3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Your Body at 13-16 Weeks

Your Body at 13-16 Weeks

As you enter the second 3 months of pregnancy, you will probably start to 'bloom'. This is when many women feel at their best. Your tiredness and nausea should improve and your energy levels should pick up, and you will also become aware of your changing shape and find that your usual clothes are too tight. But look in the mirror - you are at last starting to look pregnant!

How you may feel

Many women feel at their most feminine during pregnancy, because their breasts become larger, their abdomen rounds and the condition of their skin and hair improves. By this stage, you will have accepted and become more confident in your pregnancy, and you have probably shared the news with others.

It is quite normal to be preoccupied with your pregnancy and you may find that your short-term memory is poor: you may forget what you need in the supermarket or keep mislaying things. You should also be feeling more energetic because your sleep is being less disrupted by nightly visits to the toilet.

Your midwife or doctor will have used a Doppler to listen to your baby's heartbeat. Listening to this for the first time is an emotional moment, and it may make you feel much closer to your baby. Many women say that they wish they could simply lie down and listen to their baby's heartbeat until it is time for the birth!

Your changing body

Changes in your skin are common at this stage. Your uterus has now risen out of your pubic cavity and is the size of a grapefruit. If you have had a baby before, your bump is often more obvious because your muscles have been stretched and are not as toned. Your veins expand during pregnancy and therefore become more prominent: you might notice them as blue lines not only on your breasts, but also on your legs and abdomen. Although many women delight in the changes others find it difficult to make the adjustment.

Five reasons to go to antenatal classes
  1. It is a good way of meeting other pregnant women and building a support network for after the birth. Years later, many women keep in touch with the people they met through these classes.
  2. Most classes encourage partners to come along, which is a good way of making them feel involved, in both the birth and the pregnancy.
  3. You will be given information on everything to do with childbirth, for example, pain relief, positions in labour, signs of labour, types of delivery, feeding and baby care. Research shows that, the more information you have, the more likely you are to stay in control throughout your labour.
  4. You will get the opportunity to tour the maternity unit. You can see how to get there, where to park and the ward you will go to, as well as the options that are available. Even if you are planning a home birth, it is still a good idea to have the tour in case you need to be transferred to the unit.
  5. You will be able to ask questions in an informal setting. Some subjects that you are keen to ask will probably be covered by the midwife or childbirth educator during the classes.

your health Heartburn You may experience an unpleasant burning sensation when stomach acids leak into your oesophagus. This is because the valve that normally stops this from happening relaxes during pregnancy. Varicose veins are common during pregnancy and are due to the sluggish circulation caused by pregnancy hormones.

Week 13-16 Reminders
what you should be eating

Increase your intake of calcium by eating plenty of dairy foods (particularly milk, yoghurt and hard cheese), tinned fish, white bread, spinach, baked beans, kidney beans, almonds and oranges. Calcium is necessary for the growth of your baby's teeth, bones and muscles and also helps your blood to clot and may protect against hypertension (high blood pressure).

Do not take any vitamin supplements other than folic acid unless advised to do so by your midwife or doctor. Vitamin A supplements and foods high in animal-source vitamin A - such as liver - can harm your unborn baby.

Jobs to Do

Make sure that you have had all the blood tests that you need by the end of this period. It is important to establish your blood group during pregnancy in case of any bleeding. You should have an injection of Anti-D if you are Rhesus negative and have any bleeding. Ask your midwife about antenatal exercise classes in your area, such as aqua-natal or yoga.