By this week your baby is about an inch long from crown to rump (think about the size of a grape, olive or raspberry) and weighs around as much as a paperclip (one gram). Its tail has entirely disappeared now and all of the vital organs have fully formed. Elbows complete as bone ossification continues and cartilage begins to form. Your baby’s eyes are completed under sealed lids; mouth, lips and teeth buds are formed. Your baby finally looks like a very tiny human being albeit with a large head curled over its too small body, and on top of that it is officially no longer considered an embryo, but a fetus. By this time in his or her development if you touch the outside of your stomach he or she will move in response to your touch, though you won’t be able to feel it.
You may begin to suffer from nose bleeds and nose stuffiness. These symptoms can hit any and all pregnant women and are caused by increased blood in the capillaries of the nose. They tend to be more severe in areas that are not humid or in the dry winter months. You can help alleviate these symptoms by increasing the number of plants in your home. Plants also work to clean the air as well and can help with allergies. Many people underestimate the helpfulness of a simple house plant.
By now you should have missed your second period, no matter what your normal menstrual cycle is. Some times spotting or light bleeding occurs in the first few months of pregnancy around the time when you would be on your period. This is normal. If the blood becomes bright red, and you experience extreme cramping however, you should contact your doctor if possible, or seek medical attention. These could be signs of miscarriage.
Some women begin to experience dizziness around week nine. This could be from the increased blood flow, fatigue, or even hormones, but regardless of what causes it, it can be dangerous. If you are feeling rather dizzy these days it is a good idea to try to stay away from activities where fainting could be fatal, such as driving. Also try to hold on to rails while walking down stairs, etc. Don’t worry this sense of dizziness usually fades within weeks for most women. Not all women escalate to actual fainting either, but the possibility is there.
Right beside dizziness we usually find shortness of breath. Though this symptom is more common later in pregnancy, it can occur early in pregnancy from a different source. Later in pregnancy shortness of breath is caused by the size of your baby crowding the lungs. Early in pregnancy shortness of breath is caused by the bodies need for more oxygen. Certain hormones prompt the lungs to take in more air and breathing patterns change. This change can cause a feeling of shortness of breath.
This feeling is generally harmless unless you suffer from a breathing disorder already, such as asthma. If so you should discuss this with your doctor.
If you are experiencing shortness of breath, keeping good posture will help. Don’t be too proud to take a rest every now and then either.
If you didn’t have it at your last appointment, you’ll probably be having an ultrasound this week or very soon.
What is an ultrasound?
An ultrasound is a diagnostic test used to create visual images of your darling baby using sound waves. There are two methods of ultrasound testing that are generally used, trans-vaginal and trans-abdominal.
A vaginal ultrasound is usually done if for some reason you need a very early ultrasound. For example your experiencing odd bleeding in week five and the cause can’t be determined. For this type of ultrasound a specially designed probe is inserted in the vagina.
Most ultrasounds are done on the abdomen however. You will be asked to lay on your back on a padded medical table. Your abdomen will be uncovered (you generally do not have to undress) and a warm gel will be placed on you. Your doctor will then slide a transducer which looks sort of like a telephone across your abdomen and poof you’ll see your baby on a cute little screen.
On top of getting to finally see the fruits of your labor your doctor will measure the baby to determine a more accurate due date, check that the baby is healthy and developing correctly, check the position of your placenta, check the amount of amniotic fluid and confirm the number of babies.
You may have heard rumor that ultrasounds cause all sorts of negative things like low birth weight, impaired hearing, and speech problems. It’s even been suggested that excessive ultrasounds can lead to left handed-ness! All of these claims have yet to be proven and all the studies that have been done, show ultrasounds to be entirely harmless.