11 Weeks Pregnant: Everything You Need To Know
I think you’ll agree with me when I say:
Week 11 is an exciting time for many women, as it is the first time in which their doctor can pick up their baby’s heartbeat with the help of a special ultrasound monitor called a Doppler.
In my experience, for many women, this makes their pregnancy seem more real than it has in the past, and the same may be true for you, especially if you have not started to show yet.
It is also an indicator that your pregnancy is progressing normally, which can be a great source of relief to many moms, especially those that are pregnant with their first child.
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Your Baby At Week 11
Your baby is still a tiny little mass, measuring only two inches from head to foot. Half of that size is made up of just his head, giving him the appearance of ET or a particularly squishy bobblehead doll.
Don’t worry, by the time you give birth, your baby’s proportions will have evened out and he or she will look like a human and not Gollum from Lord of the Rings.
Despite his or her vaguely alien appearance, your baby is now the proud owner of several distinct human characteristics—hands and feet that are not webbed, ears that are almost fully formed, nasal passages, a tongue, and even nipples.
The first trimester is basically a flurry of growth and development, as your body is working overtime to nurture and develop the tiny human life fluttering inside you.
At this point your baby now has a thin layer of skin, though it is still translucent, as well as a four-chambered heart. Tiny fingernails and toenails are forming, as are the testes/ovaries, and hair follicles, and by this time your little mini-me is capable of swallowing, kicking, and stretching.
Most interestingly is that at this point, your baby can tap into their inner gymnast and do forward rolls and somersaults.
That’s right, your womb is now functioning as a gym, though you probably won’t feel anything from your child’s movement at this stage.
11 Weeks Pregnant Ultrasound
Symptoms At 11 Weeks Pregnant
At 11 weeks pregnant, many women find that their morning sickness has started to subside, so if that has been an issue, you may notice that your appetite is coming back.
This is good not just for you and your own comfort but for your baby as well.
Their growing body requires a great deal of vitamins, nutrients, and energy in order to continue developing.
If you want to stay healthy during the process, adequate nutrition is essential.
Unfortunately, though morning sickness may be waning, other side effects of pregnancy are either beginning to appear or simply continuing.
You can blame this on hormonal changes that are causing your body to act differently and not as smoothly.
For example, during pregnancy, digestion slows so that the body can extract more nutrients from the food that you consume; this, in turn, causes constipation.
Similarly, the relaxing of the valve between your esophagus and stomach can cause heartburn.
You can also blame your hormonal changes for behaving a little less “ladylike” (as my father would say).
That’s right—you now get to deal with the most noxious of all pregnancy symptoms: increased gassiness.
If you’re like most women, you can expect to burp and fart your way to your fortieth week.
Actually, at this point, you should feel pretty lucky, as the incontinence probably has not started yet. In the meantime, if you have a partner who constantly gas attacks you out of bed, now is the time to get sweet, sweet revenge. The best part? They can’t complain—you’re just pregnant.
You can also blame your pregnancy on the enormous amount of fatigue you are probably feeling. At this point, your body is not only existing and functioning for you, but it is now also in the business of making a totally new human being which, understandably, can be a little tiring. Pregnancy fatigue is a real thing; don’t feel bad about getting extra sleep or taking little naps throughout the day. Your body is working incredibly hard and it deserves its rest.
The key here is to listen to your body and to allow yourself to recharge when you’re feeling worn out. Body changes at 11 weeks pregnant.
At the 11th week in your pregnancy your body probably does not look much different – at least not to other people. However, because you are more tuned to your body, you may notice some very minor changes. At the 11th week, it is common to notice slight swelling in your abdomen. No, not enough to tell other people that your pregnant – it will probably look like you’ve just been in overindulging in the snacks a little bit.
At this point, your weight may be lower, slightly higher, or about the same as it was before you were pregnant. It all depends on how your pregnancy is progressing.
If you found yourself with crippling morning sickness for the past several weeks, then you are likely to find that you have lost weight. This is simply because of the constant vomiting, and consequently, loss of nutrients.
If, on the other hand, your pregnancy has come with increased food cravings and you have indulged in them, then you will likely find that you have gained a little.
Weight gain can also be caused by fluid retention – which is perfectly normal.
Diet And Nutrition
The common saying is that pregnant women are “eating for two” which has led to a misleading notion that pregnant women should eat double the amount of food that they normally do.
This is not the case. Most women only need to consume less than 500 calories per day while pregnant, and those that were overweight before can expect an even smaller increase.
Excess food causes weight gain for you which increases the risk of pregnancy complications.
At week 11, many experts agree that extra food is not incredibly necessary because the baby is still quite small.
Plus, with the morning sickness and general gastric distress, you may not even feel like eating. In fact, during the first trimester, most pregnant women only gain about 3lbs.
What you eat is far more important than how much you eat. Check out this book to find a balanced pregnacy diet plan.
If you have not yet started taking prenatal vitamins, this is a good time to begin doing so; however, understand that supplements do not replace a healthy diet.
This means that if you’ve never grown out of your hatred of vegetables, you’re going to have to suck it up and start eating those greens. Think of it as a sacrifice for your child, much like stretch marks, the pain of childbirth, and giving up the next 18+ years of your life to support an individual who, at certain times, can be a total pain in the butt and drive you crazy.
You especially want to make sure that you take in enough calcium. Dental problems are a common plight among pregnant women for this simple reason—they don’t consume enough calcium to support both their health and that of their child.
