First trimester - Week 13

Week 13


Being 7.4 centimetres in length (2.91 inches), your baby is growing and so are you! Friends and family will soon start to notice your baby bump. Interesting little fact, if you are having a girl (you will find out the sex of the baby at your first ultrasound if the doctor can get a clear view of the genitals), your little girl’s ovaries will be filled with about two million eggs at this stage.

 Week 13

Your baby’s development at this stage

The baby’s fingerprints are now forming and the organs and veins are visible through the still translucent skin. Your baby is getting more and more proportional as its body is starting to catch up to the size of the head, the head is now only about a third of his or her body size. Your baby is now roughly the size of a sugar snap pea, or a pea pod and weighs about 23g (0.811oz).

Changes in your life as your baby grows

Congratulations on reaching the final week of your first trimester, you can also breathe a sigh of relief as your risk of miscarriage has now officially dropped. The following week will mark the beginning of your second trimester, which is seen as a relative time of comfort for many women as their early pregnancy symptoms of morning sickness and constant fatigue will begin to subside.

Your baby’s birth is still a few months away, however, your breasts may already be making colostrum, which is a nutrient-rich liquid that will feed your baby for the first couple of days after his or her birth, before your normal breastmilk begins to flow. This will also protect your vulnerable newborn against any potential diseases.

You may also want to be flossing your teeth every time you brush as your plaque build-up can sometimes be worse during pregnancy as your changes of hormones can leave your mouth more vulnerable to plaque and bacteria.

Tests and what to do at this stage

It may help if you start doing water exercises at this stage as these can help in strengthening your abdominal muscles and the buoyancy of the water may be easier for you to perform exercises in as you are now carrying extra weight. In doing so you will be provided with deeper stretches and reap the toning benefits thereof.

You will now need to focus a lot on healthy eating and signing up for a child birthing class if you wish to attend these (although you should be doing both of these things already).

Eating tips:

  • There is no such thing as eating for two. We’ve mentioned this previously, but it bears repeating. If needing to eat for two was true, it would mean you would need to have a fully-grown adult inside of you. Your baby is tiny at this point, and therefore does not need a lot calorie wise, but he/she does need a lot of the RIGHT stuff. In the first trimester, you will not need any additional calories, in the second trimester you will need about 340 extra calories a day and this will be increased to 450 to 500 in the final trimester. It is always best to speak to your doctor or your dietician about this. You may want them to develop an eating plan for you to help you to stay on track and curb any cravings you may have.
  • Make sure you are drinking enough water. The best way to determine whether or not your fluid intake is right, is it look at the colour of your urine. If it is a dark yellow in colour, then you need to drink more, if it is clear or a pale-yellow, then you are consuming the right amount.
  • Eat your proteins. You will need to be consuming about 71g (2.504oz) of protein a day. This can be found in the form of eggs, dairy, lean meats, nuts and beans.
  • Ensure you are getting about 27 milligrams of iron a day. The best source of iron is found in lean red meat. If you are a vegetarian however, then you can find iron in vegetables such as spinach and legumes. The absorption of iron is enhanced through vitamin C - rich foods, these include citrus fruits, strawberries and supplements.
  • Calcium is another vital nutrient. You should be getting about 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day as your baby will need this to form his or her teeth or bones. If you do not consume enough of this, then your baby will absorb what is needed from the calcium that is stored in your bones.

**My Med Memo: A prenatal vitamin can aid in filling in the nutritional gaps you may have in your diet, however, it cannot take the place of eating healthily. It is important that you do not see a prenatal vitamin as a replacement supplement, but rather as an added benefit for your baby. It also aids in digestion and can help in the prevention of constipation.

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