Your baby at 11 weeks
By week 11, your baby's vital organs are all in place, and he gets down to the important business of growing bigger. During week 11 he'll double his weight from 7g to 14g, and, even more spectacularly, by week 20 will weigh 300g. This is more than a 30-fold rise in weight (and you thought you were putting on some timber).
Here are some more headlines from week 11:
- His lungs are still developing – this is very slow and intricate work, which will continue for several months to come.
- There may soon be a tiny bud that, depending on the baby’s sex, will become the penis or the clitoris. If your baby is a boy, his testes will have started to produce testosterone and if she’s a girl, ovaries are already in development.
- His ears are moving up the side of his head to close to where they should be and his eyes are still closed (they’ll stay that way until around week 27).
- Inside his tiny mouth there is already a tongue and palate.
- He is loafing about in the foetal position with his knees curled up and his chin on his chest. His head is still very big and heavy in comparison to the rest of his body and he hasn't quite got neck muscles yet, but this week his body is beginning to straighten out.
- His skin is still thin and transparent so, if you could look inside the womb, you would see the blood vessels through it.
- His fingers and toes are no longer webbed, and nail beds are forming on them.
What size is the baby at 11 weeks?
At 11 weeks your baby is around 4.1cm long – about the size of a large strawberry. By week 20 he’ll have quadrupled this measurement.
Your bump at 11 weeks
This week, your 'bump' is little more than just a rounding out of your belly, but it won’t be long before you're sprouting. That doesn't mean you won't be putting on weight, however. This stage, when you just feel ‘fat’ rather than pregnant, is pretty annoying, particularly when you’re trying to do up your jeans, but it’s a natural and necessary part of pregnancy.
How is your body changing at 11 weeks pregnant?
The average woman will gain between 1.5 and 2.5 stones in pregnancy, with 5lb of this being in the first trimester and most of the weight piling on after week 20. Weight gain in pregnancy is necessary to lay down fat stores especially for breastfeeding and, unfortunately, those fat stores usually seem to reside on your bottom and the tops of your thighs. Sigh.
You may not put on weight in the first trimester if you have suffered badly with morning sickness or even hyperemesis. Try not to worry if this is the case – your baby will have been taking everything he needs regardless.
Your bra size may increase by a dramatic three cup sizes during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy but fear not – it does then slow down.
Pregnancy symptoms in week 11
The bone-crushing pregnancy tiredness should be starting to subside by now. But don't think you've waved goodbye to pregnancy symptoms for good. They just get replaced with even more weird and wonderful things.
Nosebleeds and pregnancy gingivitis
The increase in blood flow during pregnancy affects almost every part of the body and in the delicate mucous membranes of your nose, one slightly violent sneeze can cause a nosebleed.
This increased blood flow, coupled with hormones softening up all the tissues in your body, is also why you can get bleeding gums in pregnancy when you brush your teeth.
You may start to feel short of breath because your body needs more oxygen to supply to your baby and growing womb. To achieve this, your lungs increase their tidal volume – this is the amount of air they take in and out with each breath – by 40%. So you’re taking in more oxygen and getting rid of more carbon dioxide.
The pregnancy hormone progesterone is also thought to have a direct effect on the brain, making you breathe faster, hence the breathlessness.
Things to think about during week 11 of pregnancy
If you’ve felt weirdly detached from your baby until now, don’t fret. Lots of women say it doesn’t feel real until they’ve seen their baby at the 12-week scan. Lavish some time on yourself if you can. A bit of gentle exercise, such as yoga or swimming, is not only good for you and the baby, but also a chance to feel more connected with your body and your pregnancy.
Some women start talking to their foetuses early. Others, perhaps quite reasonably, think this is utterly bonkers. There is no link between which one of these you are and how good a mum you'll be. Promise. If you do fancy chatting to your baby though, probably best to keep it for home, or at least use your ‘indoor voice’ in public to avoid funny looks.
Exercising during pregnancy
If you thought you'd be able to put your feet up and watch TV, forget it. NICE guidelines say there is no evidence that beginning or continuing moderate exercise is harmful to your baby. In fact, exercise in pregnancy increases your energy, improves mood and posture, helps you sleep better and may help reduce back pain, constipation and swelling as well as helping to prevent gestational diabetes.
You have to be careful though, because your pregnancy hormones make your joints more relaxed and mobile so there's a greater risk of injury. This and the growing baby inside of you can make you more unsteady on your feet. Here are some brief dos and don’ts:
- Swimming, cycling and walking are all great – aim for 30 minutes, three times a week.
- If you were a runner before pregnancy you can keep it up, but it’s probably not something to take up as a beginner now. If you run on grass or other uneven surfaces, be careful not to turn your ankle (the ligaments may be looser, making it much easier to injure yourself in pregnancy).
- Avoid downhill snow skiing (it’s much harder to balance with a baby on board and there’s a risk of falling).
- Avoid all contact sports, including racket sports such as squash, where you may not mean to have contact but you can be hit hard by an opponent.
- Scuba diving is also out as it can put your baby at risk of decompression sickness.
“10-11 weeks was the hardest point for me so far. I'm now almost 14 weeks and I promise it does ease off. Your body is growing a whole new organ (placenta!) so go easy on yourself. Long, relaxing baths and early nights got me through.”
“First-trimester exhaustion is unreal. The tiny size of the baby doesn't mean that you're not putting tons of energy into forming it. You'll likely start feeling a lot better within the next few weeks. In the meantime, just rest as much as you can.”