Women's Healthcare Topics
James Brann, MD. Ob/Gyn

14 Weeks Pregnant

Pregnant Belly Changes

At 14 weeks pregnant, you are probably feeling much better than you did last week. Your morning sickness is likely gone (though some pregnant women may experience nausea throughout their entire pregnancy), and you will soon have more energy.

Your abdomen should start pouching out slightly. The uterus is just above your pubic bone, and this may give you a slightly rounder belly - but not too much.

You may be excited by this change, even though you won't be looking too pregnant for several more weeks. (If you're pregnant with twins or multiples, your belly can be nice and round.)

At this week you may start to experience new pregnancy symptoms, such as backaches, gas pain, and water retention. These are all very common in the middle part of pregnancy, and they are caused by changes in your pregnant body.

Backaches - Over 50 percent of all pregnant women will experience back pain at some point during their pregnancy. You may have low back pain when you stand or sit, or even when you're in bed.

Backaches are caused by the extra weight of your uterus straining your back muscles. You can try to minimize your back discomfort by wearing low-heeled shoes with good arch support, being aware of your posture (standing straight is best), sit in chairs with good back support, avoid lifting heavy objects, and sleeping on a firm mattress.

Though backaches are a normal pregnancy symptom, watch out for severe back pain. This can be a sign of a serious problem or pregnancy complication. If you experience severe back pain accompanied by fever or other symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.

Gas during Pregnancy - If you start to experience a strange fluttering in your belly now, you may think its gas. You are probably right, especially if you are also bloated. Gas during pregnancy is very common, and it can be triggered by certain foods, including carbonated soda drinks, beans, and pasta. To get gas relief, you may want to eat smaller meals throughout the day, instead of large meals.

Pregnancy Swelling - You may begin to notice that your feet and ankles are swollen. Pregnancy swelling, also called water retention, is uncomfortable, but a normal experience in pregnancy.

Sometimes lifestyle habits can contribute to your water retention. Standing for long periods of time, and consuming too many salty foods can make your swelling worse.

Stomach Itchiness - Stomach itchiness is another symptom that you may notice. It's not unusual for your breasts or growing stomach to itch as your skin stretches to accommodate your growth. Hormonal changes can also contribute to itchiness in pregnancy. To get relief from your itchiness, you may want to try an oatmeal bath and to keep your skin well moisturized.

Itchiness is relatively normal, but if you start to get itchy, red bumps or even a hive-like rash on your stomach, this might be a sign of a pregnancy complication called pruritic uritcarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP).

Weight Gain

Your weight gain at 14 weeks pregnant is roughly 5 or 6 pounds. Some women may have gained more, others less. This is just an average. If you are carrying twins or multiples, you may have gained a couple more pounds than this.

Remember to aim for a total weight gain of 25 to 35 pounds at the end of your pregnancy. (Overweight women will need to gain less; underweight women should gain slightly more.)

Baby Section

Growth and Development of Baby

At 14 weeks pregnant your baby is now about 3.4 inches from crown to rump, and he or she weighs almost 1.5 ounces.

Your baby continues to grow rapidly, and he or she is now receiving nutrition directly from the placenta. Do you remember the yolk sac that provided nourishment for your little baby in the earlier weeks? It is now completely gone, as your baby is totally dependent on the placenta.

Compared to the rest of the body, your baby's head is still huge. The head accounts for half of your baby's total length. As your pregnancy continues, your baby will slowly become more symmetrical. In the second trimester, your little one's body will catch up with his or her head.

The neck has begun to elongate, and the chin will start to rise up off the chest.

Your doctor or healthcare provider can feel the top of your uterus (also called the fundus) for the first time. From now on at all your prenatal visits, your doctor will feel the fundus to ensure that your baby is growing properly.

Your baby's facial features are becoming more defined. By the end of the week, his or her eyes and ears will have reached their proper positions on the head. Your baby's eyebrows are growing too! Pretty soon, your little one will have his or her own distinct face.

Did you know that your developing baby can now pee? By pregnancy week 14, your baby's bladder empties every half hour. Your baby is constantly swallowing amniotic fluid, which is filtered through his or her kidneys and passed out as urine.

