With your risk of miscarriage dropping down by 75%, you can finally start enjoying this pregnancy! Entering into the 14th week of pregnancy can be an exhilarating experience, especially when you realize that you can now make baby announcements without a sense of fear. Your raging HCG levels will finally drop and progesterone and estrogen will settle back into your system, thus reducing the pesky first trimester symptoms that you were almost getting to. The second trimester typically begins with you regaining your appetite and energy bursts that will help you to get pending work done and dusted. While there are some women who might continue to feel squeamish all through pregnancy, at least the constant bouts of vomiting would fade away and you will have enough appetite for hunger pangs to strike in the dead of night.
Your Baby At 14 Weeks
The 14th week is that phase when your baby will grow by leaps and bounds because you are already in your 2nd trimester and there is so much left to do! Clench your fist and look at it; that is how big your baby is this week. At 13 weeks, your baby was making twitchy and jerky movements but this week your baby will make more pronounced moves although you will still not feel a thing. There is more fluidity in your baby’s movements and even if there is some time before you could think of sending her for ballet lessons, it is interesting to note how he or she is already standing straight up! This happens because your baby’s neck is growing and is getting longer and helps its head to be more erect which gives makes your baby look more straightened-out. Your baby’s intestines are also gearing up for birth by making meconium1, the first waste that your baby will expel after birth.
Care For Some Baby Hair?
At 14 weeks, you could expect your baby to sprout some hair and there could also be eyebrows to look forward to. It is hard to establish the color of your baby’s hair at the moment because the final color can only be understood at birth. Apart from the hair growing on your baby’s head, there is a fuzzy hair growth on your baby’s skin, called lanugo and that is present to keep your baby warm and cuddled inside the womb. Now that your baby has not yet accumulated enough fat on its body, the lanugo helps to keep his body temperature regulated. Once the fat starts taking its place, your baby will shed the lanugo but might continue to have a slightly fuzzy coating at birth, especially if you have a premature baby.
What Else Is On The Cards?
The other major developments this week are the facial expressions that your baby is capable of making. From squinting and frowning to grimacing, your baby is preparing itself in all the adorable ways to make you fall in love after the birth. These expressions are a resultant of your baby’s brain impulses working day in and day out and getting stronger with each passing day. Your baby continues to produce and excrete urine into the amniotic fluid surrounding him. Thumb sucking continues as your baby’s grasp gets stronger and if you could have an ultrasound this week, you would get a fair idea of how your baby is planning to self-soothe after birth.
Measuring around 3 ½ inches and weighing around 1 ½ ounces, your baby is almost the size of a lemon now. Not only is his body growing out to keep pace with his overgrown head but also his arms are stretching out to be in proportion with his body. Yet another significant development this week would be your baby’s liver beginning to produce bile and the spleen contributing to the production of red blood cells.
How Is Your Body Changing At 14 Weeks?
It is not for nothing that the second trimester is known as the golden period of pregnancy. It is a favorite of almost every pregnant woman because not only have you left the HCG hormones behind you but are also heading towards a more energetic and efficient you. You could also expect yourself to start loving your breasts again because they are not as sore and tender as they used to be. They might continue to grow but with that tenderness out of the equation, they will feel easier to lug around. What’s more, you will make fewer trips to the washroom because the growing uterus has now shifted from your pelvis to your abdominal cavity. It no longer weighs down on your bladder making you want to pee every half an hour. You are also sleeping better because neither do you need to be alert of visiting the loo often nor do you need throw up after every meal. Do you know what you could feel about this pregnancy externally? The fundus of your uterus2 and that will be an incredible experience!
This is the time when petite women start showing up. Although it would be nothing more than a slight tightening or the smallest of bumps, you and your partner will not be able to stop gushing over it! It is quite normal to start daydreaming about the baby, now that there is an external manifestation of the pregnancy. You might also start worrying a bit about the pregnancy because things are moving at a faster pace than you had probably imagined. At this point it is essential to trust your body’s abilities to be able to bear a baby efficiently instead of doubting it.
Is that Round Ligament Pain?
Have you been feeling sharp jabs and aches on the side of your abdomen? Have the pains been felt on either sides or both sides and you are worried that something could be wrong with the baby? While it is alright to feel worried about everything in pregnancy, this pain, unless accompanied by any other symptom, is absolutely normal. Your doctor would probably refer to these pains as Round Ligament Pains and almost all women experience this pain at around 14 weeks although some may start having these pains earlier.
