Pregnancy week 12

Week 12 of Your Pregnancy

It’s week 12 of your pregnancy; that means you've reached the end of your first trimester. Here is what to expect during this crucial time.

At week 12 of pregnancy, you're officially almost done with your first trimester. Big things are coming your way. Your unborn baby is growing rapidly, measuring more than two inches. Things are lining up, i.e. most of their organs and bodily systems have been developed. Now, it’s time for them to mature—and start working on their own—and you are gearing up for your fourth month of pregnancy, which is full of more doctor’s appointments and (in your fifth month) an anatomy scan. All in all, things are progressing nicely. If you haven’t noticed a change already, nausea relief should be headed your way soon too.

Pregnancy Week 12 Quick Facts

  • At 12 weeks, you're three months pregnant
  • You have 28 weeks until your due date
  • You're at the end of your first trimester

Your Unborn Baby's Size at 12 Weeks

Your unborn baby is about 2.13 inches long and weighs approximately 0.49 ounces. Think of it as a fetus the size of a lime!

week 12

Pregnancy Symptoms Week 12 

As your first trimester draws to a close, many early pregnancy symptoms begin to wane. Morning sickness and fatigue, for example, should be lessening—as your pregnancy hormones balance out. Unfortunately, you may soon be plagued by some new issues, including:

  • Bloating 
  • Headaches
  • Increased vaginal discharge

Another (fairly common) symptom that some experience around week 12 is dizziness. This is due to an increase of progesterone levels in your body. But why does this occur? According to the American Pregnancy Association, progesterone relaxes and widens your blood vessels so that more blood could reach your fetus. As a result your blood pressure may actually lower and, in turn, that may temporarily reduce the blood flow to your brain. This may be more apparent if standing or changing positions too quickly.

The preventative solution? Drink loads of water, snack regularly, and sit down as soon as you feel lightheaded. Oh, and if the dizziness gets bad, call your medical provider.

Toward the end of your first trimester, some pregnant people will produce excessive saliva, a condition known as ptyalism gravidarum. "Some people may be embarrassed by the condition because they'll find the need to spit into something the whole day," explains Yamel Belen, R.N., CLC, registered nurse, professional doula, and certified lactation counselor in Tampa, Florida. "It can cause dehydration, trouble sleeping, and breathing."

Unfortunately, as explained by Belen, there is no real cure to the problem–although you can expect it to get better on its own by the start of your second trimester. Until then, you might want to try chewing some gum to ease the discomfort.

Developmental Milestones

It's a big week for your unborn baby: all their bodily systems have (more or less) been formed. It's time for them to actually learn how to work, starting with the digestive system. Their vital organs and body parts are also in place, and the pituitary gland at the base of your baby's brain is starting to produce hormones while the bone marrow is processing white blood cells.

Prenatal Tests and Doctor's Appointments

If you had your first prenatal visit at eight weeks, there’s a good chance you’ll be seeing your health care provider or midwife again this week. During the first and second trimester, most visits are four weeks apart (you go once a month). But what should you expect from your 12 week visit?

During your appointment, your doctor, midwife, or health care provider will check your weight and blood pressure. Urine samples will also be taken. The size of your uterus will be measured, and your doctor may do an ultrasound and/or listen to the fetal heartbeat. 

If you haven’t taken (or been offered) the NIPTs—or noninvasive prenatal testing—test yet, it will likely be discussed with you at this time. A NIPT test uses a pregnant person’s blood to detect congenital abnormalities. It can help detect (but not diagnose) genetic conditions, such as Down syndrome. It can also determine the sex of the fetus.

Common Questions at This Pregnancy Stage

How much weight should I be gaining?

This is one of the most common questions asked during pregnancy, especially as you round the corner on your first trimester and actually start showing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a pretty nifty tool to calculate how much weight is "safe" for you to gain during the nine months. That said, it’s important to note that these tools are just that: tools. Kimberly Zapata, an associate editor at Parents and mother of two, gained 24 pounds with her first pregnancy but just 12 pounds with her second. Both were deemed healthy. What matters is your overall well-being and that of your fetus.

Can I color my hair?

There have been countless discussions about the safety involved in dyeing your hair while pregnant but, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, partaking in the practice is unlikely to harm your fetus.

"Although fairly limited, most research indicates the chemicals found in both semi-permanent and permanent dyes are not highly toxic and are safe to use during pregnancy," explains the American Pregnancy Association. "In addition, only small amounts of hair dye may be absorbed by the skin, leaving little that would be able to reach the fetus."

Of course, if you want to be extra safe, you can look into vegetable dyes, but many pregnant people dye their hair. 

Things You Might Consider This Week

Every pregnant person is advised to get the flu shot. Why? Because pregnancy is nine months. This means that you will be expecting during at least a portion of the flu season, which runs from October to May. As advised by the CDC, you should get immunized as soon as possible for the best possible protection. (The earlier, the better.) You should also speak to a health care provider about the potential benefits of the COVID vaccine—for you and your unborn baby.

Another important consideration this week is monetary: now is a great time to start budgeting for baby—or, at the very least, thinking about it. Sit down with your partner (if you have one) and brainstorm how you will afford early expenses, like diapers, clothes, formula, etc. Discuss your child care options. Will your little one be attending daycare or will a family member be helping with their care? And consider ways to save money. Even if you are in good financial shape, being fiscally responsible now will help you in the long run.

Support You May Need This Week

While you may have had someone join you for your first prenatal appointment, many fly solo for subsequent appointments, deciding they are (somehow) less important or routine. But some individuals find it valuable to have a partner, family member, or friend with them. Zapata’s spouse, for example, accompanied her to every visit. “It was reassuring to have someone I loved and trusted beside me,” she says. If you feel this may be helpful, now is a great time to reach out to loved ones and build your support system.

You may also find yourself in need of stress relief. If so, you may want to book a massage, as they are good for relaxation and circulation. Just be sure to ask for a prenatal massage. This type of massage is done by a trained therapist and, rather than laying on your stomach, pregnant clients are asked to lay on their side—unless said establishment and therapist have a special table with a hole cut out in the abdominal region.

Head over to week 13 of pregnancy

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