What 11-week ultrasound shows about baby

11 week ultrasound

The first 11-week ultrasound is extremely exciting! You can see your baby’s facial features, sex organs, fingers, and toes. The heart has also started to beat by now!

Week 11 overview

Hands and feet

A woman sitting on a couch

The bones in your baby’s fingers and toes are becoming more distinct. The hands look like paddles with webbed fingers, and the arms and legs can be seen bending at the joints. At this point, all of the parts that will eventually form a recognizable human being are in place.

Facial features continue to develop

By this week, most facial features have formed — although they still lack definition — including ears, eyes, eyelids, eyebrows, and lips. Your baby’s nose is taking shape under a thin layer of tissue called “membranes.” Tiny grooves forming on top of the membranes will become the nasal passages for breathing after birth.

Nub theory

A person sitting on a bed

The “nub theory” is a popular belief that at about 11 weeks your baby starts to look like a miniature version of what he or she will look like after birth. The idea is that the nub on your growing baby’s body — his spine, shoulder blades, and tailbone — eventually becomes his entire back; the two lumps of tissue below the ribs will become arms, and so on and so forth. There isn’t any scientific proof to this theory but it certainly helps you get more attached to your little one!

Baby’s heartbeat

A fetal heart rate begins beating around 18 days after conception (which happens at week 5) and can be heard with a Doppler ultrasound by 11 weeks gestation. The sound is fast, about 150 beats per minute, but the heartbeat should be steady.

Fetal movement

By 11 weeks gestation, your baby can move his hands and feet freely which means he’ll probably start to stretch more often. This “active” phase of development is thought to begin around 16 weeks gestation because that’s when moms-to-be are likely to report feeling more fetal movement. On average, babies are most active between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., though some have suggested they might prefer morning hours because their tiny tummies are full from the night before!

Gender prediction

It’s too early to tell whether you’re having a boy or girl at this stage of pregnancy, but you may be able to find out definitively at your next ultrasound appointment. If you choose to have an ultrasound between weeks 11 and 14, the technician will measure the nub theory closely — some say it looks more like a boy’s genitals than a girl’s!

Size matters

At this stage of development, your baby is about 9mm long from crown to rump or about as tall as the tip of an ink pen. From now until birth, he’ll grow roughly 30 cm (about one foot).


Your little one weighs around 3 grams (1/10 oz) right now and his body is proportionate to the rest of him; for example, his hands are half as big as his arms.


Your baby’s skin — especially on his hands and feet — looks translucent with visible blood vessels beneath the surface. But don’t worry — premature babies’ skin actually has more wrinkles than that of a full-term infant, so he won’t look like a little prune just yet! He’ll also still be developing some of his lanugo (fine hair) during this time. It might even begin growing in the third trimester!


Skin ridges are forming on your baby’s fingers, which means he’s developing fingerprint patterns even though they’re still somewhat undefined. And by early October 2012 (week 14), he’ll probably be able to suck his thumb!

Wondering about the brain

Your baby’s brain is busy growing new neurons and connecting them with others like a complex highway. 


The 11th week of your pregnancy is a major milestone — not only because it’s halfway through, but also because you’ll probably start to feel the difference in baby movement and notice his brows and lashes appear. But don’t get too excited: You still have several months until delivery day.

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