You’re almost a full 3 months pregnant. Do the frequent trips to your OB-GYN make you feel your baby’s presence more strongly? In Week 11, the uterus, which was as big as a lemon, will grow to the size of a grapefruit. The belly becomes more rounded – the start of a baby bump. So, what else is new for both mother and baby in Week 11?
11 Weeks Pregnant: hCG level increases
In Week 11 of pregnancy, the endometrium thickens and your hCG(human chorionic gonadotropin) level will reach its peak. The hormone hCG stimulates the corpus luteum, causing it to secrete progesterone, a steroid hormone which enables pregnancy to continue. What does this mean for you?
It means that the placenta is on its way to becoming completely formed. When the placenta is completely formed, the level of hCG will decrease sharply and hCG will continue to be secreted in relatively small amounts. As hCG is thought to be one of the hormones contributing to morning sickness, when the hCG level in you decreases, it might mean that your morning sickness will become less severe.
Symptoms: Morning sickness and weight gain
This is a week in which you might be feeling more cheerful as morning sickness subsides and symptoms like nausea and vomiting become less intense. When morning sickness improves, some women find their appetites returning or even increasing, and might start to eat more.
However, with all the eating, a sudden increase in body weight can take a toll on both the mother’s and baby’s bodies. Even if you find yourself tempted to eat more, try to have balanced meals and continue to watch your weight. For those who lost weight because of morning sickness, make good use of your increased appetite to be able to gain some healthy weight.
11 Weeks Pregnant: Checkups decrease in frequency
Up till Week 11 of pregnancy, the risk of a miscarriage is high because the placenta is not completely formed yet. However, a pregnancy loss in the early stage of pregnancy is not preventable, and as the fetus is still growing relatively slowly, a visit to the OB-GYN once every month in the first and second trimester will suffice.
However, in the third trimester, the frequency of your visits will increase to once every fortnight. From Week 36 onwards, you will see your OB-GYN once every week.The frequency of your visits may vary depending on the type of care and obstetrician you choose, and on whether you are expecting twins or more. It might be good to ask your doctor in advance about the number of trips down you should be making in a month. If there is any abnormal bleeding or if you feel something is wrong, do not hesitate to contact your doctor and arrange for a visit.
11 Weeks Pregnant: Sonogram of fetus in your belly
The Fetus’ Growth
The fetus is now 4-6 cm long, and generally weighs from 10-15 grams. Nails are growing and internal organs continue to develop.
● The bones around the mouth are completely formed and the nose becomes more distinct. The fetus can now move its mouth and yawn, and its sense of smell also develops.
● The general structure of the brain is complete and will remain in this shape until birth.
● Fetus: fingernails grow, skin forms, begins to respond to temperature changes and movement.
● Up until Week 10, the majority of the intestines were in the umbilical cord. From now, the intestines begin to shift downward to the abdomen. The fetus’ digestive system is gradually developing and the fetus will start practicing how to digest food.
● The thyroid, pancreas and gallbladder are completely formed. The pancreas starts to secrete insulin which regulates the level of glucose (sugar) in blood.
Fetus: Swallows amniotic fluid, then releases it
When the liver is completely formed, the fetus is able to ingest amniotic fluid and release it from the bladder as urine. As you move farther along your pregnancy, the amount of urine you produce will also increase.
The fetus swallows the amniotic fluid which contains nutrients that help support its growth. Through urination, the amniotic fluid is “purified” by the fetus, and thus the “cleanliness” of the amniotic fluid is maintained. The baby does not move its bowels.
Fetus’ Crown-Rump Length: Calculating pregnancy weeks
Week 0 of pregnancy starts from the first day of the last menstrual period. This is based on the assumption that a menstrual cycle is 28 days, and for those who do not have a regular period, the pregnancy week count might not be accurate.
To confirm the accuracy of the pregnancy week count, the crown-rump length (CRL) is measured between Week 6 and Week 13, the period in which individual factors usually do not affect the size of the embryo/fetus. The CRL is a measurement of the length of human embryos and fetuses from the top of the head to the bottom of the buttocks.
As the CRL is able to match your fetus to the right pregnancy week, it is used as a standard to recalculate the Estimated Delivery Date (EDD). Even if the recalculated EDD diverges a bit from the previous EDD, there is nothing to worry about. The recalculation is for your OB-GYN to monitor your baby’s growth more accurately.
11 Weeks Pregnant: Miscarriage in the first trimester
The risk of a miscarriage remains relatively high up to Week 11. This is usually due to abnormalities in the chromosomes that stop the embryo’s organs from developing normally. Regardless of how careful the mother may be, this kind of pregnancy loss cannot be prevented.
Although pregnancy losses are unfortunately, unpreventable, you can reduce the risk of a pregnancy loss in general by consuming more folic acid, protein, calcium, vitamin E- all nutrients essential to the fetus’ physical development. Having a more stress-free lifestyle is also another way of minimizing the risk of a pregnancy loss.
Research results suggest that stress could be a contributing factor to the increased risk of pregnancy loss, so try keeping your stress levels in check. If you experience abdominal pains or observe any abnormal bleeding, please go to your OB-GYN without a moment’s delay.
11 Weeks Pregnant: Blood Test
Your doctor will be able to determine your health and any illnesses or medical conditions you need to be aware of through blood test. The results help doctors decide what treatments are necessary in order to prevent the fetus from becoming infected or affected in any way. Blood tests are especially important in the early stage of pregnancy because they screen for the presence of diseases that have a high risk of being passed to the fetus.
However, depending on your insurance plan and other factors, a blood test can be completely free or cost up to several hundred dollars. Although it might burn a hole in your pocket, it’s advisable that you go for a blood test if you are able to do so!
●Hepatitis B test
●Hepatitis C test
●Rubella blood test
●Adult T-cell leukemia test
●Blood types A/B/O/AB/Rh+/Rh-:Rh incompatibility: If you are Rh- and your fetus is Rh+, your body makes antibodies against the Rh factor (your fetus). You will need to get a shot of Rh immunoglobulin (Rhlg) to protect your fetus.
●Irregular antibody screening: To check for any irregular antibodies in blood
●Complete Blood Count (CBC) test: Measures the number of red blood cells and white blood cells, the amount of hemoglobin and hematocrit, and platelet count
●Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP): Blood test that helps assess kidney and liver function
11 Weeks Pregnant:Take it easy!
At the end of Week 11, you might start feeling a little less worried over the risk of a miscarriage. You will see symptoms like vomiting and morning sickness slowly improve. When you feel relatively better, spend some time with your partner and breathe easy. Enjoy nutritious food essential for your baby’s growth. It’ll do you much good if you cut yourself some slack, lean back, relax and enjoy your pregnancy journey.