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Guide to Being 11 Weeks Pregnant

Pregnancy Image Gallery What new surprises are in store for you at Week 11? See more pregnancy pictures.
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You can see (and feel) that your belly is growing, bit by bit. What you can't see, however, is that your baby's development is progressing in leaps and bounds. During Week 11, your baby will begin a 21-day growth spurt that will nearly double her size. During this time, the precursors to her teeth will sprout. She will open and close her fists, and her transparent skin will gain several layers.

The changes in your body may be prompting some mixed emotions. The initial excitement of pregnancy has waned, you've started gaining nearly a pound a week and yet you don't quite fit into maternity clothes. Still, you're relieved the nausea has started to subside and that your energy is beginning to return. And even though you've watched nearly every pregnancy- and baby-related television show, you can't seem to get enough. There's just something thrilling about being a proverbial fly on the wall during another couple's labor and delivery, or sharing their excitement as they bring their baby home from the hospital.

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What else can you expect during Week 11? We'll dish the details on the following page.

If you're experiencing excessive saliva, try chewing antacid.
If you're experiencing excessive saliva, try chewing antacid.
Hemera/Thinkstock

Pregnancy has you salivating, and not in a good way. During Week 11, you may find yourself needing to spit excess salivation because the act of swallowing it makes you feel nauseous -- just when that feeling was beginning to wane. Although experts don't know why some women salivate more than others, the condition -- known as ptyalism or sialorrhea -- is only temporary.

You could try chewing antacids; if you have heartburn, your irritated esophagus will trigger your salivary glands. You could also chew sugarless gum or suck on hard candy. It won't make you salivate any less, but it will make it easier to swallow the excess without gagging.

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By Week 11, you're also feeling less nauseous and more energetic, and this welcome relief will increase as the first trimester comes to a close and the second trimester begins. You'll also be able to increase your activity level, but make sure you do so strategically. Even though you feel better, your energy will not be boundless. Target specific activities, such as daily physical exercise, before moving on to optional tasks. And by all means, don't sign up for any extra long-term commitments.

By Week 11, you've noticed changes in your skin. Some are welcome, such as your new pregnant glow caused by increased blood volume and oil-producing hormones. However, the same oils may also cause acne. To combat blemishes, wash your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser and switch to oil-free moisturizers and cosmetics. Drink plenty of water to help your body flush toxins. Steer clear of acne medications; some have ingredients that cause birth defects.

As pregnancy progresses, you may notice blotchy discoloration across your nose, forehead, cheeks or body. You can blame hormones for chloasma, also known as "pregnancy mask." Like pregnancy-induced acne, chloasma will go away after your baby is born. In the meantime, reduce or prevent it by wearing sunscreen and avoiding sun exposure. You also can eat more foods containing folic acid, like green leafy vegetables, oranges and whole-grain breads; studies show a folate deficiency contributes to chloasma.

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Your uterus is undergoing changes, too. You might feel some twinges as it expands. Blood vessels in your placenta are becoming larger to accommodate the accelerated growth phase your baby is entering. During the next nine weeks, she will triple in length and increase her weight by 30 percent. Right now, though, your baby's still about the length of your thumb from knuckle to tip.

A nap or a few extra hours of sleep is a requirement, not an option. Your body is working overtime to produce more blood and pregnancy hormones -- all with the goal of developing a healthy baby. In addition, your body's level of progesterone is at an all-time high. This may make you feel especially sleepy during certain times of the day or evening.

The rest of the time, you may be tempted to take on new projects because you're feeling hints of energy during this phase of pregnancy. So, it's even more important for your partner to encourage you to build rest periods into your daily routine. He should also take an active role in meal preparation, ensuring you have a balance of iron, proteins and essential vitamins and minerals at your disposal.

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Even if your energy level feels good, don't be shy about asking for help. Detail specific needs to your partner, rather than vague requests. Trade "I need your help around the house" for "Please load the dishwasher every evening."

Listening to music can be a very calming experience.
Listening to music can be a very calming experience.
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The reality of pregnancy sets in and you find yourself wondering about your baby: Will she look like you? Will he cry a lot? How will you handle waiting 29 more weeks to meet her?

Now is the perfect time to begin a daily ritual, meant only for you and your baby. Twice a day, dedicate five or 10 minutes to think about your baby. Place your hands on your belly as you concentrate on your hopes for parenthood. Read to your baby or play soothing music. Connecting in this way is a precursor for the bonding you'll do with your newborn. It also works as a sort of insurance to ease the postpartum adjustments you'll undergo.

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Week 11 is also a great time to reach out to other moms. By building this network of support, you have a go-to group. If you and your mom are on good terms, ask her about when you were born and what her earliest days of motherhood were like. Even if your relationship's been a bit rocky, there's nothing like a new baby to smooth the road.

All at once, your digestive system goes on the fritz. Your trio of symptoms -- heartburn, flatulence and constipation -- is putting a damper on your otherwise sunny disposition. And just as you were able to enjoy all the foods that made you queasy just a few short weeks ago. Doesn't seem fair, does it?

Your body's hormonal changes are slowing your digestive process and causing the protective valve between your stomach and esophagus to relax. This means food is passing through your intestines at a slower rate. Plus, the iron in your prenatal vitamin makes constipation even worse. Help your digestive system get back on track by eating high-fiber foods and fresh fruits and vegetables every day. Top off your meals with at least 64 ounces of water (and a glass of prune juice, too). Ask your doctor if you can take a fiber supplement. If straining is still a problem, your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter stool softener. In most cases, these are OK for pregnant women.

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Your gastrointestinal woes could keep you from gaining weight during the first trimester, but don't worry: Your baby's still getting the nutrients she needs from your body's stores.

Related Articles

Sources

  • Baby Center. "Constipation During Pregnancy." June 2006. (March 11, 2011) BabyCenter.com.http://www.babycenter.com/0_constipation-during-pregnancy_836.bc
  • Baby Center. "Excessive Salivation During Pregnancy." July 2006. (March 11, 2011) BabyCenter.com.http://www.babycenter.com/0_excessive-salivation-during-pregnancy_9454.bc
  • Baby Center. "Your Pregnancy: Nine Weeks." (March 11, 2011) BabyCenter.com.http://www.babycenter.com/6_your-pregnancy-9-weeks_1098.bc
  • Baby Center. "Your Pregnancy: Eleven Weeks." (March 11, 2011) BabyCenter.com.http://www.babycenter.com/6_your-pregnancy-11-weeks_1100.bc
  • Murkoff, Heidi. "Chloasma During Pregnancy or Mask of Pregnancy." (March 11, 2011) WhatToExpect.com.http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/symptoms-and-solutions/chloasma.aspx
  • Similac.com. "Baby's Growth and Development at 11 Weeks Pregnant." (March 11, 2011) Similac.com.http://similac.com/pregnancy/11-weeks-pregnant-baby-growth-development
  • Similac.com. "Your Changing Body at 11 Weeks Pregnant." (March 11, 2011) Similac.com.http://similac.com/pregnancy/11-weeks-pregnant-your-changing-body
  • Similac.com. "Wellness and Nutrition at 11 Weeks Pregnant." (March 11, 2011) Similac.com.http://similac.com/pregnancy/11-weeks-pregnant-nutrition-wellness
  • Women's Healthcare Topics. "11 Weeks Pregnant: Your Pregnancy Week by Week." (March 11, 2010) WomensHealthcareTopics.com.http://www.womenshealthcaretopics.com/pregnancy_week_11.htm

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