Understanding your pregnancy: Week 12

Understanding your pregnancy: Week 12

A quick snapshot

From when you are 12 weeks pregnant, that constant feeling of nausea and tiredness should start to lift. You may find your appetite returning and the thought of eating isn't an instant turn off. It is common for pregnant women to have an almost insatiable appetite for particular foods, even those that have never had much appeal before. Often, it is the texture of foods that you crave rather than the taste. Ice to crunch on, crisp raw vegetables, smooth yoghurt and chewy sweets all hold a certain attraction. Keep a supply of your favourites on hand; you don't want to be caught short.

What’s changing in your body

  • The skin around your nipples could be getting darker and you notice darker patches of pigmentation on your face. There could even be the beginnings of a dark vertical line running from your navel to the top of your pubic area. This is because of hormonal influence and will fade after you have the baby.
  • The increase in your overall blood volume may cause you to have the pregnancy glow everyone talks about. Those pesky pimples that have plagued you for the last few weeks are probably settling, making way for a clearer complexion.
  • You won't need to dash to the bathroom so frequently. Your uterus is lifting up and out of your pelvis, giving your bladder some room. You may even be able to feel the top of your uterus poking up from the top of your pubic bone. When you are lying flat on your bed and have a full bladder can be the best time to feel it.
  • One surprising change around now is that you may find your partner more sexually attractive than you have for weeks. The last thing on your mind has probably been a little bedroom activity but your libido, which has been in hibernation for a while, has suddenly crept back with a vengeance. This is because you've got more energy than you've had for a while and there's extra blood supply going to your genitals. It is perfectly safe to continue to have sex throughout pregnancy, unless you are at risk of premature labour or your membranes have ruptured. Your baby is well protected by a thick plug of mucus covering your cervix and the amniotic fluid is acting as a buffer to all that pushing and thrusting. They even have their eyes shut.

How your emotions are affected

  • You could be feeling almost euphoric from this week on. Your energy is starting to return and you're more like your old self. Many women say they have a sense of wanting to jump out of their skin, simply because they are reminded of how good it feels to not be as queasy all the time.
  • You may find yourself more relaxed and at ease. The risk of miscarrying is significantly reduced and many couples feel this is the ideal time to let others know they are expecting a baby.
  • You could still be a bit weepy and more sensitive than you usually are. Prams, other pregnant women, babies and even soft fluffy animals can be enough to start a fresh flood of happy tears.

How your baby is growing

First Trimester: Week 1215

  • Your baby is twice the size it was just 3 weeks ago. It is around 5.0-6.5cm or about the same size as a ripe plum.
  • Your baby is moving all the time, kicking and stretching, twisting and turning. But because it is still so small and your uterus is only just at the top of your pelvis, you still won't be able to feel it moving.
  • This week your baby's bone marrow is starting to produce white blood cells. These are the infection fighting cells that help your baby to stay well and healthy.
  • Weeks 12-18 are a major, critical period in your baby's brain development. Avoid any alcohol, tobacco or drugs now because these could have long-term effects on your baby. This is also when your baby's pituitary gland starts working and manufacturing its own hormones.
  • Your baby's placenta is now doing its all important work in filtering oxygen and nutrients to assist your baby to grow.
  • This week, your baby can suck their thumb. Their eyelids will fully cover their eyes so they are well protected.
  • Your baby's intestines start contracting and relaxing, so they get in lots of practice for healthy digestion when they are born.

Tips for the week

  • Avoid exercises which could potentially reduce the oxygen supply to your baby. Scuba diving, mountain climbing, travelling to low altitude areas are all risky and are best avoided from now until after you deliver your baby.
  • Think about writing a letter to your baby. Although this may sound silly, it is something you'll both look back on in the years to come. This is an exciting time and although it seems like it will last forever, you will be surprised by how quickly it goes.
  • Become familiar with foods which could cause you or your baby to become sick. Listeria is a food-borne illness that is very risky to pregnant women and their babies. Foods you need to avoid eating include soft cheeses such as camembert or brie, raw seafood and sushi, pate, ready-made salads and cold delicatessen meats. Raw meat is also dangerous and you'll need to be very careful about your general kitchen and food handling hygiene.