The 13th Week of Pregnancy

Signs, symptoms, and sensationsHow the body is changing
Fetal developmentPossible problems
Fetal ultrasoundResearch and analysis
Intimate lifeRecommendations
Nutrition

Signs, Symptoms, and Sensations at Week 13

Week 13 is the time of blossom and an emotional lift for a woman. This is due to physiological processes that take place inside the body during this period. These processes affect the future mother’s mood and well-being in the most positive way: early toxicosis, which in some people is accompanied by vomiting and nausea is gone; the body is accustomed to hormonal changes, and now the woman can fully enjoy her special condition.

Of course, there may be occasional discomfort, but if it is not intense, there are no reasons for concern.

You’ve got through the most dangerous period of the first three months and reach the 13th obstetric week of pregnancy that no longer carries the threat of miscarriage.

  • Problems with digestion, heartburn and constipation. Their appearance is associated with the growth of the uterus, which is located in close proximity to the digestive organsAlso the hormones may cause the difficulties with emptying the intestines.
  • Discomfort in the legs, especially in the calf muscles, caused by a growth in the abdomen that can change the gait of the pregnant woman. Most often, the pain may increase after a long walk.
  • Uterus tone, strong tension in the lower abdomen. If you have pain, you should immediately contact a gynecologist. Doctors usually recommend to rest and relax. In dangerous cases, they may prescribe medication.
  • Increase or decrease in blood pressure. In most cases, there is a decrease in blood pressure. The expecting mother feels weakness, drowsiness, dizziness. Sometimes there may be an increase in blood pressure, which manifests itself in headaches and rapid heart rate.
  • Manifestation of thrush. During this period, the woman’s immunity is weakened and, as a result, the body can’t resist the fungal disease. There are itching and discomfort in the vagina, as well as heavy discharge. To get rid of candidiasis, consult a specialist and follow the prescribed treatment.

Changes in the Woman’s Organism

Week 13 after conception marks the beginning of the second trimester. Naturally, at this time, the “delicate condition” of a woman is becoming more and more obvious to those around her. Firstly, the size of the belly changes. The fetus actively develops in the womb and grows, and the pregnant woman can feel how the lower part of the abdomen increases in size and thickens.

Now is the time to switch to clothes that don’t cause discomfort by a tight fit to the body. And also it would be wise to change shoes to more comfortable ones. With an increase in weight and a shift in the center of gravity, the legs are under a heavier load and the gait changes.

The belly becomes increasingly larger due to the uterus growth, and the skin stretches. Stretch marks are particularly noticeable on the hips, chest, and the belly. To prevent stretch marks, the expecting mothers are advised to watch their weight so there are no sharp increases, to go swimming, and also to use special cosmetics.

The breast continues to change under the influence of the same hormones that prepare it to perform the main function – feeding the baby. Pigmented spots appear more clearly in those women who are predisposed to it. You shouldn’t worry about it. This is temporary. After delivery, everything will go back to normal.

Development of the Fetus at Week 13

The fetus starts growing and developing since conception, and continues to do so at a fast pace. The baby reaches 7 cm in height, and its weight is about 28 g. The fetus already looks like a little person, not an embryo. Its head is no longer as disproportionately large as it was in early pregnancy. The parts of the body are now more balanced.

The major changes at week 13:

  • The gallbladder is formed and begins to secret bile.
  • The pancreas produces insulin – the hormone responsible for the processing of sugar in the organism.
  • The baby’s muscles move actively and strengthen. However, the fetus moves erratically and only when it’s awake.
  • The face features are almost shaped into the face the baby will be born with. The eyes, which were previously found on the sides of the head, shift towards the nose.
  • The fetus has already a sucking reflex by that time; facial muscles and baby teeth are laid.
  • The heart beats at a stable rate; it can pump more than 20 liters of blood daily.

The development of brain cells continues. Little grooves emerge and will later turn into gyri.

Possible Concerns at Week 13

Pain

Moderate pain at week 13 (this is how much time has passed since the first day of the last menstruation) has couple of reasons, for example muscle tension due to the growth of fetus, or uterus tone. It manifests itself in short-term aches or pains. But if muscle strain keep recurring and doesn’t disappear for long, you should visit the doctor as soon as possible. Bleeding and sensations similar to menstrual cramps are especially alarming signs that shouldn’t be ignored.

At week 13, pain or ache may appear in:

  • the stomach due to digestive problems, or gas pain;
  • the lower back due to high load because of a growing size of the belly.
  • the legs, especially in the calf muscles (it’s a sign of calcium deficiency);
  • the head, since an increased volume of blood in the body leads to increased blood pressure;

Cold and Fever

Sadly, it’s very hard to prevent colds completely during pregnancy. Some day or other, the future mother may get sick, particularly when the pregnancy occurs during the autumn and/or winter. This is compounded by the fact that the pregnant women can’t resort to many common medications that could have worked very well in this situation. As the result, her condition can worsen quickly. It can have serious consequences for the baby such as maldevelopment or premature delivery.

So, what should the expectant mother do to prevent colds, and what to do if she got sick anyway?