Why does this happen? If you study human anatomy, you will come to know that there are ligaments running on the sides of our abdomen to support our uterus. As your baby grows, so does the uterus in order to accommodate your growing baby and as a result of which, the thick band of ligaments start stretching and thinning out to support the growing weight. This weight pulling and tugging at your ligaments causes sudden sharp pains in your lower abdomen. The pain could also be a dull, nagging ache in your abdomen that refuses to go. You will feel the pain more often if you have a cough and it exerts your pelvic area or if you have got up after sitting down for a long time.
Are there ways to avoid this pain? Technically speaking, the initial pains will be there for a couple of weeks but if you want to avoid the sudden jabs, try relaxing your feet up in a comfortable position that will prevent the stiffening of your ligaments or muscles.
Keep The Infections Away!
It is hard to believe but it is a given fact that your body’s immune system needs to be suppressed during pregnancy so that the fetus is not expelled by it because it is a foreign object. This is why you could be prone to repeated bouts of cold, tummy bugs, pesky cough etc. It might seem like you are the only recipient of germs around you. Every pregnant woman would have to face the flu season once in their pregnancy and there is every possibility of getting infected. While flu in itself will not be harmful for the baby, it could make you unnecessarily weak and affect your appetite etc. What could you do to stay healthy while there is a host of germs around you?
- Always make a thumb rule of not sharing items of personal hygiene; not even with the closest people around you. Towels, toothbrushes, razors should always be your own and you could carry them with you whenever you are travelling unless you are visiting a hotel where they will be offered fresh and sanitized to you.
- You should also ideally avoid sharing food and beverages with people. The commonest ways in which infections spread are via mouth and nose. If turning down the offer for sharing food seems rude to you, you could simply carry your own so that no-one needs to offer anything to you. At times, being straightforward is the only way out.
- If you do get a cold, never self-medicate. Always speak to your doctor who would know what exactly to prescribe so that you and your baby do not suffer. Over the counter medication may have been your go-to all your life but it is best to avoid them in pregnancy because you can never be sure of the ingredients and the way your body will react to them.
- Tummy buys are also common in pregnancy but they need to be addressed immediately. The first step is to identify the kind of infection it is and then getting specific treatments to resort to. A bad tummy bug could cause premature birth if you get dehydrated.
- If you have a bacterial infection, antibiotics would work but if you have contracted a viral infection, there would only be symptomatic relief. The viral infection will run its course.
- It is important for you to know that doctors generally recommend not taking medicines in the first trimester. This is because vital developments take place during this phase and your baby is not strong enough to deal with the reactions. However, there are safe antibiotics that can be prescribed in the second trimester.
Is It A Girl Or A Boy?
Leaving behind gender implications, there is always an interesting speculation around the sex of the baby. While a lot of women want to find out if it is a boy or a girl, experts recommend waiting till birth to make the discovery because it will more special to unwrap your Christmas gifts on the d-day. If you have been called old-fashioned because you wanted to wait till the delivery to find out your baby’s gender, you can give the following reasons:
- There is nothing like finding out what you have created, at birth. If you know about the gender of the child beforehand, there is no denying the fact that you do take a major chunk of excitement away.
- You are constantly thinking in gendered terms. You might even start buying clothes for a girl because you have been told that you are having a girl. What if your baby girl does not find your pinks and purples that beautiful? What if she wants reds and blues? If you have always believed in gender-neutral parenting, don’t do this to yourself and your kids.
- Ultrasounds could be misleading because in many of them, the doctor is not clearly able to see the genitals and a wrong assumption can ruin your surprise completely.
What are the benefits of a gender testing?
- Gender testing or sex determination of a baby is not always that bad. A lot of women have genetic abnormalities running in the family and the tests performed to rule out these issues, might reveal your baby’s gender. If you have the slightest of second thoughts regarding your baby’s gender, it is suggested that you let the doctor know beforehand that you want to keep that as a surprise.
- You can start looking for baby names. Unless you are looking for gender-neutral baby names, finding out the sex of the baby can help find the perfect names.
- Many women report that their bonding with the baby has increased after knowing the sex of the baby. This is more of an assumption and need not necessarily be true.
