Your baby has now reached the size of a marble and has teeth and taste buds. Your body keeps changing too, and it’s not only your growing breasts, as you may expect heartburn, nausea and food aversions.
Your baby keeps growing at an amazing rate, now measuring 0.9 inches/ 2.3 cm, the size of a marble and weighs about 2 grams/ 0.07 oz. The tiny hands and feet are still webbed and keep developing, as well as the major organs such as the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, and intestines. The facial features are much more pronounced: the eyes, now showing some pigment in them, have formed, but the eyelids will remain fused until the 27th week, the earlobes are there and incredibly enough, the tongue, teeth and taste buds start to form.
Your baby’s heart now has all four chambers, and it beats fast. The external sex organs are in place, but you won’t be able to know if it’s a boy or a girl for another few weeks, and the embryonic tail has receded. The baby is constantly moving, swimming around in your uterus, but he is still too tiny for you to feel his movements.
Remember these two super important pregnancy hormones – progesterone and estrogen? Well, their levels keep rising, which explains the fact you’re still feeling emotional and nauseous. It is not uncommon to lose a bit of weight during the first trimester of pregnancy due to nausea, but worry not – once vomiting subsides, you can start working on that weight gain.
Another pregnancy hormone, relaxin, is responsible for symptoms such as constipation and pelvic pain. As its name suggests, this hormone relaxes your ligaments and joints. It will also prepare your uterus for labor and will cause your cervix to dilate when the time comes.
Your belly might already be growing, and the bra can feel uncomfortably tight – it’s time to treat yourself with a new one, and make sure it’s made of a light, breathing fabric. Remember your breasts might continue growing through pregnancy.
Other pregnancy symptoms you might be experiencing include heartburn, indigestion, gas and bloating, food aversions and/or cravings, excessive salivation and a frequent urge to pee. Unpleasant! To make things easier for your stomach during pregnancy and to cope will all of the above, eat small, frequent meals and drink a lot of water or fruit/vegetable juices. Avoid soda drinks and spicy, acidic and fatty foods, they tend to trigger nausea and stimulate heartburn – do we really need this right now?
Between weeks 6 and 24 you are at higher risk of urinary tract infections, so contact your doctor if you suspect that this is your condition.
During these first weeks, you might be struggling with doubts and fears regarding your future motherhood. You’re not the only one, and there’s plenty of opportunities to get support, both online and offline.
1. How to Deal with Pregnancy Anxiety?
“Oh my God, what have I done, my life is over!”, “What kind of a mother I am going to be if I can’t even..” and “Is he really going to be a good father?! The nursery room is not ready yet and he doesn’t show enough emotional support!” are just a few of the thoughts that might be racing through your head these days. It is normal to be just a little bit stressed. Or, maybe slightly more than a little bit. After all, it is a big change that awaits you, especially if this is your first pregnancy. You probably don’t feel like taking this piece of advice right now but hear it out anyway – relax. The nursery will be ready on time – you still have plenty of it. You will learn how to do everything right just as many other parents did before you, and let’s face it – no amount of support will be enough right now when you’re an emotional wreck packed with hormones to bursting point.
The second bit of advice is taking advantage of free time and vacations as much as possible. Daily chores will wait. Take walks, exercise, swim, read a book, sip a smoothie on the beach and get as much sleep as possible.
Find somebody to talk to. Your partner might be great, but there’s nothing like discussing every single one of your pregnancy pains with a pregnant friend, and if you don’t have one, join a pregnancy-related forum. Having somebody to discuss all the little details of your yesterday morning can have a surprisingly positive effect on your mood.
2. What are my Maternity Rights?
It is never too early to start reading about maternity rights in your country. Learn when you must tell your employer about your pregnancy, how long is maternity leave and when it starts, and how much is maternity allowance. Usually, there are plenty of online resources, starting with government websites and pregnancy and maternity-related forums and communities.
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