Growing Baby – A Helpful Guide

Feb 24, 2012 2 Comments by

Track the big changes you and your baby are going through each week….

Antenatal Checks To Expect

You’ll have a booking-in appointment with a midwife between eight and 14 weeks. She will do several checks, which will be repeated during pregnancy.

These include:

  • Blood Test : to check your blood group and also to test for any abnormalities.
  • Blood Pressure : Raised blood pressure is common, but it can indicate pre-eclampsia.
  • Urine Check : for protein, as this can be a symptom of pre-eclampsia; and glucose, which can indicate pregnancy diabetes.
  • Between weeks eight and 14, you will probably be offered a dating scan, depending on what’s available in your area. You may also be offered a nuchal translucency scan, which screens for Down’s syndrome.
  • Around weeks 18 to 21, you’ll be offered an anomaly scan.
  • As your due date approaches, you may have more regular check-ups, depending on how your pregnancy is progressing.


  • Week 6

Your baby
The tiny embryo is attached to the lining of your womb. Her head, body and limb buds form and she floats in an amniotic from 4mm to 8mm.

You’re starting an amazing journey.
* Take 400mcg folic acid untill week 12.
* Avoid undercooked meat, mould-ripened cheese and runny eggs; they may harbour bugs that can make you ill.

  • Week 7

Your baby
His head is large in relation to his tiny body. Despite being smaller than your little toe, he has nostrils, lips, a tongue, and four chambers have now developed in his heart. He is about 9mm long.

You may feel sick due to high levels of the hormone HCG.
* Try eating little and often to ease nausea.
* See your GP if you’re constantly being sick as it can cause dehydration.

  • Week 8

Your baby
With arms, legs, and a face, she’s recognisable as a mini human. She might start to make her first tiny movements now, though you won’t feel anything.

You’ll probably be feeling exhausted at the end of each day.
* Delegate chores to your partner.
* Clear your dairy and prioritise early nights over your social life.
* Try to grab a catnap whenever you can.

  • Week 9

Your baby
The embryo has been soft, but the cartilage that forms his skeleton is now turning into bone. Limbs lengthen and the placenta is also forming. He’s roughly 2cm.

It’s important to make sure you look after yourself properly.
* Eat a healthy diet.
* Avoid alcohol-especially in the first three months. After that, if you drink, limit it to one or two units once or twice a week.

  • Week 10

Your baby
Her face is beginning to take shape, growing from the top down, with her jawline more defined. Her nose and outer ears are formed and a chin is developing. She is about 4cm.

You might feel like you’re on an emotional roller coaster – up one minute, down the next.
* Don’t worry, the emotional highs and lows are due to those pregnancy hormones and will soon settle.

  • Week 11

Your baby
His fingers and toes are defined, although they have yet to separate. His 32 tooth buds have formed and he’s able to suck using the muscles he will need for breathing. He’s 5cm long.

You may need to go to the loo more often.
* Don’t let that stop you drinking water – 1.5 litres a day.
* Avoid drinking too many caffeinated drinks, such as tea, coffee or cola.


  • Week 12

Your baby
Most major organs are formed, but sex organs are not visible externally. Her kidneys are already functioning. She measures about 8cm from head to toe.

Tell friends and family your happy news. But be ready for them to regale you with stories of their pregnancy and birth experiences…
* Feel really proud of yourself. Your body is doing something amazing!

  • Week 13

Your baby
He’s starting to look like a proper baby, with a snub nose and large forehead. He can suck, frown and clench his fists, and is around 9cm long.

Your energy levels will pick up, so make the most of it with some moderate exercise.
* Swimming is a good option, or even a 30-minute daily walk.
* Yoga is great too, but go to a special pregnancy class as not all poses are safe.

  • Week 14

Your baby
Her heartbeat is twice as fast as an adult’s. And it’s strong-you can see it beating at your scan. She measures around 11cm.

Raised hormone levels in pregnancy can make your gums more prone to bleeding.
* Make sure you brush and floss twice a day and go for a check-up with your dentist.
* NHS dental check-ups are free until your baby turns one.

  • Week 15

Your baby
Your baby’s body is now more in proportion to his large head, thanks in part to the nourishment he’s receiving from you via the placenta. He’s about 12.5cm long.

