How big is my baby?
This week your baby is between 31 and 42mm (1.25 - 1.68 inches) in length and weighs approximately 5 grams (0.18 ounces).
All organs are now present and most major structures have been formed. As your baby becomes fully formed, its weight gain will rapidly increase and its structures will continue to grow and develop to maturity. The head is still large compared to the rest of the body, but the body begins to lengthen and straighten.
Although your baby can now respond to touch, you won't yet be able to feel it move. Nutrients pass from your body into the placenta and umbilical cord to feed your baby and support his/her rapid growth.
What pregnancy symptoms will I be experiencing?
During pregnancy, hormonal changes may cause fluctuations in your moods. You may find yourself feeling more emotional, moody and teary. These fluctuations are normal, and will probably diminish later in your pregnancy.
In Week 8 of the Week by Week Guide, we provided you with information about special tests during pregnancy. If you are healthy, under 35 and have no hereditary or genetic problems in your family, it is unlikely you will need to undergo any of the special pregnancy tests. There are a number of special tests that may / can be performed:
if you request them
if your doctor suspects there is a problem, or
if you are over a certain age
Modern testing enables the early detection of abnormalities for those considered to be in a risk category. Early detection of serious abnormalities gives you the opportunity to decide whether or not to progress with your pregnancy. One of the special tests performed between weeks 10 and 12 is:
Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) - this test may be performed between 10 and 12 weeks to test for genetic / chromosomal abnormalities such as Down's syndrome, sickle-cell anaemia, thalassaemia, cystic fibrosis, Huntingdon's chorea, muscular dystrophy and haemophilia. One of the advantages of CVS testing is that it can be done before it is possible to do an amniocentesis, as the chorionic tissue develops earlier than the amniotic fluid, and is genetically identical to the baby. One of the disadvantages is the risk of miscarriage. When CVS testing is performed by an experienced doctor, the risk of miscarriage in one in 50. These stats include miscarriages that may have occurred anyway without the test. The test is performed by passing a tube through the vagina into the uterus, or a needle through the abdominal wall.
What negative influences can harm my baby?
It is up to you to give your baby the best start in life. There are things you can do to reduce the effect of negative influences. Things that you have direct control over include:
Alcohol consumption - alcohol passes directly from the mother to the fetus. Large amounts of alcohol during pregnancy can cause malformations of your developing baby. Alcohol has been linked to various problems during pregnancy including a higher risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature births. In addition, babies affected by alcohol may experience slower growth before and after birth, defects to the face heart and other organs and mental disabilities (Research from CEIDA, NSW). "There is evidence to suggest that even regular, moderate use of alcohol (two drinks, three or four times a week) can affect a baby. Heavy drinking is known to be dangerous". (CEIDA, NSW) The National Health and Medical Research Council advise that it is best to stop drinking altogether during pregnancy. Since, your baby is at the greatest risk during the first three months of pregnancy when its limbs and organs are forming, the best way to avoid complications is to avoid alcohol altogether. .
Smoking - Smoking during pregnancy is harmful to you and your developing baby. It can markedly slow down your baby's growth, especially the brain's growth. Smoking also increases the risk of complications when your baby is born. There is a higher risk that the baby will be premature and will be more predisposed to developing infections in the first year of life. There are programs available to help you quit smoking. Get advice form your health professional or call the Quitline on 13 18 48.
Drugs and pain killers - Discuss your use of painkillers and medications with your health care professional. He/she will inform you of which are safe to take during pregnancy. A pharmacist may also be able to assist with this information.
Illegal Drugs - amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy or heroin are extremely harmful during pregnancy. The risks for the baby include death, very premature birth, being born very small and sickly, having heart, kidney and other physical problems, having brain damage and needing long treatment to help cope with withdrawal symptoms. If you think you have a problem with illegal drugs, seek help from your health care professional or the drug help line.
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