Pregnancy Tracker: Week 13

Pregnancy Tracker: Week 13




Week 13 is considered to be the last week of your first trimester, although professionals differ on this, and some call this week the first of the second trimester. Regardless, here’s hoping the worst of your symptoms are behind you. You are already a third of your way through your pregnancy - in your 3rd month, with only 6 months to go!

The risk of miscarriage has dropped tremendously, and you can now break the happy news to friends and family. Your employer should also be informed at about this time so that maternity leave can be arranged, providing all with enough time for a replacement to be found and for you to give handover in a calm and relaxed manner, without causing any stress or undue pressure.

Your Baby at Week 13 of Pregnancy 

Your baby is growing fast and is already the size of a peach, weighing in at about 25g. The head and body are slightly more in proportion now than previously, with the head being about half the total length of the body.

The little jerky movements continue, with baby’s legs kicking and arms flailing about. Because the fingers and toes have separated into individual digits, the thumb may find its way into baby’s mouth, even if the sucking reflex has not yet developed.

Your clever little baby is now processing body fluids, swallowing amniotic fluid, and excreting urine. Yes, baby can actually pee now, thanks to the kidneys that are developing rapidly! In addition, meconium is being produced, which will result in the first poop once baby is born.

Teeth and bones continue to harden and develop and become denser; tiny little fingerprints are forming, as are the vocal cords. Baby eyes have formed in the sockets, although they are not yet open as the lids are fused closed to protect the delicate eyes. The skin is still very thin and transparent, and blood vessels in the head can be seen through it. 

Your baby’s intestines have, until recently, been growing inside the umbilical cord, but now move outside to the baby’s abdomen.

You, Your Body and Your Feelings at 13 Weeks Pregnant

The function of pregnancy hormones is to help control and balance all the changes taking place in your body and ultimately to help ensure a safe delivery for baby. These hormones are responsible for causing emotions that may seem confusing – tearfulness, irritation, depression, among others.

Unfortunately, some symptoms may remain, like cramping, round ligament pain, bloating and constipation. Veins in the chest, breasts, and belly, may be enlarged as your body is producing about 40% more blood. As your abdomen becomes heavier, varicose veins in your legs and lower body can appear.

You may notice an increase in vaginal discharge. If there is no itching or pain, and the discharge is mostly odourless and milky white, there is no reason to worry.

But there is reason to be optimistic as the good news is that many of these symptoms ease up towards the end of the notoriously difficult first trimester, and you may suddenly find you have renewed energy and interest in the world around you.

Because of the same hormones that were causing you discomfort in the early stages of your pregnancy, you may now have a radiance that is common at this time. Increased blood volume and hormones give your skin a smoother, plumper texture, resulting in a glowing appearance!

Morning sickness may be on the decline, which means you can once again look forward to enjoying food. Remember to eat small meals to alleviate heartburn and reduce the chances of your system becoming overloaded and sluggish and exacerbating constipation.

In week 12 it may be possible to feel the first tiny movements of your baby. Initially you may not recognise the sensation for what it is, as the movement can be just a little flutter rather than a definite kick. If this is not your first pregnancy, you may recognise the feeling more quickly. But there is no need to worry if you haven’t felt anything – each woman is different, and some may not feel movement until much later in pregnancy, even up to 25 weeks.

At this stage of pregnancy, your breasts are already beginning to make colostrum, the first form of breastmilk that is released after birth. This substance is extremely good for your baby as it is rich in nutrients and contains high levels of antibodies and antioxidants, which help build a newborn’s immune system.

As baby’s growth will be very rapid from now on, you will need to look after your skin to minimise stretch marks. Moisturise daily and keep to a good diet to help keep skin soft and supple and to alleviate itchiness. Ask your partner to assist with massaging cream or oil into the hard-to-reach places – this is also a lovely way to bond and relax.

Considerations for Week 13

  • A urinary tract infection (UTI), or a bladder infection as it is often called, is quite common in pregnancy and is no cause for alarm but needs medication to clear it. It can become serious if left untreated and could lead to preterm labour. A simple urine test, which is done as part of the ongoing prenatal care, would indicate if anything is amiss.

Bacteria entering and growing in the urinary tract is the main cause of a UTI. Because of the pressure from your growing uterus, as well as an increase in hormones that relax the uterine muscles, your bladder, is less likely to empty completely when you urinate. The longer urine remains in your body, the more bacteria it is likely to grow.

  • Exercise

If you have not already started antenatal classes or a regular exercise routine, now is the time to sign up! Exercises get you ready and fit for labour, and help you recover after the birth. In addition, exercise is thought to trigger a release of serotonin and dopamine, which can improve mood and general mental well-being.

  • Calcium

It is important to eat plenty of calcium-rich foods, as you are not only laying down the foundations of good strong bones and teeth for your baby, but your body also needs to maintain bone density to lower your chances of preeclampsia and to prevent osteoporosis later.

Calcium comes from many sources, not just milk, cheese and yoghurt. To name a few:

  • Tinned salmon
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Soy products
  • Sesame seeds
  • Almonds

A baby registry is also a good idea now, as friends and family may want to start helping you stock up on baby supplies, furniture, necessities, toys and other fun stuff.

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