Week 12 pregnant
The foetus now has all of its vital organs and the nervous system pathways have formed. The bones, which have been soft until now, will start to harden. Your baby is less curled up than it was and starts to straighten.
You’ve almost made it! You are now close to the end of your first trimester, one that many women find the hardest. So, if you want to breathe a sigh of relief because you’ve found the last couple of months such hard going, you’ve earned it. Speaking of taking deep breaths, you may as well enjoy it while you can, because from now until your baby is born, you are likely to feel that you just can’t expand your lungs as much as you’d like to. There’s a good reason for this – someone else is taking up all the space and the feeling is likely to hang around for a while longer.
Let’s go shopping!
After your 12th week, 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 anymore. It is common for pregnant women to have an almost insatiable appetite for particular foods, even those that never held much appeal before. Often, it is the texture of foods that is craved, rather than the taste. Ice to crunch on, crisp raw vegetables, smooth yoghurt and chewy toffees all hold a certain attraction. Keep a supply of your favourites near; you don’t want to run out.
Your physical changes this week
The skin around your nipples may be getting darker and you can 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 line is there because of hormonal changes and it will fade after you have your baby.
The increase in your overall blood volume may cause you to have that pregnancy “glow” which everyone talks about. Those pesky pimples which have plagued you for the last few weeks are probably settling, making way for a clearer complexion. At last!
You won’t need to dash to the bathroom quite so frequently from week 12 onwards. Your womb is lifting up and out of your pelvis, giving your bladder some room to fill with more than a few of millilitres of urine. You may even be able to feel the top of your womb poking up from the top of your pubic bone. When you are lying flat on your bed and have a full bladder it can be the best time to feel it.
Your emotional changes this week
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 so queasy all the time.
You may find yourself just more relaxed and at ease from week 12. 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 tears. Turn off the television if you find those nappy advertisements a bit too much to bear.
Honey, where are you?
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. Thank you, oestrogen!
It is perfectly safe to continue to have sex throughout pregnancy, unless you are at risk of premature labour, or your membranes have ruptured. In fact, many women say that they have never felt more sensual, have a higher libido or enjoy sex more than when they are pregnant. Others worry that the baby could be corrupted or hurt in some way. Don’t worry. Your baby is well protected by a thick plug of mucous covering your cervix and the amniotic fluid is acting as a buffer to all that pushing and thrusting. It even has its eyes shut, until around the 7th month at least.
Your baby’s changes this week
Your baby is twice the size it was just 3 weeks ago. Your baby is about the same size as a ripe plum at around 5 – 6.5 cm long.
Your baby is moving all the time, kicking and stretching, twisting and turning. But because it is still so small and your womb is only just at the top of your pelvis, you still won’t be able to feel it moving. As your baby gets bigger and starts pressing against the wall of your womb, you will start to feel its movements clearly.
This week your baby’s bone marrow is starting to produce its own white blood cells. These are the infection-fighting cells which will help your baby stay well and healthy.
Weeks 12-18 are a major, critical period in your baby’s brain development. Avoid any alcohol, tobacco or drugs because these could have long-term effects on your baby. This is also when your baby’s pituitary gland starts working and making its own hormones.
Your baby’s placenta is now doing all the important work – filtering oxygen and nutrients to assist your baby’s growth.
This week, your baby can suck its thumb. Just how cute is that? Its eyelids will fully cover the eyes, so they are well protected.
Your baby’s intestines are starting to contract and relax, practicing for healthy digestion when they are born. The first bowel movement a baby has is called meconium and it serves as an important sign. You’ll have to wait to find out what this is though!
Hints for the week
Avoid exercises that could potentially reduce the oxygen supply to your baby. Scuba diving, mountain climbing, and 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 – or start a diary or a blog. This may sound silly, but 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 how quickly it goes.
Become familiar with foods which could cause you or your baby to become sick. Listeria is a food-borne illness which 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, pâté, 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.
Roll on week 13!