Mother and Baby

12 weeks pregnant: advice, symptoms and 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 to your favourite music!

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

The week 12 FAQ's, answered! 

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1) 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.
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2) 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.  
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3) 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.  
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4) 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.
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5) Is it normal to experience headaches at 12 weeks pregnant? 

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

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.
  • Start those pelvic floor exercises: Squeeze for up to 10 seconds, 20 times a day. Not only can these muscles help during childbirth but they also reduce your chances of bladder issues and can help with postpartum symptoms. There are several pregnancy apps for fitness that you can download to help you.

Take me back to week 11

Take me to week 13

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