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.
If you occasionally feel your uterus tensing and constricting, you are experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions. These contractions are your uterus practicing ahead of childbirth. As long as you feel no pain, it’s fine. If you do experience pain, consult your midwife or physician. Contractions can sometimes be the first sign of a urinary tract infection that needs to be treated with antibiotics. This is easy to check with a simple urine sample.
Your body may start to produce colostrum now. This is the clear fluid that emerges from your nipple if you squeeze your breast. Colostrum is the first food your baby receives before your body starts to produce mature breast milk around day 3 or 4. As long as you are pregnant, your breast produces colostrum. You needn’t worry that you’ll run out if you leak before your baby is born. Extremely nutritious and high in protein, it also contains various antibodies that offer some protection against infections. Superfood, in other words!
Studies indicate that learning about the mechanisms of breastfeeding before a baby is born increases the chances of a good start. Read more about how you can prepare for breastfeeding during your pregnancy in the articles below.
Your blood sugar level will be checked when you register and then again during several prenatal visits. Gestational diabetes is when your blood sugar level rises during pregnancy. You will most likely not notice yourself that your levels have increased. Instead, this will be detected during a routine prenatal checkup.
If you suspect gestational diabetes, or if you have a higher blood sugar level (glucose level) in your blood, your health clinic will give you a glucose challenge, or glucose screening test, to make a definite diagnosis.
In most cases, gestational diabetes can be prevented and treated with the right diet and exercise. If you have thoughts and questions about the issue, or if you are worried you may be at risk, we highly recommend that you speak with your midwife or physician.
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.