You’ve reached week 13 pregnancy, and are celebrating the end of the first trimester! Let’s see what incredible things are happening with your baby and you as you wrap up the first leg of your pregnancy!
Week 13 Pregnancy: Milestones for Baby
Baby is growing fast! Can you even believe that this cute little one has come so far from what our first illustration looked like? At week 13 pregnancy, 11 weeks from conception, your baby is about the size of a peach. Crown-to-rump length is 2 1/2 to 3 inches, and he or she weighs 1/2 to 3/4 ounce. (1)
What else is going on this week?
- Head growth slows down while body growth speeds up. (Right now, the head is about half of the crown-to-rump length!)
- Baby swallows amniotic fluid and makes breathing-like movements.
- Intestines, which began developing in the umbilical cord outside baby’s body, draw back into the abdominal cavity.
- Spleen is working to produce red blood cells. (2)
Week 13 Pregnancy: Gender
If you were able to look at your baby outside the womb, you’d be able to determine gender! The sex hormones testosterone and estrogen are being made in baby’s body, and external organs have developed to the point that gender could be identified if you could get a good look at baby. Unfortunately, it’s too early to tell on ultrasound. You’ll still need to wait for your 16 – 18 week ultrasound to learn if you’re having a girl or a boy.
Week 13 Pregnancy Symptoms: Mouth and Dental
As I’m sure you’re learning, pregnancy can affect your body in places you may have never expected. This week, let’s take a look at what may be happening in your mouth.
Your gums may swell and bleed thanks to pregnancy hormones and increased blood volume. Don’t give in to the temptation to take a break from brushing and flossing; you don’t want to set yourself up for dental problems later. Besides that, infections in your mouth can cause problems throughout your body, which you’re trying to keep as healthy as possible right now! Switching to a softer brush may help with bleeding gums.
Visit the Dentist
Visiting your dentist at least once during pregnancy is recommended. Pregnant women are at an increased risk for cavities and gum disease, so you should stay on top of it. Dental work during pregnancy is safe and routine; just be sure your dentist knows you’re pregnant. (2, 3) It is often recommended that dental work be postponed until after the first 13 weeks if possible. So now that you’ve hit week 13 pregnancy, it’s the perfect time to check in with your dentist and take care of any problems. Antibiotics and pain medications may be necessary for dental concerns or procedures, and some of these are okay to take during pregnancy. It’s always a good idea to consult your pregnancy healthcare provider before taking anything, though.
Some pregnant women notice that they salivate more during pregnancy. This tends to be a more common complaint in women with severe morning sickness. It doesn’t cause any harm, but may be irritating. It may be helpful to drink plenty of fluids to increase swallowing, or to chew gum or suck on hard candies. (2)
Week 13 Pregnancy What to Expect: Telling the World
If you haven’t announced your pregnancy yet, by week 13 pregnancy you’re likely thinking of doing so soon. You’ve made it through the part of pregnancy with the highest chance of something going wrong, and you’re probably approaching the point where concealing your pregnancy will become more difficult. So around now is a common time to make the announcement.
Some women find the idea of announcing a pregnancy to be very exciting. Others feel uncomfortable sharing the news, dread the reactions an announcement might bring, etc. Excited, scared, and ambivalent are all well within the realm of normal. There’s no right way to feel, no right time to tell, and no right way to tell.
Telling Friends and Family
There has been a trend in recent years toward making big pregnancy and/0r gender announcements. Your little one is absolutely a cause for celebration, and if a party or fun reveal is your style, go for it! If you prefer a more casual or matter-of-fact style, don’t feel bad for staying true to yourself. The amount of fanfare doesn’t reflect on how you feel about your baby or pregnancy–it just reflects personal style.
One thing you may want to keep in mind is whether or not there is anyone in your close circle who has suffered from infertility, pregnancy loss, child loss, etc. Even someone who loves you very much and who will celebrate your news may find it painful at first and need time to warm up. If this a concern for you, consider telling them one-on-one before making a big announcement or before telling enough others that the news may spread before you get a chance to have a conversation.
Telling at Work
If you work outside the home, you can probably continue to do so throughout your pregnancy if you want to. You may feel anxious about telling your boss or coworkers, feel concerned that they won’t be happy about your coming leave, or worry that people will look at you differently as a pregnant woman. Telling coworkers and others is your choice, but now is probably the time to tell your supervisor and/0r human resources. There’s no need to approach it as bad news or feel apologetic about it; you simply need to share the news that you’re expecting. You can let them know your plans about when you intend to quit working or take leave if you know such things.
If you haven’t done so, find out about your employer’s maternity leave policy, what benefits it provides to pregnant women, and what benefits it provides to new mothers. Look into your state laws and local laws to see what kind of leave you can take. The United States Department of Labor Women’s Bureau has a number of resources to help you determine what laws and protections apply to you beyond your employer’s policies.
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(1) Glade, B.C., Schuler, J. (2011). Your Pregnancy Week by Week, 7th edition. First Da Capo Press
(2) The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2010). Your Pregnancy and Childbirth Month to Month, 5th edition
(3) Ladewig, P.A., London, M.L., Davidson, M.R. (2006). Contemporary Maternal-Newborn Nursing Care, 6th edition. Pearson Prentice Hall. Upper Saddle River, NJ.