Your Pregnancy: Week 13
This week you are exiting the first trimester and entering the second – meaning one third of your pregnancy journey is complete! Good news: Your pregnancy hormones are beginning to level off, which means the nausea, frequent urination and fatigue might relent, at least in part. If you’re not feeling better quite yet, take comfort in knowing the end of your discomfort is in sight – for now. Take our advice: Enjoy it!
If you got through the first trimester without any constipation and are suddenly feeling irregular, chalk it up to the hormones relaxing your bowel muscles and causing them to work slower. As always, up the fiber in your diet and drink lots and lots and lots of fluids. Do not take laxatives.
Junior now weighs around 1½ ounces and measures 3½ inches from head to tush (think the size of a lemon). If you could see a snapshot in your womb, your baby is starting to look like more of a – well – baby: The ears have moved up from the neck and the eyes are gradually moving from the sides of the head to the front.
Stock up on panty liners for any excess vaginal discharge.
If you’re feeling down about gaining weight, dress in dark, slimming, monotone colors, and wear clothes that are fitted (but not clingy), instead of loose and baggy.
Get in the habit of sleeping on your side (preferably your left side) instead of your back or – obviously – belly. This is where the aforementioned body pillow comes in handy, or simply a pillow between the legs.
Take advantage of your renewed energy by getting things done around the house and at work. In a few months, fatigue and body aches will set in again.
However, you might think you’re giving birth to an orangutan if you saw all the hair covering your baby’s body starting this week. Lanugo is the fine, short hair that helps your baby retain body heat since there isn’t an adequate amount of body fat yet. Don’t worry, when enough body fat develops, the lanugo will fall off and end up in the baby’s intestines as meconium, which is what comes out as his first dirty diaper!
More good news: Your baby’s placenta (his/her life support) is now fully functioning and is larger than the baby right now. The placenta supplies oxygen, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals, as well as removes and filters carbon dioxide and waste materials through the tissues attached to the uterus. This intricate process is possible because both you and your baby’s blood vessels are incredibly close together, yet remarkably separate. The placenta does not provide a barrier, as once thought, so substances in your blood stream can cross over into your baby’s. These include alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, medication and viruses – any of which could affect your baby’s growth and development, so watch out.
Advice from Dr. Shari E. Brasner
The second trimester has been described as the wonderful rest in the middle of a long trek or the calm in the middle of a storm. You’ve weathered the sometimes difficult days, and you’ve passed the point of most of the valid miscarriage worries. What you’re left with is often a period of well-being, in which many of the rough edges such as morning sickness and intense breast tenderness have been smoothed over. Many women in the second trimester take new pleasure in the way they feel and look; the body is filling out, the stomach is growing larger, and the fullness begins to feel more natural, as if they’ve always looked and felt this way.”
Babble recommends Dr. Brasner’s pregnancy book, Advice from a Pregnant Obstetrician.
Mom-To-Mom Advice: Dad’s POV: Adjusting to Life With A Vessel
Being a partner to a pregnant woman can be a lot of work. Pregnancy may make her less available, less predictable and more needy. Besides being focused on her new role and changing body, she may also be anxious or annoyed about all the things she is supposed to avoid and feel resentful if her partner doesn’t get how hard they can be: “How could you let those people light up when I was asleep on the couch?”
Though the queasiness and exhaustion in the first trimester can be a huge drag, those discomforts do serve a purpose: they constantly remind a woman that she’s pregnant. A partner has no such internal reminders, and can thus take a lot longer to get the gist of things. Spouses and partners may want to get involved right from the get-go, but pregnancy and birth are undeniably the pregnant woman’s domain. While they’re often welcome – and even expected – at certain key prenatal check-ups (like for the first heartbeat or a detailed ultrasound), partners can sometimes feel literally pushed aside as the OB/GYN or midwife directs her attention to the mother.
Though less obvious, changes that partners experience can be powerful. Some expectant fathers experience what’s known as sympathetic pregnancy or, more fancily, couvades syndrome. There’s a lot of speculation about what causes couvades; one theory is that the extra pounds represent a deep longing on the part of the man to carry some of the weight and feel engaged in the process. But the partner often finds him or herself carrying burdens beyond the body: finances, home safety, job security, savings, benefits, insurance, shopping for and assembling nursery furniture, etc.
It can be difficult for them to express frustration to a woman who’s already preoccupied with her own frustrations. Their complaints may seem selfish in the face of her hard work. But if they ignore their feelings, they may end up acting intolerant or even hostile toward their partner during the pregnancy. Sometimes finding another outlet can give them a place to vent without guilt. Other recent or expecting partners to pregnant women may be able to relate. Books and websites can also be good sources of support, info and tension-dispelling laughs.
Babble recommends From the Hips, by Rebecca Odes and Ceridwen Morris.