Congratulations! You’re almost at the end of the first trimester and it typically marks the beginning of a positive turn for most women symptom-wise. It is at this point that most pregnant women begin to report increased energy levels and a gradual reduction in morning sickness intensity and frequency.
Your baby is doing great too and is making groundbreaking progress in terms of development every day. By week 12, the rate of physical development increases significantly and your baby is starting to grow a lot faster and stronger.
If you’ve gone to get scans done, you would no doubt have ultrasound images of your future baby by now.
More good news this week, your chances of miscarrying the baby have reduced significantly as compared to previous weeks. You may feel less nauseated too and get hungry more often.
If you’re dribbling on your pillow at night, do not be alarmed. Pregnancy causes increased amounts of saliva production, especially within the first trimester. Regarding your belly, it may still not be obvious to other people. Although rounding would start to take place around your lower abdomen, it would still be pretty difficult to notice.
Your second trimester is only one week away and you can always celebrate this milestone by raising a glass of water alone or with your partner.
Your Baby’s Development
At week 12, your baby is going through a lot of developmental changes. These changes began in previous weeks and this week marks certain significant changes for your baby.
Right about now, your baby is measuring about three inches long and weighing about an ounce. Also, the heavy task of producing new body structures as well as organ systems are gradually drawing to a close. This doesn’t mark the end of development in that area as there is still the maturation of these structures.
Your baby is now about the size of a plum.
Of course, your baby’s hands and feet have lost webbing, and fingernails are developing already. The eyes which are pretty far apart would start to move close to each other and the kidney continues production of urine albeit more efficiently.
Increased hormone activities should result in the development of external sex organs too. In a few weeks, you would be able to determine the exact gender of your baby or babies.
From this week, the systems in your baby’s body would be evolving a lot in order to perform maximally. For now, the digestive system is practicing a skill that your baby would need after birth in order to get food into the digestive tract—it is working on contraction movements.
Protection from foreign bodies is paramount and it is for this reason that your baby’s bone marrow is beginning to produce white blood cells.
These cells are the “soldiers” of the body and would fend off intruders in the form of pathogens that intend to cause harm to your baby.
Also, the pituitary gland present at the base of the brain is beginning to secrete hormones that would make your baby a parent someday too.
Spontaneous movements may occur, though you may not feel it at this point until later weeks. Complex reflexes such as sucking may develop too.
Recall that last week, the head was about the same length as the body? This time, the head is only about half the length of the body and the shoulders are bearing the weight, not the neck.
The salivary glands have also developed well enough to begin to function. And using an external Doppler scan, your baby’s heartbeat can be heard now. In the chest region, the lungs are maturing rapidly and your baby is inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid.
Around this time, sex organs are being formed and organs found in the abdomen such as the liver, intestines, and spleen are maturing gradually.
Proportional arms that are getting increasingly functional, as well as maturing muscle and nervous systems, are definitely welcome developments!
Last but not the least, hormones are being secreted by the thyroid and pancreas glands.
Your Body & Symptoms
You may begin to notice stretch marks on your belly and you may wonder why they are present. Stretch marks are physical evidence of the efforts your organs and body are making to adjust to the “intrusion” in the belly region.
They affect up to 90% of women and are therefore pretty common. They result from hormonal changes and weight gain that causes our dermis, which is the elastic middle layer of your skin to crack or break in certain places. These breaks then allow deeper layers to become more apparent.
The cracking or breaking is what causes the thin, purple, or red narrow streak that you’re all too familiar with to come up.
However, after childbirth, and you’re regaining your previous body form, the marks would fade into grey or silvery white lines that would be hard to notice.
This week may also put a stop to one of your pet peeves—the need to go to the bathroom. Around this time, you would typically have gained about 2 pounds.
1. Increased Discharge
You may begin to notice a clear discharge pretty frequently. It isn’t weird at all, if anything, it is good for you. The purpose of the discharge is to protect your vagina from infections.
However, if you notice a discharge that has colors such as green, yellow, brown, or pink, call your doctor immediately. It might be a sign of a miscarriage or an infection.
Around week 12 of your pregnancy, you may start to experience serious bouts of headaches.
The headache could be as a result of reasons ranging from dehydration, reduction in blood sugar, sleep deprivation, stress, or good ol’ hormonal changes.
Headaches have triggers. So, you need to pinpoint the things that cause your head to ache and steer clear of them.
3. Spotting/ Bleeding
At 12 weeks, spotting or bleeding could be a cause for alarm or it could be nothing at all. The cervix is known to become a lot more sensitive during the duration of pregnancy, therefore sex could result in some light bleeding that is harmless of course.
If you’re spotting or bleeding, let your doctor know. And if the flow of blood is pretty heavy and comes with cramping, this is a serious scenario, you have to notify your doctor right away.
You may experience dizzy spells as a result of changes in pressure. There is a possibility that you might feel it earlier as well. To overcome dizziness, drink lots of water and snack regularly. Also, sit still or lie down until you see your doctor. Avoid places with excessive heat too.
5. Skin Pigmentation
An increase in pigmentation is a pretty interesting symptom. When a hormonal surge occurs in your body, it stimulates changes of all sorts and one of those is an increase in skin pigmentation.
This condition, otherwise known as melasma or chloasma, affects about half of pregnant women and causes them to sport brown spots on the cheeks and forehead. These spots are known to lighten up or disappear after childbirth
Measures To Begin To Observe
Here are some measures that you should probably continue observing all through the duration of your pregnancy and specifically, the 12th week.
1. Watch Your Diet
You’re bound to add some weight around this time so you would need to pay special care to your diet so that you don’t end up gaining too much.
Excessive weight gain can result in complications such as high blood pressure, gestational diabetes as well as pain and aches in the leg and back. In addition, having to carry extra weight would make you tire out easily.
However, this does not imply that you should starve yourself. Keep eating a balanced diet so that you and your baby would remain healthy.
Steer clear of junk food. Instead, your diet should comprise complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins. If you want to snack, opt for healthy snacks like dried fruit and yogurt that are abundant in protein, minerals, and calcium.
Now can be a great time to start doing exercises that strengthen the vaginal muscles—Kegel exercises to be precise. This would aid with your delivery and rapid recovery after birth too. If you don’t know how to go about it, a birthing class is a nice place to learn, or you can always talk to your doctor as well.
3. Reduce Your Workload
Now that you’re going into your second trimester soon, you would need to take a step back from strenuous work. You need all the rest that you can get right now.
4. Avoid Standing For Too Long
More sitting and less standing should be your watchword. If you stand for too long, you might start to get light-headed and there is a chance that you might faint. So, if you can help it, sit most of the time.
Now is a good time to begin to tell family and friends about your baby if you haven’t already done so. Keep your doctors’ appointments and remember to observe all the other measures that you observed in previous weeks.