Welcome to week 11. 29 more weeks to go!
Your little kumquat-sized baby is roughly the size of a strawberry this week. They are 1.6 inches (4.1 cm) and weigh about 1.6 ounces (45 grams).
Their head takes up almost half the length of their body. Don’t worry; their proportions will all even out by the time they are born. That head is starting to look like a cute human face with open nasal passages on the tip of the tiny nose, and the tongue and palate in the mouth have formed.
If you could see your baby, you would be able to see a clear outline of their spine. Their fingernails have started to grow on those mini fingers and toes. If you are having a boy, testes are developing, and if you are expecting a girl, ovaries are starting to form. Your baby is kicking and stretching and can do somersaults and forward rolls. They may even be hiccupping. Despite all the activity in your belly, you won’t be able to feel them for another month or two.
As your placenta and baby grow, your uterus has expanded to fill your pelvis. The umbilical cord supplies your baby with everything they need. The cord contains the umbilical vein and two umbilical arteries. The umbilical vein carries nutrient-rich, oxygenated blood from the placenta to your baby. The umbilical arteries carry deoxygenated, nutrient-depleted blood from your baby to the placenta.
You might be feeling hungry, which is a good thing and can signal that your morning sickness is calming down. While the saying eat for two is popular, you should only be increasing your calories by about 300 each day. You should also eat a high amount of protein. This nutrient does more than build muscle mass. Protein is necessary to structure, function, and regulate virtually all tissues in your body. You can imagine you need protein for yourself and your growing baby. While there is a Recommended Daily Allowance for protein during pregnancy, some research shows the RDA is underestimated and varies based on the stage of pregnancy. Supplemental protein powders are an easy solution if you need to add additional protein. When selecting a protein powder, there are considerations and cautions for some ingredients and contaminants. This episode examines the evidence on protein requirements during pregnancy, sources of protein in animal and plant-based diets, and supplementing with protein powders.
If you have been diagnosed with an incompetent cervix, next week opens the window (12-14 weeks) for the optimal time to get a cervical cerclage. This is a surgical procedure in which your cervix is surgically closed. Typically, if you have a McDonald’s or Shirodkar cerclage, the thread is removed around week 37. This is to allow your cervix to dilate when you go into labor. See this episode for more information on a short cervix, incompetent cervix, and cerclage.
Many expecting mothers experience headaches and migraines during pregnancy. If you did get migraines before you got pregnant, you might find that pregnancy improves the severity or the frequency of your migraines. We do not know the exact causes of migraines. They are thought to occur with changes in neurochemicals, nerve pathways, and blood flow. This differs from a headache often caused by stress or tension. Migraines can include nausea and vomiting. You may also see spots or have blind spots in your vision and sensitivity to light, noise, or smells. Whether you are dealing with headaches or migraines, this can affect your sleep, mood, nutrition intake, and overall quality of life. This episode covers diet and lifestyle changes to relieve headaches and migraines and discusses different medications and their safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Tip for Dads and Partners
Be supportive of your significant other being healthy. Their diet and lifestyle choices are the biggest influences on your baby’s health. The fundamental pillars of health include eating healthy whole foods, staying hydrated, exercising, and getting adequate sleep. See this episode for more information on your role during pregnancy and how you can support mom.
Want more evidence-based information to navigate your pregnancy and birth?
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