What your unborn baby would say to you
Hey there, Mum! I’m just at the beginning of my journey, but a positive pregnancy test has shown you I’m definitely here. Too exciting! Bet you can’t stop touching your tummy even though it’s still flat. It’s such a nice secret, isn’t it? I’m already really busy, multiplying cells and growing a yolk sac to nourish me until the placenta grows. I’m floating around in amniotic fluid – it’s colourless and sweet smelling, and keeping me safe from being bumped or temperature extremes while I settle in.
My umbilical cord’s growing now, which’ll send nutrients from you to me, as well as getting rid of waste products. Ha! It’s like our own internal M25. I’m so sorry because I think you might be starting to feel queasy now. Although it’s called ‘morning’ sickness, the nausea you maybe experiencing in this early stage can happen at any time throughout the day.
I’m already about 1cm from the top of my head to my bottom. That’s the length of your fingernail. Bet you think about that every time you look at your hands now. My hands aren’t that developed yet – they’re more like paddles, with flattened ends that will eventually become my digits. I’m working hard to grow them, so I can wave to you at your scan in a few weeks.
Yo! Mum! Dad! I’m trying to wave… can you see me? It’s my big moment this week on the scan screen. You can probably hear my heartbeat – it’s pretty fast right now. You can tell everyone our secret if you want to. Although I think your mates have guessed because you’ve been off the Pinot Grigio!
OMG, I’m a proper developing foetus now. It’s hard work, man! My ankle joints have matured, my toes have separated and I’m over 9cm long – that’s about the size of a pear. My vital organs are all now in place (they’re still growing, of course), and I’m moving all the time. Plus, my opposable thumbs have formed. Amazing, huh?
My lips and mouth are fully formed and I can open and close my mouth and even swallow. I’ve got taste buds too although I can’t taste anything yet. I’ll even yawn and hiccup and fluid is going in and out of my lungs as I practise breathing. Holding in wind all day long? That’s because I’ve got your body producing more progesterone, which makes you bloated or constipated too. Er, sorry about that.
Haven’t we grown? You’ve got a proper bump now and I’m as big as a large mango. It’s time for another scan – you can find out what sex I am now if you want to. Oh, and my nerve cells are working hard to develop all my five senses: smell, touch, taste, hearing and sight.
OK, OK, I know I’m pushing forward now and that’s making your pelvis shift and your back hurt! I’m probably having a good old move around too. Well, you can’t blame me – I’m around 25cm. I’ve got lots to do, including making my skin more resilient (it’s covered in a layer of cells and fat), developing my lungs and growing hair and nails.
I’m on fast forward mode right now! All the nerve cells in my brain are joining up and my body’s getting very bendy. In fact, it’s a little bit like baby yoga in here – I can get my foot into my mouth and am constantly putting my hand in my mouth and even sucking my thumb.
Heartburn, indigestion, rib pain? Yep, all my fault. Soz, Mum. I’m getting bigger by the day and pushing on all your internal organs. You’ve probably got swollen hands and feet, too. So right now, while everyone’s smiling at your bump and I’m happily wriggling, you’re thinking ‘I’ve had enough!’
Yeah, OK, I hear you, this isn’t funny any more! You’ve put on an average of 19lb in weight. And I’m big too – around the size of a box of cereal. Remember when I was the length of your fingernail? I’ve grown my own fingernails now and my bones are hardening thanks to calcium from you via the umbilical cord.
Time for a checklist methinks, Mum. Have you got my nursery ready? Checked out how your breast pump works and stocked up on nappies? Hope so, because my immune system is really developing now (it’ll keep going until I’m age 1) so if I was born now, I might not need special care.
So you think you feel full? Spare a thought for me in here, my gut’s now full of meconium, a greeny-black substance which will be my first poo once I’m born. Gross! The doctors will keep an eye out for this in the amniotic fluid when you’re in labour as it can be bad for me to swallow it.
I’m nearly half a metre, pretty hard to believe (unless you have a bump like Octomom). But it’s true. I’m just curled up nice and tight. I’m very cosy. Feels a bit like that time before you know you have to get up in the morning when you’re under the duvet. Which you should enjoy, too, as I’ll be in charge of sleeping times soon!
Right, I’m pretty squashed in here. How’s it going up there? Worn out? Save some energy, please. I’m ‘full term’ now – everything’s ready, and if you’re lucky I’ve got myself head down, ready for delivery. Once I’ve done that I’ll just chill there until B-day. Can’t wait to meet you! I’ve been saving a hug for nine months.
A healthy diet will ensure you and your growing baby get all the vitamins and minerals you need
How big am I?
– 7 weeks: I’m about the size of your fingernail or a coffee bean
– 10 weeks: I’m about the size of a 2p coin
– 13 weeks: I’m about the size of a pear
– 16 weeks: I’m about the size of an avocado
– 20 weeks: I’m about the size of an aubergine
– 28 weeks: I’m about the size of a honeydew melon
– 32 weeks: I’m about the size of a box of cereal
– 38 weeks: I’m about the size of a watermelon