14 weeks pregnant
At 14 weeks, there are a lot of changes taking place for your developing baby – but for you, things are on the up and pregnant life should be feeling a bit easier.
Your baby at 14 weeks
This is an interesting week for your baby, with things like his or her sex becoming more obvious and lots of complicated hormonal developments. Here are some of the highlights:
- Your baby's reproductive system is being fine-tuned, with the tiny bud between the legs that will become either a penis or a clitoris getting more pronounced.
- If it’s a girl, her ovaries have already created all the eggs she will ever produce. So half your potential future grandchild could already be in there – a very weird thought you probably shouldn’t spend too much time considering! The ovaries are still lodging up in the abdomen, but will eventually move down into her pelvis.
- If your baby is a boy, then his prostate gland will be growing. The testes are still in his abdomen and will remain there for some weeks, eventually travelling down into the scrotum.
- Hair is high on the agenda this week. She may already have a small amount of hair growing on her head, although the colour of it won’t be determined finally until much nearer the birth, and eyebrows are in early development, too.
- She’s also getting a thicker covering of lanugo – the hair that covers her body to keep her warm. This will all be shed by birth, although premature babies sometimes retain some of their lanugo. Don’t worry though – if this is the case it’s much more of a peachy fuzz than a werewolf-type pelt.
- Eventually she’ll develop enough fat to keep her warm in the womb and the lanugo is shed into the amniotic fluid… which she is swallowing, digesting and turning into poo. Something else on the ‘not-to-think-too-hard-about’ list.
- And while we’re on the subject of poo, she is starting to produce her first meconium around now – the greeny-black tarry stuff she will excrete in her first days of life. Gird your loins for those first few nappy changes – they are something to behold.
- The muscles in her face are allowing facial expression to become even more defined this week. If you see her grimacing on an ultrasound you’ll swear she’s actually frowning or grinning.
- And finally, her thyroid gland is now producing the thyroid hormones that she’ll need for brain development. She doesn’t actually rely on her own supply of thyroid hormones just yet as she’s getting enough of yours through the placenta to get on with all the brain development she needs for now.
What size is the baby at 14 weeks?
At 14 weeks your baby is about 9cm long – about the size of a nectarine.
How is your body changing at 14 weeks pregnant?
You may well have the makings of a baby bump by 14 weeks. Your uterus is about the size of a small melon and you might find your jeans are pretty, ahem… snug? If you’ve not been shopping yet or haven’t got enough bump for maternity jeans to stay up, switch to leggings and dresses or tunic tops for a few weeks to see you through this ‘awkward’ phase.
With the placenta now in full swing, you should be suffering much less from tiredness and nausea than you have in the last few weeks.
You may also be feeling more hungry – which is no surprise really when you consider what’s going on in the womb – you’re growing someone else’s EYEBROWS, for heaven’s sake! If you suffered from a strange metallic taste in your mouth that should be on the wane, too.
Now’s the time to make the most of your newly rediscovered appetite and get some tasty and healthy meals into yourself. Have a look for recipes that include pregnancy-friendly foods to fuel your growing bump and remind yourself which foods to avoid.
Your kidneys are still working overtime. You might be having fewer nocturnal loo visits now that the uterus has risen up out of the pelvis, but you’ll probably find you’re still weeing more in general. The blood flow to your kidneys continues to rise until around week 16, with your kidneys working at 60% higher filtration than normal.
The tiny tubules in your kidneys, whose job it is to reabsorb all the useful substances that pass through, are working hard but sometimes some protein and sugars slip through into the urine when you’re pregnant. This can be a sign of pre-eclampsia, a dangerous condition that your midwives and doctors will be looking out for in urine tests, as well as a marker for pregnancy diabetes, but having protein or sugars in your urine doesn’t necessarily mean you will get either of these things.
Pregnancy symptoms in week 14
You’ve left the annoying pregnancy symptoms of the first trimester well behind now, though an unlucky few women still suffer with pregnancy sickness or hyperemesis for a few weeks yet. But here are some of the pregnancy niggles that you may be enjoying soon.
You may notice that some areas of your skin are getting darker, such as your belly button or inner thighs and armpits. Your face may get darker in places, too. This is called chloasma, which translates as ‘the mask of pregnancy’ – just slightly less edgy than ‘the mask of Zorro’. It affects up to half of women and usually appears on the nose, cheeks and temples. It fades after your baby is born.
You may also find a dark pigmented line down the middle of your abdomen, which is known as the ‘linea nigra’. All this colour is caused by oestrogen over-stimulating melanocytes, the cells that produce pigment that darkens the skin. Moles, birthmarks and freckles also get darker during pregnancy.
Try to remember to wear sunscreen as the sun makes it worse; because your skin is generally more sensitive in pregnancy sun protection is a good idea anyway.
Itchy red palms and soles
Pregnancy itching is fairly common and can occur for a number of reasons, but you can find yourself madly scratching at your palms suddenly, a habit that is sure to get you slightly nervous looks from your work colleagues. This is because the extra oestrogen in your body makes your soles and palms itchy and red.
The irritation can be really annoying. Try applying a non-scented hand cream to help relieve the itching, or if it’s your feet that are affected, soak them in water. Adding a handful of oats to the water can help the itching, too.
Things to think about during week 14 of pregnancy
Take the opportunity this week to think about your health and protect your baby and growing body.
Quit smoking if you haven’t already
It is stressful being pregnant but that doesn't mean you should stress your foetus by smoking cigarettes that deprive her of oxygen. That might sound harsh but it’s a reflection of just how important it is to ditch the fags. Smoking is right up there as a big red no-no on the list of pregnancy dos and don’ts.
This really is the week to stop because research from the British Medical Journal shows that if you stop before 15 weeks you cut your risk of having a premature baby or a small baby to that of a non-smoker. How good is that? But there's more. The study of 2,500 women found that those who stopped smoking were no more stressed than those who carried on.
If you don't stop, your risk of having a premature baby is three times higher than non-smokers and your baby is twice as likely to be small. So this week is a bit of a second chance for anyone who’s had trouble giving up until now, and there’s never going to be more reason to do it.
Your centre of gravity will have shifted now that you have a melon-sized uterus with a foetus in it. The lower part of your back will try to compensate so you don't wobble and you’ll find yourself leaning backwards and walking with your legs a little apart.
Before you realise it, you'll be waddling down the road. Resist this if you can – it does you no good and can end up causing you back pain (and makes you look like a duck, too).
Try these tips instead to help protect your back from damage:
- Maintain good posture by standing tall with your shoulders back and head up.
- Wear flat shoes and support the small of your back with a cushion when you sit down.
- Do pelvic tilts to relieve pain. Lie on your back, knees bent, and push the curve of your back into the floor, pulling in your lower stomach muscles as you do so. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat as many times as you feel like but not more than 10 at a time.