Pregnancy Week by Week (Weeks 9-12)

Week 9

For you, the heat is on. Your increased blood volume, plus burning calories quickly to keep your fast-growing baby nourished, will raise your body temperature. Hormonal upheaval and exhaustion continue to cause frequent bouts of tears.

Your baby
Like a duck, your baby has webbing between his toes – and his fingers too. But his ‘tail’ has disappeared. As his limbs develop, wrist and ankle joints appear.

Good food guide
Diet is especially important now. Some foods could be dangerous to your unborn baby (see our feature on healthy eating). Plus of course, you need to eat a balanced healthy diet, so bin the junk food and make sure you have something from each of the food groups every day:
• Starchy foods (pasta, rice, potatoes, wholemeal bread)
• Protein (lean meat, fish, chicken, pulses)
• Fruit and vegetables (for essential vitamins and minerals)
• Dairy foods (hard cheeses, milk, yogurt for calcium)

MOTHERCARE TIP Don’t diet when you’re pregnant – it’s not healthy for you or your baby. Stick to healthy eating. Accept your expanding waistline – you’re going to put on about 9-13.5kg (10-20lb) in all, a tenth of which may have piled on over this trimester.

Week 10

Some mothers start to experience cravings for certain foods – a yearning for gherkin and ice-cream is no old wives’ tale! Luckily, pica – wanting to eat things like soap or coal – isn’t at all common.

Your baby
From now on your embryo becomes a foetus. Bones are forming but are still soft and flexible. As muscle stretches over the bones, your baby starts to control movement, swirling and somersaulting in the womb (not that you can feel it – your baby’s too small). Your baby’s starts to look more human, and though the eyelids are set wide apart and still sealed, underneath colour is forming in your baby’s eyes.

Your flexible friend
Yoga is great for relaxation during pregnancy and also a real help during labour – breathing techniques and improved flexibility both play their part in a smooth birth. You need, though, to do a class specifically for pregnant mums, as some poses are dangerous when you’re expecting. Ask your midwife about local classes.

Two’s company
In the early weeks, before you’re showing, it’s hard for your partner to truly understand you’re pregnant. The huge changes happening inside you – and possibly making you tired and weepy – are utterly invisible to him. So you need to talk and explain you need as much support as possible. It will also make him feel involved in the pregnancy – essential for a happy relationship throughout the nine months.

ONE MUM SAYS… ‘I didn’t feel remotely sexy at this time – my hormones were all over the place and I was simply shattered. But my friend’s libido zoomed! I guess you just have to go with the flow.’

Week 11

To keep your baby supplied with food and oxygen, your body makes more blood (you’ll be producing 50% extra before the nine months is up). Because of this, blood vessels have to become floppier – otherwise they’d burst. Hormones make blood vessels more flexible – but also make other tissues relax. So watch out for constipation caused by gut muscles becoming sluggish.

Your baby
Your baby’s jaw rises up away from the chest, as his neck begins to lengthen. Many mums have a dating scan around now – your first chance to see your amazing tiny baby, swooping about inside you and even making facial expressions such as yawning. (It’s very moving, so pack those tissues!)

Picture perfect?
• A dating scan (between 10 and 16 weeks) will give you an estimated date of delivery – and can also tell you whether you’re carrying one, two…or more babies!
• Between 11 and 13 weeks you may have a nuchal scan, although in many areas you have to pay for these. A nuchal scan measures the amount of fluid at the back of the baby’s neck – a larger than average amount may be a sign of Down’s syndrome.

Womb mates
If you’re carrying twins the scan operator may be able to tell if they are identical or not. If they share the same amniotic sac they will be identical and identical twins need to be monitored throughout pregnancy in case one baby is thriving at the expense of the other.

MOTHERCARE TIP Constipation? Up your intake of fruit, veg and fibre and drink lots of water. If that fails, check with your pharmacist before taking anything.

Week 12

Don’t expect to be given a seat on the bus just yet – your bump isn’t obvious. However, your waist is thicker and your midwife will be able to feel your womb rising above your pubic bone.

Your baby
This is the final week of the first trimester of pregnancy and your baby’s organs and bone structure are all in place. Now everything must simply grow and mature. Just 10 weeks ago he was a cluster of cells; now he is a tiny baby measuring 7.5cm (3in) long – imagine something the size of a round ripe peach.

Testing times
Between 11 and 13 weeks a chorionic villus sampling (CVS) test can be done. This:
• is a test that takes a few cells from the placenta to test for genetic disorders.
• can cause a miscarriage in a small number of cases.
• is usually only done if there is an indication that your baby may have a serious problem.
• is done earlier than an amnio, which may help parents faced with a difficult decision.

ONE MUM SAYS… ‘I could still squeeze into my skinny jeans (just), but my midwife advised me to wear looser clothes because tight ones can affect your circulation.’

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