How your baby’s growing
The most dramatic development this week: reflexes. Your baby’s fingers will soon begin to open and close, his toes will curl, his eye muscles will clench, and his mouth will make sucking movements. In fact, if you prod your abdomen, your baby will squirm in response, although you won’t be able to feel it.
His intestines, which have grown so fast that they protrude into the umbilical cord, will start to move into his abdominal cavity about now, and his kidneys will begin excreting urine into his bladder.
Meanwhile, nerve cells are multiplying rapidly, and synapses are forming furiously in your baby’s brain. His face looks unquestionably human: His eyes have moved from the sides to the front of his head, and his ears are right where they should be. From crown to rump, your baby-to-be is just over 2 inches long (about the size of a lime) and weighs half an ounce.
How your life’s changing
Your uterus has grown to where your healthcare provider can now feel the top of it (the fundus) low in your abdomen, just above your pubic bone. You may already be wearing maternity clothes, especially if this isn’t your first pregnancy. Even if you’re not ready for a new wardrobe, you’ve no doubt noticed that your waist is thickening and that you’re more comfortable in loose, less restrictive clothing.
You may begin to feel heartburn (also called acid indigestion), a burning sensation that often extends from the bottom of your breastbone to your lower throat. Many women get heartburn for the first time during pregnancy, and those who’ve previously had bouts of heartburn may find that it gets worse.
During pregnancy, the placenta produces a lot of the hormone progesterone, which relaxes the valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach. Particularly when you’re lying down, gastric acid can seep back up the pipe, which causes the uncomfortable burning sensation. For many women, heartburn doesn’t begin (or get worse) until later in pregnancy, when your growing uterus starts to push up on your stomach. The discomfort may range from mildly annoying to intense and distracting.
Don’t worry if you’re having more vaginal discharge than usual – this is common during pregnancy.
What you’re noticing in your underwear is most likely leukorrhea – an odorless or mild-smelling milky substance. You probably had this discharge before pregnancy, too. There’s just a lot more of it now, partly because of increased estrogen production and greater blood flow to the vaginal area. This discharge is made up of secretions from the cervix and vagina, old cells from the walls of the vagina, and normal bacterial flora from the vagina.
Should I call my doctor or midwife about vaginal discharge?
If there’s a lot of thin, clear discharge, it can be hard to tell if it’s just mucus or if you’re leaking amniotic fluid. If you have any doubt, contact your midwife or doctor.
Call your doctor or midwife right away if you have any of these symptoms:
- You’re not yet at 37 weeks and you notice an increase in discharge or a change in the type of discharge (if it becomes watery, mucus-like, or bloody – even if it’s just tinged with pink or brownish old blood). This can be a sign of preterm labor.
- You have an odorless, whitish discharge that’s causing you discomfort such as pain with urination or intercourse, soreness, itching, or burning – or your vulva looks inflamed. This means you could have a yeast infection.
- You notice a thin white or gray discharge with a fishy smell after sex (when the discharge mixes with semen). This might be a different kind of vaginal infection called bacterial vaginosis.
- Your discharge is yellow or green and frothy with an unpleasant odor. This may be a sign of trichomoniasis, a common sexually transmitted infection. Other possible symptoms of trichomoniasis (or trich) include a red, irritated, or itchy vulva or vagina and discomfort while urinating or during intercourse.
- Your discharge is foul-smelling or frothy or yellow, green, or gray. You may have other vaginal infections or sexually transmitted infections, even if you don’t have symptoms of irritation, itching, or burning.
If you think you have an infection, don’t try to treat yourself with over-the-counter medications. The symptoms aren’t always easy to distinguish, so it’s important to see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis to make sure you get appropriate treatment.