Your Body And Your Baby In The 11th Week Of Pregnancy

As you move into the 11th week of pregnancy, you might start getting your appetite back. The queasy morning sickness might also begin to fade away. This is incredible news because you have been waiting forever to get back on your feet and enjoy a day out with your friends without needing to go the washroom every half an hour. However, it is important that you do not go overboard while trying to satisfy your cravings because this is when you could also start gaining weight and keeping it close to what you should ideally weigh, is important. Stick to nutrient-dense food and keep the empty calories at bay. You might also notice that your lower abdomen has started protruding a little bit and although you are still far away from looking pregnant, you could start hunting for comfortable maternity wear.

How Is Your Body Changing At 11 Weeks?

Have you been finding your jeans too tight to button up but you are only 11 weeks pregnant and you are sure you are not showing yet? With your pregnancy hormones changing your body in more ways than one, there are bound to be consequences might not be in your favor all the time. What else is your body going through?

  • You Are Bloated And Are Burping All The Time

You are absolutely sure that you haven’t popped yet but there is tightness or roundness in your lower abdomen that is hard to miss. Your trousers and jeans have been feeling uncomfortable for a couple of days and you have no idea why. The hormone progesterone ensures that your body functions in a way so as to provide complete nourishment and protection which is why it relaxes the gastrointestinal tract to slow down digestion and let the nutrients pass slowly from the food to your bloodstream and finally to your baby. This is the best way to nourish your baby during pregnancy but this might not be favorable for you since a sluggish digestive system, you are bound to feel bloated. You will end up feeling uncomfortably full after meals because not only are your intestines taking more time to digest food but also your growing uterus is crowding the intestinal cavity.

All these are adding to your tendency to burp through the day which could be embarrassing for you, especially if this is your first pregnancy. It is good to remember that most people around you would know that this is normal and you won’t be judged. Neither will your baby feel any of these discomforts inside the womb. You could minimize the tendency of gas formation and bloating by avoiding things like fried food, caffeinated beverages1, beans, cauliflower etc.

  • You Feel Exhausted

Needless to say, your body is nourishing a baby and is working round the clock to ensure everything is in place, which explains the exhaustion. Apart from nourishing and protecting your baby, your body is also contributing in a hundred ways to form the placenta, which will be your baby’s life support system till the delivery.

Feeling exhausted is natural even if you are not really doing anything because your body is going that extra mile inside. Once your placenta is in place, you can expect to feel slightly more energetic, which can happen in the second trimester. In the meantime, how can you ensure that you can get some work done? Complex carbohydrates and proteins can keep you feeling full for longer and also help regulate your blood sugar levels. You can snack on cheese and crackers, dried fruits and nuts, whole fruits. However, never ignore the signs of exhaustion and if your body is asking for rest, give it some amount of time to recuperate.

  • Feeling More Thirsty

As you step into the 11th week of pregnancy and go ahead in this gestational period, you will realize that you tend to feel thirsty very often. This is because your body is producing more amniotic fluid every week and is also secreting more oil and sweat along with the production of more blood. All these activities can make you feel desperately thirsty so it is advisable that you always carry water with yourself wherever you go. This is to ensure that you are never dehydrated.

Your Baby At 11 Weeks

About 2 inches long and measuring the size of a fig, your baby has an almost fully formed structure which only needs to grow and develop for life outside the womb. Most of her bones have started hardening and she can now open and close her hands into fists.

Your baby is kicking up a storm inside your womb but there are at least a couple of months for you to feel the movements. She is also stretching and hiccupping quite a bit, the latter especially because her diaphragm is developing. You will not feel any of these movements till she becomes more developed and functional inside the womb. While the gender of your baby is still under wraps, testes will start developing if your baby is a boy and ovaries will start forming if she is a girl.

What other features will your baby develop by week 11? Your baby’s hands and feet will be placed in front of its body making it look more human-like. The nasal passages have opened up in front of the nose and the ears are also taking shape. There are visible nipples on the chest and both the tongue and palate have formed. In the 10th week, her head was comparatively larger than her body but in this week, it equals the size of her body and it will slowly start taking shape in the coming weeks.

Your baby has individual fingers and toes by now and it also has a crown full of hair. While fingernail and toenail beds are beginning to form, it is a good reminder to add a baby nail clipper in your list sometime soon.

Your baby’s body is lengthening and straightening and it can not only stretch but also do somersaults and forward rolls by now. How amazing is that?

What’s Safe And What’s Not At 11 Weeks?

