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.
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.
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.
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.
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