Your little one is about the size of a grapefruit, measuring around 34.6cm and weighing a somewhat tiny 660g.
The growth of your baby is quite amazing – she’s becoming more and more capable by the day – and this week, her brain is developing rapidly. She will become able to control some of the things we take for granted, such as breathing in a regular way.
Your baby’s spine, which already has 150 joints, is getting stronger as the ligaments, bones and joints, which protect the spinal column with all its nerves, are developing more fully. The spleen is producing white blood cells to fight off infections
She’ll be able to open and close her eyelids and will be more sensitive to bright light because the retina – the part of the eye that responds to light – is developing now.
Your baby will also be developing proper swallowing reflexes – that is, swallowing when something gets to the back of her throat rather than just swallowing because she can.
At this stage, less than 4% of her body weight will be made up of fat. However, her head will be in proportion to his body and as the weeks go on the wrinkled skin will smooth out.
This week also marks the start of your baby’s nose and nostrils beginning to work, which allows your baby to begin taking practice breaths, breathing in amniotic fluid.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be feeling pretty tip-top and not too physically inconvenienced this week.
You’ll probably have an antenatal appointment this week where your midwife might ask you about a birth plan, or your thoughts about the type of delivery you might like.
Your growing bump may start making it harder to get to sleep. As mentioned in previous weeks, it’s important that you sleep on your side (ideally your left) rather than your back.
There might be other factors interrupting sleep too: have you been experiencing calf cramps? They’re really quite painful! They can happen a lot in pregnancy where you suddenly feel as though your lower leg has been clamped in a vice. The cause isn’t clear but avoid pointing your toes in bed, as this can bring them on. Having some milk or a banana might help to reduce the frequency. This condition will not affect your ability to give birth safely but you can make it a more comfortable experience by moving within your pain limits and exercising gently in water – avoid breaststroke with its froggy leg movements, though. The pain should disappear a few weeks after birth. But it can be really miserable and overshadow your pregnancy, so make sure you get physiotherapy help and advice. No point suffering in silence.
Your metabolism has got much faster so you are expending more energy than usual and this makes you warmer. During pregnancy your body is about half a degree higher than normal anyway, and once you add in the extra blood volume and additional weight you’re carrying, it’s all suddenly rather hot and bothersome.
If the weather is hot, try to stick to the shade and keep as cool as possible – unfortunately sunbathing is out for mums-to-be. If it gets too much, have a lay down and put on a fan in your room. Remember to drink, drink, drink! Hydration is really important, especially when it’s summer.
Unfortunately some ladies in pregnancy will suffer with pelvic girdle pain (PGP). It can start any time in your pregnancy and usually causes pubic pain and tenderness, difficulty going upstairs, walking or getting up from a chair. PGP is partly caused by the hormone relaxin softening the pelvic ligaments as well as other factors, such as your pelvic floor muscles being stretched and less effective at supporting your pelvis. You’re at increased risk of developing it if you have had lower back pain or pelvic pain before pregnancy.
If you are the birthing partner, have you got a copy of the maternity notes and plan? This is a really good idea, as it will be hard during labour to have meaningful conversations or ask questions!