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Guide to Being 13 Weeks Pregnant

Pregnancy Image Gallery Many women find the second trimester to be the easiest of the three. See more pregnancy pictures.
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Good bye first trimester, hello time to breathe. Lots of women (but not all) find the middle months to be the easiest, with fewer unpleasant symptoms and lots of new reasons to be excited. Chances are, you're starting to show, your morning sickness has subsided (if you had any), and you're less concerned about miscarriage, since it's less likely after week 12.

Your check-ups are probably becoming more frequent. Your pants are getting tight. People may be asking you personal questions at the supermarket. (Get used to that: Even if you're not showing yet, the prenatal vitamins in your cart might give you away.) Week 13 is exciting either way, with fetal development in full swing and your parental preparations getting a lot more serious: This is for real.

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And what might you be feeling at this very real stage? Most likely, during week 13, what you're feeling is a whole lot better …

A little dizziness is to be expected in your second trimester as your dilated blood vessels cause a drop in pressure.
A little dizziness is to be expected in your second trimester as your dilated blood vessels cause a drop in pressure.
Comstock/Thinkstock

Good news: If you're like most women, some of the most difficult parts of trimester one are either gone or on their way out. You're vomiting less, urinating less and feeling a bit more energized.

Unfortunately, you and heartburn (and/or general indigestion) might be getting to know each other really well, your waist is thickening, and your shoes might be starting to feel a little snug. Your hormones are telling your joints to loosen up in preparation for eventual delivery.

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Other possible week 13 symptoms:

  • Dizziness
  • A thin, cloudy vaginal discharge (it's helping to keep baby's environment safe from contaminants)
  • Constipation (hormones are causing your bowels to relax a bit, so contractions aren't as powerful)
  • Veins becoming more visible beneath the skin (from increased blood flow to baby)
  • Increased sex drive

And that's not even the half of it. There are a whole host of things going on that you can't feel at all …

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Size: About 3 inches. Weight: About an ounce. Bones: Starting to form.

That little guy or gal in your uterus is looking even more human this week, with a body size that's slowly catching up to that giant head, the beginning of bones in arms and legs, eyes that are moving even closer together, and an easily determined sex (although you probably won't detect it on an ultrasound for several more weeks).

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Around this week, too, your breasts might be in the early stages of colostrum production. That's the fluid that will nourish your newborn in the first days after birth if you're breastfeeding.

Also during week 13:

  • Intestines are shifting from the umbilical chord into the abdomen.
  • Vocal chords are starting to develop.
  • Fingerprints are forming on those tiny, no-longer-webbed fingers.
  • The fetus can move his or her limbs.
  • A girl now has a couple million eggs in her ovaries.

With all the activity going on inside you, your partner might be feeling a bit outside of things. But make no mistake, your significant other is a crucial part of the equation right now …

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Attend as many check-ups as you can as a couple -- they're perfect times to bond.
Attend as many check-ups as you can as a couple -- they're perfect times to bond.
©iStockphoto.com/MiguelMalo

Guess what, partners: She needs you now more than ever.

For one thing, you can go with her to grocery store to provide a little buffer. Saying your due date over and over can get a bit annoying.

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But that's a small thing. You have much bigger jobs, like helping to research the pros and cons of various birthing methods (now just six months off), and accompanying her to all (or at least some) of those increasingly frequent check-ups. They're so much more exciting, not to mention informative, when both of you are there. Those are perfect times to bond.

This also may be the right time to start attending birthing classes (the sooner the better) so you know what's in store. These, too, are wonderful times to connect as future parents, explore your role as partner, and talk with other future parents and your fellow birthing coaches. You're all in the same boat.

And a few other things to keep in mind this week …

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Now's about time to start planning the nursery!
Now's about time to start planning the nursery!

Delivery is now just six months off, and you've got some new issues to think about -- or some older issues you just haven't gotten around to yet, what with all those bathroom breaks.

Just a few of the things you may want to consider during week 13:

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  • You need protein and calcium.Right now, the baby is growing the stuff he or she needs to be whole and healthy. If you're a vegetarian or a vegan, in particular, make sure to talk to your doctor about suitable choices.
  • You can help yourself.For your own comfort, if you haven't done it already, increase your fiber to fight the constipation (if you have any) and decrease acidic foods to reduce any heartburn you may be experiencing. There's no reason to suffer more than necessary.
  • Nesting takes a while.It's probably time to start planning the nursery. It'll take a while to get it together, and you probably don't want to leave it to the last minute. You never know when that baby will decide to come out.

And since you'll need some extra brainpower to start researching cribs and those ever-important wallpaper borders, you might as well ignore the unnecessary stuff …

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You've got cribs, fiber and tiny little fingerprints to think about, so don't bother stressing (too much) about this stuff:

  • Your libido is still on vacation.Some women have it this week, some women don't. There's no right or wrong here, so just go with it. Get some extra sleep while you can.
  • Your partner's libido is on vacation.You're not the only one in this pregnancy. Your partner may be experiencing emotional (and maybe even sympathetic-physical) changes, too. Reduced interest in sex when your partner is pregnant is totally normal.
  • Your breasts still hurt.This might take a bit longer to subside, but it will subside, and probably soon.
  • You're showing more or less than your friend/sister/coworker is/was at 13 weeks.You might look possibly pregnant, obviously pregnant, or like your same-old self. It's all fine. Everybody is different in when and how much they show.
  • You need to eat some fish to get your protein (and omega fatty acids).Most experts say that small amounts of lower-mercury fish are totally fine during pregnancy -- but ask your doctor about it just to be sure.

Week 13 is a gateway week: Pregnancy is probably starting to be a whole lot more fun. So lay off the albacore tuna, buy yourself a bigger negligee (or not), and put your feet up: You still get to relax, you just get to enjoy it more.

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For more information on pregnancy, look over the links on the next page.

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Related Articles

Sources

  • "Fetal development: The second trimester." Mayo Clinic. (March 13, 2011)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fetal-development/PR00113
  • "Week 13 of Pregnancy." What To Expect. (March 13, 2011)http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/week-by-week/week-13.aspx
  • "Your pregnancy: 13 Weeks." BabyCenter. (March 13, 2011)http://www.babycenter.com/6_your-pregnancy-13-weeks_1102.bc
  • "Your Pregnancy Week by Week: Weeks 13-16." WebMD. (March 13, 2011)http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/your-pregnancy-week-by-week-weeks-13-16

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