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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: How to grow a clever baby! 

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1. Start a storytime habit 

The foundations for language begin in the womb and, by the third trimester, your baby can memorise sounds she hears regularly. ‘US researchers asked mothers to read The Cat In The Hat repeatedly to their unborn babies. After the birth, the babies “chose” the recording of their mum reading the story by sucking at a particular speed to trigger the recording,’ says parenting expert Dr Miriam Stoppard.
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2. Stay active 

Love the endorphin boost you get from exercise? Well, so does your baby. Hormones released during exercise cross the placenta, bathing your baby in feel-good chemicals for up to eight hours. Plus, as exercise increases the flow of blood around your body, including to the womb, your baby’s development is given a boost.

The latest research also suggests exercise during pregnancy can increase neurons in your baby’s hippocampus – the learning and memory part of the brain – by 40 per cent.
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3. Get a little sunshine  

Never before has the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D, been so important. And you just need to soak it up for 20 minutes a day. ‘We test all the pregnant mums who come to our clinic for vitamin D, and 70 per cent are deficient,’ says fertility expert Zita West. ‘That’s due to a combination of a lack of sunlight and not getting enough vitamin D in their diet.’

This nutrient is essential for helping your baby develop strong bones and heart, and researchers have also started investigating a link between a lack of vitamin D in pregnant women and autism.
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4. Massage your bump

From around 20 weeks, your baby will feel you touching your bump and stroking it can send calming messages to her nervous system. Research suggests an unborn baby can even distinguish between her mother and father’s touch. Pass the almond oil. This is the best excuse for a massage ever.
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5. Talk to your bump

‘Babies can hear from 16 weeks and, by 27 weeks, all the connections from ear to brain are in place,’ says Miriam. In fact, studies show newborns respond to accents or languages they hear in the womb – those born to bilingual families respond to both languages from birth, so get chatting! 
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6. Vary your diet

If you want your baby to have the gourmet palate of an intellect, get adventurous at dinnertime. Your baby’s taste buds develop from around 12 weeks.

By 25 weeks, she’ll be absorbing around two litres of amniotic fluid a day and the foods you eat can flavour it. In one study, babies of mums who drank carrot juice while pregnant showed a preference for carrots when weaned.
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7. Play music to your bump

Perhaps the most important education of all – you can shape your baby’s music taste. ‘Unborn babies love music – it helps trigger happy chemicals, like serotonin, which encourage her to be calm and contented,’ says Miriam. ‘After the birth, your baby remembers and relives all those good feelings associated with the music each time she hears it.’
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8. Start singing nursery rhymes 

Yep, you can get into this habit now. ‘We know unborn babies can pick up the rise and fall and cadences in speech,’ says Miriam. ‘You can help your baby tune in by singing rhythmic songs – nursery rhymes are ideal.’ After your baby’s born, sing the same rhymes to quieten and soothe her. 

 
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