As of now, your baby will no longer be measured from crown to rump but from head to foot. At the start of this week, your baby is about 5.5 inches (14 cm) long, head to foot. Her arms and legs are fully formed and all her joints work.
To a certain extent, your baby can now coordinate her movements as the nervous system is functioning and muscles respond to signals transmitted by the brain.
The uterus is a hive of activity—the baby is rolling round, kicking, doing somersaults, wrinkling her brow, opening and closing her mouth and sucking her thumb. That said, it may be difficult to feel these movements at this stage as the amniotic fluid dampers the effect.
Your baby’s skin is thin, reddish and wrinkly. The fine, downy lanugo is visible on the skin. This hair will have disappeared almost completely by the time your baby is born, but you may see a little on the back and shoulders.
Your baby starts to form subcutaneous fat, commonly referred to as brown fat, which will help your baby to stay warm after birth. Your baby’s nails also start to form.
Women who’ve already had babies can sometimes feel the baby moving at this point—it often feels like a tiny fluttering sensation. If you’re expecting your first baby, you probably won’t be able to feel the first movements until week 20 or later.
Your body may produce colostrum now. This is a clear fluid that may emerge from your nipple if you squeeze your breast.
Some women feel the uterus tensing and constricting, a phenomenon known as practice contractions or Braxton Hicks contractions. These contractions are your uterus practicing for giving birth. It’s more common for women who have already had babies to feel contractions at this early stage. This is completely safe as long as there is no pain. If you are experiencing pain, contact your health care provider. Frequent preterm contractions may be a symptom of a urinary tract infection.
Although your baby won’t be born for a while yet, now is a good time to start thinking—and talking—about your expectations for the after-birth period. Parenthood is a very joyous experience, but it can be a strain as well. Conflicts concerning how to look after your baby or how to divide household chores can arise in your relationship.
One way to initiate communication and together come up with mutual goals is for each of you to write down what you do over the course of a day, divided into one-hour intervals. Then imagine your life once your baby is born and write down what you think a typical day will be like, again divided into one-hour intervals. Compare your days and talk about what they look like and even where they differ.