Week 14

Your baby is the size of a clenched fist. The eyelids are fully formed but are still fused over the eyes and will stay this way throughout the second trimester.

 

This is the first week in your second trimester, the one a lot of women find the most comfortable of the three. Your nausea and exhaustion are likely to have lifted, or are starting to, and you won’t be so big that you feel awkward and cumbersome.

 

Expect a surge of energy in the next few weeks as your body really starts pumping out those feel-good hormones.

 

When you are 14 weeks pregnant, it is time to look into an exercise programme specifically designed for pregnant women. It is important that you start doing pelvic floor exercises now, which will help your body support the increasing weight of your womb. Many potential problems can be avoided by doing regular, daily repetitions, which will strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.

 

If possible, join a class with women who will be experiencing the same changes as yourself. Many long-term friendships have been forged over antenatal exercise classes, where it is often impossible not to laugh at yourself, as well as others. You may find your greatest emotional support is coming from your female friends around now, close as you are to your partner. There’s just something about shared experiences that sets off a sense of connection.

 

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Your physical changes this week

  • Oestrogen is stimulating your skin cells to produce more darkening pigment from now on. Look for the “Butterfly” mask of pregnancy that can start on each cheek and extend over your nose and mouth. This sometimes also happens to women taking the oral contraceptive pill.
  • Feeling a little warm? That’s because of the huge increase in your circulating blood volume. Your heart is working very hard to supply both your and your baby’s body with adequate oxygen. Your red blood cell count is much higher than when you were not pregnant, so make sure you are supporting this by eating lots of iron-rich foods such as red meat, green leafy vegetables and cereals.
  • If you have a navel piercing, you may want to think about taking it out around this time. It won’t harm the baby but as your tummy enlarges, it may start rubbing onto your clothing and be irritating. If you’re keen to keep the hole open, just make sure you reinsert the stud or ring through it every couple of days.
  • At 14 weeks pregnant, your tummy may stick out more on some days than on others. This is usually because of the distention in your bowels. You will probably find that after you’ve been to the bathroom, your tummy is flatter. Don’t worry; this is completely normal at this stage of pregnancy.
  • If you have a retroverted uterus, i.e. a womb that is tilted backwards rather than to the front, it will right itself about now. Sometimes, a backward tilting womb causes problems with weeing – so, if this happens, check with your doctor.

 

Your emotional changes this week

  • As your body is changing, you may be feeling stressed, wondering if you’ll ever look the same. As long as you are careful about the quantities and type of food you eat and keep up some form of exercise, your body is more likely to return to its pre-pregnancy weight. There are good reasons for the changes to a pregnant woman’s shape, so let nature take its course.
  • You may feel as if you are not quite with-it this week – a little more forgetful and even vague. Blame those hormones and Mother Nature. Somehow, the excitement of being pregnant just seems to eclipse everything else, making most of the daily stress seem almost insignificant.
  • Mood swings may cause you to be up and down this week. One minute you could be close to tears and the next, almost overcome with happiness. Because pregnancy is a time of great emotional changes, you and the people close to you are going to need to learn to just go with the flow.
  • You may be feeling a lot more relaxed about being pregnant and the anxiety of possible miscarriage is lifting. This frees you up from extra worry and stress, giving your mind so much more freedom, simply because you’re not dwelling so much on the “what if’s”.

 

Your baby’s changes this week

 

  • This week your baby’s eyelids are still fused over its eyes, which - though fully developed – are too sensitive to be exposed to anything that could irritate them.
  • Your baby may even be growing hair on its head.
  • Your baby’s neck is obvious now and instead of its little head resting on its chest, there’s actually a neck separating the two. The chin is jutting out more and those little ears, which were positioned quite low down until now, have moved into their rightful place on the side of the head.
  • Your baby’s heartbeat will be beating at around twice the rate of your own. When you hear it at your antenatal appointments, it will sound like a steady and regular beat, making your own beat just a little faster. Occasionally, the umbilical cord gets in the way, which gives more of a whooshing sound.
  • This week your baby is making facial movements such as frowning and squinting. It’s still flickering around in your womb, making sudden jumping movements that you won’t be aware of. If you’ve had a baby before and are extra alert, you may be conscious of these movements, but you are more likely to notice them in the next couple of weeks.
  • If you are having twins or a multiple pregnancy, your tummy may be much bigger than you expect it to be. One of the first signs of carrying more than one baby is excessive nausea and being large for your dates. An ultrasound will soon pick up if there is more than one baby inside.
  • When you are having your antenatal check-ups and your tummy palpated, the baby will move away from all that gentle prodding and poking.

 

Hints for the week

  • Use your hunger as a prompt for when to eat. You are likely to be looking at food in a completely new light around now. Make sure you have plenty of healthy snacks nearby and don’t think about dieting - this is not the time to be losing weight.
  • Don’t forget your fibre! Fruit and vegetables are essential as they are bulk-forming and help to push everything along in your gut. Fibre and roughage need water to work best, so don’t forget to drink lots of fluids and keep yourself well hydrated. By the time you are thirsty, you are already partially dehydrated so remember to sip water frequently through the day. You’ll feel so much better if you do. Water will also help with that brain fogginess. Well, a bit anyway.
  • Planning a holiday? Now’s the time to pack your bags and take a little vacation. The second trimester is the best time to travel, while you still have the energy to enjoy it and the risk of early labour is reduced. If you intend to fly, check out each airline’s restrictions regarding flying during pregnancy. You may need a letter from your doctor confirming your gestation.
  • You might want to go shopping for new clothes this week. Whether you invest in maternity clothes or just bigger sizes is entirely up to you. What works for a lot of women is to do a combination of both. There is a certain thrill to buying maternity clothes though. There is only a limited time in your life when you qualify to do so and in some way, they just confirm what you’ve known for a while. You are pregnant, you are having a baby. Amazing isn’t it?

 

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Week 15 to come.

 
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