The baby in your belly is growing at a rapid-fire pace – it now weighs 250 grams and is about 20 cm long. The ears are where they’ll be for the rest of their life, and stick out from the head a little bit now. The eyes are closer to the front of the face and are accompanied by eyebrows and hints of eyelashes. The retinas are now present under the closed eyelids and can react to light. The baby has just started to register sound. That little face can grimace and fat is gathering at the fingertips, which means the little lines that will be fingerprints are detectable now.
Are you still awaiting the first kick? When you experience this is a fairly individual experience. If you’ve been pregnant before, you know what feeling you’re looking for – but if this is your first time, it could be a few weeks before you know for sure it was a kick. Sometimes it can feel like butterfly wings fluttering about; sometimes you’ll wonder if your intestines are rumbling a little extra. Nor is it unusual for the placenta to be in the front wall of the uterus, which could make it harder to feel those movements at first, and may mean it takes longer to feel the little kicks or movements. Around week 18, you will be offered a routine ultrasound. This is a voluntary, painless and convenient method in which you get to see an ultrasound image of the foetus. The image will show how development is progressing and whether there is more than one baby inside. You will also find out the location of the placenta. After the ultrasound, the doctor or midwife will calculate your expected due date.
You probably haven’t felt those first kicks yet. It’s a highly individual experience, but it usually takes until at least week 20 with your first pregnancy – and maybe longer. But this is something to look forward to, as a concrete and clear sign that you’re going to be a parent. Many people say they feel a stronger connection to their baby after the first kick. It’s soon time for a routine ultrasound. This is voluntary, but it can be nice to know that the baby is developing as it should be. The ultrasound will also show the amount of amniotic fluid, the location of the placenta, and confirm the expected due date. At this point, you can see if you’re having one or more babies – and if you’re having multiples, this might be a particularly striking time as your many, at times contradictory, emotions come to the surface. If you’re expecting more than one baby, you may need a little more time and support to prepare. One suggestion is to talk to other parents of twins or triplets. In addition to all the thoughts you’re having, this will also mean more check-ins with your medical provider to make sure your babies are growing as they should be.