Fetal Development at Week 13

Submitted by Pregnancy and Baby Care team on January 16, 2012

Being pregnant is one of the most enriching experiences a woman can ever have. It is a long journey for an expectant mother to the day that she actually sees her baby for the first time and carries her little baby in her arms. This long but fruitful wait is filled with interesting milestones all through the term. 13 weeks of gestation marks the end of the first trimester and the beginning of the >second trimester. The first trimester is characterized by tremendous development as all the organs are formed at this stage. Starting with the thirteenth week, the baby begins to grow with rapidly.

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At 13 weeks of gestation, the little baby is already very active. She is now approximately 8 centimeters or 3 inches long. Weighing close to an ounce, the baby is developing quickly.


At week 13, delicate cartilage begins to calcify to form strong bone. The rib cage begins to take shape. The chin and the nose are well formed and facial features are well defined with fetal development at week 13. The eyes continue to remain closed so as to protect the fragile optical nerve fibers. Soft fingernails and toenails are formed. Fingerprints and toe prints are distinct. The heart is almost completely formed. The pancreas start producing insulin – the hormone that is needed for controlling glucose in the baby’s blood. The kidneys start producing urine. The reproductive organs are formed and the external genitals become prominent. This makes it possible to identify the gender of the baby with ease at this stage.

With improved brain functioning, the child slowly begins to coordinate muscle movements. The mother can feel occasional jerks as the baby begins to move her arms and legs. However, these movements may not be that pronounced as the baby is still small. They are generally felt in the form of a fluttering feeling within the womb. These movements can be measured using advanced technology. The little baby begins to open and close her mouth. Very often, sonograms show the baby sucking her thumb even at this early age. As surprising as it may sound, studies indicate that the baby sometimes cries silently within the womb and also hiccup now and then.

At a gestational period of 13 weeks, the uterus begins to grow upwards as it has already filled in the area available in the pelvic region. The pregnancy gradually begins to show.

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