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Mother and Baby

13 weeks pregnant – what to expect

Your baby at 13 weeks pregnant

By week 13, your baby has grown to about 7cm long, or the size of a peach. The good news? Your placenta is fully developed and you can get ready to announce your pregnancy. Here’s what else to expect at thirteen weeks pregnant.

What’s my baby doing at thirteen weeks pregnant?

At the moment, your baby’s head still makes up about half the size of her body and her eyelids are fused shut to protect her eyes for the next few months.

During week 13, your little one will start developing bones in her arms and legs and her intestines, which up until now have been growing inside the umbilical cord, will move to their permanent address in your baby’s abdomen. This week the placenta is also growing, and getting ready to feed and nourish your foetus for the next few months. Your baby will also now start developing his or her reproductive organs, but it’s probably too soon to see  this on an ultrasound just yet.

Another cute development this week – your little one’s vocal cords, something we’re sure she’ll use frequently once she’s born!

What is my body doing at thirteen weeks pregnant?

As you reach your second trimester, symptoms such as morning sickness and exhaustion should begin to abate.

By now, your placenta will be fully developed, but will continue to grow in size throughout your pregnancy. Your baby is connected to it via the umbilical cord, through which your baby gets enough oxygen and nutrients. Yet the placenta also has an important role in getting rid of waste products such as carbon dioxide and producing many of the important hormones needed for your baby’s development. It might not be very pretty to look at (don’t Google image it if you’re still feeling delicate) but it does a truly amazing job for your baby.

This week, you might see the first signs of that baby bump – it usually shows up between 12 and 16 weeks, but this completely depends on your body and your baby. A showing bump can be one of the biggest pregnancy excitements and you can now get ready to announce you’re expecting.

Common symptoms to look out for:

  • More energy: At last! Now the placenta is taking over, you should feel like you’ve got a bit more of a spring in your step. Consider using this energy and adding some exercise to your routine, but don’t go mad!
  • Constipation: We’ve mentioned this before, but during pregnancy those all-important hormones create some unwanted side effects, and this is one of them! Your bowel muscles relax, meaning they are less effective at moving things along, which can leave you feeling pretty uncomfortable. Our top tips? Add some high-fibre snacks to your diet – fruit, vegetables and whole grains are good options.
  • Heartburn: Another one that is very common and probably won’t ease up any time soon, during pregnancy, the muscle at the top of the stomach relaxes which allows digestive acid to rise and cause that familiar burning in the chest. Stay away from spicy or fatty foods and keep those antacids handy!
  • Visible veins: You might not like them, but these are super important during pregnancy and are a sign of the increased blood supply to your growing baby.
  • Vaginal discharge: Otherwise known as leukorrhea, this thin, milky, mild-smelling or odourless discharge is another perfectly normal symptom, caused by the production of oestrogen during pregnancy. Its job is to protect the birth canal from infection and keep it healthy during pregnancy, so don’t worry about using special wet wipes to clean it away. The downside is it can cause a mess of your favourite underwear, s wear a thin panty liner around this time.  

What you should be doing this week

As your second trimester approaches, you might find a boost in your sex drive! However, it’s worth noting if you’ve got a history of early labour of miscarriage, it’s worth checking with your doctor beforehand.

If you find you’ve been showing for weeks and you’re already bursting out all of your clothes, it might be worth double checking for twins. Yet if your first ultrasound has confirmed there’s only one little bun in the oven, do not worry, this could mean your due date isn’t quite right and you’re further along than you thought, or that you’re full of gas and are just bloated. 

Take me back to week 12

Take me to week 14

Read next, what NOT to eat when you're pregnant: 

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Unpasteurised milk and soft cheeses

Unpasteruised milk and soft cheeses may contain bacteria that could make both you and your baby ill, so are best avoided when pregnant. When you are pregnant, your immune system is lower, so you are more susceptible to illness. High levels of the bacteria Listeria Monocytogens can be find in unpasturied milk and cheese and listeriosis can cause miscarriage, stillbirth or severe illness in newborns. Got a craving for cheese? Take a look at this list of 15 cheeses that are safe to eat during pregnancy
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This one won't come as a surprise - the NHS recommends it is best to avoid alcohol during pregnancy. That said, do not worry if you drank before you knew you were pregnant, but avoid it for the rest of your pregnancy to avoid causing your baby any harm. 
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Raw seafood 

If you're a sushi lover, this one won't go down well, but raw seafood is a big no-no during pregnancy. This is down to the fact that on some occassions, raw seafood can contain small parasitic worms, harmful viruses and bacteria and although sushi fish has normally been flash frozen, it's better to be safe. Whilst we're on the subject of fish, avoid marlin, shark and swordfish during pregnancy, as they all contain high levels of mercury which can damage your growing baby's nervous system. 
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While a cup a day is ok, you need to be careful when it comes to how much caffeine you are consuming. The guideline is no more than 300mg per day, which is the equivalent of two cups of coffee. Don't forget soft drinks and energy drinks contain caffeine, as does chocolate. Take a look at these caffeine and alcohol free alternatives for pregnancy and breastfeeding
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Undercooked meat and poultry

You'll probably recognise a theme here - it's best to stay away from most uncooked foods when pregnant, and this includes meat and poultry, as both pose risks of salmonella. 
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Whilst a little bit is absolutely fine, if you're a big fan of this sweet treat, it's a good idea to start cutting down. Whilst there are no currrent UK guidelines to suggest you need to avoid it completely, new research found youths exposed to large amounts of liquorice in the room performed less well in cognitive reasoning tests. 
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Deli meats 

Deli meats or cold cuts of meats that have been cooked prior to purchase should be avoided tduring pregnancy, due to the risk of listeria. 
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Raw eggs

Avoid raw or undercooked eggs and mayonnaise during pregnancy as they carry the risk of salmonella food poisoning. This means even runny eggs should be avoided, instead, ensure both the white and the yolks are solid and thoroughly cooked. 
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Unwashed fruit and vegetables 

If you're not already in the habit of washing your fruit and veg before eating it, now is the time to start. Traces of soil left on your greens can increase your risk of infectin such as toxoplasmosis, so make sure you take extra care when washing and preparing your food. 

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