Week 12

Your baby this week

14

GRAMS IN WEIGHT

Your baby is now fully formed with a cartilage skeleton.

Your baby’s digestive system is fully formed.

Your baby will start to test his reflexes.

How big is your baby?

At 12 weeks your baby is probably a fraction under six centimetres long when curled into the foetal position (that’s about the size of a lime) and about seven and a half centimetres from head to heel (roughly lemon length). He weighs just under 14 grams – that’s something like the weight of three sheets of standard printer paper.

How big is your baby?

At 12 weeks your baby is probably a fraction under six centimetres long when curled into the foetal position (that’s about the size of a lime) and about seven and a half centimetres from head to heel (roughly lemon length). He weighs just under 14 grams – that’s something like the weight of three sheets of standard printer paper.

What does your baby look like?

Your baby is now fully formed with a cartilage skeleton; he has fingers and toes and facial features. He will be starting to practice reflexes this week and may even startle at loud sounds. The growth of the head is now starting to slow down and the rest of the body is catching up in proportion. His internal organs are moving into position and his kidneys begin functioning (yes, your baby is already peeing on you).

Changes in your body this week

Although your baby is moving around a lot right now, you won’t feel him just yet. Hopefully, you’ll be coming to the end of morning sickness symptoms and that terrible exhaustion you felt early on. You have officially reached the end of the first trimester – yes you’re a third of the way there!

Now is the time that your uterus moves from the bottom of your pelvis to the front and centre of your abdomen. Because it’s no longer pressing against your bladder, this should mean that your urge to urinate frequently will subside somewhat.

One of the biggest changes occurring at about this time will be the amount of hormones being produced. Your oestrogen and progesterone levels will rise dramatically, causing your blood vessels to widen, and this will increase the blood flow to your baby. You might start to feel dizzy and lightheaded occasionally – and it’s not just because of all the excitement surrounding your pregnancy. Dizziness is an unpleasant, but very common and completely normal, side effect at this stage of pregnancy, as the extra blood being fed to your baby means that you’ll have lower blood pressure and reduced blood flow to your brain.

How your baby is developing

Your baby’s digestive system is fully formed. His intestines have grown and moved into the abdominal cavity. Your baby is learning to contract his intestines to push food through his digestive tract. Making use of his developed features, your baby will also start to test his reflexes – opening and closing fingers, curling toes, and making sucking movements with his mouth. He will also start to stretch and wriggle, although you won’t be able to feel their movements until much later.

How your baby is developing

Your baby’s digestive system is fully formed. His intestines have grown and moved into the abdominal cavity. Your baby is learning to contract his intestines to push food through his digestive tract. Making use of his developed features, your baby will also start to test his reflexes – opening and closing fingers, curling toes, and making sucking movements with his mouth. He will also start to stretch and wriggle, although you won’t be able to feel their movements until much later.

Health concerns

You may notice that you have more vaginal discharge than usual. This is common in pregnancy and experienced by many women. Thin, clear discharge that is odourless (though it can also be milky with a mild smell) is probably leucorrhoea, which is due to increased oestrogen in your body. If you’re concerned, however, then you should contact your doctor or midwife, especially if the discharge has an unpleasant odour or causes soreness, itching, or burning. These can be signs of a more serious condition, such as a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis. If the discharge is watery, mucus-like, or tinged with blood and accompanied by abdominal or lower back pain, it may be a sign of preterm labour. (If this is the case, don’t panic: preterm labour does not necessarily mean you will have a premature birth. But you should let your doctor or midwife know immediately if you’re experiencing the symptoms.)

Are there any symptoms you should be looking out for?

Although not necessarily a symptom of pregnancy, you may experience bleeding gums. This is due to hormones causing your gums to become inflamed. Good dental hygiene can combat this, so remember to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss regularly. Don’t hesitate to see your dentist for a check-up, especially since you get free NHS dental care until your baby is one year old.

As well as dizziness (see above – changes in your body), you may find you have problems with blurred vision. This is another result of the reduced blood flow to your brain. As always, let your doctor know if your vision is causing concern. Your vision should return to normal after giving birth, so there is probably no need to change the prescription for your glasses. If you wear contact lenses and they are proving too uncomfortable, switch to your glasses.

Safety first

The 12 week mark in your pregnancy is a milestone in many ways. The chances of you having a miscarriage are drastically reduced now that your first trimester is almost up. Exercise is a lot less risky now that your baby has made it past his first major threshold, so feel free to get active (see below for some fun ideas).

However, thanks to the dizzy spells bought on by the increased progesterone, you do still need to be very wary of losing your balance while exercising. Though your baby is not as fragile as he was in the early weeks, falls are still very dangerous. Never, ever attempt exercise on an empty stomach, as this will mean you’re more likely to experience light-headedness and suffer a fall and it’s always best to exercise with a friend or partner, so that you have help at hand if any problems arise.

Important issues this week

It is likely that you will be able to see your baby for the first time when you go for your first ultrasound scan, or dating scan. If you haven’t already, this is when you should also be able to hear your baby’s tiny heartbeat for the first time. Your baby still has much growing to do, but you should be able to make out his head, limbs, hands, feet, abdominal wall, and some organs. This will also be the point when you will find out if you’re expecting just the one baby or if you’re going to be a mother to twins, triplets, quadruplets, or even more.

To find out the baby’s sex, however, you’re going to have to wait until the mid-pregnancy scan. So, for now, you and your partner are going to have to keep guessing.

Week 12 and the first date scan are usually the points at which most parents-to-be are able to start really believing the reality of their soon-to-be child. You may want to start considering how to let friends and family know and most ultrasound departments will let you take a printout image of your baby home. Some parents find this a useful, happy tool as part of the big reveal.

On a more serious note, you should also start thinking about letting your work know about your pregnancy (although you’re not obligated to tell your employer until the 15th week before your due date). It’s possible you may want to wait to tell your employer while you decide how you and your partner are going to sort out the parental leave options, but it’s worth investigating what you are entitled to and starting to think about how you are going to budget for your time away from work.

Keeping fit, staying healthy

It’s important that you do your best to stay active, especially now that you’re out of the riskiest period of pregnancy. If you enjoy cycling, then you go for a bike ride, but only if you feel confident that you can keep your balance. If not, then an exercise bike could be a good purchase.

Yoga, as long as it’s conducted under the supervision of an expert instructor, can also be a fun and relaxing choice for expectant mothers. Find out more with our guide for yoga at 12 weeks. Aerobic exercise, such as going for a walk or light jogging, will have many health benefits for you and your baby. Joining an antenatal exercise class is a fun, social activity. Not only will you have the chance to meet other mothers, but exercising in a class will ensure you stay safe and don’t stretch yourself too much.

Looking forward; planning ahead

You should start thinking about ways that will help you budget for your baby. There’s a lot you can do to put together a reliable budget plan in time for your new arrival. Take a look at our handy guide for saving tips that you and your partner can put to use straight away.

Although you’re not yet sporting a bump, you may start to feel slightly tight around your waistband. Now may be the time to look into buying a pair of maternity trousers. Even though you don’t know your baby’s gender, you could also start thinking about buying some unisex baby clothes.

Important – If you or your child are unwell you should seek medical advice from a professional – contact your GP or visit an A&E department in an emergency. While My BabyManual strives to provide dependable and trusted information on pregnancy and childcare 24/7 via our website pages, we cannot provide individual answers to specific healthcare questions.
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