You’ll notice your tummy and breasts are filling out.
* Smooth on a moisturising cream if your skin feels dry.
* Get remeasured and buy non-wired maternity bras to keep your breasts supported.

  • Week 16

Your baby
Her toes and finger are fully formed. She’s swallowing tiny amounts of amniotic fluid and passing some urine, too. She measures 14cm.

Your breasts may start to produce colostrum, a milk-like substance which is rich in nutrients and feeds your baby for the first few days of life. Heartburn can be a problem at this stage.
* Eat small meals.
* Avoid eating spicy, rich and fried foods.

  • Week 17

Your baby
Eyebrows and eyelashes start to develop, as well as hair on his head. His eyelids will stay closed until about 24 weeks. He measures about 16.5cm and you could hold him in the palm of your hand.

You may be ‘blooming’ and full of energy now that the ups and downs of the first few months are over.
* Why not organise a mini-break with your partner before the baby arrives?

  • Week 18

Your baby
Have you felt any gentle fluttering in your tummy yet? You may feel your baby gently kicking for the first time. At this stage, she’s around 18cm long.

join an antenatal class to help you prepare for the birth.
* Ask your midwife for details of classes.
* Do 10 sets of pelvic floor exercise, 10 times a day. Tense the muscles, as if to stop weeing, then release.

  • Week 19

Your baby
His sucking reflex has developed. Whenever he draws his thumb close to his mouth, his lips automatically start their sucking motion. He’s about 20.5cm long.

Think about a birth plan but keep on open mind – things don’t always go the way you expect.
* Read up about birth-especially pain relief.
* Talk to other mums about what they found worked best for them in labour.

  • Week 20

Your baby
An ultrasound scan can now determine whether it’s a boy or a girl. She is able to kick her legs, wave her legs arms and grasp with her fists. She’s roughly 25cm long.

You’re now halfway there – congratulations!
* Now comes the fun bit – hitting the shops. There’s great advice on essential baby.
* Don’t leave all your baby shopping to the last-minute!

  • Week 21

Your baby
Your baby is half as long as he’ll be when born. The beating of your heart and your tummy gurgling are familiar sounds to him He’s about 26cm.

It’s thought your baby is now able to hear sounds through the abdominal wall.
*Start talking to him or even playing music.
*Get your partner to talk to him, too – he’ll recognise Dad’s voice once he’s born.

  • Week 22

Your baby
Your baby is covered in a fine hair called lanugo, which keeps her warm. Her legs are now in proportion to her body and even her tiny toenails are growing. She’s about 27cm long.

At last you’re looking pregnant, instead of that is-she-or-isn’t-she stage!
* Treat yourself to some new clothes. See our fashion pages for ideas and inspiration.

  • Week 23

Your baby
He’s growing fast and his muscles are getting stronger. You can probably tell when he kicks your ribcage. He now weighs about 1lb and is 28cm.

Pregnancy hormones may make you feel extra sexy.
* It’s fine to make love during a normal, health pregnancy.
* Experiment with different positions as you grow bigger.


  • Week 24

Your baby
Her eyelids are no longer fused and her hearing is sharper-loud noise may make her jump. She has clear periods of walking and sleeping. She now measures around 29cm.

Your waist has now vanished and the extra weight may be making you feel tired.
* If you’re unusually tried, mention it to your midwife; as if could indicate anaemia.

  • Week 25

Your baby
A waxy substance called vernix protects his skin. The lines on the skin of his fingers have formed, so he already has his own fingerprints. He’s now about 30cm long.

It’s common to experience some pelvic pain.
* Identify things that hurt and avoid them if possible.
* If the pain is severe, see a chiropractor, physio or osteopath.

  • Week 26

Your baby
Her skin is transparent but turning opaque. If she hiccups, you’ll be able to feel it. She measures 30.5cm.

You may get leg cramps, especially in bed at night.
*Push down your heels and bring toes towards you.
* One theory links cramps to low levels of potassium. Bananas are a good source, so have one before bed.

  • Week 27

Your baby
He measures around 31cm, but at this point he’s still very thin and has yet to lay down any fat on his body.

Your lungs now have far less room to expand, so you may feel quite breathless.
* Prop yourself up with pillows in bed.
*Stand straight with shoulders back, tilting your pelvis ‘under’ – it’ll help to protect your lower back.

