What's happening now?
You are now 11 weeks pregnant (63 days since conception) and at the start of week 12.
Your baby measures about 5 cm (2 inches) from crown to rump and weighs about 8 grams (0.28 ounces), nearly doubling in size during the last week!
Your baby now has a limited ability to suck and swallow, although this action is not fully mature until 24 to 28 weeks. Their taste buds have developed to taste the amniotic fluid that surrounds them and their kidneys are now functioning and secreting fluid into their bladder. Your baby will soon pass a type of clean urine into the amniotic fluid, in a continuous cycle of swallowing and urinating this fluid to keep their kidneys functioning until birth.
Your baby also breathes amniotic fluid into their lungs to strengthen the muscle under them (called the diaphragm) and to regularly practise rhythmic expansion of their lungs. Their stomach now produces gastric juices and they have about 20 baby teeth in their gums!
Your baby's sex organs are still developing although their typical male or female characteristics are not yet obvious. Under the influence of increased testosterone for boys (or the lack of testosterone for girls), your baby's genitals start taking their individual shape to look distinctly male or female by 15 weeks.
Your baby's movements are now more coordinated and purposeful and a few women can sense their baby moving as early as 12 weeks (although this is not common). Regular movement is now important for your baby's growth and development. Without it their muscles would waste, their joints would seize and their bones would become brittle. Movement of some description is now a daily part of your unborn baby's life (when they are awake!)
By the end of this week your uterus will start to grow up out of your pelvic bones and your caregiver (and you) may be able to feel the top of the uterus, called the fundus. If this is not your first pregnancy, or you are carrying twins (or more), you may be able to feel the top of the uterus earlier (possibly after 10 or 11 weeks). You can read more about fundal heights and measuring them here
You may notice an increase in your body temperature. This is due to your body's metabolism increasing by 20%, creating more heat and slightly raising your temperature. Increased blood flow also makes your skin warmer and you may sweat more. In the summer months, dressing in layers can help with temperature changes. Take care not to overheat when exercising. You may wish to read more about this here
A few women find their emotions are still fragile and they continue to experience moments of unpredictable tears or perhaps feel a new sense of vulnerability. This may stem from feelings about yourself, or about your relationship (if you have a partner) and can manifest in wanting your partner close by, or making efforts to nurture your relationships with others. Communicating remains important as you continue to adjust. Read more about communication here
It is common to wonder whether your baby is growing normally or to consider what you would do if something were wrong. These feelings may be instinctive or possibly related to unexplainable thoughts like "Do I deserve a healthy baby?" For some parents there may be concrete reasons such as disorders that run in the family.
Fears are often triggered by caregivers offering screening tests for abnormalities, which may be something you want or find confronting, challenging your feelings about your body's ability to produce a healthy baby. Unfortunately, no amount of tests can give you an iron-clad guarantee, but thankfully most babies are born well and healthy. You can find out more about genetic testing here
What to expect at your first pregnancy visit
Your first visit may be something you look forward to with excitement and eager expectations, or perhaps you anticipate it with a degree of nervousness and perhaps apprehension. If you have never been pregnant before, it can be difficult to know what may be involved. Generally your first visit is timed to happen around 10 to 14 weeks. You can find out more about this here
and about the tests you may be offered here
Taking mild painkillers during pregnancy is a controversial topic and something that may come down to your own personal choice. You can read more about taking analgesics for mild or severe pain here
Natural remedies during pregnancy
Herbs are very potent and are capable of producing harmful side affects if taken inappropriately. They need to be used with knowledge and caution. For example, there are concerns that some herbs can cause birth defects if taken during early pregnancy and there have also been cases of babies being poisoned by herbs taken by their mother while breastfeeding. Therefore, never self-prescribe herbs and seek the advice of a qualified herbalist, trained in their particular herbal discipline (for example Indian or Chinese herbs). You can read more about herbal medicine here
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