At a glance:
- First baby wee and breath practicing
- It's extra blood that causes all that swelling
- It's time to do some pelvic exercise
What’s happening to your baby
At 14 weeks, your baby is about 8.5cm long from head to bottom. Around now, she’ll start to swallow little bits of amniotic fluid, which pass into her stomach.
The kidneys start to work and the swallowed fluid passes back into the amniotic fluid as urine. Although oxygen gets into her blood stream via the umbilical cord, your baby will also start practicing her breathing which is important for when she’s born.
What’s happening to you
You’ll have started producing more blood from the beginning of your pregnancy but from around now, there’ll be more blood cells as well as fluid in the blood stream which can cause swelling.
You might notice your rings getting tighter and your feet/ankles could look puffier. Word of advice: don’t do a Kim Kardashian and wear uncomfortable, strappy shoes that cut into your swollen feet. Instead, avoid standing up for too long, and for at least an hour a day try and raise your feet above your heart.
There are also simple exercises you can do. You should seek medical attention immediately if your face, feet or hands swell up suddenly. This could be a symptom of pre-eclampsia although most women with swelling don't have this.
Another thing you might notice at this stage is your increased heart rate – it goes up seven beats per minute in the first trimester, increasing by an extra 15 beats per minute in the last trimester – which is so it can pump the extra blood around your body. The hormone progesterone will aid this by relaxing and dilating blood vessels so that blood can flow through easily.
What you may consider doing
Your pelvic floor muscles support your bladder, bowel and womb. Yep, they’re really rather crucial. Now you have a growing baby, the weight puts pressure on these muscles, so it’s vital that they remain strong. So make exercising those muscles part of your daily routine.
They’re so simple you can do them when in the car, sitting on the bus, watching TV or doing the ironing! Don’t worry, nobody will have a clue. (Hint: it’s as if you’re stopping yourself passing water and wind at the same time.)
Image courtesy of Your Pregnancy Day-By-Day by Professor Stuart Campbell, published by Carroll & Brown, £9.99