pregnancy week 11

You are now eleven weeks pregnant

You are almost at the second trimester when the incidence of miscarriage decreases dramatically and it will feel safer to reveal to everyone why you have been grumpy, tired and spending a lot of time in the bathroom lately.

Your developing baby

Your baby is about the size of a large lime and will be busy kicking and stretching inside you. You still won’t feel any flutterings yet until he gets bigger, but if you could look inside you, you would see your baby doing tiny hiccups as his diaphragm practises working.

Don't worry, hiccups won't upset your baby and he will probably continue to do them throughout the pregnancy and once he is born. The next three weeks is an active growing period for your baby as he will increase in size and almost doubles in length. If this is your second baby you may have started to notice some tummy swelling, but for first time mums whose stomach muscles haven't been relaxed by a baby growing inside, it will be a month or so more before a stranger could tell you are pregnant. Some women don't show until the six month mark depending on their height and build.

This week tiny fingernails start to form and toothbuds will appear under the skin in the place where milk teeth will eventually develop. You'll be eagerly awaiting the arrival of those teeth in a year! Your baby’s placenta is almost fully-formed and is getting ready to take over the job of supporting your baby from here on with essential nutrients and oxygen.

Your developing body

This week you may notice an increase in your hair and nail growth. During pregnancy you have higher levels of oestrogen flowing around your body that makes your hair less likely to shed and can make it thicker, shinier and a completely different texture to your pre-pregnancy hair. Unfortunately it may make your body hair grow faster too, so don’t be surprised if you are constantly shaving! Oestrogen also speeds up your nail growth making your nails stronger and less likely to break — so even when your hands swell in late pregnancy at least you’ll have beautiful nails!

During pregnancy the blood flow to all parts of your body will increase by 40 per cent, so instead of about eight pints of blood flowing around your body before pregnancy, there will be 12-14 pints by the time you get to 40 weeks. The extra blood supply results in your cervix, vagina and vulva taking on a bluish complexion during pregnancy, and used to be how doctors could tell a woman was pregnant, before home pregnancy testing became so reliable. This week you may start to notice how warm you feel, even on a cold day.

Your body is working overtime pumping extra blood around your body and extra hormones are flowing readily. The result is that you are one degree warmer than you were 11 weeks ago. In summer invest in a fan for your room, and wear light cotton fabrics that help to stop you sweating as much.

Between 11-14 weeks you may be able to have a Nuchal Fold Translucency screening test that uses ultrasound to check measurement of the skin behind the neck of your baby, as this can identify whether you are likely to be carrying a baby with Down’s syndrome. Not all women are offered this test, but if you are in a high-risk category (you are over 35 or have previously had a baby with Down’s syndrome) you may be offered one. You can request to have one, or you can have pay for private testing.

Between 11-13 weeks is when most chrionic villus sampling tests (CVS) are performed (although they can be performed later). These tests can help to further diagnose Down’s syndrome or sickle cell anaemia in your unborn baby, if the results of the Nuchal Fold tests were identified as high-risk.

What should you be expecting for week 12? Read on...

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