In association with professional midwife experts at birthEd, find out everything you need to know about pregnancy at 11 weeks, including how your baby is growing, changes to expect in your body and pregnancy health, nutrition and wellness advice.

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11 Weeks Pregnant – Your baby, your body & you

Your Baby

Your baby is approximately 4.5cm to 6cm long. Weighing in at about 7gm – about the weight of a medium sized walnut – and your baby’s head makes up about half of that! Your baby’s beautiful little face is now fully formed.

Baby is on the move! Stretching and even somersaulting in their home gym, but it is unlikely that you would feel them yet. Their webbed fingers and toes are separating and tiny hair follicles are forming on the top of their heads and all over their wee bodies. Their ears are even making their way close to where they will end up – on either side of your baby’s head.

Your Body

Hormones, hormones, hormones. Have you noticed how thick and luscious your hair is looking? And how fast your nails are growing? Women often notice positive changes to their skin, hair and nails during pregnancy. This can be an effect of those glorious hormones we keep talking about.

Other women may notice the opposite, their nails become brittle and split easily and their skin returns to that pubescent phase they thought they’d left behind. You are not alone. The best thing you can do is drink plenty of water and keep your nails trimmed short and avoid using any harsh chemicals on them during pregnancy.

You

Let’s talk exercise. There is a lot of advice about what’s best and what not to do during pregnancy but our advice is to listen to your intuition and your body. Do what feels good and do not do what doesn’t!

It is SO important to stay active during your pregnancy. Regular exercise improves your heart and lung health, which is a great preparation for labour, it can increase muscle strength – great for carrying a newborn, it can offer some relief for common pregnancy symptoms like leg cramps, constipation, high blood pressure and fatigue, it can also reduce the length of your labour and the need for pain relief and of course, it can support your mood, energy levels, self-image and ability to get a good night’s rest.

The Ministry of Health recommends that you choose exercise that fits with your fitness level, however if you do not currently exercise, now is a great time to bring in a gentle exercise routine. Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, aim to elevate your heart rate to a level that you are able to still carry out a conversation but your body feels warm and invigorated – even getting sweaty is ok!

Load up a podcast, music or audio book on your phone and head out for a power walk. If you haven’t already – check out Libby. Libby is a library phone app that allows you to download free ebooks and audiobooks from your local public library.

It’s not too early to join a pregnancy yoga class either in person or online – do a Google to see what’s local for you. Since being in lockdown with COVID-19, there are a lot more online courses available and some are even free. Don’t forget to check that your yoga instructor is certified to teach prenatal yoga. Remember that attending a yoga class is another great way to meet other new mums and start to grow your new-mums-to-be friend network.  We love Yoga with Adriene on YouTube.

Preparing for Baby

Your first appointment with your LMC usually happens around 10-14 weeks of pregnancy, this is called the ‘booking appointment’. At this appointment your LMC will make a thorough medical evaluation of you and your baby. It is important to be as honest as possible, because your midwife or obstetrician will use this information to help determine the level of care you and your baby need.

They will ask you about your obstetric history, your medical history, your partner’s medical history, your family medical history, your menstrual cycle and date of your last period and your lifestyle. This is also a time to talk about your expectations, any cultural and spiritual considerations or anything you think that might help your LMC with your care. After the initial consultation, your LMC will perform a physical exam to measure your height, weight and blood pressure.

Your LMC will order blood tests and you will need to arrange to have blood taken. These are to test for your blood type and rhesus factor, and your iron levels to make sure you aren’t anaemic. These blood tests will also screen for diseases like HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B, and rubella. Further blood tests are taken around 28 and 36 weeks.
The New Zealand National Screening Unit has some additional information.

We recommend going back to Week 6 and reading the ‘Preparing for Baby’ section. Here we talk about choosing the right LMC for you. If you are unsatisfied with your LMC you can find a new one. It is important that you feel safe and comfortable with them as they’ll be caring for you throughout your pregnancy, birth and post-natal recovery.

Your Relationships

Sometimes pregnancy can feel pretty all consuming. This week, we’re recommending making space to have conversations with your partner outside of the topic of pregnancy.

Schedule some time together and set a boundary to talk about other things that excite and inspire you, ask your partner to share their thoughts too. Although this might be a challenge, it’s a great reminder that you’re not just the pregnancy experiences happening to you, you are so much more than that.

This Week’s Preparation

If you haven’t already, choose your LMC and schedule your first ‘booking appointment’.
What exercise do you enjoy doing? What sort of exercise can you build in to your daily routine to meet the Ministry of Health guidelines of 30 minutes a day?
Schedule some time with your partner or your BFF to discuss some deeper things for you outside of your pregnancy.

Back to 52 Weeks of pregnancy.

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This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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