Welcome to Week 11

11 Week Old Fetus

Your Baby: Transition Time

At about 9 weeks, your embryo has developed enough to be called a fetus, and the most important part of its development is over. The baby will grow a lot at this time -- from about 1 inch (2.54 cm) long at the beginning of the week, to about 2 inches (5.08 cm) by the end. Its head will measure about half its length. The eyelids will fuse shut, and the irises will begin to form. At some point this week or next, blood will circulate between the baby and uterus through the umbilical cord. The placenta will begin to function, providing oxygen and nutrients.

Your Body: Weight Watching Guidelines

Most women wonder how much weight they should gain during pregnancy. The recommended weight gain is between 25 and 35 pounds. The exact amount will depend on your weight before pregnancy and other factors that your health care provider will discuss with you. Wherever your starting weight stands, you should not go on a diet, nor should you overeat. Too little or too much weight gain can lead to problems for both you and the baby in the months ahead.

Most providers recommend gaining 3 to 5 pounds in the first three months of pregnancy. For the rest of your pregnancy, most recommend gaining 1 to 2 pounds per week. Women who start out overweight should gain less, and women who start out underweight should gain more.

Keep in mind that most of the weight that you gain during pregnancy is baby-related (not fat). The weight is made up of the baby, the placenta, amniotic fluid, and the fluid that accumulates in your body tissues. About half of that weight will melt away in the first 6 weeks after your baby is born. You'll loose the rest by about 6 months after you deliver.

On A Different Note: Genetics 101

Sometimes things don't always go as planned. In about 3 in 100 pregnancies, the fetus has a birth defect. Several genetic tests are now available as early as 11 weeks. If you learn your baby may be at risk, you should see a genetic counselor to help you better understand a particular diagnosis. Your counselor can help explain the risks, the options regarding treatment, and whether the condition may recur in future pregnancies.

Weekly Tip

Keep up with your Kegel exercises -- one of the simplest and most important exercises you can do. By contracting the muscles of the pelvic floor, which support the pelvic organs (the uterus, bladder, and bowel), you may alleviate problems that can begin during pregnancy and last long afterward (like leakage of urine and hemorrhoids). The best part about Kegels is that you can do them at any time, any place. Do them while driving in the car, sitting at the computer, or eating dinner. To begin, tighten the muscles as if you're stopping a stream of urine. Hold for 10 seconds at a time and then relax the muscles. Repeat this exercise 4 or 5 times in a row. Even doing just 10 Kegels 3 to 4 times a day can be beneficial. Try Kegels with every commercial when you're watching TV, or while you're stopped at a traffic light. Or, set an alarm on your mobile phone to remind you to do them.

Review Date: 8/20/2019
Reviewed By: LaQuita Martinez, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Emory Johns Creek Hospital, Alpharetta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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