Pregnancy Health Section

Constipation in Pregnancy

At 14 weeks pregnant, you may notice that constipation is a regular annoyance. Constipation is fairly common during pregnancy, and among other things, it may be related to the increased amount of iron you are consuming to stave off anemia during pregnancy.

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to alleviate constipation naturally. You'll want to do this, because chronic constipation can lead to or worsen hemorrhoids during pregnancy. First and foremost, you'll want to be sure that you are drinking lots and lots of water.

Eating high fiber foods can also help reduce constipation. But be careful, incorporating too many high fiber foods all at once can lead to excess gas, which is extremely uncomfortable during pregnancy. Start incorporation high fiber foods such as fruits and vegetables into your diet slowly, so your body can adapt to them.

Exercising during Pregnancy

Overview on Exercising During Pregnancy

In addition to your expanding belly, at 14 weeks pregnant you might find yourself more eager than ever to exercise. Most women have much more energy at this time in their pregnancy to embark on a pregnancy exercise fitness program.

If you have never engaged in a physical fitness program before, be sure to get your doctors clearance before doing so during pregnancy.

Your healthcare provider will likely recommend that you keep your heart rate below 140 beats per minute during pregnancy. This will help ensure that you don't get over fatigued and this allows your baby to get an adequate supply of oxygen during physical activity.

While it is safe to lift weights during pregnancy, you'll want to be sure that you aren't lifting heavy weights. If the weight you are lifting causes you to hold your breath and push hard, then it is too heavy.

Lifting weights that are too heavy can cut off the oxygen supply momentarily to your uterus, something you want to avoid during pregnancy.

You'll also want to avoid any exercises that cause you to lie flat on your back. When you are in a supine position, the weight of the uterus presses on a large vein called the vena cava. This large vessel carries blood from the legs to the heart. When you lie on your back, you might decrease the blood flow to your heart, and your heart may start to race. This can result in shortness of breath and you can pass out if you do not change your position.

Exercising during pregnancy can promote your overall health and help you drop your weight once you deliver your baby. Exercise will not only help you during labor and delivery, but it will help you feel better about your body before, during and after pregnancy. Some great choices during pregnancy include: walking, swimming, stationary biking and prenatal yoga.

Avoid Dieting When Pregnant

Along with your increasing girth comes the extra weight you gain during pregnancy. Some women are tempted to diet to reduce the amount of weight they gain. It is important that you never diet during pregnancy.

Your baby relies on you for vital nutrients during pregnancy. If you try to lose weight, you put the health of your baby at risk. Dieting during pregnancy can result in a malnourished, low birth weight baby and a more complicated delivery.

You should also avoid any medications for dieting such as diuretics, which can result in dehydration and can negatively impact your baby.

You CAN however make the decision to eat more healthy foods during pregnancy. Consider cutting out refined sugars and avoiding foods that are overly processed.

Avoid Harmful Substances

Remember that everything you put into your body, throughout your pregnancy, can cross the placental and impact your baby. This includes not only things you eat such as food preservatives, but also things that may come into contact with your skin, such as house sprays or other cleaning agents.

Anything you eat or inhale could directly or indirectly affect your baby. Eating a healthy diet is vital to the wellbeing of your child. Avoiding alcohol during pregnancy as well as avoiding certain foods is important to ensure a happy, healthy environment for your unborn baby. If you are smoking during your pregnancy, please stop now.

One thing that you should never do when pregnant is change a cat's litter box. Doing so could put you at risk for contracting a disease called Toxoplasmosis. This is an infection that can occur via contact with the stool of an infected cat. The risk to your baby is substantial.

Most pet owners that have had cats for a long time have likely already been exposed to the disease at some point in their life, and this will not necessarily result in an increased risk for your baby. However during pregnancy, you do have an excuse to have someone else change the litter pan for the time being.

You should also avoid gardening to some extent, as outdoor cats sometimes prefer to leave their stools in the soil of a garden. If you absolutely must garden or change a cat box, be sure you wear gloves and a mask, and carefully wash your hands after performing any of these higher risk activities. (next week)


Doctor's Corner

Pregnancy Week by Week - Women's Healthcare Topics