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Mother and Baby

12 weeks pregnant - what to expect

Your baby at 12 weeks

You’re 12 weeks pregnant – by now your baby is about two inches, or about the size of a small plum! Over the past three weeks, your little one has more than doubled in size, but how is that affecting your body? Here’s what to expect during week 12 and during your 12-week scan.

How big is my baby at twelve weeks? 

At 12 weeks, your baby is about two inches - which is about the size of a small plum!

What’s my baby doing at twelve weeks pregnant?

All your baby’s body parts are now present (though there’s still some maturing to do) and her intestines have moved into place in her abdomen. Your little foetus will now enter the maintenance phase; for the next 28 weeks, her systems and organs will develop so she’s ready for life on the outside. Her digestive system is beginning to start practising (literally) and her bone marrow is busy making white blood cells.

This week your unborn baby will have developed the startle reflex, also known as the Moro reflex. This means she’ll hear sounds and react to them by opening and closing her arms and legs. This is the time to introduce your little one you your favourite music!

Another exciting moment this week will be the 12-week scan, and hearing your baby’s heart beat for the first time. Scroll down for more information on what to expect during that 12-week scan.

What is my body doing at twelve weeks pregnant?

Your 12-week baby bump

You probably don’t have much of a bump to show off just yet, but your womb is now about the size of a grapefruit. It’ll push itself above your pelvic bone soon, so expect the first vague outlines of a baby belly. On that note, your jeans, trousers and skirts are probably becoming quite snug, so it’s time to invest in a belly band, which you can put over your pre-pregnancy clothing until you stock up on your maternity wardrobe.

As your uterus moves from the bottom of your pelvis to the front of your abdomen, you’ll hopefully (finally) lose the need to constantly wee! That said, you might start feeling dizzy as a replacement, as progesterone causes your blood vessels to relax and widen to increase the flow of blood to your baby. Remember, if you feel dizzy or faint, lie down with your head lowered between your knees, take deep breaths and keep snacking to keep those blood sugar levels up.

Common symptoms to look out for:

  • Headaches: Another one caused by low blood sugar levels, if you ever needed an excuse to snack, it’s pregnancy! If your headaches are really bad, talk to your doctor about pregnancy safe pain relief.
  • Fatigue: You’re nearing the end of your first trimester, but your body is still exhausted from growing your baby. Rest up when you can, and get ready for that energy burst that’s expected during trimester two!

What you should be doing this week

  • The 12-week scan: It’s finally time to clap eyes on your baby for the first time, but what really happens at the 12-week scan? This can take place any time between 11 and 13 weeks. In order to get a clear view of your baby, try and drink a pint of water an hour before the scan – this will push your uterus into a better position. The scan will last between 15 and 30 minutes, and will show you a black and white image of your baby. The sonographer is looking and listening for the heartbeat, and measuring your baby to give you a better idea of your due date. Find out more about your 12-week scan here. 
  • Start those pelvic floor exercises: Squeeze for up to 10 seconds, 20 times a day. Not only can these muscles help during childbirth, they reduce your chances of bladder issues and can help with postpartum symptoms. From the pregnancy fitness apps, to those that make your life that little bit simpler, we’ve chosen a few of our favourites here. (There’s even a few he might want to download!)

The week 12 FAQ's, answered! 

What will my 12 week-scan be like? 

The scan will last between 15 and 30 minutes, and will show you a black and white image of your baby for the first time. The sonographer will listen for the heartbeat and measure your baby for the first time - this will give everyone a better idea of how old your baby is, and help work out your due date. Find out everything you need to know about your 12-week scan here. 

At 12 weeks, will the ultrasound reveal my baby's gender? 

At 12 weeks, it's usually too early to work out whether you're having a boy or a girl, and this isn't what the sonographer will be focusing on during the scan. At 12 weeks, they're checking to make sure your baby is healthy and normally it's not till your 20 week scan that you find out the gender. That said, some people believe in nub theory, which is where you determine the sex from the first ultrasound photo.  

At 12 weeks pregnant, is it a bump or am I bloated? 

Every woman is different and starts to show at different times. By week 12, you probably won't have much of a bump to show off, but your womb will start to rise above your pelvic bone soon. Bloating is a very normal side-effect of being pregnant, and to avoid the uncomfortable feeling, experts recommend slowing down when you eat.  

