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Pregnancy At Week 12

Pregnancy At Week 12

Welcome to pregnancy week 12! Things are looking brighter this week. You can expect most unpleasant pregnancy side effects of the first trimester to disappear this week or soon after.

How Your Baby Is Growing During Pregnancy Week 12

Your growing baby is now about the size of a lime, or about 2 inches long and weighs half an ounce. He will start to make small movements this week including clenching his fists, flexing his ankles, opening and closing his mouth, and squinting his eyes. These are all reflex actions. If you poke your abdomen lightly, he will wiggle and squirm in response, although you likely won’t be able to feel his tiny movements for a few more weeks.

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    If you haven’t already experienced it, you will likely be able to hear your baby’s heartbeat at your next doctor’s visit. For many expectant mothers, this is a huge highlight of pregnancy.

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    How Your Body Is Changing

    You may begin to show the first signs of a baby bump this week, especially if this isn’t your first pregnancy. Heartburn and acid reflux are common symptoms of pregnancy at this stage. It is generally approved for pregnant women to take an antacid, such as Tums. Make sure you follow the label directions carefully and always check with your doctor before taking any medication, including Tums and Rolaids. Altering your diet can help with this painful symptom as well. Avoid highly acidic foods such as tomato sauce, citrus, and overly salty/seasoned foods to help prevent worsening heartburn.

    Your dizzy spells may be increasing this week. Progesterone in your body has caused your blood vessels to dilate, which might make you feel light headed or dizzy upon standing up quickly. If you feel that you might fall over or have experience a blackout, lower yourself back down to a sitting or lying position with your head between your knees while you take a few slow, deep breaths. Be sure to tell your doctor about any serious dizzy spells. He or she will likely want to keep an eye on your blood pressure. A fall during pregnancy can have serious effects on you and your baby.

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    The good news is that the most uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms of the first trimester will likely start to fade away this week, including the urge to urinate, breast-tenderness, food aversion, nausea and vomiting (although this can last throughout the entire pregnancy for some women), and fatigue.

    If you’ve experienced nausea and vomiting during the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy, it may start to subside around this time. If so, your appetite is likely to return. At this stage, an expectant mother should aim to eat no extra calories each day for the first trimester. Beginning in the second trimester, she should eat around 300 extra calories a day, depending on how active she is. However, if your appetite has returned, be sure you are eating healthful foods, including lots of fruits and vegetables, limiting refined carbohydrates and excess fats. You will feel your best for the remainder of your pregnancy if you keep your body well-nourished.

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    Things to Do During Pregnancy Week 12

    Now is the time to make a decision as to whether or not you and your partner would like to find out the sex of your baby. It is possible for ultrasound technicians to distinguish whether your baby is a boy or a girl by around week 16, though many won’t check until you’ve reached week 20. It can be tempting to schedule a 3D ultrasound of your baby around that same time. Many practitioners discourage this because of the extended time required of 3D ultrasounds. That level of radiation can be harmful to your sensitive baby. Many couples choose to find out the sex of their baby so they feel they can prepare for his or her arrival with a completed nursery and collection of gender-appropriate clothing. But if you enjoy surprises and the suspense doesn’t kill you, you should consider holding off on a gender-reveal.

    In the coming months you will likely be spending a lot of money and time shopping for new things for the baby. Whether you’re spending money on clothes, nursery furniture, doctor’s visits, or anything else, expenses can start to add up quickly. It’s a good idea to set a budget of what you and your partner will spend in preparation for the baby. Don’t forget to register for things that you want and need for the baby. Your friends and family will be happy to help provide for your little one!

    Featured photo credit: Pregnant/Jerry Lai via flickr.com

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    Published on December 14, 2018

    14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

    14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 27% of children under the age of 18 are living with a single parent.[1] That’s over 1/4th of the U.S. population.There is a common misconception that children who grow up in single parent homes are not as successful as children living in two-parent homes.

    One crucial detail that was often left out of studies when comparing single and two-parent homes was the stability of the household. There is a correlation between family structure and family stability, but this study shows that children who grow up in stable single-parent homes do as well as those in married households in terms of academic abilities and behavior.

    But providing stability is easier said than done. With only one adult to act as a parent, some tasks are inherently more challenging. However, there are a few helpful things you can do to make the parenting journey a little easier for yourself and stay sane while doing it.

    1. Don’t Neglect Self-Care

    Before anything else can be done, you must be caring for your own needs adequately. Only when you are feeling well-rested and healthy can you be at your best for your children.

    Many parents tend to put their kids’ needs first and their owns last, but that will result in a never-ending cycle of exhaustion and feelings of inadequacy. Make time to eat regularly and healthfully, get plenty of rest, and squeeze in exercise whenever you can. Even a short walk around the neighborhood will help your body get much-needed movement and fresh air.

    Your children depend on you, and it’s up to you to make sure that you are well-equipped and ready to take on that responsibility.

    2. Join Forces with Other Single Parents

    At times, it may seem like you’re the only person who knows what it’s like to be a single parent. However, the statistics say that there are many others who know exactly what you’re going through.

    Find single parents locally, through your kid’s school, extracurricular activities, or even an app. There are also numerous online communities that can offer support and advice, through Facebook or sites like Single Mom Nation.

    Although single moms make up the majority of single parents, there are more than 2.6 million single dads in the U.S. A great way to connect is through Meetup. Other single parents will more than happy to arrange babysitting swaps, playdates, and carpools.

    Join forces in order to form mutually beneficial relationships.

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    3. Build a Community

    In addition to finding support with other single parents, also build a community comprised of families of all different types. Rather than focus solely on the single parent aspect of your identity, look for parents and kids who share other things in common.