As soon as you conceive, there will be a hundred people around you, from friends to relatives and acquaintances, with advices regarding your diet and lifestyle. How would you know which one to pay heed to and which kind to ignore? While it is true that there are a number of things you should potentially avoid eating during pregnancy, a majority of food types are safe for consumption. When you are aware of the food choices and their consequences, you would be in a better position to come to a decision.

What Are The Red Flags?

Some kinds of food can harbor bacteria and parasites. It is highly recommended that you avoid these while you are pregnant because they could harm you as well as your baby. The list of things that you should avoid is raw or runny eggs, undercooked meat or fish, cake or cookie batter, unpasteurized dairy and soft cheese.

It is also advisable to avoid frozen meats and spreads like salami, sausages etc until they are thoroughly cooked because these could contain bacteria, harmful enough to trigger preterm labor. Even if you love cold salads, they are best had fresh. Avoid refrigerating them or having them at picnics etc, where they might have been laid out in the open for a long time. All the fruits and vegetables that you have should be thoroughly washed before consumption. Never eat raw vegetables with their skin on, unless you are absolutely sure about the source and your doctor has given you the green signal.

As much as you might love seafood, not every kind is favorable to be consumed during pregnancy. Some types of seafood might contain methylmercury2 in high amounts that could be potentially harmful for a baby’s developing brain and body. To ensure that you avoid an exposure to these, do not eat swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and bigger species of catfish or tuna.

The risk of having runny or undercooked eggs is the presence of the Listeria in them that could cause a severe form of food poisoning in pregnant women. Having seafood is good for you when you are pregnant but since they pose a potential threat to the pregnancy, most pregnant women try and limit their intake of seafood but the trick is to consume the kinds that have the lowest levels of contaminants. There are several benefits of having seafood; not only are they rich in protein but also in iron and contain a good deal of Omega-3 fatty acids to enhance your baby’s brain and vision development.

Consumption Of Alcohol This Week

Whether it is your 11th week or your 27th week, consumption of alcohol during pregnancy can have irreversible effects on your unborn fetus. There is no safe amount of alcohol that you could consume in pregnancy because one tiny glass is enough to transfer it to your bloodstream and harm your baby.

Yet another thing that could be harmful for you in pregnancy is caffeine. While researchers have found out that a couple of cups of coffee a day is fine because even if it does cross the placenta, it is still safe for your baby but anything more than that could be potentially harmful. Furthermore, caffeine lurks around in chocolates, tea and cola that you could miss count of, thanks to pregnancy dementia.

Do Not Fall Prey To Food Poisoning

A lot of women reportedly fall prey to food poisoning every year in their pregnancy because most of them were unaware of what they should be doing to check the safety of the food they were consuming. It is important to thoroughly cook all your meat, poultry and eggs and use a food thermometer to check if they are cooked properly. Another indicator is to see if the pink flesh of poultry and meat has turned brown which indicates that they have been thoroughly cooked. Listed below are the few do’s and don’ts regarding your food:

  1. Always refrigerate your leftovers after they have cooled down and reheat them till they simmer for the next course.
  2. Thaw frozen meat properly and cook till the flesh inside is no longer pink.
  3. Give your fruits and vegetables a vinegar wash before consumption.
  4. Always be sure of where your fish and poultry are being sourced from. If they are produced and harvested organically, then they are perfectly suitable for your consumption.
  5. To avoid contamination of food, always wash your hands before cooking or eating. If you are out and about, carrying a sanitizer always helps keep food poisoning away.
  6. Always check the expiry dates on products that you are buying and never buy or consume any product that is close to its Use-by date.
  7. Ready-to-eat food should be avoided as far as possible but if you have no other option, always ensure that you consume them right away.

Kegel Exercises At 11 Weeks

It is never too early to start your kegels and anybody who has recently delivered will tell you that you should invest your time in these exercises rather than doing anything else. With the stretching and weakening of your pelvic floor, there is every possibility that you may have urine incontinence in the near future. Kegels ensure that your pelvic floor remains intact.

In pregnancy, your uterus grows and expands and the weight of the baby presses down on the pelvic floor, weakening it. The organs like the urethra, uterus and rectum also tend to weaken that leads to urine incontinence. Kegel exercises will tighten and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and help you not only in holding your urine well but also in enjoying intercourse after delivery. How will you do your kegels?

The best part about kegels is that you do them whenever and wherever you want without needing any special equipment. You will simply need to hold your pelvic muscles and tight and release them, repeating it several times a day. It is more like suppressing your need to pass wind in a room full of people.

