Approved by the What’s Up Moms Medical Advisory Board
Baby is four inches long and showing off all kinds of bada$$ acrobatic feats in the amniotic sac like a regular Bruce Lee — rolling and flipping. Her eyes are still shut but she can actually sense light, and if you shine a flashlight onto your belly she may move away from it. Mom, buzz off! In other news, her kidneys are now producing urine, so, yes, baby is peeing in you. Awwww.
You may really (finally!) be starting to look preggers now. Your uterus, once small enough to be housed inside your pelvis, is now outgrowing that space and coming to sit higher in your abdomen. As a result, the torso area is getting crowded and you may be short of breath as it gets increasingly difficult for your lungs to expand fully. And, thanks to extra blood flowing to mucous membranes, you might have nosebleeds or a runny or stuffy nose.
Pay extra attention to your oral health since pregnancy makes you more susceptible to gum irritation (gingivitis), and periodontal disease is linked with preterm birth. Right now your gums are more easily irritated by plaque, so they may be extra sore and bleed-y. Use a light touch when flossing and brushing (with a soft toothbrush or better yet, an electric one), and rinse with warm salt water daily. And, no, you’re not just imagining it: your teeth may feel a little… well… wiggly. Relaxin, the hormone that relaxes ligaments in the pelvis, can also slightly relax the tiny ligaments that hold the teeth in place. Eeks! Don’t worry, they won’t fall out! But there’s sure a lotta mouth action going on, so continue to have dental check-ups, even during pregnancy. They’ll take extra care with the x-rays, which are a very low-dose of location-specific radiation.
If you’re doing the Multiple Marker Screen (MMS, AKA Triple or Quad Screen Test), you’ll get your blood drawn between now and 20 weeks to learn baby’s risk of neural tube defects. These next few weeks are also the window for Amniocentesis, which can definitively diagnose neural tube defects, chromosomal problems, and other genetic disorders. In amnio, the doctor uses an ultrasound to help guide a needle into the amniotic sac to gather a sample of fluid to be tested. It’s not a risk-free test, so you and your doc will discuss whether it’s indicated, like if baby has a higher risk of genetic abnormalities.
So, trying to end on a funny note here, but… awkward.