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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
' Professional and reassuring 'Helen Campbell
The sonographer was ready as soon as I arrived, and she was extremely calming, personable and professional. The scan and blood test where efficient without feeling rushed and all very easy. These appointments can feel uneasy and make you feel anxious but I felt reassured and in professional hands the whole time
I saw Kate throughout my first pregnancy and am now doing so again with my second. She is absolutely amazing, she explains everything really clearly, and has answered all sorts of bizarre questions and worries I have had. On top of being clinically excellent she is also just the loveliest person and always a pleasure to see.Sarah Elliott
We had the harmony test with the Birth Company and had a reassurance scan with sonographer Kirsty McGarry who was absolutely lovely and really put our minds at rest. We had been scared by our NHS dating scan and left feeling like there was something wrong. We explained the situation and was treated very professionally and with good care. Also speedy appointments also as I had phone in the morning and got an appointment by afternoon. So thankful.Ashley and Tom
Really friendly, efficient service. Great experience overall. Had the Panorama. My appointment was with Kate who was absolutely fantastic. The results came really quickly. Have a comparison with private healthcare elsewhere and must say that The Birth Company was just how I would like to be treated when I pay for medical services - attentively, calmly, friendly, in a pleasant environment that doesn't look like hospital. Top marks!Anna
' Efficient, friendly and always on hand to provide last minute appointments 'Hannah Murphy
The Birth Company has been excellent, providing timely scans and blood tests during my IVF treatment abroad. Staff are always friendly and extremely efficient. I would highly recommend coming here.
' Professional and friendly 'Lyndsey Dilla
When I first contacted the Birth Company I spoke to Danielle. She was fantastic. She went above & beyond to put me at easy & make the journey from Kent as stress free as possible. Every staff member that myself and my husband have come into contact with have been approachable, professional and friendly. Kate scanned me the first time and put me completely at easy. Lisa on reception is professional and very approachable. Highly recommended
' Highly recommended 'Emelie
Donald was so lovely! I was so nervous as I have a bad history and he was super quick and confirmed my baby's heartbeat as quickly as he could. He spent time showing me the baby and the anatomy and it was the best money I have ever spent! The reception girls were lovely too - considering they deal with babies day in day out they were super excited for me! Thank you so much one and all! If only I lived in London and could have all my scans with you!
Great Portland Street