Pregnancy week 11


How's the foetus at 11 weeks?

Baby is the size of a fig!

  • Your baby weighs about 7g and is about 4.1 - 4.5cm long from crown to rump. Your uterus is about the size of a grapefruit.
  • Eye colour (irises) starts to develop and hair starts to grow.
  • In girls, the clitoris and labia are complete.
  • The fingernails and toenails are beginning to grow.
  • Your baby's vital organs are fully formed and function independently. These vital organs are the liver, kidneys, intestines, brain and lungs.
  • Your baby's diaphragm begins to expand and contract in preparation for breathing - your baby is breathing amniotic fluid instead of air.
  • Placental function becomes established.

What's with my body: Increased appetite, possible headaches 

You may experience headaches as a result of the change of your hormone levels. Try to drink plenty of water and get adequate sleep. If the headaches are not caused by hypertension, they can be relieved by taking mild analgesics. Remember to consult your health professional before taking any form of medication.

If your headache is a by-product of fever, visual disturbances or puffiness in your hands and face, consult your health professional immediately.

Your appetite may have increased because you are less plagued by nausea.

Right now your baby really does have a face only a mother could love - its head takes up about half of its entire body length! The ears have moved to their final position and the eyes are covered and very far apart. The external genitals have taken on their proper gender characteristics and the ovaries have developed.

How your baby's growing:

From this week until week 20, your baby will be growing rapidly. To accommodate all this growth, the blood vessels in the placenta are increasing in both size and number to provide the baby with more nutrients. Intestines have developed at the place where the umbilical cord meets your baby's body. She's floating in lots of amniotic fluid. Her limbs are developing from webbed paddles into arms and legs that have well-defined fingers and toes.

This is the week when, should your gynae deem it necessary, you would be sent for the Chorionic Villus sampling (CVS) test which confirms genetic and chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down's Syndrome and can also be used in gender determination.

How you may be feeling:

Tired and weak? Try eating high-iron foods as well as plenty of low GI foods to keep you going. This will also help to get things moving should you be feeling constipated.

Constipation can start in the first trimester and so can haemorrhoids. This is because pregnancy hormones cause the intestines to relax and not contract as much as usual. You may also find yourself increasingly needing to urinate - this subsides somewhat in the second trimester, but climbs again in the third.

You can minimise these symptoms by drinking a lot of water throughout the day (but not right before you go to bed), eating high-fibre foods such as wholewheat bread and cereals as well as brown rice and fruit and veg and other pregnancy 'superfoods' and by doing regular exercise. You will be starting to gain weight around now.

Tip of the week: Drink Water

You'll need more water as you produce more blood, sweat, oil, and amniotic fluid. You may feel desperately thirsty at times. Even though you feel your bladder's shrunk to the size of a pea, it's imperative that you keep drinking water - and lots of it. Water keeps you hydrated and helps create the extra blood needed to carry oxygen and nutrients to your baby.

Carry a bottle of water everywhere (and always have one in the car) and take eight swigs every hour to keep your fluid levels up. Also drink at least one glass of water between each meal and snack. Drink plenty of water, decaf iced tea, and milk, but steer away from carbonated beverages, sodas, and fruit juices that may contribute to extra weight gain and swelling.

Read more: 

"You go up a shoe size" and 8 other surprising facts about pregnancy

Top 5 exercise dos and don'ts

First trimester spotting

Next: Pregnancy week 12

Previous: Pregnancy week 10

Go back to the complete list of Pregnancy week-by-week updates.

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