The umbilical cord gradually becomes more coiled as the pregnancy progresses – as seen here on the left of the image. This coiling is thought to occur because of the many movements the baby makes.
Your baby’s limbs are more developed now, enabling him to move, and his hands and fingers can be clearly seen on a scan.
Your baby takes on a more human form as his neck lengthens and his head is seen as separate from his body. The head is still about half the total length of your baby. The length of your baby can be measured on an ultrasound by measuring the distance between your baby’s head (crown) and his bottom (rump). This is noted as the CRL (crown-rump length) measurement. The head is also measured: this is the biparietal diameter (BPD), which is the distance between the two parietal bones on each side of the baby’s head.
Now that the neck is more developed and all the limb joints have formed, your baby can begin to make several movements. The completed diaphragm allows for breathing movements. In the gut, your baby’s duodenum now opens up along its length, the small bowel starts to rotate and prepares to re-enter the abdominal cavity.
Within your baby’s mouth, the hard palate has formed; the relatively large tongue means that it is easier for your baby to move amniotic fluid through the nostrils rather than through his mouth with each breath.
This endoscopic image, obtained by passing a fine light-emitting tube into the uterus, shows the hands obscuring the fetus’s face.
At around 11–14 weeks of pregnancy, you may be offered a nuchal translucency scan. This assesses the risk of Down’s syndrome by measuring the depth of fluid in the skin behind your baby’s neck.
The nuchal translucency scan is considered to be 80 per cent accurate. If your hospital offers you a blood test (PAPP-A) with the scan, it becomes 85 per cent accurate. When the nasal bone is measured, the accuracy rises to 95 per cent; however, this test is not widely available.
If the results show a high risk, a further test is offered.
As your body is growing two or more babies, there will be physical effects. But there is a positive side: if the symptoms are severe it is often a sign that the babies are doing well.
During the first three months, your heart has to work harder to pump additional fluid around your body, which can lead to a greater feeling of fatigue.
Nausea and vomiting can be more severe because you have higher amounts of pregnancy hormones.
Mention severe symptoms to your doctor if you’re suffering, but remember these niggles aren’t serious. You may be seen earlier if you suspect you’re having twins, and will go on to have more antenatal appointments and ultrasound scans. You will be referred to an obstetrician, and may attend a multiple pregnancy clinic.
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