1. In cold months, keep warm and try to avoid public places.

2. Take vitamins to improve a depressed immune system function.

3. Use natural home remedies to treat the signs of a cold. They help relieve symptoms without harming the baby.

4. If you have fever, home call the doctor, who will prescribe you medication and recommend the most suitable and safe methods of treatment.

The subfebrile body temperature up to 37.5 degrees Celsius is normal at week 13 of pregnancy. It’s nothing to worry about if the expecting mother isn’t in pain. However, if the body temperature went above 38 degrees, you should break the fever with paracetamol-containing medicine. And of course, in this situation you must call a doctor and follow his directions.

Discharge at Week 13

The expecting mother should keep monitoring discharge throughout the whole pregnancy. In fact, discharge can tell plenty about the state of the organism and well-being of the unborn baby.

Normal discharge at the 13th week of pregnancy is clear and odorless; it may become more abundant by that time.

If you have noticed any changes in color or consistence, please talk to your doctor. Such changes are often a symptom of infection, which can hurt the baby, if left untreated.

Bloody Discharge or Bleeding

Sudden bleeding is a warning sign. Nevertheless, a safe course of pregnancy in the future is possible with a proper medical care.

After receiving treatment, the majority of women went through the pregnancy safely until the very delivery. The most important thing is not to panic and seek timely medical aid.

Possible reasons for vaginal bleeding at week 13:

  • placental abruption or presentation of the placenta;
  • hematomas on the placenta;
  • mechanical damage (falling, wounding the cervix during intercourse or gynecological exam);
  • stiff blood vessels, bursting under the pressure of the growing uterus.

The gynecologist will specify a diagnosis and refer to ultrasound and other studies that might be necessary. The woman may be advised to go to the hospital, where she will be safe under constant supervision of medical specialists. Bed rest with minimum muscle loading would be a good option for women who have any troubles during the course of pregnancy.

Fetal Ultrasound at Week 13

Gynecologists usually refer the patients to an ultrasound examination at 12th or 13th week of pregnancy. The purpose of the first ultrasound scan of the fetus is to record the main parameters of its development and make sure they correspond to normal indicators. Moreover, the doctor can establish a period of pregnancy, the height and sex of the baby with high accuracy.

The future mother, with the help of the doctor, can see parts of a child’s body: arms, legs, head, spine, and also listen to its heart. The photo at the 13th week of pregnancy is informative enough: the doctor assesses the likelihood of the fetus having congenital abnormalities and other developmental pathologies. If there is even a small possibility of such diseases, the gynecologist will refer the pregnant woman to other studies to confirm a diagnosis.

Required Studies and Analyzes

The first screening of the child’s condition includes an ultrasound scan and testing for chromosomal abnormalities. For this purpose, medical workers take blood from a vein of the expectant mother. At this time, the pregnant women are tested for:

  • Progesterone.

The level of this hormone in the woman’s blood directly indicates the state of health of the fetus. When doctors refer to this analysis, they want to make sure that there is no missed abortion, developmental delay, threatened miscarriage, gestosis, etc.

  • Human chorionic gonadotropin.

This hormone, often referred to as a “pregnancy hormone” is associated with its successful course. The level of hCG begins to grow in a woman’s body immediately after successful ovulation and fertilization of the egg by a sperm cell. It is the test for concentration of this hormone that helps a woman determine the presence of pregnancy. And, of course, the level of hCG should not drop.

  • Alpha-fetoprotein.

This analysis helps identify chromosomal abnormalities.

  • Estradiol.

The analysis is prescribed to pregnant women who have had the sad experience of spontaneous abortions. Estradiol levels can tell about the condition of the placenta and whether there is a threat of miscarriage.

Love life

Intimacy is a personal matter that the couple must resolve together, no matter the stage of pregnancy. Doctors don’t see any problems in this matter if the mother’s condition and state of health are at a good level and there is no risk to the fetus.

If in the first trimester there could be some restrictions due to the hormonal restructuring of the body and possible threats to the life of the baby, but now everything is different. A woman who is completely accustomed to her condition wants love, and there can be no restrictions. Although, don’t get carried away and be careful.

Recommendations for Expectant Mothers

Dear future mothers of waitingforchild.com, please follow these recommendations:

  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. The abdomen requires special attention, it shouldn’t be clamped by tight jeans or dresses. It’s time to look for clothes for pregnant women, including underwear.
  • The child can already hear sounds. So try not to raise your voice, and not to waste your strength and nerves on arguing. You need to surround yourself with positive people and listen to soothing, beautiful music more often.
  • Strengthen your body so as not to catch a cold: wash your hands, take a walk in the fresh air, relax more and avoid crowded places.
  • If you’ve caught a cold, call a doctor. Don’t self-medicate, because you can hurt the child.

It’s time to start special courses for pregnant women. Such schools for moms exist at every child health center or woman’s health clinic.

Diet for Expectant Mothers

The child in the womb receives food from the mother. Its body needs a healthy food, rich in nutrients, which will help it grow without deviating from the norm; give it the strength and ability to properly form and develop the internal organs. The future mother should remember this every time she makes a menu.

Nutritionists and doctors recommend sticking to proper nutrition. It should include natural products: cereals, vegetables, fruits, lean meat, nuts, greens. Beets, sea kale, vegetable purees, wheat bran are very healthy. You shouldn’t drink alcohol and strong coffee.

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