Week 12 of pregnancy (Days 84-90)

Your baby is now being supported through the placenta, which is now fully formed. If you have experienced morning sickness, this may be subsiding by now.

Trimester Chart
A Guide to each week of your pregnancy, with details on your baby’s growth, your body and symptoms to look out for.
  • 4

    Your baby is no longer a zygote or a single cell. The cells have multiplied rapidly and now the embryo is taking shape.

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  • 9

    From week 9 you can have Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening, to assess your risk of Down's Syndrome and other conditions.

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  • 13

    This week marks the end of the first trimester, and the risk of miscarrage reduces dramatically.

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1st Trimester

 

 

 
  • 14

    Your baby now measures around 8cm, from crown to rump and weighs around 40g.

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  • 22

    Your growing baby now measures 28cm from crown to heel and weighs approximately 350g.

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  • 28

    Your growing baby now measures 38cm from crown to heel and weighs approximately 1kg.

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2nd Trimester

 

 

 
  • 29

    Your growing baby now measures 39cm from crown to heel and weighs approximately 1.1kg.

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  • 36

    Your growing baby now measures up to 47.5cm from crown to heel and weighs approximately 2.7kg.

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  • 40

    Your baby is now considered full term and will not normally gain much weight at this point.

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3rd Trimester

 

 

 

Ultrasound image of fetus at 12 weeks gestation.

Wow you’ve reached week 12. It’s not uncommon for many women to feel as though this point of the pregnancy is a little surreal as this is the week many wait for with bated breath. If your NIPT and other results have come back fine you can now relax a little and may even be planning a little shopping or maternity leave.

Your Baby

Your baby is being supported through the placenta which is now fully formed, although it will continue to grow until week 14. The fetus typically measures between 6.4cm and 7cm (crown to rump) and weighs approximately 8.5g to 14.2g. Although you are unlikely to be able to feel the movement yet, the fetus now has sufficiently honed reflexes to react to touch, i.e. your baby will ‘squirm’ if you prod your stomach. The fetus can now curl fingers and toes and clench eye muscles. The neurological connections within the brain are developing rapidly and nerve cells throughout the body are also multiplying.

Vital organs are now developed to the extent that they are able to perform more complicated tasks. The liver is now producing bile and the kidneys are now secreting urine into the bladder. The fetal digestive tract is also practicing peristaltic movements, the muscle contractions necessary to digest food, and bone marrow is producing white blood cells. The pituitary gland in the brain is also now producing reproductive hormones in both males and females, girl babies have their ovaries already while boy babies are developing their testes.

Your Body and Symptoms

By this stage your uterus will have swollen to the extent that your midwife may be able to feel the fundus, the name for the top of your uterus as it protrudes above the pelvic bone. Now is a good time to start practicing pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the pelvic muscles is preparation for labour and birth. Your midwife will be able to advise you further on this, however it basically involves clenching your buttocks or vaginal muscles, as if you are stopping yourself from urinating mid flow. You can do this sitting at a bus stop or watching the TV and no one will notice.

Hopefully any nausea or vomiting you’ve experienced should be beginning to subside although some women experience it throughout the whole of their pregnancy. If you feel as though vomiting is out of control speak to your midwife. Occasionally, pregnant women can suffer from constant sickness that leaves them dehydrated and needing IV fluids, known as hyperemesis gravidarum.

Many women experience occasional bouts of dizziness and/or feeling faint. This is partly due to high levels of progesterone that causes increased blood flow to your pelvic area and your baby, subsequently leaving other areas of your body with decreased blood pressure. Women typically also have lower blood sugar levels during pregnancy. Eating regularly, standing up slowly and ensuring that you get plenty of rest can all help with dizziness.

The risk of miscarriage lowers significantly after 12 weeks and, although it is perfectly natural to feel anxious about your pregnancy, many women find reaching the twelfth week of pregnancy reassuring.

Symptoms to Watch Out For

Vaginal bleeding is not uncommon. When it is not associated with menstrual pain it does not harm the pregnancy although it is called a threatened miscarriage. Bleeding may continue for some days but generally changes from bright red to dark red to brown before it disappears. In some cases a bruise is seen on the placenta on ultrasound scan: this is called a subchorionic haematoma. The dark red bleeding is likely to be persistent if this is present. Always seek reassurance and talk to your midwife if you experience bleeding in your pregnancy. It may be nothing but it’s always best to check.

If you have bleeding in early pregnancy and you have associated severe abdominal pain you are at a high risk of miscarriage. In about 40% of cases there is shown to be a fetal abnormality incompatible with life. Unfortunately if a miscarriage has begun, there is nothing you can do to stop it.

Your Care on the NHS

By now you should have had your booking appointment along with your “dating scan”. The ultrasound would have given you a more precise age of your baby. You’ll now have a definite due date although few babies are actually born on this day. If this is your first pregnancy it’s perfectly normal for your baby to be delayed by up to two weeks.

You may have already taken the combined test to determine the chances of chromosome disorders such as Down’s syndrome. Your results may not be back just yet but if they do show a high possibility with the ratios the NHS use, you may be offered a CVS or amniocentesis test. See our website for more details on this as it can provide some risk however there is an alternative that is completely safe.

Private Care Available

From week 9 you can take the Panorama and Harmony tests which test for chromosome abnormalities in the fetus. This is completely safe for the baby as it takes the results from your own blood. This can often eradicate the need for amniocentesis or CVS sampling which is why many mothers prefer it. It also delivers results from an early stage of the pregnancy. The Panorama test is available from week 9 which is an alternative that’s more suited for those who have conceived through IVF. Please talk to us or visit the website if you’d like to know more. These tests can be done as a single private service, there’s no need to have private care throughout your whole pregnancy to benefit.

At this stage you’ll also have the full support of your midwife so you can ask any questions you need to. You can book a further scan if you’d like to see how your baby is growing too. There are also nutritionists who can help you make the right choice with your diet so you feel at your best throughout the pregnancy while your baby thrives inside.

If you have decided to opt for private care throughout your entire pregnancy, you will be having appointments with a private midwife and obstetrician regularily, along with approximately one ultrasound scan a month to check on your baby's development.

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