At week 11 the baby is now about 2 inches long. Fingers and toes are forming. On ultrasound the baby will be moving and even jumping up and down. It is too early to feel this movement but the baby is certainly moving. Head, torso, legs, arms, and even hands and feet are visible. The heart continues to be viewable as well.
Week 11 is the time when first trimester screening for genetic abnormalities can be performed. This includes an ultrasound measuring the thickness of the neck, called nuchal translucency, as well as a blood test. The first trimester screening will not tell you if the baby has an abnormality, it will only tell you if there is an increased risk of an abnormality. The overwhelming majority of abnormal tests are false positives. This means the test is abnormal but the baby is fine. If the first trimester screen is abnormal further testing can be done. Amniocentesis and CVS are tests that can tell you the actual genetic make up of the baby but they carry small risks of miscarriage. CVS can be done in the first trimester but is not available in many areas and carries greater risk than amniocentesis. Amniocentesis cannot be done until 16 weeks leaving about a month from the time an abnormal first trimester screening test can be resolved as a false or true positive. For these reasons many patients decide not to do the first trimester screening tests.
Week 11 is when most babies heart tones are audible with the office pocket doppler. If the heart tones are not heard, don’t panic, sometimes they cannot be heard until 12 weeks. There are instruments that look like the Doppler in the doctors office available for $25 – $30, don’t be fooled, these are not the same technology and will not work. The doctor’s instrument costs $300 – $400. These are available for rental but I do not recommend this to my patients. They really do not help and often cause unneeded stress. Finding the heart tones is a skill and if you have a difficult time hearing the baby at home this can be very stressful.