When your body runs out of calcium, it starts to draw it from your bones and teeth. Unless you fancy being toothless, ensure that you get the recommended daily amount of calcium, which is 1000 to 1300mg.
Exercise is important during pregnancy if you want to ensure your health while you are pregnant and after you give birth.
Regular exercise can help you lose baby weight faster, prevent pregnancy complications, and improve your body’s condition in general.
If you did not exercise before becoming pregnant, now is the time to make this healthy lifestyle change, as inactivity can cause greater aches and pains, higher risks of gestational diabetes, higher blood pressure, and excess weight gain.
Flexibility and Strength
To maintain and build muscle, you need to do exercises that improve your strength and flexibility.
Increased strength and flexibility can help you bear the extra weight and bulk that comes with being pregnant, making the entire affair much more comfortable, and protect your joints from injury.
When it comes to improving flexibility and strength in a way that is comfortable for pregnant women, few exercises can beat Pilates and Yoga, which the former of which strengthens your core, improves flexibility, and lengthens the muscles, while the latter aids in relaxation and honing deep breathing skills, as well as the ability to focus.
There are special Pilates and yoga classes and programs designed specifically for pregnant women, so be sure to check them out at your local gym.
Aerobic exercises improve endurance, blood circulation, and muscle tone, all things that are important during and after pregnancy, as well as during delivery (you’ll definitely be thankful for increased endurance).
Swimming is one of the best exercises since being in water makes you feel lighter and less creaky. It’s gentle on the joints and ligaments and can help with nausea, puffy ankles, and other pregnancy aches and pains.
Walking is another exercise that is safe for almost all pregnant women throughout their entire pregnancy. Invest in good sneakers and find some flat, even terrain and start a routine of briskly walking. You don’t need a gym or anything special, making walking a great exercise for frugal moms everywhere.
Indoor cycling is great for pregnant women, as it provides the work out of a bike without the risk of falling. Cycling is a smart exercise to do because it doesn’t stress the knee and ankle joints.
Kegel exercises are fairly well-known and extremely helpful.
The best part is that they are very easy to do and you can perform them anywhere. Kegel exercises work out your pelvic floor muscles, which act as support for organs like the uterus and bladder and which control vagina and anal sphincter contraction, as well as urine flow.
In-shape pelvic muscles make the child birthing process easier, promote healing, and can help fight incontinence.
If you’ve never done Kegels and are unsure as to how one works out their pelvis, try this—the next time you use the bathroom, try to stop the flow of urine. When you do this, you have successfully contracted your pelvic floor muscles; in other words, you have done a Kegel.
Do several sets of these each day, contracting and relaxing and making sure to engage only your pelvic floor muscles. Please note: after you have found your pelvic floor muscles by stopping your urine flow, DO NOT continue to engage those muscles during urination; just let it flow. Failing to do so can result in UTIs and incontinence.
Instead, perform Kegels after you have gone to the bathroom and have an emptied bladder. You can also engage those muscles during sex, which can make the experience more pleasurable for all involved parties.
Tips And Tricks For Your 11th Week
For many pregnant women, increased burping and farting can be uncomfortable and a little embarrassing, especially if it is not obvious that they are with child.
After all, a grown, adult woman should be able to control that, right?
You can cut down on your gassiness by eating small amounts more frequently, instead of eating large meals occasionally.
You also want to avoid those foods that are known to cause excess gas, such as beans, fried foods, sweets, and other similar food items.
Go Shopping (if you haven’t already)
That tightening in your jeans should act as a reminder to go out and buy comfy maternity clothes.
This is an activity that you definitely want to undertake as early as possible because shopping and movement in general becomes more cumbersome and uncomfortable as your belly blows up, feet swell, lose some degree of bladder control, etc.
I’ve likened it to trying to shop while wearing a giant inflatable inner tube around your middle and concrete blocks for shoes.
In other words, get it done sooner rather than later and try to think ahead and buy for future size increases.
Not thrilled about spending money on clothing you’ll outgrow and hardly ever wear again?
Check with friends and family to see if they have any maternity clothing that you can borrow or have, and don’t forget to check out secondhand stores to score some bargains. The same is true for other baby essentials that are often expensive—strollers, car seats, furniture, baby monitor, baby swing, baby carrier etc.
Sleep Tips for Comfort and Fatigue
As you progress in your pregnancy, you’ll likely find that sleep comes less easily, not because you’re not tired (you most definitely are), but because you are understandably uncomfortable.
At eleven weeks, you might not be feeling the discomfort caused by the bulk of a further-along pregnancy, but you can prepare for it, especially if you are accustomed to sleeping on your stomach (all but impossible during pregnancy) or on your back.
Not only is side sleeping more comfortable, especially if you place a body pillow under you for support, but this position increases the amount of blood flowing to your baby.
Read this next:
Kegel Exercises. American Pregnancy Association. From: http://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/kegel-exercises/
Kegels, Demystified: How, When and Why to Do Them. What to Expect. From: http://www.whattoexpect.com/womens-health/kegels
11 Weeks Pregnant. What to Expect. From: http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/week-by-week/week-11.aspx
Your Pregnancy: Week 11. Meredith Corporation. From: http://www.parenting.com/article/your-pregnancy-week-11
Your Pregnancy Week by Week: Weeks 9-12. WebMD, LLC. From: http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/your-pregnancy-week-by-week-weeks-9-12
Nutrition & Vitamins For Pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association. From: http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/nutrients-vitamins-pregnancy/