11th – Eleventh week of pregnancy

11 week of pregnancy

During this week the fetus begins to take the form of a human being. At the same time, the risk of miscarriage is declining rapidly.

Many women choose to share the good news with family and close friends during the eleventh week of pregnancy. Others still prefer to wait another fortnight, when the risk of miscarriage (already low this week) has a even sharper collapse. Whatever you decide, continue to maintain a healthy lifestyle and listen to your doctor, both for your own sake and for your baby’s sake.

Baby’s development in the 11th week of pregnancy

With all of its major organs now formed and in place, the fetus now gains weight and size.

With a 2D ultrasound, and even better with a 3D one, starting from this stage of pregnancy (11-14 weeks) it is already possible to visualize the limbs, the head and the entire body of the fetus. By doing so, it will already be possible to identify any anencephalic and main anomalies of the same.

the development of its sensory organs

The developing skin forms a protective layer around the baby’s body, but is still somewhat transparent and will remain so until the end of the first trimester of pregnancy . Of the 5 epidemic layers (the epidermis is the outermost part of the two layers – epidermis and dermis – that make up the skin) 3 are now formed. 

In 94.3% of cases, a transvaginal ultrasound performed during this week was able to show the presence of the nasal bone. If it is not, there is a higher than average chance that the child may have Down syndrome. In this case your doctor may advise you to do further tests to have further confirmation.

Her tongue and the palate of the fetus are continuing to grow.

The formation of primary tooth enamel begins between this week and 14 weeks of pregnancy and is completed by the end of the newborn’s 3rd month. 

the development of his limbs

The fingers and toes continue to grow, and have now reached their full development.

facial development

The ears are already in their final position, while the baby’s forehead is still very wide.

Its head is still disproportionately large, but its ever-growing body will soon balance out this difference in size. The nasal passage is already open. 

the development of keratinous structures

This is also the week that the nail beds begin to form

the development of its internal organs

The position of the heart inside the thorax is that which it will maintain for all the following weeks, and the spatial relationship of the great arteries and their relative dimensions are similar to those which we would find in the following weeks. 

Since the development of its lungs has already begun, during this week the fetus begins to inhale and exhale the amniotic fluid (as if it were breathing underwater – in reality the fetus is not actually breathing, i.e. not taking in oxygen from the water. These are movements that the child begins to make involuntarily).

The intestine gradually moves from the umbilical cord where it had begun to develop into the baby’s stomach: the cord still carries necessary nutrients to your baby, and helps the amniotic fluid keep him safe.

The elongation of its neck allows your baby to roll over in the amniotic sac.

This is the week that testosterone production begins in the male fetus .

the size and weight of the child

At the eleventh week the fetus is about the size of a fig and measures about 5 cm in length.

The changes in the woman’s body

The uterus is now large enough to fill your entire pelvis , and you may also feel it in the lower abdominal area, just above the pubis.

Your hair may look thicker and shinier. Also, you may notice that your nails are growing at a faster rate than usual. These are some of the positive effects due to increased levels of pregnancy hormones (progesterone).

These hormones also increase the number of oil glands in your face, which could lead to oilier skin.

Especially if it’s not your first pregnancy, you may already show a little bump: women in their second pregnancy tend to show it a little sooner due to already relaxed abdominal muscles.

However, if it is your first pregnancy, it is usually still too soon for others to notice that you are pregnant. In the case of a twin pregnancy, the baby bump may be seen earlier.

The ultrasound in the 11th week

Now the blood vessels of the fetus are easily visible through its translucent skin along with its tiny ribs.

An ultrasound done in the 11th week will probably show that your baby is kicking and moving his tiny hands and legs, but it’s still too early for you to feel it.

His genitals are almost fully developed, but it will take a few more weeks for the doctor to determine the baby’s sex by means of an ultrasound.

The symptoms of the eleventh week

Many women find that starting this week , the first symptoms such as morning sickness, fatigue, frequent urination and an increased sense of smell begin to diminish.

The acne episodes that you may have had in the last few weeks are now gradually starting to fade.

