14 Weeks Pregnant

What’s happening this week

Your baby…

  • measures about 8 cm
  • weighs about 43 grams
  •  is developing fine hair called “lanugo”, it is just on his face at this stage
  • genitals are fully developed (sometimes hard to detect on ultrasound)
  • the muscoskeletal system has matured and the nervous system begins to exercise some control over the body, blood vessels rapidly develop.

You…

  • your uterus is the size of a grapefruit
  • hormones cause changes to the skin – a line may begin to appear down the centre of your abdomen called “linea nigra” (it usually fades after birth)
  • may notice and increase in vaginal secretions/discharge.

Mid-pregnancy: The planning time

There’s still quite a bit of your pregnancy ahead of you, but the second trimester can be a time where you really enjoy your pregnancy.  More …..

As any side effects of early pregnancy start to fade, you can really start to enjoy your pregnancy. Here more tests are explained:

Urine tests

You’ll be asked for a sample of urine at each clinic visit. It’s tested for:

  • sugar – if you persistently test positive for sugar your LMC may do a further screen for diabetes
  • protein – If there is protein, it may be from vaginal discharge which got mixed into your urine; this happens a lot in pregnancy. However, protein can also be a sign that you have a urinary infection such as cystitis or a kidney problem, which you have been unaware of since before pregnancy. In later pregnancy, if there is protein in your urine and you also have high blood pressure, this could be a first sign of pre-eclampsia, an infection which can cause premature labour (see Week 33).
  • sometimes the LMC will do a random MSU early in pregnancy to rule out any asymptomatic bacteriuria too
  • You will be asked to provide another urine sample, this time from the middle of the stream (a mid-stream specimen of urine, MSU or MSSU). If there is still protein in this urine then the sample will be sent to a laboratory for further tests to find out what the problem is.

Thinking ahead: more blood tests

If you have decided to have second trimester maternal serum screening it can be done from now until 20 weeks, but ideally before 18 weeks.

  • AFP – Alpha-fetoprotein, a protein substance produced by your baby.
  • hCG – human chorionic gonadotrophin, you may recognise this as the hormone which your pregnancy test detected
  • U-oestriols – A type of oestrogen hormone produced by your baby and the placenta
  • Inhibin A – Test measures the amount of this hormone present in a pregnant woman’s blood.

The best time for this test is between 14 and 18 weeks of pregnancy when levels are stable.

Many factors can affect the results:

  • your weight (it’s less accurate if you’re very overweight or underweight)
  • race (African-Caribbean women have higher levels of AFP and hCG than Caucasian women)
  • carrying twins or more
  • insulin-dependent diabetes
  • recent vaginal bleeding
  • uncertainty about dates.

What to do when you get the results

Remember – these tests cannot tell you if your baby definitely does or doesn’t have a problem. They simply tell you whether there is a high or low chance of a problem.  If you are given a ‘high risk’ result: you could go on to have further tests or do nothing.

If you are not reassured by your screening result, talk to a specialist.