Is it normal to experience cramping at 12 weeks pregnant? 

Cramping is normal during early pregnancy, especially around week 12. A lot of women report feeling sharp pains on one or both sides of their groin as they stand up or twist. This is normal, and is caused by the ligaments supporting your womb stretching as it grows. That said, if the cramping is really painful, it's a good idea to contact your GP to check. 

Is it normal to experience headaches at 12 weeks pregnant? 

Another very normal symptom of pregnancy, caused by low blood sugar levels. Remember to keep snacking and ask your doctor for any pregnancy-safe pain killers should you need.

Take me back to week 11

Take me to week 13

Read next, 15 cheeses that are safe to eat during pregnancy: 

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Double Gloucester

A hard, orange cheese, Double Gloucester is a great alternative to Cheddar and grating it into cheese sauces or macaroni cheese adds a bit of colour. You could also mix some into this Cauliflower Cheese recipe.
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The crumbly, creamy tanginess of a good Cheddar can make all of life’s little problems disappear, especially when it’s grated liberally over bread and toasted.
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Despite being a blue cheese, Stilton is actually safe to eat in pregnancy because it’s a hard cheese, which doesn't contain as much water as soft cheeses, so bacteria (such as listeria) are less likely to grow in them. However, steer clear of soft blue cheeses such as Gorgonzola and Roquefort unless cooked thoroughly.
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Made from a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk, feta originated from Greece and is used regularly in Mediterranean cooking. It’s a rich source of vitamin B12, which you need in pregnancy to aid the growth and development of your baby. For a healthy, tasty lunch, try this Feta, Mint, Lentil And Pistachio Omelette recipe
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So long as mozzarella is made from pasteurised milk, it’s fine to eat in pregnancy. Add to pizzas, slice it over the top of lasagne or pasta dishes or serve cold with tomatoes and basil. We love it in this Mediterranean Vegetable And Mozzarella Bake.
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With it’s firm, springy texture, halloumi can be grilled or fried while still retaining its shape. Ideal for adding to salads such as this Halloumi, Asparagus & Pomegranate Quinoa Salad.
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Soft cheese

Cheese spreads such as Philadelphia are safe to eat in pregnancy as they’re made with pasteurised milk. As well as adding to sandwiches, it’s great on toast and topped with tomatoes for a tasty breakfast.
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Baked camembert

While camembert is normally not safe to eat in pregnancy as it’s a soft, rind cheese, bake it in the oven until it’s piping hot all the way through and you kill off the listeria bacteria that can be dangerous. Get some fresh, crusty bread and dig in.
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Cottage cheese

Classically seen as a “slimmer’s food” because of the low-fat content, cottage cheese is good for adding to jacket potatoes, topping on oatcakes or adding to spicy chicken wraps. It’s a great food in pregnancy as it’s high in protein, which you need to aid your baby’s growth.
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A soft, spreadable cheese that originates from Italy, mascarpone is safe in pregnancy so long as the milk it’s made from is pasteurised. It has a very mild flavour so can be used in both savoury and sweet flavours for adding creaminess. Try stirring some into this Rigatoni and Courgette pasta dish.
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This classic Indian cheese is often served in curry to add texture, or alongside spinach. It’s mild flavour and slightly chewy texture means it goes well in spicy dishes. Try adding it to this Full-Of-Sunshine Thai Curry Recipe
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This Dutch cheese is mild and creamy so ideal for a quick cheese on toast snack. Mini Edam cheeses such as Babybel make great snacks to keep you going through the day (for you as well as your kids!)
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Harder cheeses tend to carry the lowest risk of listeria, so a very hard cheese such as Parmesan (or pecorino) is fine to eat in pregnancy. Try grating slithers into a salad or sprinkling finely grated Parmesan over pasta dishes like this Pappardelle al Ragu.
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Garlic and herb roulade

Although it’s a soft cheese, garlic and herb roulade cheese is safe to eat in pregnancy so long as it’s made with pasteurised milk. Perfect for spreading on a baguette or mixing into a cheese sauce for added flavour.
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Goat’s cheese without rind

While goat’s cheese with a rind (Chevre) is not safe, you can also buy varieties that are rindless, and these are safe in pregnancy. Try this Rosemary-Roasted Butternut, Courgette, Amaranth And Barley Couscous Salad recipe with goat’s cheese. 

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