During week 14 of your pregnancy, the fetal organ systems and bones continue to mature and develop.

You may also be experiencing the physical symptoms of pregnancy.

This MNT Knowledge Center feature is part of a series of articles on pregnancy. It provides a summary of each stage of pregnancy, what to expect, and insights into how your baby is developing.

Take a look at the other articles in the series:

First trimester: fertilization, implantation, week 5, week 6, week 7, week 8, week 9, week 10, week 11, week 12.

Second trimester: week 13, week 15, week 16, week 17, week 18.

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The 14th week of pregnancy sees the body change in a range of ways.

At this stage of your pregnancy, your body will continue to change. These changes can occur in a number of ways, such as:

  • improved energy
  • changing moles or presence of new moles
  • weight gain
  • increased urinary frequency, nausea, and vomiting
  • breast growth
  • increased appetite
  • varicose veins
  • stuffy nose

Be aware that the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs) increases throughout pregnancy, so if your symptoms are not simply from the pregnancy and you suspect an infection, speak with a healthcare provider about treatment.

Right now, the fetus measures over 4 inches from crown to rump. They are the size of a lemon.

Your child is becoming heavier and now weighs between 2 and 3 ounces (oz.).

There are many changes in fetal development at 14 weeks. These include:

  • The heart: 25 quarts of blood are now pumped every day.
  • The abdomen: The intestines are preparing the first bowel movements of the fetus.
  • The pelvis: The genitals are now fully visible.
  • Limbs: These are more defined, and toenails are also growing. The arms are starting to lengthen and become more proportional.
  • Other: The fetus is growing fine body hair, eyebrows, and hair on its head. Facial muscles are now developing, allowing the fetus to squint and frown.

As muscle strength and bone structure develop, the posture of the fetus will also straighten.

Boy or girl?

Are you waiting to know if your baby is a boy or a girl? It is still too soon. If it is a boy, you may be able to see the genitals during an ultrasound scan at 18 to 20 weeks. However, this is not always evident or reliable.

Some mothers will have an amniocentesis test to check for genetic abnormalities around 16 weeks. This can show the baby's sex, but there are risks involved in the test, so it is not done just for this purpose.

Between weeks 11 and 14, an ultrasound may be taken to measure the amount of fluid under the skin behind the neck of the fetus, known as a nuchal translucency ultrasound. This is often done as well as blood tests, which screen for medical conditions that may affect your baby including Down's syndrome.

Your healthcare provider may recommend that you receive early testing for gestational diabetes if you have certain risk factors, as by week 14 you will have reached the second trimester. This type of diabetes can occur at this stage of pregnancy.

Gestational diabetes testing involves drinking a sugary liquid and checking glucose levels in the blood afterward. If you are not at increased risk, you will be screened for gestational diabetes as a routine test later in the pregnancy.

There are many lifestyle modifications that need to be made during pregnancy and even after delivery.

Alongside making sure that you avoid toxins, such as those found in alcohol and tobacco, and establish a nutrient-dense, balanced diet, it can also help to attend prenatal classes to give your child the best possible foundation on its introduction to the world and preserve your physical, emotional, and mental health during pregnancy.

Classes

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Attending prenatal class can help make the rest of your pregnancy easier and clearer.

Having a child is a life-altering event that can provide great joy at the same time as overwhelming change and stress.

Classes are available that can help to smooth the transition and prepare both you and your partner for the child-rearing years to come, as well as the delivery itself.

Prenatal classes can help build confidence in your changing body and its ability to give birth, as well as putting to rest fears or apprehensions you may have ahead of your due date.

Your partner will also learn how best to support you on your maternity journey, and they will be given the tools and knowledge to help empathize with you at the more physically demanding points of your pregnancy.

You may also get a tour of your birthing facility, which is a great chance for you to witness practitioners in action and ask questions.

Types

There are different types of class that suit different parents-to-be, depending on the guidance they need and whether the partners will also be involved.

You may need to take more than one class based on what each offers. For example, a class taken in-hospital will normally revolve around the normal procedures and staff, whereas a more specialized pre-natal class may teach relaxation techniques, emotional coping mechanisms, and a wider scope of childbirth options.

Several different curriculum providers in the United States work to educate couples that are expecting.

Lamaze International

This curriculum supports the notion of childbirth as normal, healthy, and natural. This class provides education on a range of topics, including:

  • normal labor and life after delivery
  • positioning during labor
  • relaxation techniques
  • communication between partners
  • the process of breastfeeding
  • information on lifestyle and procedures

The Bradley Method

This type of prenatal class involves a type of teaching that promotes a completely natural, medication-free birth, and includes:

  • nutrition and exercise tips
  • relaxation techniques
  • practicing labor
  • avoiding a cesarean birth
  • care after birth
  • advice on choosing a maternity coach or doula
  • breastfeeding guidance

HypnoBirthing

This is a method promoting total relaxation during delivery. The classes promote an almost dreamlike state during birth using natural birthing techniques.

Birthing-from-within

Birthing-from-within is a holistic teaching method that promotes ongoing learning throughout the pregnancy process and recognizes that each pregnancy and parent is unique and requires different types of care and attention.

Coaches who practice this method will often adapt the course for each parent.

Choosing a course

While the choice of courses can be reassuring, it can also make settling for one particular prenatal class a little overwhelming.

You should be confirming the following factors when choosing a class:

  • the qualification and philosophy of the instructor
  • what is included in the curriculum
  • the level to which the partner is involved
  • price
  • the number of couples who will join you in each session
  • frequency of sessions
  • the range of birth philosophies in the class, such as catering for those who want natural and epidural births
  • any specified classes on offer, such as refresher courses and sibling courses

Remember, the class is not an obligation but can greatly enhance the birthing experience.

Other concerns

Contact your healthcare provider with any urgent queries about your pregnancy.

Call your doctor if any of the following symptoms occur:

  • vaginal bleeding or passing tissue
  • the leakage of vaginal fluid
  • faintness or dizziness
  • low blood pressure
  • rectal pressure
  • shoulder pain
  • severe pelvic pain or cramping

The MNT Knowledge Center is here to support you from conception to childbirth and beyond.