    Join a playgroup, get plugged in at a church, or get to know the parents of the kids involved in the same extracurricular activities. Having a community of a variety of people and families will bring diversity and excitement into your and your kids’ lives.

    4. Accept Help

    Don’t try to be a superhero and do it all yourself. There are probably people in your life who care about you and your kids and want to help you. Let them know what types of things would be most appreciated, whether it’s bringing meals once a week, helping with rides to school, or giving you time to yourself.

    There is no shame in asking for help and accepting assistance from loved ones. You will not be perceived as weak or incompetent. You are being a good parent by being resourceful and allowing others to give you a much-needed break.

    5. Get Creative with Childcare

    Raising a child on a single income is a challenge, with the high cost of daycares, nannies, and other conventional childcare services. More affordable options are possible if you go a less traditional route.

    If you have space and live in a college town, offer a college student housing in exchange for regular childcare. Or swap kids with other single parents so that your kids have friends to play with while the parents get time to themselves.

    When I was younger, my parents had a group of five family friends, and all of the children would rotate to a different house each day of the week, during the summer months. The kids would have a great time playing with each other, and the parents’ job becomes a lot easier. That’s what you would call a win-win situation.

    6. Plan Ahead for Emergencies

    As a single parent, a backup plan or two is a must in emergency situations. Make a list of people you know you can call in a moment’s notice. There will be times in which you need help, and it’s important to know ahead of time who you can rely on.

    Look into whether or not your area offers emergency babysitting services or a drop-in daycare. Knowing who will be able to care for your child in the event of an emergency can relieve one potential source of anxiety in stressful situations.

    7. Create a Routine

    Routines are crucial for young children because knowing what to expect gives them a semblance of control. This is even more important when in a single parent home.

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    If the child travels between homes or has multiple caretakers, life can seem extremely chaotic and unpredictable. Establish a routine and schedule for your child as much as possible. This can include bedtime, before/after school, chores, meal times, and even a weekend routine.

    Having a routine does not mean things cannot change. It is merely a default schedule to fall back on when no additional events or activities are going on. When your children know what to expect, they will be less resistant because they know what to expect, and days will run much more smoothly.

    8. Be Consistent with Rules and Discipline

    If your child has multiple caretakers, such as another parent, grandparent, or babysitter, communicate clearly on how discipline will be handled. Talk to your ex, if you are sharing custody, as well as any other caretakers about the rules and the agreed-upon approach to discipline.

    When a child realizes that certain rules can be bent with certain people, he/she will use it to their advantage, causing additional issues with limits, behavior, and discipline down the road.

    This article may help you to discipline your child better:

    How to Discipline a Child (The Complete Guide for Different Ages)

    9. Stay Positive

    Everyone has heard the saying, “Mind over matter.” But there really is so much power behind your mentality. It can change your perspective and make a difficult situation so much better.

    Your kids will be able to detect even the smallest shift in your attitude. When the responsibilities of motherhood are overwhelming, stay focused on the positive things in your life, such as your friends and family. This will produce a much more stable home environment.

    Maintain your sense of humor and don’t be afraid to be silly. Look towards the future and the great things that are still to come for you and your family. Rediscover and redefine your family values.

    10. Move Past the Guilt

    In a single parent home, it is impossible to act as both parents, regardless of how hard you try. Let go of the things that you cannot do as a single parent, and instead, think of the great things you ARE able to provide for your children.

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    Leave behind the notion that life would be easier or better with two parents. This is simply not true. There is a multitude of pros and cons to all family dynamics, and the one you are providing for your kids now is the one that they need.

    Don’t get bogged down by guilt or regret. Take control of your life and be the best parent you can by being present and engaged with them on a daily basis.

    11. Answer Questions Honestly

    Your kids may have questions about why their home situation is different from many of their friends. When asked, don’t sugarcoat the situation or give them an answer that is not accurate.

    Depending on their age, take this opportunity to explain the truth of what happened and how the current circumstances came about. Not all families have two parents, whether that is due to divorce, death, or whatever else life brings.

    Don’t give more detail than necessary or talk badly about the other parent. But strive to be truthful and honest. Your children will benefit more from your candor than a made-up story.

    12. Treat Kids Like Kids

    In the absence of a partner, it can be tempting to rely on your children for comfort, companionship, or sympathy. But your kids are not equipped to play this role for you.

    There are many details within an adult relationship that children are not able to understand or process, and it will only cause confusion and resentment.

    Do not take out your anger on your kids. Separate your emotional needs from your role as a mother. If you find yourself depending on your kids too much, look for adult friends or family members that you can talk to about your issues.

    13. Find Role Models

    Find positive role models of the opposite sex for your child. It’s crucial that your child does not form negative associations with an entire gender of people.

    Find close friends or family members that would be willing to spend one-on-one time with your kids. Encourage them to form meaningful relationships with people that you trust and that they can look up to.

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    Role models can make a huge difference in the path that a child decides to take, so be intentional about the ones that you put in your kids’ lives.

    14. Be Affectionate and Give Praise

    Your children need your affection and praise on a daily basis. Engage with your kids as often as possible by playing with them, going on outings, and encouraging open dialogue.

    Affirm them in the things that they are doing well, no matter how small. Praise their efforts, rather than their achievements. This will inspire them to continue to put forth hard work and not give up when success is not achieved.

    Rather than spending money on gifts, spend time and effort in making lasting memories.

    Final Thoughts

    Being a single parent is a challenging responsibility to take on. Without the help of a partner to fall back on, single parents have a lot more to take on.

    However, studies show that growing up in a single parent home does not have a negative effect on achievement in school. As long as the family is a stable and safe environment, kids are able to excel and do well in life.

    Use these tips in order to be a reliable and capable parent for your kids, while maintaining your own well-being and sanity.

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    Featured photo credit: Bruno Nascimento via unsplash.com

    Reference

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