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12 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby’s Development

The truly critical period for your little one’s development is coming to a close, week 12 marks the end of your first trimester. By the end of this week, all of the body parts will be there; even the sex organs have developed (although it may be too soon from an ultrasound scan to determine whether you’re carrying a girl or a boy). Your baby has nearly doubled in size over the last three weeks, and his or her face has developed a human profile. Who will your baby look like? It’s still too early to tell!

A fetus at 12 weeks has fully formed eyelids. These aren’t just closed tightly; they’re actually fused together and will remain that way until late in your second trimester.

Baby is able to flex his or her tiny fingers now that your third month of pregnancy is coming to an end. Those little nail beds that recently developed are already starting to sprout fingernails and toenails, so stand by with a pair of baby nail clippers! Many infants are born with long fingernails that need to be trimmed soon after delivery.

Your fetus is reaching a new phase that will focus on maturation and growth. During the coming weeks, the tissues and organs will continue to develop while getting larger. Incredibly, baby’s tiny bones are already filled with marrow that is busy producing the white blood cells that will help fight off infections after birth! The heartbeat is usually audible with an external doppler at this stage, so you may get the opportunity to hear it at your checkup.

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How Big is Your Baby at Twelve Weeks?

Your baby is about the size of a passion fruit and weighs approximately 0.5 ounces and measures around 2.5 inches.

pregnancy week 12 fetus

Mom’s Body at 12 Weeks Pregnant

Feed me! As the nausea and discomfort of early pregnancy subside, you may find that you have your appetite back — and then some! Around this week, many women report feeling that "the baby is hungry." Be sure you're eating enough, and maintaining a healthy diet, but don't feel you actually need to eat for two.

12 Weeks Pregnant: Your Symptoms

  • Bleeding, Sensitive Gums – As your blood volume increases to keep your baby nourished, you may find that your gums are more sensitive and bleed when you brush or floss. While this can be disconcerting, it’s completely normal.

  • Feeling Lightheaded – Your body grows more blood vessels during pregnancy, plus it needs a bit more food than before. As your uterus expands, it places added pressure on your blood vessels. Combined, these three factors contribute to feelings of dizziness and lightheadedness. Wearing loose clothing, avoiding long periods of standing up, and remembering to nourish your body on a regular schedule can help you feel better. You can also try lying on your left side and standing up slowly after sitting or lying down for a while. Be sure to call your doctor right away if feelings of faintness are combined with abdominal pain or any vaginal bleeding.

  • Sharper Sense of Smell – Good and bad odors are likely to intensify. Open up windows to let in fresh air or keep a pleasant-smelling item such as a mandarin orange or a lemon nearby. Scratch the skin slightly to release the fragrance and help keep your nose from inducing nausea.

  • Even More Gas and Bloating – This is a problem for many women – and it’s likely to come and go throughout your pregnancy. Eating slowly can help prevent you from swallowing air, which contributes to the problem.

12 Weeks Pregnant: Things to Consider

  • Focus on building a healthy diet. As your morning sickness disappears, be sure to eat a balanced diet that includes proteins like meat, chicken, fish, or plant-based substitutes. You’ll want to eat a wide variety of vegetables and fruits each day for the vitamins and minerals they contain, plus calcium-rich foods like low-fat dairy, beans, nuts, and tofu. Whether you prefer an omnivorous diet or a plant-based one, it’s very easy to get loads of nutrition without sacrificing great taste!

  • Have you learned how to do kegel exercises? Kegels build up the muscles that support your uterus and bladder, preventing accidental urination and easing a variety of other symptoms that can happen during and after your pregnancy. Kegels are easy: Simply squeeze your pelvic floor muscles as if you’re trying to stop the flow of urine. Hold for a few seconds, and then release. You should aim for at least three sets of 20 Kegels daily; work your way up to this goal over the next few weeks if you’re new to the concept.

  • Start a pregnancy journal if you haven’t already, and consider taking weekly photos of your developing bump! Most women are showing by the time they’re 3 months pregnant – and photographing your progress can be a lot of fun.

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12 Weeks Pregnant: Ask Your Doctor

  • At 12 weeks, bleeding and spotting are a concern. Although sex can cause some spotting due to cervical sensitivity, any spotting or bleeding should be discussed. If the flow is heavy or if it is accompanied by cramping, the situation is an urgent one; contact your doctor right away.

  • If you’re having severe headaches, or if those headaches are accompanied by any unusual symptoms, talk with your doctor.

  • If you are frequently dizzy, or if you suffer from severe dizziness, be sure to let your healthcare provider know.

  • Whether you have an ultrasound this week is up to your doctor – and it might also depend on what your insurance company prefers. If you are getting an ultrasound this week, you may or may not be able to determine the gender.

  • Ask whether you should receive a flu shot. The CDC recommends all expectant mothers to get vaccinated, since flu season runs from October to May, and covers a portion of all pregnancies.

12 Weeks Pregnant: Your Checklist

Maintain your healthy diet, especially as your appetite returns

Keep brushing and flossing, even if you experience sensitive or bleeding gums

Put together a budget for upcoming baby expenses

Sign up for even more weekly pregnancy tips.

12 Weeks Pregnant: Your Checklist

Maintain your healthy diet, especially as your appetite returns

Keep brushing and flossing, even if you experience sensitive or bleeding gums

Put together a budget for upcoming baby expenses

Sign up to get weekly pregnancy tips