Congratulations on reaching the 12 week mark of your pregnancy! The end of the first trimester marks an exciting milestone. At 12 weeks, your risk of miscarriage drops significantly and you can finally start telling people your happy news.
As the placenta develops and takes over providing nutrients and oxygen to your growing baby, you may start to feel relief from early pregnancy symptoms like nausea. However, new symptoms may also arise as your body continues to adapt to support your pregnancy.
This article will outline what to expect during week 12 of pregnancy and provide tips to help you stay comfortable and informed.
Key Takeaways for Week 12
- The risk of miscarriage drops around 12 weeks as the placenta fully forms to nourish the fetus.
- Nausea should start subsiding around 12 weeks as the placenta takes over hormone production.
- Your baby is almost fully formed, with fingerprints, hair, eyelids, and functioning kidneys.
- The baby is about 2.5 inches long around 12 weeks and will be moving around more in the womb.
- Your belly will grow more noticeably as the uterus rises up out of the pelvis around this time.
- New symptoms like heartburn, constipation, and extra hair growth may crop up.
- Take time to celebrate reaching the second trimester! Tell close friends and family.
- Get ready for upcoming tests like the NT ultrasound, triple screen, glucose screening, and carrier screening.
- Eat nutritious foods, exercise moderately, and get plenty of rest. Stay on top of prenatal vitamins.
Baby Development at 12 Weeks
At 12 weeks, your baby has come a long way from a collection of cells to a fully formed little human! Measuring approximately 2.5 inches from crown to rump and weighing half an ounce, the major organs such as kidneys, liver, brain, and lungs are developed and starting to function. The digestive system is forming and the gallbladder is working. Fingernails and toenails are visible. Your baby can open and close their fists and mouth. Facial features continue developing and hair is beginning to sprout.
A layer of fine hair called lanugo now covers the entire body for warmth and protection. Unique fingerprints are forming on your baby’s tiny hands and feet. The eyelids remain closed to develop the eyes, which are now big enough to accommodate the colored part of the eyes called the iris. The external ears also take shape. Your baby has begun moving around more, which you may start feeling later in the second trimester as a slight fluttering sensation. Don’t be concerned if you can’t feel movement yet though, since the uterus is still small.
12 Weeks Pregnant – Changes in Your Body
Belly and Uterus Growth
Around 12 weeks, your expanding uterus will rise up and out of your pelvis, becoming an external belly bump rather than just bloating around this time. As your uterus grows, you may notice your waist begin to thicken. The top of the uterus sits about halfway between your bellybutton and pelvic bone when you are 12 weeks along. Since this is your first pregnancy, you likely won’t need maternity clothes yet, but your regular pants may feel snug.
Your placenta should be fully formed and functioning by 12 weeks. This organ connects to the uterine wall to pass oxygen and nutrients from you to your baby while also filtering out waste products from your baby’s blood. Taking over the production of key pregnancy hormones like progesterone from the corpus luteum, the placenta signals your ovaries to stop releasing eggs each month. As the placenta ramps up operations, symptoms like nausea, fatigue, and frequent urination caused by shifting hormone levels and increased blood volume should taper off around the end of the first trimester.
Increased Vaginal Discharge
You may notice an increase in vaginal discharge around 12 weeks pregnant as your body prepares for increased blood flow and mucus production to the vagina and cervix throughout pregnancy. It is normal for the discharge to be white, clear, or slightly yellow. However, if the discharge takes on a gray, green, or foul-smelling color, be sure to contact your doctor as it could signal an infection.
Pregnancy hormones can cause an increase in oil production, leading to acne breakouts on the face or body. The areola and nipples often darken during the first trimester as your body prepares for breastfeeding. You may also notice new dark patches on the face, neck, or abdomen. Known as chloasma or the “mask of pregnancy,” this is caused by melanin overproduction and will usually fade after giving birth. Applying sunscreen daily helps prevent increased darkening of affected areas. Stretch marks on the breasts, belly, hips, and thighs are also common as your body expands. Using an unscented moisturizer daily can improve skin’s elasticity.
