Week 12 of Your Pregnancy
The 12th week of pregnancy is the last week of the third month of gestation. Therefore, this week marks the end of the critical first trimester, the stage where the risk of miscarriage is higher.
The secrecy is over! You can tell the whole world that you are going to be a mom.
From now on, the mother will begin to enjoy the pregnancy more, she will feel more relaxed and with less bothersome symptoms. On the other hand, she will also notice how her belly and weight are increasing as the pregnancy progresses.
Here you can find all of our 1st trimester articles:
12th week: fetal growth
At 12 weeks of pregnancy, the fetus has practically all of its limbs and internal organs formed. Its face has a human profile, more rounded, and its chin has grown.
In the 12th week of pregnancy, your baby is already over 2inch tall. This corresponds to the dimensions of a very large, an XL chicken egg. In addition, your baby should weigh about 16 grams by now.
At this time, a stage characterized by rapid growth and maturation of all systems begins. Some changes experienced by the fetus at 12 weeks are as follows:
- The intestines move into the abdominal cavity, where there is already room for them.
- The kidneys begin to produce urine, which is stored in the bladder.
- The vocal cords and fingernails are formed.
- The pituitary gland of the brain begins to secrete many hormones.
- The first hair appears on the fetus.
The ears have almost reached their final position on both sides of the face.
In addition to all this, the fetus can already move very quickly, stretches its arms and legs, opens and closes its mouth, stretches its neck, and so on.
On the other hand, the genitalia of the fetus already has male or female characteristics depending on the established sex, although they are not yet fully developed.
The changes that can be seen depending on whether the baby is going to be a boy or a girl are as follows:
- Male sex: the scrotum and glans penis begin to form.
- Female sex: the clitoris, labia majora and labia minora have formed.
However, it is not always possible to determine the sex of the fetus at the 12-week ultrasound.
Most pregnant women no longer feel nausea after 12 weeks of pregnancy. However, the high level of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone continues to result in changes in the expectant mother’s body, such as the following:
- Fingernails and hair grow faster and become stronger.
- Increased production of sebaceous glands, resulting in brighter and fresher-looking skin. Acne may also appear.
- Increased blood flow. This may lead to the appearance of nevus arachneus on the chest and legs: dilation of a group of small arterioles arranged in a radial pattern.
- Nasal congestion and/or small nosebleeds.
- Increased risk of chloasma gravidarum: sunspots on the skin.
- Enlargement of the breasts increased sensitivity and darkening of the aureoles.
- The uterus begins to protrude from its location between the pelvic bones.
- Heartburn and burning sensation in the esophagus, which may result in severe burning.
- Abdominal and leg cramps due to compression of the uterus on the veins.
At this stage of pregnancy, some women feel either prettier or uglier. Some notice that their belly has grown considerably, while others have hardly any belly at all. As you can see, the variety of symptoms, feelings, and moods is enormous.
Although it is possible that the expectant mother has already had an ultrasound previously to confirm the pregnancy, the 12-week ultrasound is the first important ultrasound in gestation. The ultrasound examination can be performed through the abdominal or vaginal route, according to the gynecologist’s opinion.
This visualization of the uterus, and above all the fetus, will allow the assessment of a multitude of parameters and information regarding:
- The vitality of the fetus: the fetus is checked to ensure that it is alive and has a heartbeat.
- A number of fetuses: the number of fetuses is counted and, in case of twin or multiple pregnancies, it is checked if the fetuses share a placenta or amniotic sac.
- Weeks of gestation: the craniocaudal length (CRL), which is the distance between the crown of the head and the end of the spine of the fetus, is measured. With this, the gestational age of the fetus is definitively fixed and the approximate delivery date is calculated.
- Fetal anatomy: although the sensitivity for detecting fetal malformations is low, it is possible to detect short limbs, severe cerebral anomalies, etc. A detailed study of fetal morphology is performed at the 20-week ultrasound.
