What to Expect in the 11th Week of Pregnancy

After having obtained a degree in biochemistry, Leah works for a small biotechnology company and enjoys writing about science.

First-Trimester Ultrasound

The first trimester screening test, including a Nuchal Translucency Screen, will be offered between weeks 11-13 of pregnancy.

The first trimester screening test, including a Nuchal Translucency Screen, will be offered between weeks 11-13 of pregnancy.

11 Weeks Pregnant

Your baby looks like a little person now, though his body is out of proportion—the head takes up nearly 50% of his entire length! Baby will start having the hiccups this week as his diaphragm develops under his lungs. The intestines are still coiled in the umbilical cord, but those will start to migrate into the abdomen soon.

Despite frequent hiccups and movement, you will not feel the baby move for a few more weeks. At just over 1½ inches long, baby still isn't quite big enough for those kicks to be felt! Morning sickness may begin to ease during this week, though some women will struggle with nausea for a bit longer.

The Baby at 11 Weeks

Hair follicles continue to develop on baby's skin this week. Fingernails appear on those long little fingers, and his ears have obtained their final position on the sides of his head. The toes are now separated (no more webbed feet!) and the ovaries have developed if baby is a girl.

The bones are starting to harden, which will give baby a bit more force for those kicks he's been practicing! All of the major joints (ankles, knees, wrists, elbows) are functional now. Baby moves frequently, and has plenty of room to roll, kick, and flip. The genitals start to take on their female or male forms, though the changes aren't detectable by ultrasound yet.

Healthy Food in Pregnancy

Eat plenty of protein and complex carbohydrates to maintain energy levels in early pregnancy.

Eat plenty of protein and complex carbohydrates to maintain energy levels in early pregnancy.

Your Body at 11 Weeks

Some of the early pregnancy symptoms may begin to abate this week, as nausea and fatigue begin to lessen. Some women will struggle with fatigue and morning sickness for a while longer, and this is completely normal. The second trimester doesn't officially start until the 13th week of pregnancy, so don't feel defeated if your aversion to food lasts a little longer!

Some symptoms you may be feeling this week include:

  • Nausea, which may be abating.
  • Fatigue.
  • Headaches.
  • Increased hunger as nausea dissipates.
  • A disappearing waistline.
  • Constipation

Eat protein and complex carbohydrates to keep your energy levels up. Avoid sugary foods, as these will give an initial burst of energy followed by a slump. Growing a baby is hard work, and the fatigue you feel is entirely normal!

Nuchal Translucency Measurements

The area of measurement for the  nuchal translucency is noted by the "NT" on the ultrasound.

The area of measurement for the nuchal translucency is noted by the "NT" on the ultrasound.

Nuchal Translucency Screening Poll

Nuchal Translucency Screening

The Nuchal Translucency Screening, or NTS, is an ultrasound screening done between 11-13 weeks of pregnancy. In the past, the screening was only offered to women in high risk groups or to pregnant women of advanced maternal age. Currently, the NTS is offered to all women, regardless of risk level.

The NTS scan is generally combined with blood work that detects levels of free beta human chorionic gonadotropin (free beta hCG) and pregnancy associated plasma protein A, or PAPP-A. The combined tests are called the first trimester screen, and are used to generate a risk level for having a baby with Down Syndrome or other rare chromosomal anomalies.

The NTS measures the amount of fluid in the base of the baby's neck. Increased amounts of fluid are associated with chromosomal defects and cardiac defects. The presence of a nasal bone and facial angle measurements will also be noted. Some babies have increased fluid levels and have absolutely no genetic or heart defects, so the NTS is not diagnostic. Its only purpose is to provide a risk level. In fact, 90% of fetuses at 12 weeks with a nuchal translucency of 3.0 mm ("high risk") have no abnormalities. Unfortunately, the risk level increases with the size of the NT, and only 10% of babies with a measurement of 6.0 mm will be born without major birth defects.

Women who are deemed to have a "high risk" level for chromosomal problems are given the option to have diagnostic testing done. Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) or Amniocentesis may be offered to women in the high risk group. CVS may be performed from 10-12 weeks of pregnancy, giving a woman information about the pregnancy in the first trimester. The test carries a slight chance of miscarriage (miscarriage rates are slightly higher when the test is performed through the cervix rather than through the abdomen via needle).

Amniocentesis is typically performed during weeks 15-20 of pregnancy. This test cannot be performed earlier because the baby may be harmed. Amniocentesis also carries an extremely low risk of miscarriage, though the risk is far less than 1% and has been declining as the technique and physician's experience level has improved.

Reasons for declining the NTS include:

  • No plans to do any diagnostic follow-up testing, even if a high risk level is determined.
  • Not wanting to have the stress associated with high or borderline numbers.
  • A desire for little medical intervention during pregnancy.

Reasons for choosing to have the NTS include:

  • Wanting to have as much information as possible about the pregnancy.
  • A desire for reassurance that the baby is healthy.
  • Having information to make a decision about having CVS or amniocentesis performed.
  • Wanting to be prepared in advance for the birth of a child with special needs.
  • The ability to terminate a pregnancy with severe or non-viable birth defects in the first trimester.

The last day the NTS may be performed is at 13 weeks and 6 days of pregnancy. After this point in time, the baby's lymph system develops and the extra fluid in the neck will drain, making the test impossible to perform.

Nuchal Translucency and Risk Factor

NT SizeRisk FactorInterventions

< 2.5 mm

Low Risk


2.5 - 3.5 mm

Intermediate Risk

Fetal echocardiogram and level II sonogram may be recommended. Amniocentesis or CVS may be offered.

> 3.5 mm

High Risk

Genetic counseling, fetal echocardiogram, and level II sonogram may be recommended. Amniocentesis or CVS will be offered.

Nuchal Translucency Scan

This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2012 Leah Lefler


Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on December 02, 2012:

The disappearing waistline is definitely a milestone, teaches! I remember being in that awkward phase of pregnancy, when people aren't sure if you are pregnant or merely gaining too much weight. They're afraid to ask, haha!

Dianna Mendez on December 01, 2012:

Leah, this is a great next step in the series. It is a bit humorous though to read your list of symptoms, "

•Increased hunger as nausea dissipates.

•A disappearing waistline.


Wouldn't you know that when you have just lost the weight from nausea -- it comes back two-fold for the duration and the constipation is just added fun. Great post and well done. Voted up.

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