Pregnancy week 13

Week 13 of Your Pregnancy

Welcome to the second trimester. Read on to learn more about common questions, symptoms, and development during week 13 of pregnancy.

You've made it to the second trimester of your pregnancy. At 13 weeks, some pregnant people breathe a sigh of relief as the miscarriage rate goes down. You might also start feeling like your old self again, as the exhaustion and fatigue of the first trimester starts to dissipate. You might find yourself heading into the most enjoyable weeks of pregnancy, though it's different for everyone. But here's what you need to know about week 13 of your pregnancy.

Pregnancy Week 13 Quick Facts

  • At 13 weeks, you’re three months pregnant
  • You have 27 weeks until your due date
  • You're in your second trimester

Your Unborn Baby's Size at 13 Weeks

The fetus is about 2.91 inches and weighs about .81 ounces. It’s the size of a small peach or plum, according to Olivia Dziadek, M.D., OB-GYN and assistant professor UTHealth Houston. 

week 13

Pregnancy Symptoms Week 13

You may be feeling a little better than you were during your first trimester, but for some, pesky nausea and exhaustion continue a bit longer. Here are some other pregnancy symptoms you might notice at week 13:

  • Increased breast size and tenderness
  • GERD symptoms
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Swollen or bleeding gums
  • Round ligament pain (though it's more commonly experienced in the coming weeks)

That achy feeling around your bump itself, which I learned about all too well in week 13, can be improved by stretching, Dr. Dziadek says. You can also take Tylenol as needed if the pain becomes too much. That said, if you continue to have persistent lower abdominal or pelvic pain, you should call a medical professional.

Constipation can ease out with a few diet changes, such as opting for higher fiber foods and drinking more water. I was personally shocked by how much water I was forgetting to drink coming out of the rough first trimester nausea months, and needed to start tracking it or reminding myself with a huge water bottle I refilled a few times per day.

If breast pain is consistent, keep an eye on your caffeine intake, limiting it to a cup of coffee per day, suggests Dr. Dzaidek. And get a physical breast exam. The former can alleviate symptoms while the latter can provide peace of mind.

Also, don't worry if your first trimester nausea doesn't disappear the minute you are 13 weeks pregnant. Andrea Faulkner Williams, a mom of four based in Carlsbad, California, says that, at this point, she still had some nausea. "I was still waiting for the nausea to subside,” says Williams. “I was pretty discouraged after so many weeks of feeling sick, but what I didn't know was that in just a few weeks I would feel a lot better and would even be able to bring vegetables and exercise into my life again!"

Developmental Milestones

Your unborn baby is doing lots of work growing organs and body parts this week, Dr. Dzaidek says. Their long bones are hardening, their skin is thin and see-through, but will soon become a bit thicker. If you could peer in your belly, you'd see their neck and lower limbs developing. Their lungs are also forming tissue that will let them exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide as soon as you get to meet them.

Prenatal Tests and Doctor's Appointments

You may hear the fetal heartbeat on the external doppler this week. (I did.) And while this can happen as early as 10 weeks, at least for some, G. Thomas Ruiz, M.D., OB-GYN at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center, explains it’s usually a hold-your-breath kind of moment, especially if you've been through miscarriage or infertility. Hearing the heartbeat is a sign that "everything's normal," Dr. Ruiz explains, adding that second trimester miscarriages are "incredibly rare."

At this point, if you haven’t done so already, your doctor, midwife, or other health care provider might ask if you want to have a non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT), which is a blood test that helps inform your provider of any disorders, such as an increased risk for Down's Syndrome, Dr, Dziadek says. This is optional, however. 

Depending on when your last appointment was, you will most likely be seeing your health care provider every four weeks at this point, until you start to go more frequently in the third trimester.

Common Questions at This Pregnancy Stage

Why am I peeing so much?

There are a few reasons for increased urination. "The pregnancy hormone HCG which is what is detected in the urine on a home UPT (urine pregnancy test) can increase blood flow to the pelvis as well as increase the filtration of your kidneys to clear out toxins faster," says Barbara Frank, M.D., a Harvard-affiliated OB-GYN and Attn: Grace medical advisor. "This makes you pee more—bottom line!" Progesterone also plays a role. "By the second trimester this stabilizes and the increased urination may decrease from hormones but still be present because there is a growing human sitting on your bladder." She adds if you have burning, blood, or a foul smell in the urine talk to your health care provider.

What hospital will I be delivering at?

Dr. Dziadek gets this question around week 13 typically, as parents start to think through the details of the birth, and possibly their birth plan. You can ask your health care provider what hospitals are available, or alternative options such as home births or birthing centers, and consider which is best for you through shared decision-making with your medical team and partner or family.

Things You Might Consider This Week

If pregnancy loss was on your mind, give yourself a minute to celebrate this milestone, or to recognize continued anxiety if the improved statistics pointing to a successful pregnancy don't help. At week 13, Naples, Florida mom of two Beth Booker says, "When I was pregnant with my second child, it was my fourth pregnancy, and I had lost two pregnancies prior. Despite being out of the first trimester, I felt so much anxiety. All the same, my doctor and midwife were incredibly supportive of giving me peace of mind and updates on my baby to keep me at ease through the pregnancy and prescribed me a low dose of medication to keep my mind at ease. My rainbow baby turns 5 in July!"

Make sure to ask all the questions you want to. If you are having pregnancy symptoms that are confusing or concerning, don't be afraid to call your doctor, midwife, or OB-GYN or ask at an appointment—there are no stupid questions. Dr. Dziadek says her patients frequently want to discuss what symptoms are "normal" or not, and might want further reassurance about weight gain, upcoming testing, and more. Fire away!

Support You May Need This Week

In week 13, you might want to talk to your support person about how you are feeling over this milestone of pregnancy—the second trimester. Grabbing a cup of tea with a friend, or heading to your therapist, can alleviate your worries and help you stay calm and excited about the upcoming months.

At this point in my own pregnancies, I was torn—I wanted to celebrate the second trimester milestone, but was still exhausted, and had bouts of worry that something might still go wrong. Talking to my partner frequently helped.

Head over to week 14 of pregnancy

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