutz these days.

YOUR BABY THIS WEEK

From lime to peach
This week, your baby has grown to be about the size of a peach. His or her body is finally starting to catch up with the size of the head, which no longer takes up half of your baby's length – only about one-third. By the time he or she is born, the head will only account for about one-fourth of his or her body.

This week, tiny bones are starting to form and the intestines, which were originally part of the umbilical cord, have found a new home in your little one's abdomen. The tongue and vocal cords have also started to take shape and, believe it or not, there are unique fingerprints on those tiny fingers already!

Now that his or her joints are working and the mouth is formed, your baby might have figured out how to put that little thumb in there – a habit that you may notice into your child's toddler years. Also, fine, soft hair called lanugo is covering your baby's skin.

HOW TO

Sign up for childbirthing classes
It probably seems too early to start worrying about childbirthing classes, but the fact is that it's best to plan ahead of time. Even though you won't start attending any until about the seventh month of your pregnancy, you should know that these offerings are usually very popular and sessions fill up quickly. To make sure that you're able to get into the class you want at a time that fits into your schedule, it never hurts to sign up now.

There are many different types of courses you can look into, from Lamaze to hypnobirthing to the Bradley Method. It would probably help to take an afternoon to sit down and look your options over online. Research the birth methods that sound the most intriguing to you and decide whether the strategies and goals sound like they would fit into your birthing plan.

Ideally, you want to find a class that covers topics like the signs of labor, the normal birthing process, pain management techniques, partner responsibilities and advice about when to call your healthcare provider. This should give you all the information you need to have a successful delivery.

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