But still, there’s nothing to worry about if you’re still experiencing some bothersome symptoms, such as nausea, fatigue, constipation, heartburn, and indigestion, along with the normal 11 week symptoms, including:

  • abdominal pain or cramps (often caused by wind and bloating);
  • abdominal pain (caused by the growing uterus and subsequent stretching of the muscles);
  • bloating and bloating;
  • food cravings or aversions;
  • breast tenderness;
  • excessive salivation;
  • occasional dizziness;
  • shortness of breath;
  • epistaxis (nosebleed);
  • trouble sleeping;
  • mood swings; 8 ]
  • migraine;
  • leg cramps;
  • appearance of a dark line on your belly (linea nigra);
  • weight gain (women with severe morning sickness may experience weight loss);
  • pain in the round ligament of the uterus;
  • itching (with or without a rash), especially around the belly and breasts;
  • stress incontinence or urine leakage, when you laugh or sneeze (due to pregnancy hormones weakening the sphincters responsible for controlling urine output, and also from the uterus putting pressure on the bladder).

Many of these symptoms will tend to improve once you enter the second trimester of pregnancy  , as your appetite will increase, making it easier for you to ingest the nutrients you and your baby need.

Signs you need to pay particular attention to

Care should be taken in cases of

  • intense abdominal cramps together with light/moderate bleeding or spotting : could indicate an ectopic pregnancy or a miscarriage; 
  • fever and chills accompanied by fatigue; shortness of breath; runny nose; sore throat and sneezing which could indicate that you have the flu;
  • Severe and persistent headache, blurry vision, sudden swelling (of the hands, feet and face), chest pain and vomiting – these could indicate high blood pressure or preeclampsia 
  • severe diarrhea or vomiting more than 3-4 times a day: increase the child’s risk of dehydration and weight loss;
  • unusual, odorous vaginal discharge that may be brown, yellowish, pinkish, green, clear, or cloudy – this could indicate a current urinary tract or bladder infection; 
  • thin, gushing and odorless secretions, clear or straw-colored: they could be indications of amniotic fluid leakage; 
  • severe pain in the abdomen or lower back, especially on the right side;
  • pain or burning when urinating: could indicate the existence of a bacterial infection; 
  • severe back pain together with urine leakage and urinary tract infections: these could indicate an imbalance in the position of the uterus;
  • extreme tiredness with blurred vision, excessive thirst, sudden weight loss and vomiting: these are symptoms that could indicate the existence of gestational diabetes. 

Some curiosities related to the eleventh week

  • In this period the fetus is already able to open and close its mouth, and to yawn.
  • Now that most of its organs are already formed, the fetus begins to grow very quickly. By the end of this week it will have already doubled in length.
  • Your weight gain should not exceed 2 kilograms during this period. Ideally, the 2 kilograms of weight you should put on around the 20th week. However, remember that during the entire pregnancy it is not recommended to try to lose weight or embark on a diet.If you notice that you have gained more than 2 kilos, contact a professional dietitian or nutritionist.

Useful advice for the woman and for the future child

  • Avoid eating seafood, undercooked fish and meat, foods containing raw eggs, as these foods may contain harmful bacteria. 
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet that includes fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as other foods rich in protein, folic acid, iron and calcium.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after handling raw meat, poultry, raw and unwashed fruit and vegetables: this in order to prevent possible bacterial contamination.
  • Between the eleventh  and fourteenth week of pregnancy it is possible to do the nuchal translucency test , a test that is used to evaluate the probability of any malformations of the fetus. 
  • If you feel like it, get regular exercise to strengthen your pelvic muscles: you can sign up for a prenatal yoga class, or talk to your doctor for advice on “safe” physical exercises you can do at home.
  • To prevent varicose veins and restless legs syndrome, do light leg and foot exercises (such as leg stretches or push-ups on your calves and toes when sitting).When sitting or lying down, avoid crossing your legs, and try to keep them high.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol and taking over-the-counter medicines (such as pain relievers and antipyretics) without first consulting your doctor. 
  • Undergo the usual prenatal and dental checkups.
  • Take meticulous care of your oral hygiene.

Katherine Johnson, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with clinical expertise in general obstetrics and gynecology, family planning, women’s health, and gynecology.

She is affiliated with the Obstetrics and Gynecology division at an undisclosed healthcare institution and the online platform, Maternicity.com.

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