The past 12 weeks of pregnancy have brought a lot of changes – some expected symptoms of pregnancy and some surprising ones. This week, you may see your baby during your 12-week ultrasound. You’re a third of the way along your pregnancy journey, and your second trimester, which begins in week 13 (or week 14, by some accounts), is just around the corner.
During pregnancy week 12, your baby is more or less the size of a plum, measuring about 2.1 inches and weighing around 0.5 ounces.
Week 12 Pregnancy Symptoms
The Baby Bump Begins
Have you been keeping your little one a secret? Your baby bump won’t suddenly appear overnight, but with your pea in the pod getting bigger each day, it’s only a matter of time before your baby belly becomes noticeable.
Pro Tip: Each pregnancy is different, and great bumps come in all shapes and sizes. Factors that impact how quickly your baby belly grows and how big it will get can include hormones, pre-pregnancy weight, prior births, and muscle strength.
The Big Stretch Begins: Uterine Muscles, Cervical Ligaments, and Pelvic Tendons
Early pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness, mood swings, raised blood pressure, and a heightened sense of smell will likely decrease around week 12, but you might start to feel bothersome stomach aches and cramps. Your uterus is now bigger than a grapefruit and has started to “grow out of the pelvis,” according to Flo Health.
As your uterus expands, it can feel like you’re being pulled apart. That’s because the three layers of smooth muscle fiber in your uterine wall, cervical ligaments, and pelvic tendons are being stretched like never before. Now might be a good time to start incorporating Kegel exercises.
The skin around your baby bump is also expanding at a rapid pace and may become sensitive. It’s common for pregnant women to feel some discomfort, but if the pain is unbearable or accompanied by bleeding or spotting, contact your doctor or midwife.
Seek immediate medical assistance from health professionals if you feel sharp or chronic pain along with faintness, nausea, high fever or chills, or dizziness.
Pro Tip: To soothe and nourish stretching skin on your belly, breasts, and thighs, apply Sensible Organic Belly Balm. It’s made from organic ingredients including shea butter, jojoba oil, and calendula.
Got Pregnancy Munchies?
Weight gain and hunger are other common pregnancy symptoms that can develop when the morning sickness stops and your baby bump starts to show.
It’s important to enjoy meals and snacks that are packed with vitamins and minerals. Additionally, health care professionals usually recommend staying hydrated and cutting down on salt.
Your Healthy Pregnancy Diet
Making healthy food choices during pregnancy is good for you and your baby. High fiber foods and snacks can often satisfy hunger pangs and cravings. Fiber can also relieve constipation.
Licensed dietician Stephanie Searor, MS, RD, LDN, has some great suggestions like avocado, fresh pears, baked potatoes with skin (including yams and sweet potatoes), and steel-cut oats in her article 19 Fiber-Rich Foods for Constipation During Pregnancy.
In the second and third trimesters, the Mayo Clinic recommends eating an additional 300 calories per day (like half of a sandwich and a glass of skim milk).
Pro Tip: A pregnancy weight gain calculator can be helpful. When you enter details like your pre-pregnancy weight and height you’ll get a personalized week-to-week schedule for how much baby weight is generally safe for you to gain (although it’s always best to talk to your health care providers about weight gain recommendations for pregnancy that are customized to your specific needs).
Mask of Pregnancy
You may notice brown spots and patches on your face beginning around week 12. High levels of estrogen and progesterone can increase melanin or pigmentation, resulting in melasma or the mask of pregnancy (because the dark spots appear on the cheeks, nose, and forehead).
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), “Dark spots and melasma usually fade on their own after you give birth….To help prevent melasma from getting worse, wear sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat every day when you are outside.”
Baby on Board
By now, all of your baby’s parts are in place. Over the next 28 weeks, your baby will fully develop and blossom into your bundle of joy. This week, the pituitary gland is producing hormones that might make you a future grandparent.
Baby’s Got Bones!
The bone marrow of your baby’s 275 bones has started to produce germ-fighting white blood cells that will help keep them healthy. Vitamins and minerals may help to supercharge those germ fighters.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, “DHA is essential to ensure optimal fetal brain, eye, immune and nervous system development.” A DHA supplement like Sensible by Kindred Bravely Vegan DHA can be taken with your prenatal vitamin as your baby is developing.
The best way to know what’s happening with your baby this week is to see for yourself at the 12-week ultrasound.
The 12 Week Ultrasound
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but your 12-week ultrasound pictures will be priceless! This pregnancy ultrasound scan is one of the most exciting medical appointments you can have, so invite your partner or a friend to join you in making a memory you’ll cherish forever.
We want you to leave your 12-week prenatal appointment with great ultrasound pictures for your friends and family too. When it comes to your ultrasound pics, some technicians may only take 1 or 2 images for the medical record and make a copy for you. Others will take several videos and images, trying different angles to show your baby at their best.
Pro Tips: We love UltraScan’s hacks for the most amazing 12-week ultrasound pictures:
- Drink a lot of water. The more hydrated you are, the clearer your amniotic fluid will be, and you’ll get better images of your baby.
- Eat a light meal or healthy snack before your appointment to boost your little one’s energy level.
- Try to get a sense of your baby’s routine, and schedule your appointment for a time when their activity level is high. Some providers stay open late for baby night owls.
What to Wear This Week
This versatile Oversized Nursing & Maternity Collared Top is an everyday essential that you can pair with skirts or pants for a classic look at the office or at lunch. The lightweight top layer is slightly textured, and the inner layer stretches to give you and your little one plenty of room to grow.
You can be confident from pregnancy to postpartum nursing knowing that the fixed padding in the Signature Sublime® Contour Nursing & Maternity Bra won’t bunch up and ruin your look. The molded cups and supportive yet stretchy fabric will contour your shape all day long. Each bra comes with a bra extender to keep up with your changing breast size.
This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice that has been medically reviewed. Please reach out to your doctor or midwife with any questions.