In association with professional midwife experts at birthEd, find out everything you need to know about pregnancy at 12 weeks, including how your baby is growing, changes to expect in your body and pregnancy health, nutrition and wellness advice.
12 Weeks Pregnant – Your baby, your body & you
Your baby is approximately 5.3cm long and will be weighing in at about 14gm, or around the size of a Jalapeño Pepper. Congratulations! You are now officially 3 months pregnant and if you haven’t already, you can expect to hear your baby’s heartbeat with your next check-up. This is partly because your baby’s bone marrow is in full swing pumping out more and more blood cells for the heart to pump.
During the past 3 months your baby has become an expert body builder that would outstrip any adult. Almost all the new body structures are complete and all systems are go – circulatory, respiratory, digestive, endocrine and exocrine, immune and lymphatic, muscular, renal and urinary, reproductive, and integumentary and excretory and nervous systems.
From now on these systems will be evolving, strengthening and maturing. Your baby’s pituitary gland, at the base of their brain, has started producing hormones which will allow them to have their own babies one day. Just remember that your baby’s liver continues to mature and change up until they are 3 years old and although the liver is responsible for detoxifying chemicals and metabolising drugs, it is not yet equipped to do so. Remember to keep protecting your growing baby from teratogens. Go back and read our earlier weeks for more info.
As you are now nearing the end of your first trimester you may notice some of those early pregnancy symptoms disappearing as your hormone levels start to calm down. You may notice your energy has started to increase, your breasts may be less tender and your nausea may be slowly disappearing. It is also completely normal for those early pregnancy symptoms to continue into your second trimester.
Around 12 weeks is when mums-to-be start to notice their bellies starting to bulge. If this isn’t your first baby, you may have noticed this sooner. If you’re not showing yet or you’ve been showing for weeks remember that each pregnancy is different and what you are experiencing is completely normal.
If you haven’t already, start taking photos of your tummy from 12 weeks. Each week you’ll be able to notice the growth and change slowly at first and then all of a sudden, pop! We recommend taking a photo at the same time each week. It can be a fun activity to involve your partner in and a great way to document your pregnancy for a future scrapbook and keepsake.
Although it can be a great challenge, we really encourage you to feel excited about your changing body. Mother.ly offers some beautiful mantras to consider when you notice yourself comparing your pre-pregnancy body to where you are right now. See some of our favourites below or follow this link to read more mother.ly/life/love-your-pregnant-body-10-mantras-to-embrace-your-changing-shape
My body is charged with a powerful mission – to house, feed, nurture, and protect my growing baby.
From a place of gratitude and self-respect, I will honour the changes in my body and treat my body with loving care.
Pregnancy is a time for me to grow accustomed to “stretching” myself – my body, mind, and heart – none of which will ever be exactly the same as they were before entering the world of motherhood.
I will feel good about nourishing my body with nutrient-rich food and plenty of water, and will exercise my body to keep my muscles and organs strong.
Preparing for Baby
Around this time your symptoms may start subsiding and it can feel a bit distressing that you have no obvious signs of pregnancy, as at this point movements are not yet able to be felt. Luckily this is about the time you get to see your wee baby again.
At 12 weeks your LMC will likely offer a scan and it’s important for you to know all ultrasounds and blood tests are optional.
There are many reasons for having an ultrasound at this stage, such as an early anatomy scan, but the most common reason is to screen for congenital chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down syndrome. This assessment is known as Nuchal translucency (NT) and can only be undertaken in a short window of 12 weeks to 13+6 (13 weeks and 6 days). NT measures the fluid-filled space at the base of the baby’s neck, this is completely non-invasive as it’s measured through an ultrasound. The test combines the mother’s age, a blood test determining the levels of hormones secreted by the placenta, the length of the baby from head to bottom and the nuchal translucency measurement. The results will be given to your LMC with a likely risk factor, 1/299 is high risk and anything above 1/300 is low risk.
If results come back appearing high risk, parents often consider the NIPT to find more accurate results. See Week 10 for more information on the NIPT.
Have you heard of empathetic phantom pregnancy symptoms? It might seem a little unusual, but have you noticed that your partner is also experiencing symptoms like abdominal cramps and food cravings? The medical term for this phenomenon is known as couvade syndrome. Although it is not officially classed as a medical condition, partners experiencing the symptoms will likely share that they feel very real.
Regardless of it being a medical condition or not, pregnancy can be stressful. There are so many changes occurring in you and your partner’s lives that it makes sense for things to feel a little disrupted or different. So, this is a little reminder not to forget about your partner.
They’re going through a transformational time too and may be beginning to think about how this little life is going to impact on them and you as a couple. Why don’t you find some time this week to give your partner a massage? Trust us when we say, they’ll be returning the favour in less than 4 months.
This Week’s Preparation
If you haven’t already, choose your LMC and schedule your first ‘booking appointment’.
What exercise do you enjoy doing? What sort of exercise can you build in to your daily routine to meet the Ministry of Health guidelines of 30 minutes a day?
Schedule some time with your partner or your BFF to discuss some deeper things for you outside of your pregnancy.
Back to 52 Weeks of pregnancy.