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11 WEEKS, 6 DAYS

197 days to go...

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skull of human fetus at 11 weeks and 6 days

Your baby today

The bones of the front of the skull have continued to expand and cover the head, protecting the delicate brain structures beneath. The soft spot in between the skull bones (center) remains through pregnancy and into babyhood.

If you're finding you're out of breath when you get to the top of the stairs, accept this as a normal side effect of pregnancy.

By the end of the first trimester it's normal to begin feeling a little breathless. This is because your heart and lungs are having to work much harder to supply your body with oxygen due to all the changes that are taking place to allow the baby to grow.

The amount of oxygen you need in pregnancy is about 20 percent more than normal; some of this goes to the placenta (see You are 10 Weeks Exactly) and baby and the rest to your other organs. To get this increased amount of oxygen you breathe faster and deeper, almost hyperventilating so you feel short of breath, especially when you exercise.

As your pregnancy continues, you may find that this shortness of breath or feeling that you are not breathing very deeply continues, or worsens. As the baby grows, your uterus will expand upward and your other abdominal organs will rearrange themselves to create more room. Your organs and uterus push up against your diaphragm so it becomes more difficult to take a deep breath, so in order to get all the oxygen you need, you then have to breathe much faster. The hormone progesterone may also affect the rate at which you breathe.

If you have any concerns about breathlessness, don't hesitate to speak to your doctor.

Ask A... Doctor

I've gone from an A cup to D cup. Will this increase in size last forever?

The majority of women who have had babies do report a permanent increase in breast size but it's unlikely to be to this extent! The effects of estrogen cause fat to be deposited in the breasts and when your milk comes in after the birth your breasts will get bigger, but reduce again once you have stopped breast-feeding.

pregnant woman walking on beach

Some of your usual vitality should begin to return toward the end of the first trimester.

Focus On... Health

Feeling better?

By the end of this trimester, many of the early pregnancy symptoms are likely to have passed.

  • Nausea may have begun to lessen and it can be a complete relief to wake up in the morning without feeling sick. Your loss of appetite will return, and you can stop worrying about whether your baby is being properly nourished, which is often a common concern for women who suffer from morning sickness.
  • You won't need to urinate quite so often, which will be good news if you've spent an inordinate amount of time in the bathroom. This is because your uterus is now moving up the abdominal cavity and therefore is placing less pressure on your bladder.
  • The fatigue that you may have felt in these early months is likely to have lifted by now, and you may be sleeping more deeply now that you're relaxing into your pregnancy.

    If your sickness hasn't passed yet, don't worry-for some women, it does last longer (see You are 13 Weeks Exactly).

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Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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