- You can also pick up gender-specific clothing if you and your partner have always wanted to in the first place.
New Symptoms This Week
Are you having a hard time remembering where you kept your spectacles after wearing them? It might seem funny to people around you when you are finally told that they are right on your temples and you have been wearing them all the time but it could be embarrassing for you, especially when such things happen at work. This is called pregnancy dementia and there is no particular time when it sets in. With all the hard work that your body is doing, it is normal to become forgetful. Your brain is clouded with a number of thoughts about the baby and yourself; if the pregnancy would be smooth and uncomplicated, if you would be a good parent, if your delivery would be natural and if you will be able to balance work and life efficiently.
To be honest, it is difficult to lay out a spreadsheet right now because only after the birth will you be able to find out how your priorities change. Till then, have a basic plan in place that you could follow to avoid unnecessary confusion.
Did you refuse to believe your husband when he said that you were snoring last night? Well, he might have been true because pregnancy does add yet another unattractive feature to your list of symptoms and that includes snoring. Nasal congestion is common in pregnancy and that could cause you to start snoring temporarily. You could also experience nosebleeds and as long as they are not majorly affecting you, there is no need to worry.
You can’t believe that you had two burgers for lunch and are already hungry in a couple of hours from then! Welcome food cravings into your life. The second trimester comes along with hunger pangs that generally strike at odd hours and all you can think of at that time is to eat what you want to. To avoid rushing out for food, you could keep simple things like homemade granola, cereal bars, dried fruits and nuts and fruits handy. Simple salad preparations can also kept at hand so that when your food craving strikes, you can at least have something to munch on till that cheese-filled pizza arrives.
However, this is the time when you need to be careful about overeating. A lot of women gain more weight than they should, early in pregnancy, because giving in to your food cravings seems like the most normal thing to do. You will have to remember to eat healthy so that your weight gain is not accelerated earlier than usual. If you do gain more than the normal weight, keep your doctor informed so that things like gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia etc can be ruled out. Focus on nutrient-dense food and avoid empty calories. You can always have junk once in a while but remember to balance your cravings with healthy food.
Your doctor might want to test you for Down’s syndrome at 14 weeks, especially if you haven’t been tested for nuchal translucency3 earlier.
Your oral hygiene
Why are we harping on this every week? That is because you can never be too careful about your dental hygiene, especially since your baby’s health also depends on it. pregnancy has a tendency to make your gums swell which leaves them vulnerable to bacterial infections. You could experience symptoms like bleeding gums, swollen and painful gums etc. if you have cavities, the best time to fill them up would be the second trimester when your bump will not be as heavy and you can actually lie down for that amount of time. Prescribing medicines is also easier in the second trimester.
Your basic oral hygiene would consist of brushing after every meal, flossing once a day and using an anti-bacterial mouthwash once a day. You could also ask your doctor about scaling and cleaning your teeth and gums every month so that plaque does not accumulate. If you have wisdom teeth and they are suddenly in action, you could get them operated if your doctor gives you the green signal. It is far more painful to deal with impacted wisdom teeth than getting a quick removal done.
Introducing Your Toddler To Your Baby
While it is still some time away when your toddler will understand the implications of having a sibling, you could start introducing the idea to him or her early. Reading to him or her about a brother or a sister will come in handy. Talk to them about a new member in the family and how he or she would be an elder sibling with quite a few responsibilities. Never forget to bond with your elder child through the pregnancy because the commonest factor that leads to sibling rivalry is neglect.
Don’t Forget Your Kegels
Yet another part that we harp on every week is the fact that you can never do enough Kegels. Kegels are your way to a strong pelvic wall that you would be thanking yourself for because most of your friends are currently suffering from urine incontinence. Your vaginal and perineal walls would be subjected to a lot of wear and tear and it is important to keep strengthening them over the course of time so that there are milder tears during birth.
How Can You Help Your Spouse During The 14th Week?
Congratulate her and yourself for making it to the 14th week. With new beginnings come new responsibilities and this is when you should start planning your finances if you haven’t already. Look into insurance papers, speak to your employer about allowing you to work from home a few days a week if that is possible so that you can take on a few responsibilities at home. Like always, share the workload so that the lady of the house can relax and spend some more time napping or doing nothing. Help her see through this week with love and affection!