Your Pregnancy: Week 13
Abdominal pain may start to be common this week, but there’s most likely nothing to worry about. Your stomach is beginning to expand (and expand it will!), so the muscles, tissues and belly ligaments need to stretch too. This stretching may cause some quick pain, especially if this is your first pregnancy.
If you’re feeling in the mood (which you may be if your energy is restored!), get intimate with your partner. The extra blood flow to the genitals makes second-trimester sex more arousing than normal for many women. (Plus, you don’t have an enormous belly in the way quite yet.) However, it’s completely normal not to feel into it.
On a less sexy note, sit down and revise your budget and start saving for your near-future baby expenses.
It may be 18 years away, but open up a savings account or 529 account to start socking money away for college. Experts say starting late is one of the biggest college savings mistakes parents can make.
Stop spending your lunch break at your office desk and take a walk around the block (or building on crummy days). Breaking up your day with a little exercise is good for you.
You may want to move more slowly and reduce strenuous physical activity until everything has stretched comfortably, and avoid sit-ups, crunches and other exercises flat on your back for the duration of your pregnancy.
The baby now weighs almost an ounce and is about 3 inches long – the length of a lime. Right now the intestines are in the stomach cavity and will remain fairly empty until that first suckle of breast milk. Fluid will flow through the system and be filtered through the kidneys and bladder as urine.
Advice from Dr. Shari E. Brasner
I want my patients to enjoy life as much as they can during pregnancy, and for some women life is made more enjoyable by drinking coffee or Coke. There are doctors who are absolutists, advising their patients to avoid caffeine at all costs. Studies have shown a tendency toward lower birth weight among mothers who drank more than 300 mg. – or three cups – of coffee a day, but I see no problem with enjoying caffeine in moderation, which to my way of thinking means one daily eight-ounce cup.”
Babble recommends Dr. Brasner’s pregnancy book, Advice from a Pregnant Obstetrician.
Mom-To-Mom Advice: The “Sexy Trimester”
The second trimester has a bit of a reputation. You may have heard the rumors: Your libido will be back in full force, if not turning you into a pregnant sex machine, then at least returning you to the realm of the sexually functioning.
Like any rumor, this tale is not entirely reliable. Some women do emerge from the first trimester doldrums raring to go. But sexual desire is a complex thing, and pregnancy adds a whole other layer (and a number of pounds, and a fetus) to the mix. There’s the hormonal component, which may result in a higher sex drive. And there’s the increase in blood flow, which can amp up arousal and orgasms. Then there’s the question of feeling sexy, which for many women has as much to do with emotional as physical factors.
The physical state of pregnancy makes some women feel incredibly sexy (fertile, ripe, and full of the product of love) while others simply feel fat. If you feel more like a cow than a cow goddess, so be it. You can’t force desire: either you’re feeling it or you’re not, and there are lots of reasons you might not. While nausea generally fades, smell sensitivity usually does not. If you’re finding your partner’s smell unappealing, you probably won’t want to get closer to the source. Pregnancy can also be a very internally focused time, and women don’t always feel the urge to reach out and connect. There can also be a lot of anxiety, both specifically about sex and about being pregnant in general. This can sometimes be resolved over time or by reminding yourself that sex in pregnancy is almost always safe (your doctor or midwife will tell you not to have sex if she thinks there’s an issue).
Then there’s the question of your partner’s feelings – there’s a huge range. Some people find pregnant women super sexy, for others it’s a non-issue, then there are those who find pregnancy a turn off. As is often true in sexual relationships in general, one partner may be more interested in having sex than the other. In this case, some negotiation will be in order. Of course, sex doesn’t have to involve partners – it may not even have to involve consciousness, as orgasmic dreams are not uncommon in pregnancy.
Truthfully, the reason the second trimester is touted as the sexiest time of pregnancy may have more to do with the fact that neither the first or last trimesters tend to be sexy at all. Most women are too nauseous and/or exhausted to feel much desire in early pregnancy, and once the third trimester starts, the growing belly begins to interfere with positioning. So, for many women, the middle is the sweet spot. How sweet it is, is relative.
Babble recommends From the Hips, by Rebecca Odes and Ceridwen Morris.