Prenatal Screenings At 11 Weeks

While some prenatal screenings begin at 10 weeks, most will be recommended between 11-14 weeks of pregnancy. An ultrasound at around this time will be able to test the nuchal translucency that detects the fold of skin and the amount of fluid behind a baby’s neck. This is important to rule out the possibilities of Down’s syndrome.

Your doctor might also recommend the Triple Marker test this week that includes three blood tests to rule out genetic abnormalities ranging from Down’s syndrome, spina bifida and Trisomy 18. The three kinds of tests that are recommended are known as Sequential Integrated screening, serum integrated screening and Quad marker screening. Yet another screening that your doctor might recommend is the Chorionic Villus sampling.  If you have a family history of genetic abnormalities or are aged 35 and above, this test could detect chromosomal disorders and such.

What Are The Lifestyle Changes That You Need To Make In The 11th Week?

Every week in pregnancy will demand a new version of you and will be more challenging as you move ahead. How will you ensure that you are at your fittest best while dealing with the innumerable changes and developments that pregnancy comes along with? Listed below are a few ways you could consider:

  • Health

As mentioned above, consumption of alcohol could harm your baby in more ways than one. Similarly, smoking could also be potentially harmful for both you and your baby. If you are a chain smoker and find the idea of quitting too difficult to deal with, you can consider joining support groups online and offline to help with the addiction.

Apart from getting rid of your addictions, remember to eat well and have a god night’s sleep to ensure that your baby is as rested as you are. Always avoid over the counter medication and keep your health practitioner in loop whenever you are taking a new medicine. Simultaneously, remembering to take all your prenatal vitamins is quintessential, especially folic acid and iron because they largely contribute to the well-being of your baby.

  • Stay Active

The importance of staying active cannot be emphasized enough because it not only takes care of your aches and pains but also enhances endurance. A brisk walk or a refreshing swim can do wonders to your aching lower back and your mood swings. Ensure that your doctor is aware of every new activity that you plan to do, especially if you have a high-risk pregnancy.

  • Taking Care Of Your Skin And Hair

While some women are blessed with luxurious hair and glowing skin during pregnancy, some others end up with skin that often has acne breakouts and hair that tends to go lumpy, greasy and starts falling. It would be good to know and understand that these are all temporary changes and will settle down once your hormones fall into place. You might also notice visible darkening and pigmentation of your skin which is otherwise known as pregnancy chloasma3. Using mild shampoos and cleaners and keeping your skin hydrated by splashing water often during the day can help a good deal. If you have grey hair, it is advisable to use semi-permanent dye because permanent dyes can pass into your bloodstream and are hence not recommended to be used till 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Finding Support Groups

If you haven’t joined support groups yet, this is the time to join one. Now that you are a little accustomed to the pregnancy, you will often have a host of questions and your doctor might not be available all the time. Support groups consist of mums-to-be who are either pregnant or have delivered successfully and joining one such group will not only make you feel better but also enhance your chances of diagnosing anything that is not usual or normal in the pregnancy.

When Should You Call Your Doctor?

The first trimester is a little unstable, if you can call it so because there are chances that you may miscarry or your pregnancy might have complications. If you feel that any symptom is beginning to bother you, let your doctor know about it so that any issue can be diagnosed and taken care of at the earliest.

If you have a vaginal discharge that looks like amniotic fluid leaking, rush to the emergency to get yourself checked. If you feel dizzy or light-headed, it could be that you blood pressure is fluctuating and even that needs immediate addressing. It could also mean that your blood sugar is spiking or falling which could impact your growing baby significantly. All these signs and symptoms need to be taken care of as soon as they set in. Not every sign would necessarily mean something negative but it is always a wise idea to not ignore them.

How Can You Help Your Spouse This Week?

As she is nearing the end of the first trimester, there is a possibility that she starts apprehending the future. Ensure that you always try and make her feel secure about the pregnancy. There are a number of things that she is going through at the moment and if she tends to forget the laundry or does not feel like eating at home, take her out and take over the laundry responsibility on yourself. She might have a number of tests to cover this week. Ensure that you accompany her to each one of them and talk to the doctor to find out if everything is in place. Planning for the birth and the baby could begin this week, with her needing to fulfill her desire for nesting and you could make her feel happy by showing how good you are as a hands-on parent. It is just about making her feel that the pains and aches are all worth it!

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caffeinated_beverage
  2. http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/HealthEducators/ucm081877.htm
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melasma