At 13 weeks, you’re now entering your final days of the first trimester. Miscarriage rates greatly decrease after the first trimester. There’s also a lot going on with both your body and your baby this week. Here’s what you can expect:
As you enter your second trimester, your hormone levels are evening out as your placenta takes over production.
Your belly continues to expand up and out of your pelvis. If you haven’t started wearing maternity clothes, you might feel more comfortable with the extra room and stretch that pregnancy panels provide. Learn about abdominal pain during pregnancy.
At 13 weeks, your baby has grown to roughly the size of a peapod. Your baby’s intestines, which spent the past couple of weeks growing in the umbilical cord, are returning to the abdomen. Tissue around your baby’s head, arms, and legs is slowly fortifying into bone. Your little one has even started urinating in the amniotic fluid. Most of this fluid will be made up of your baby’s urine from now until the end of your pregnancy.
In the next few weeks (usually by 17 to 20 weeks) you’ll likely be able to identify your baby’s sex via ultrasound. If you have a prenatal appointment coming up, you should hear the heartbeat with the use of a Doppler machine. You can purchase a similar machine for home, but be aware that they can be difficult to use.
By the end of this week, you’ll have reached the second trimester! This week, your babies will measure almost 4 inches and each weigh just over an ounce. Tissue that will eventually become arms and legs and bone around your twins’ heads is forming this week. Your little ones have also started urinating in the amniotic fluid that surrounds them.
By the 13th week, you’ll notice your earlier symptoms begin to fade and may find yourself in a comfortable state before fully entering your second trimester. If you’re still experiencing nausea or exhaustion, you can look forward to diminishing symptoms in the coming weeks.
You may also experience:
- increased energy
- round ligament pain
- leaky breasts
Besides round ligament pain and lingering first trimester symptoms, you should start feeling more energetic. Some call the second trimester the “honeymoon period” of pregnancy because most symptoms fade. Before you know it, you’ll be in the third trimester and experiencing new symptoms like swollen ankles, back pain, and restless sleep.
Round ligament pain
At this time, your uterus is continuing its rapid growth. You should be able to feel the top of it just above your pelvic bone. As a result, you may start to experience sharp lower abdominal pains called round ligament pain when you get up or shift positions too quickly. In most cases these sensations are not symptoms of something serious. But if you have pain in combination with fever, chills, or bleeding, call your doctor.
Your breasts are also changing. As early as the second trimester, you’ll start producing colostrum, which is the precursor to breast milk. Colostrum is yellow or light orange in color and thick and sticky. You may notice your breasts leaking from time to time, but unless you have pain or discomfort, it’s a perfectly normal part of pregnancy.
It’s never too late to start healthy eating habits that will nourish your body and your baby. Focus on whole foods that contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and good fats. Whole-grain toast with peanut butter is a solid way to start the day. Fruits high in antioxidants, like berries, make wonderful snacks. Try incorporating lean protein from beans, eggs, and oily fish into your meals. Just remember to steer clear of:
- seafood high in mercury
- raw seafood, including sushi
- undercooked meats
- lunch meats, though these are generally considered safe if you heat them up before eating
- unpasteurized foods, which include many soft cheeses
- unwashed fruits and vegetables
- raw eggs
- caffeine and alcohol
- some herbal teas
Exercise is still recommended if it’s been cleared by your doctor. Walking, swimming, jogging, yoga, and light weights are all great options. At 13 weeks, you should start finding alternatives to abdominal exercises, like situps, that require you to lie flat on your back. The increasing weight from your uterus can decrease blood flow to your heart, making you lightheaded, and in turn, slowing the delivery of oxygen to your baby. Read about the best pregnancy exercise apps of 2016.
Always contact your doctor if you experience any pelvic or abdominal cramping, spotting, or bleeding, as these may be signs of miscarriage. Also, if you are experiencing anxiety, depression, or excessive stress, it’s a good idea to seek help. In a review published by Current Opinion in Psychiatry, these issues are highlighted as contributing factors to low birth weight, preterm birth, and postpartum depression.
Though some books and reports disagree over the exact start of the second trimester (between 12 and 14 weeks), by next week you’ll be in undisputed territory. Your body and baby are continually changing, but you’re entering some of the most comfortable weeks of your pregnancy. Take full advantage. Now is a good time to schedule any last-minute trips or adventures you want to embark on before you have your baby.