Your growing baby now measures about 4 inches long, crown to rump, and weighs in at about 2 1/2 ounces (about the size of an apple). She’s busy moving amniotic fluid through her nose and upper respiratory tract, which helps the primitive air sacs in her lungs begin to develop.
How your baby’s growing:
Her legs are growing longer than her arms now, and she can move all of her joints and limbs. Although her eyelids are still fused shut, she can sense light. If you shine a flashlight at your tummy, for instance, she’s likely to move away from the beam. There’s not much for your baby to taste at this point, but she is forming taste buds. Finally, if you have an ultrasound this week, you may be able to find out whether your baby’s a boy or a girl! (Don’t be too disappointed if it remains a mystery, though. Nailing down your baby’s sex depends on the clarity of the picture and on your baby’s position. He or she may be modestly curled up or turned in such a way as to “hide the goods.”)
How your life’s changing:
You’ve probably gained about 5 pounds by now (a little more or less is fine, too) and are well into the swing of your pregnancy, but you may still be surprised by an unexpected symptom now and then. If your nose is stuffed up, for instance, you can probably chalk it up to the combined effect of hormonal changes and increased blood flow to your mucous membranes. This condition is so common, there’s even a name for it: “rhinitis of pregnancy.” Some pregnant women also suffer nosebleeds as a result of increased blood volume and blood vessel expansion in the nose.
If you’re having amniocentesis, it’ll most likely happen between now and 18 weeks. This test can identify hundreds of genetic and chromosomal disorders. If you’re getting very anxious while waiting for the results, it may help to know that most women who undergo amniocentesis get good news about their babies – bringing welcome relief from their worries.
Don’t be surprised if you and your partner are feeling a little stressed out these days. Many pregnant couples worry about their baby’s health and how they’ll handle the changes ahead. But with physical discomforts on the wane and energy on the rise, this is also a wonderful trimester for most women.
3 Questions About Feeling your baby move
Feeling those first flutters and kicks is one of the most amazing experiences of pregnancy. Here’s how much longer you’ll have to wait and what to expect when your baby finally gets big and strong enough to let you know she’s in there.
Q1. When will I first feel my baby move?
You’ll probably feel your baby move sometime between 16 and 22 weeks, even though she started moving at 7 or 8 weeks and you may have already witnessed her acrobatics if you’ve had an ultrasound. Veteran moms tend to notice those first subtle kicks and jabs – also known as “quickening” – earlier than first-time moms. (A woman who’s been pregnant before can more easily distinguish her baby’s movements from other belly rumblings, such as gas.) Your build may also have something to do with when you’ll be able to tell a left jab from a hunger pang. Thinner women tend to feel movement earlier.
Q2. What will those first movements feel like?
Women have described the sensation as being like popcorn popping, a goldfish swimming around, butterflies fluttering, a tapping sensation, and bubbles. You’ll probably chalk up those first gentle movements in your belly to gas or hunger pangs, but once you start feeling them more regularly, you’ll recognize the difference. You’re more likely to feel these early movements when you’re sitting or lying quietly.
Q3. When should I worry about my baby’s movements?
Although your baby is moving around plenty already, many of his jerks and jolts aren’t yet strong enough for you to feel. Later in the second trimester, his kicks will become stronger and you’ll start to feel them regularly. At that point, pay attention to them and let your practitioner know right away if you notice a decrease in your baby’s movement. Less movement may signal a problem, and you’ll need a nonstress test or biophysical profile to check on your baby’s condition. Once you’re in your third trimester, some practitioners will recommend that you spend some time each day counting your baby’s kicks.
This Week’s Activity:
Talk to your baby. It’s a great way to start the bonding process. If having an actual conversation seems odd to you, narrate your activities; read a book, magazine, or newspaper; or share your secret wishes for your child. This is great practice for after your baby’s born. Talking to babies is one of the best ways to help them develop language skills.