Congratulations! You’ve almost made it through your first trimester. Hopefully some of the worst symptoms you’ve experienced so far are beginning to ease up as you’re entering the “happy trimester.”
Your uterus is continuing to expand, and you can probably feel it now in your lower abdomen. By week 11, the average uterus is about the size of a grapefruit or slightly larger. You might even have the beginnings of your “baby bump” (or you will very soon!).
You’ll also be relieved to know that your uterus is nature’s near-ideal protection device for your baby. Many moms worry about using seatbelts or letting anyone near their tummies for fear of hurting the baby. In reality, your baby is perfectly cushioned and protected inside the thick, muscular uterus and the amniotic sac. So please don’t skip wearing your seatbelt! This critical safety device will greatly reduce the risk of injury to you and your baby while in a car, and as long as you wear it properly (with the belt below your abdomen low on your hips) you are good to go.
Around this time, you might notice your appetite increasing. This is different from the unusual pregnancy cravings you might have been experiencing—now, with your baby starting to grow quickly, your caloric needs are going to increase. At the same time, if you’ve been experiencing morning sickness, those symptoms will probably start to ease now and hopefully be gone soon. Your pregnancy hormones, however, may continue to cause symptoms including excess saliva, breast tenderness, and fatigue.
At this point, your baby’s fetal age is 9 weeks, and the tiny baby is about the size of a date at just over two inches long. Over the course of this week, your baby’s features will continue to become more defined and clear. The ears are nearly complete now, and the first nasal passages are opening up in your baby’s face. The head is still much larger in proportion to the rest of the body, but your baby’s arms, legs, and torso are stretching out. Still, there is plenty of room in the uterus, so your baby can still roll around and do somersaults without too much constriction.
Around this time, the sex organs are starting to also form, both internally and externally. If it’s a boy, the testes are developing; in a girl, the ovaries are beginning to form. It’s still too early to see external sexual organs, but it won’t be too long before you can find out the gender by seeing the genitalia on ultrasound.
“By the end of the day, you may appear much more pregnant than when you started in the morning.”
Reviewed by Dr. Jen Lincoln, November 2018