Weekly Guide to Pregnancy: Week 14
How big is my baby?
This week your baby is about 80-89mm in length and weighs approximately 25 grams (0.9 ounces). The head is now about one third of your baby's whole length, and the neck continues to get longer, meaning that the chin no longer rests on the chest.
The placenta has fully developed, and it's rich network of blood vessels is functioning as your baby's life support system. The placenta also manufactures some of the pregnancy hormones.
The umbilical cord is also completely mature and is made up of three entwined blood vessels (covered by a fatty layer). The large vein of the umbilical cord carries nourishment and oxygen rich blood to the fetus, while the two smaller arteries are responsible for carrying waste products and carbon dioxide from the fetus to the placenta, which then processes waste. The placenta also passes on antibodies that help fight infections from the mother to the fetus.
It is important to note that a large proportion of what the mother consumes is passed to the fetus this way, including, drugs and alcohol.
Your baby's circulation continues to develop and he/she can now swallow amniotic fluid, which is excreted as urine. Your baby starts to establish a sucking reflex, and exercises the muscles that will help him/her to swallow and breath after birth.
The profile of your baby is now more human, and features such as chin, forehead and nose are more clearly defined. Fingers and toes are becoming fully formed and the external genitals differentiate.
By the end of this week, your baby is fully formed. From here, he/she needs to mature. When provoked (eg by prodding of your abdomen), your baby will respond with active movements, however you still can't feel your baby moving yet.
What pregnancy symptoms will I be experiencing?
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 that can be performed between weeks 14 and 16 is:
Amniocentesis - this test can be performed between Week 14 and Week 16 to test for chromosomal abnormalities, inherited disorders, fetal maturity and neural tube defects such as spina bifida. It involves passing a hollow needle through the Mother's abdomen into the amniotic sac to extract a small amount of amniotic fluid (the fluid inside the amniotic sac in which the baby floats).
The risk of miscarriage from amniocentesis is lower than CVS testing. When an experienced doctor performs an amnio, the risk of miscarriage is one in 100 or lower. These stats include miscarriages that may have occurred anyway without the test. Common symptoms after the test include tightening of the uterus and soreness. Women are advised to take it easy for a few days after the test.
You may start to notice that moles, freckles and small tags of skin appear, or grow and change during pregnancy. If you notice any changes in a mole, it's best to have it checked by your health care practitioner.
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