- Risk of chromosomal abnormalities: the nuchal translucency is measured and, together with other parameters of the blood test, the so-called combined first-trimester screening or triple screening is performed. This makes it possible to estimate the risk of chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome, or Patau’s syndrome.
- Maternal genital tract: the mother’s uterus and ovaries are examined to rule out the presence of fibroid, cysts, or tumors.
- Preeclampsia screening: the pulsatility index in the uterine arteries is measured to try to determine the risk of developing high blood pressure in the second half of pregnancy.
- Ovarian adnexa: the placenta, the umbilical cord, and the amount of amniotic fluid are evaluated to determine anomalies such as placenta previa, olgohydramnios, rupture of the sac, etc.
How the expectant mother feels in the 12th week of pregnancy
Now you are probably already waiting anxiously for the first quiet sign from your belly inhabitant. This, too, is still a bit of a wait. However, the chance of gently noticing your baby’s movements increases with the baby’s growing size.
Common signs and symptoms
The first curves
In fact, an increase in the size of the belly can now gradually be noticed. This is due to weight gain, i.e. the storage of fat reserves. It is not until the next few weeks that outsiders may suspect that you have a baby bump. If you are pregnant for the second or third time, the pregnancy will be visible more quickly. However, if you now inform your family and friends about the pregnancy, the appearance of your belly will become the focus of attention at every meeting.
The topic of fashion and more comfortable clothes will also gradually become more interesting now. This is because the weight gain of around 250 to 300 grams per week is now picking up speed.
An important aspect is indeed the healthy diet. Do not eat for two and eat a healthy and balanced diet. Remember to get enough exercise.
If you feel tired frequently, this may be a normal manifestation of your pregnancy. Above a certain level, and if your iron levels also prove this, then you may not be getting enough iron from your diet. This is often the case even if your diet is predominantly vegetarian or even vegan.
In general, nothing stands in the way of a vegetarian diet during pregnancy. However, more attention must be paid to replacing meat and fish with other protein-rich and iron-rich foods. In particular, a vegetarian diet that also includes milk and dairy products is acceptable during pregnancy. However, pregnant women on a vegetarian diet should choose their foods with particular care to avoid any nutrient deficiencies.
The risk of insufficient iron supply during pregnancy is a real challenge. Iron from meat – known as heme iron – is better utilizable by the body than iron from plant sources. Iron from peas, spinach, dark fruits, spinach, and whole-grain products is only slightly absorbed by the body. To increase the absorption of iron, vitamin C helps you to introduce iron into the organism.
Therefore, make sure you take iron-rich foods and enough fruits with a high vitamin C content.
For women who eat a vegan diet, neither meat, fish, nor dairy products, and eggs, the nutrient supply during pregnancy is much more complicated. If you have been eating a vegan diet, then you should seek advice on your situation from a designated counseling center. Micronutrients can be absorbed through nutrient preparations if a deficiency occurs.
For women who eat a vegan diet, neither meat, fish, nor dairy products, and eggs, the nutrient supply during pregnancy is much more complicated. If you have been following a vegan diet, you should seek advice on your situation at a designated counseling center. Micronutrients can be absorbed through nutrient preparations if a deficiency occurs. In addition to possible damage, it can lead to growth disorders, facial changes, and abnormalities of the central nervous system.
FAQ - Twelfth week of Pregnancy
It’s bigger and increasingly active by the end of the fourth month. But occasionally women feel movement as early as 12 weeks. If your friend is thin, extra perceptive, on a second or higher pregnancy, a bit off in their timing, or carrying a rambunctious baby, they may well be feeling those flutters.
If you’re 12 weeks pregnant, you’re in month 3 of your pregnancy. Only 6 months left to go!
From a medical point of view, at 12 weeks, a pregnancy is generally considered to be “safe”. While a miscarriage (or later, stillbirth) can happen at any point during gestation, the odds are highest in the first trimester.