Your Pregnancy Week 12

Reviewed by James Brann, MD
Learn about your symptoms and changes during the 12th week of pregnancy.

Your Baby

By pregnancy week 12 your baby is roughly 2.5 inches long and may weigh almost an ounce! That's quite an achievement for your pint size miracle!

Changes In Your Growing Baby

Your baby continues to develop and grow tremendously. As you continue your pregnancy each week you'll be amazed at the changes that start to occur with your baby. You are almost entering the second trimester at which time your baby's brain starts to produce hormones, and the nerve cells in your baby's brain start developing and multiplying at dizzying speeds. Your tiny miracle may start sucking her thumb as early as now, and your baby's kidneys will start producing urine.

Your Body's Development

By now your uterus will start moving up and out of your pelvis, settling in just above your pubic bone. From here your uterus will continue to expand into your abdomen, transforming your figure in amazing ways. While it will take a full nine months for your uterus to expand as large as it can to house your baby, it will remarkably return to its tiny pre-pregnancy size just a few short weeks after delivery.

Your uterus will also start to pack on some weight as your pregnancy progresses. The uterus will grow by roughly 2 pounds throughout your pregnancy, compared with the tiny 2.5 ounces it weighed prior to becoming pregnant.

Changes In Your Body

Some women start noticing changes in their skin at 12 weeks pregnant. You may notice for example that you have more freckles or that the freckles you have seem darker. Some women will grow a dark line down their stomach referred to as the linea nigra. This usually pops out sometime at the end of the first trimester. Other women will develop the "mask of pregnancy" which is nothing more than patches of darker skin that form on the neck and face. Fortunately these skin changes fade shortly after delivery.
Your skin is much more sensitive while you are pregnant, so it is important you use adequate sun protection. You should try to find chemical free sun blocks when possible and use a product with an SPF of 15 or higher to protect your sensitive skin.

Keep in mind that some skin products are not safe during pregnancy. Anti wrinkle fighting products for example with high concentrations of Vitamin A can contribute to birth defects. Always check the label before trying a product. If you aren't 100% sure of its safety avoid using it altogether unless you can confirm its safety later.

Many women start experiencing more heartburn now. Heartburn is very common during pregnancy as the uterus expands and presses up against the abdomen, and as hormones fluctuate and contribute to slowed digestion. To help relieve heartburn your doctor may recommend you chew some Tums and avoid spicy foods or large meals. You may also want to sleep with your head slightly elevated so you can reduce the amount of stomach acid floating around your throat at night. One of the best ways to minimize heartburn is to eat small but frequent meals with mild ingredients. You should also avoid laying down right after you eat as this and worsen heartburn and interfere with a good night's sleep.

Think it's not safe to wear a seatbelt while pregnant? Think again. As your belly starts growing you might consider forgoing your seatbelt. Wearing your seatbelt however is more important during pregnancy than ever. A seatbelt will help prevent serious injury in many cases and can protect your baby. You will just need to slide your belt underneath your belly, so it is snug but not uncomfortable. You should also still wear a shoulder belts comfortably between your breasts and carefully resting along your chest. In the unlikely event you are in an accident you're much safer with a seatbelt than without one!

Overview of Nutrition

Since you are probably starting to feel better, you may be starting to get hungry for food. For most women, their morning sickness (nausea and vomiting in pregnancy) has significantly improved. They can now hold down liquids and food. If you're craving foods, feel free and indulge. Just make sure that you indulge in moderation.

Remember that you should never take the phrase "eating for two" literally. You actually only need 300 extra calories during singleton pregnancy. This is easy to accomplish with an extra glass of milk and half a sandwich.

When you're eating, you'll want to aim for a healthy and balanced diet that is chock full of plenty of fruits, vegetables, protein, iron, calcium, folic acid, carbohydrates, and other vitamins and minerals. You should use the Food Guide Pyramid to help you make the right food decisions.

Because your unborn baby depends on you for his or her nutrition, you want to get all the nutrients and vitamins that he or she requires for healthy growth. Research studies have linked nutritional deficiencies in pregnant women to lifelong health effects in their babies. That's why it's important that you eat a healthy balance of foods.

Video: What to Expect from the 12th Week of Pregnancy



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