Your baby is developing more advanced neural pathways this week, connecting sensory information to the brain which can regulate basic functions. As your own body undergoes major changes, you may experience moodiness, anxiety, or depression. Hormonal fluctuations, fatigue, nausea, and anticipatory worries about labor and delivery can all contribute to emotional ups and downs. Be gentle with yourself and don’t hesitate to confide in trusted loved ones about how you are feeling. Your doctor can also provide support resources.
Congestion and Nosebleeds
Increased blood volume and circulatory changes can lead to stuffiness and nosebleeds during pregnancy. Using a humidifier and saline nasal spray may help reduce congestion. To treat a nosebleed, sit upright with your head tilted slightly forward rather than backwards, and gently pinch your nostrils shut below the nasal bridge until bleeding stops. Call your doctor if frequent or severe nosebleeds occur.
12 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms
While some early pregnancy symptoms start to wane around 12 weeks as your body adapts, you may face new discomforts including:
- Gas and bloating
- Food aversions/cravings
- Shortness of breath
- Swollen feet or ankles
- Trouble sleeping
- Increased urination
- Extra hair growth on body
- Acne breakouts or skin changes
Lifestyle Tips for 12 Weeks Pregnant
Along with physical changes happening internally and externally by 12 weeks, you should adapt your lifestyle habits to best support you and your baby at this stage.
Your caloric needs only increase by about 100 extra calories per day during the first trimester. But this ramps up later in pregnancy to support your baby’s rapid growth. Focus on eating a balanced mix of proteins, complex carbs, healthy fats, and key nutrients. Small, frequent meals can help minimize heartburn and nausea. Stay hydrated by drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of fluids daily. Speak with your doctor about taking iron or vitamin B6 supplements if anemia, severe nausea, or food aversions make it hard to get adequate nutrition.
Unless your doctor advises otherwise, aim for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate activity like brisk walking, swimming, or stationary cycling. This keeps your energy levels up, prepares your body for labor, helps prevent excess weight gain, and lowers risks of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. Listen to your body and avoid overheating, contact sports, or activities with high falls risks like horseback riding or downhill skiing. Stay well hydrated during and after any exercise session.
Wear loose, comfortable clothing as your belly expands. An expandable belly band or hair tie looped through your jeans helps provide extra room. Opt for soft, non-underwire bras to accommodate tender, growing breasts. Wide waistbands and low heels ease pressure on your abdomen. Make sure your shoes aren’t too tight on swollen feet. Layer pieces to accommodate temperature fluctuations.
Long road trips or flights are still generally safe in most uncomplicated pregnancies through the 12th week. Stay well hydrated and take frequent breaks to stand up and stretch your legs when driving long distances or sitting on a plane to minimize risks of blood clots. Consider bringing saltine crackers or ginger candies to help combat motion sickness. Review travel vaccinations needed with your doctor beforehand.
If you have had no complications or spotting, sex during pregnancy is considered safe through all trimesters. However, common discomforts like fatigue, nausea, or breast tenderness can lower libido. Increased vaginal discharge and sensitivities may call for more lubrication. Don’t hesitate to communicate your needs and any limitations openly with your partner during this transitional time.
Working and Activities
Unless you have complications or medical restrictions, you can continue working and participating in hobbies as normal during your first trimester. Do take more frequent breaks for snacks, water, and using the bathroom. Don’t overexert yourself, get overheated, or neglect self-care. Make adjustments to your schedule or ask for help with strenuous tasks like heavy lifting as needed.
Tests and Screenings
Your doctor will monitor your health and your baby’s development closely through the following tests around 12 weeks:
Between 11-13 weeks, you’ll undergo an ultrasound allowing the first glimpse of your wriggling baby! This nuchal translucency or NT scan checks for genetic abnormalities and measures the clear space at the back of the fetus’s neck checking for markers of Down syndrome. The ultrasound also confirms your due date and checks the baby’s development.
First Trimester Screen
A blood test often accompanies the NT ultrasound, measuring levels of two proteins in your blood produced by the fetus and placenta. These levels provide clues about chromosomal conditions. Combining these results with your age, weight, race, and ultrasound findings gives the first trimester combined screening result, detecting over 80% of Down syndrome cases.
