Mother and Baby

12 weeks pregnant - what to expect

Your baby at 12 weeks

So, you’re 12 weeks pregnant, but did you know that your little one has more than doubled in size over the last few weeks? Yep, your body is going through some really exciting changes! Here’s what to expect during week 12 of your pregnancy, what happens during your 12-week scan and everything else you could possibly need to know about hitting the second trimester. 

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: The do's and don'ts of choosing a baby name 

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Don't: Pick the name of an ex

No matter how lovely you think your ex’s name is, it would take a very understanding partner to allow you to pick it for your kid. Just steer clear of any names you know will cause problems to other people, paying particular attention to your partner and loved ones.
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Do: Fall in love with the name(s) you’ve chosen

Pick a name that makes you smile, because if you love it, hopefully your child will too – and won’t grow up resenting and hating you with all their being. (That was a little joke.) Relax and get picking.
Baby names 2018 Expand Image Baby names 2018

Do: Try it out

While you’re pregnant, talk to your baby using their name to see if they respond. You can also try writing names down, practising a few signatures, or saying one out loud enough times to see if you ever get sick of it. Don’t forget to say it aloud with the surname attached to make sure it feels right.
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Don’t: Listen to other people

Sometimes grandparents and friends offer baby- naming advice, which may not always be welcome. If you’ve got your heart set on a name, keep it a secret until after the birth to avoid any unnecessary criticism. Trust your own instincts – they’ll come in handy for parenting in general.
Baby names Expand Image Baby names

Do: Find a name with meaning

Choosing a name that is rooted in history or folklore might just inspire your little one to be as great as their namesake. There’s research to suggest this inspirational rub- off effect has real legs, so even if you pick a name out of the air, consider making something up to tell them later!
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Do: Have fun

Picking out names should be fun. Laughing at the ones you’d never dream of choosing can really help you to narrow it down to the ones you would. There’s time later for thinking through whether bizarre names will actually give your little one a headache when they have to spell it every time they say it. See page 48 for more on this.
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Do: Expand your mind

Don’t rule out the weird ones just yet! Be brave and bold if that’s what you want, but just in case you get it massively wrong (definitely a possibility, let’s face it) you might want to give them a simpler middle name so they can jump ship to that instead.
How to grow a clever baby Expand Image How to grow a clever baby

Do: Try and agree

This is probably the trickiest problem to solve. Research a number of names that you and your partner both like, and make a point of discussing them long before the baby is due. Arguing about it in the delivery room isn’t a great first impression to give to junior.
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Do: Compromise

Pick two middle names so that you each have one in there that you love, or you could each have five names that you’re allowed to veto – but no more. Whichever way you go about it, it’s important that you eventually agree on the name you are giving your baby, even if it means losing out on the one you’ve had your heart set on for a while.

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