  • Week 28

Your baby
Though she spends lots of time asleep, she’s devolping pattern of restful periods followed by active ones, and she spends about 30 minutes in each state. She’s around 32cm long.

Watch out for broken or varicose veins in your legs now.
* Try to avoid standing for long periods and crossing your legs when you sit down.

  • Week 29

Your baby
Over the next few weeks, your baby will put on weight, sometimes as much as 1oz a day,and this will continue right up until birth. He now measures 34cm.

At this stage, your baby is very active.
* Lie in a warm, not hot, bath and watch him move about inside you.
* Let your partner feels the kicks, too.

  • Week 30

Your baby
She now measures about 36cm and weight just over 2 one-fourth lb, although this can vary enormously, as birth weight show.

The extra weight you’re carrying means your feet will probably ache after a long day.
* Treat yourself to a pedicure. Get rid of those ingrown toenails.
* Put your feet up whenever you can.
* Ask your partner to give you a soothing foot message.

  • Week 31

Your baby
He is now laying down stores of fat, so his skin is smoothing out. The vernix and lanugo are beginning to disappear. He’s around 37 cm long.

You may have Braxton Hicks contradictions – a tightening of the womb thought to help prepare it for labour.
* If they do occur, see it as a chance to practise your breathing techniques.

  • Week 32

Your baby
Your baby’s lungs are mature enough for her to breathe on her own, so if she were born now, she’d have a good chance of survival. She’s about 39cm long.

Stretchmarks may begin to appear on your bump, breasts and thighs.
* Don’t worry, they should gradually fade after her birth.
*Vitamin E oil or cream may help.

  • Week 33

Your baby
He can tell light from dark by now. If you’re in strong light, he may even see a red glow. He’s around 40cm long.

As your tummy swells, you may find that the stretched skin itches.
* Relieve the irritation by using a soothing moisture.
* See your GP if you’re very itchy, as it may be a sign of a rare liver condition which can be harmful to your baby.

  • Week 34

Your baby
It’s squeeze in there for your baby now. She may settle into the head-down positions, ready for the big day. She’s about 41cm long.

Start packing your hospital bag.
* Buy some front-fastening nightwear for breastfeeding, a few baby sleepsuits, bodysuit and newborn nappies.
* Hire a TENS machine for early labour.

  • Week 35

Your baby
He’s practising his breathing and, as he swallows amniotic fluid, it may make bouts of hiccups more pronounced. He’s 42cm.

It’s normal to feel worried as the birth draws closer. You may also have odd dreams.
* It may help to air concerns with your partner and midwife.
* Breathing exercises will help you relax.

  • Week 36

Your baby
Your growing baby is about 44cm, and any time now, her head might ‘engage’ in your pelvis.

As your baby drops down into the pelvis, you’ll probably find it easier to breathe.
* Make the most of your maternity leave by meeting friends for lunch, going to the cinema and putting your feet up as much as possible.

  • Week 37

Your baby
Your baby is taking up all the room in your womb and has snuggled into one position. Both feel turn in, with legs bent, and knees crossed. He’s about 45cm.

Can’t stop cleaning? Don’t worry, it’s just nesting instinct kicking in!
* Put away your stepladder and ask your partner to do any climbing or lifting instead.

  • Week 38

Your baby
If your baby’s head is engaged, her movements will be limited. You may only feel jabs from her legs and arms. Some women say it’s like their baby is using their pelvic floor as a trampoline. She’s around 47cm.

Sleeping may be heard as you struggle to find a comfy position.
* Put a pillow under your bump and also between your knees.

  • Week 39

Your baby
The bones of his skull slide over each other, allowing his head to pass through cervix without damage. He’s about 48cm.

Make the most of your lie-ins; you’ll need all your energy once your baby arrives
* Accept any help you’re offered.
* Cook healthy meals and freeze them. Once your baby is here, you won’t have time.

  • Week 40

Your baby
She’s ready to be born. Most of the fine hair, or lanugo, on her body has shed, but she may be born with some. She is roughly 50cm.

You might feel a familiar pre-menstrual backache just before labour begins.
* Organise an outing for your due date. Only 5% of babies arrive on time and you don’t want to be twiddling your thumbs at home.

Conception, From Conception To Delivery

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