Finger prints, sound and fur this week. I mean to say your baby develops the unique finger prints it will have all its life, vocal cords though it won’t be able to make sound until birth, and Lanugo a soft layer of peach fuzz all over his or her body. Lanugo acts to help regulate body temperature and will likely still be present at birth. Don’t worry this covering disappears as your baby ages. Your baby is now around three inches long and its body has caught up to its head a bit. A head which is now supported by a neck which has developed so his or her chin no longer rests on their chest. The intestines which began their voyage into the abdomen last week land today and begin to coil into the folds and produce the villi we all have inside of us. Villi are tiny hair like projections on the inside of our intestines that move food throughout our digestive tracks. Speaking of food, your tiny ones twenty teeth are now fully formed under the surface ready to sprout and chew. Some babies are even born with two to three teeth broken through to the surface already while others begin teething sometime between three months and a year old. The placenta has now fully formed. Also keep in mind that the later in your pregnancy you become the more the weight and length of your baby may vary. The measurements and weights given from week to week here are averages.
Your breasts may begin to get even larger and feel tenderer around now as they prepare further for the future feeding of your baby. You may even experience leaking of a clear, white fluid. This fluid is normal, it is called Colostrum an ultra nutritious pre-milk that will last until a week or so after your baby’s birth. Colostrum helps pass your immunities to your baby through antibodies as well as provides a rich nutritious diet to ensure proper bounce back from post-labor weight loss. (Most babies’ lose weight after birth and gain it back in the first month) For the majority of women this leaking is very light if at all at first, however if it does become an issue and easy fix it to either purchase breast feeding pads, or you can just stick some thin panty liners in your bra, it works just as well, costs a lot less. As a note this becomes more common the closer you get to your labor.
As your belly grows you may begin to worry about getting stretch marks. Unfortunately stretch marks are primarily affected by genetics. Creams such as cocoa butter may help reduce their intensity by improving the health and elasticity of the skin, but if you’re going to get stretch marks you’re going to get them, blame your parents. No cream is going to stop it. Just try to keep your weight gain at a healthy rate and hope for the best. If it makes you feel any better stretch marks do fade to an almost invisible white over time. There is no shame in the “battle scars” of pregnancy as some women call them; almost every woman who has had children has them. You most certainly are wasting money on expensive creams that claim to stop stretch marks or erase them completely.
The biggest change that often hits around week thirteen as far as life style goes is an increased sex drive. Most experts think this effect is actually psychological rather than physical. For months you’ve felt awful (most of you) from the hormonal back-lash of pregnancy and (again, most of you) are now feeling much better, this causes a natural return of the desire to get busy. I remind that as we’ve mentioned already sex during pregnancy is perfectly safe in every way shape and form. You may even find it more enjoyable during the second trimester because you have not become so large it’s uncomfortable but the increased blood flow to your vagina makes sensations more enhanced. A select few women find this increased sensitivity as a turn off and find it painful.
Things that you can get started with this week:
Start looking into pediatricians unless your doctor has already arranged for one, which is true in most cases. I know, it sounds so early, but choosing a pediatrician to check the baby out immediately after birth and for health check-ups there after is a big decision. This person will evaluate your baby’s health, do any medical procedures it needs or you want immediately after birth (circumcision for example), and you’ll be seeing them a lot in the first few months.