Pregnancy Tracker: Week 12

Pregnancy Tracker: Week 12




This is a big week for you and baby!

This is the week you have been waiting for!

Your risk of miscarriage drops significantly so you now feel happier to divulge your secret to the world. 

You have no doubt spent time thinking about how you will announce your news to friends and family, and now, finally, the time has come. 

Enjoy the moment and bask in the congratulations that will come raining down on you.  It makes all the discomfort of the last 12 weeks seem worthwhile.

Baby’s Development at 12 Weeks

It is difficult to comprehend that it is only 12 weeks since your last period, yet you have a fully formed baby the size of a plum growing inside you, a baby with all the organs, limbs, and bones in place.

Your uterus is about the size of a grapefruit and can comfortably hold your ± 7.5cm long foetus.  In fact, about now, your healthcare provider will be able to feel the fundus (top of the uterus) as it starts to move from the bottom of the pelvis to a more forward and centre position in your abdomen.

What needs to happen from now to the end of gestation is that baby will continue to grow, develop, and mature. If you are having twins, they will be growing at the same rate at this stage but will slow down somewhat later.

At 12 weeks, the reflexes are starting to develop: toes and fingers can move, taste buds begin to develop. 

The pituitary gland at the base of the brain has begun producing hormones.  This is an important gland as it controls many bodily functions through the hormones that it produces, including: growth, metabolism, sexual and reproductive development, blood pressure and other vital processes.

White blood cells are starting to be developed in the bone marrow, which in time will help to build the baby’s immune system to enable the body to fight infection.

The digestive system is beginning to develop, and even tiny contraction movements are occurring, the function of which will be to push food through the digestive tract once baby is born.

And joy of joys! This week you should be able to hear your baby’s heartbeat for the first time!

12-Week Ultrasound – What to expect

This week is also huge milestone in that you will now be able to have your long-awaited  first ultrasound. If there have been health concerns in the early weeks, some women may already have had this, but for many mums-to-be, this is the first scan as most healthcare providers prefer to wait until this stage of development.

A sonogram is another term for an ultrasound. It is a painless procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves and a probe to create an image of body parts. The image is simultaneously displayed on a monitor.

There are no known risks from ultrasounds as they do not involve exposure to radiation. A gel (which may be cold!) is spread over your belly to ensure a smooth surface and good contact for the probe.

You may be given specific instructions prior to the scan to ensure better quality images. You will be asked to drink plenty of water and refrain from urinating before the scan and you should fast for a few hours. Your doctor may want to inject you with a harmless contrast agent to ensure clearer images.

You may be dying to know if you are having a boy or girl, but don’t be too disappointed if this information is not available just yet. 12 weeks may be too early to tell on an ultrasound scan, but if you have already undergone DNA blood testing for possible chromosomal disorders, the sex of your baby could be confirmed. So remember to make it quite clear to the health professionals if you would rather not know!

You and Your 12-Week Pregnant Body

The end of your first trimester is in sight and this may be the beginning of a turnaround for you as far as some discomforting symptoms are concerned.

With a bit of luck, the frequent urge to urinate could improve as the uterus moves position to the front and centre of the abdomen, relieving pressure on the bladder.

Certain hormones have reached their peak and the elevated levels should now start dwindling, which could herald a relief of some of the symptoms that have been causing you great discomfort and perhaps even distress. Nausea, morning sickness, tender breast and nipples and food aversions could improve significantly, as could the debilitating fatigue you have been experiencing. Enjoy this time of renewed energy as fatigue can strike again in the third trimester.

Some symptoms remain, and you may start noticing different symptoms too:

  • Low sex drive.

Some women notice an increase in their libido, while others find it has decreased. Hormones react differently with each person. In addition, symptoms like nausea and fatigue can play a part in diminished sex drive, so don’t fret about it, these are all normal feelings that wax and wane.

  • Dizziness is caused by changes to your cardiovascular system, which can result in low blood pressure and reduced blood flow to your brain. Dizziness should improve if you are able to lie down with legs elevated or sit with your head between your knees. Make sure you are getting enough water to drink so that you remain well hydrated and ensure you eat regular meals to keep your blood sugar levels even.
  • Shortness of breath could be a new symptom and is caused by your need for more oxygen. If you have an underlying respiratory issue like asthma, it could become more pronounced during pregnancy. Shortness of breath during pregnancy is normal, but if it is accompanied by chest pain or irregular heartbeat you should contact your healthcare provider urgently.

At 12 weeks pregnant, your body will be undergoing subtle external physical changes. You may notice a bump even if nobody else does. You will certainly start to feel that your clothes are a bit tighter and may wonder when you should visit the maternity clothing shop.

Pregnancy can put a strain on your relationship but talking through your feelings about parenthood with your partner can be extremely beneficial. You will probably be both nervous and excited about what is ahead, so share your thoughts and any concerns you may have.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.