Optional Carrier Screening
Your doctor may offer optional expanded carrier screening, checking your blood for genetic mutations impacting the baby. Talk with your doctor or genetic counselor about pros and cons if offered this testing.
Optional Cell-Free DNA Screening
Also known as non-invasive prenatal testing or NIPT, this optional blood test isolates fetal DNA from the mother’s blood to detect Down syndrome risks with up to 99% accuracy. It may be recommended for high-risk pregnancies. Check if your insurance covers NIPT, as it costs several hundred dollars.
Upcoming Glucose Testing
Around weeks 24-28, you will take a glucose screening test to check for gestational diabetes risks. This involves drinking a sugary solution then drawing blood to measure your body’s glucose processing. Staying active and eating well can help you pass this test. Inform your doctor if you have diabetes risk factors.
While all these tests can feel overwhelming, they provide valuable insights into your baby’s health and allow early interventions if needed. Make sure you understand what each recommended test checks for and discuss any concerns openly with your prenatal care provider.
Tips for Partners/Family
Reaching 12 weeks pregnant is a big milestone to celebrate! Here are some thoughtful ways your loved ones can show support during the first trimester:
- Help ease nausea by keeping saltines or ginger ale on hand. Offer to run out for anything that temporarily helps settle the stomach.
- Show empathy if hormones cause irritability or mood swings. Don’t take symptoms personally.
- Encourage mom to get sufficient rest between work, family responsibilities, and pregnancy fatigue.
- Give frequent reminders to take prenatal vitamins and stay hydrated. Help set up pill organizers.
- Cook or order nutritious meals. Surprise her with healthy snacks and foods she can keep down.
- Give affirmations about the beauty of her changing, life-giving body.
- Offer soothing, prenatal massages for back aches and swollen feet. Provide body pillows for comfort.
- Help around the house with cleaning, laundry, yardwork, shopping for groceries, and taking care of pets.
- Arrange a fun, pregnancy-safe day trip or activity to mark the beginning of the second trimester.
- Start a journal together to track milestones and record hopes and dreams for your baby.
Reaching the halfway point of the first trimester is worth recognizing, both for getting through initial challenges and the exciting stages still ahead. Find special ways to mark this milestone!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe to announce my pregnancy at 12 weeks?
Yes, after your risk of miscarriage drops significantly around 12 weeks, it is generally safe to start telling close friends and family that you are expecting. This is an exciting time to make the happy announcement and celebrate! However, you may still want to wait until after any genetic screening comes back normal before announcing publicly on social media.
What if I’m still experiencing nausea and vomiting at 12 weeks?
It’s not unusual for morning sickness to persist past the first trimester for some women. Let your doctor know if you cannot keep down any foods or liquids for 24 hours, as you may need IV fluids. Take vitamin B6 and doxylamine if approved by your provider. Eat small amounts of bland foods every 1-2 hours. Get plenty of rest, and avoid spicy, fatty, or pungent smells that trigger nausea. Acupressure bands may also help. Call your doctor right away if vomiting is severe.
Why am I already showing so much at 12 weeks with my first pregnancy?
Every woman and pregnancy progresses at a different pace. Factors like your BMI, muscle tone, uterine position, bloating, and genetics can all impact when and how much you show. Carrying twins or triplets also contributes to an early bump. As long as your doctor confirms your baby is growing on track, try not to worry about size. Focus on healthy habits and celebrate your beautiful bump.
When will I feel my baby move for the first time?
First-time moms generally feel first flutters of movement between 16-22 weeks when the baby is large enough. If placenta position is towards the front, it may be later. Quickening or flutter sensations can be sporadic initially. Report any changes or concerns about fetal movement to your doctor. By 28 weeks, you should feel steady, daily motion indicating a healthy, active baby.
Congratulations on reaching 12 exciting weeks pregnant! At the end of the first trimester, you should feel encouraged knowing risks drop as your baby thrives. While some discomforts continue, focus on self-care and celebrate this milestone. With your healthcare provider’s guidance, you will smoothly navigate upcoming tests and soon feel amazing baby flutters!