All of the organs are now in place, but far from fully developed. For about 30 weeks, they will mature as the foetus grows. The heart, which has been beating rhythmically since week 6, is fully developed – but very small. Many functions of the brain and nervous system are also already complete, and the thyroid has started releasing the hormone thyroxine, which controls metabolism in cells. The baby is about 3 cm and is moving around in a fluid-filled sac. The fingers and toes are showing hints of what will become knuckles and nails. The taste buds are developing and the eyes are moving forward to their proper place. The baby can perceive light, but still can’t blink. The inner ears are also forming now, but it will be a while before the baby can hear.
You are living with your pregnancy day and night. Maybe you’re not sleeping as well as usual and have to pee once or more at night. It’s also common to feel bloated, and your trousers might feel a little tighter than usual. If you still haven’t told people that you are expecting a baby, it may be a challenge at this point to hide your body’s changes. Trying to explain away moodiness can also be a little tough. In other words, the factor that gives you away won’t always be what you think. It might be more that you’ve stopped drinking coffee, rather than the snacks or extra sandwiches you’re eating at work, that makes people start to wonder. It could also be the big jumper, the slightly absent look, or the oversized shawl draped casually over your stomach to distract the gaze. You might not really be able to put your finger on what it is that will make people wonder if someone is pregnant.
You’ll meet with a doctor or midwife a few times – and there will be a lot of focus on the person carrying the baby, including urine tests, blood pressure checks and various blood tests. But it’s also important for your medical provider to be able to talk to both of you about your expectations and any concerns, and to answer your questions. Your thoughts are important and it’s good to attend these appointments together, even if you aren’t the one having tests done. Understanding what’s going on is also a way for you to participate and support your partner. If you can’t be there in person, consider attending digitally. The purpose of the blood tests is to check blood type and to measure iron levels. If your blood values are too low, you’ll need to think about getting extra iron from your diet or taking an iron supplement in tablet form. Blood pressure will also be checked and monitored throughout the pregnancy. It often decreases in the beginning and then rises in the last three months. Urine samples are taken to check that there is no protein in the urine, which could be a sign of a urinary tract infection or reduced functioning of the kidneys.