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12th week of pregnancy

12th week of pregnancy


The twelfth week of pregnancy is the penultimate week of the first trimester. The most disturbing period, when the baby is very vulnerable to environmental influences and the main task was to save his life, is behind. Of course, this does not mean that you can take drugs uncontrollably or not beware of viruses. Now that all tissues and organs are formed and the placenta shields the baby, that tiny life is safe from harm.

What happens to the baby at 12th week of pregnancy?

The size of the fetus at the 12th week of pregnancy is 6–7 cm. Its weight ranges from 20 to 40 g. With each week, the fetus more and more resembles a person. However, a baby at 12th week of pregnancy still has a disproportionately large head relative to the body. The limbs of the crumbs are small and thin, but they already have palms and fingers with delicate transparent nails. The first hair appears on the body.

Do you know that…

All tissues and organs of the fetus are formed. Now they are being improved and further developed. And some systems at 12th week of pregnancy even begin to function.

A small heart works, contracting 150-170 times per minute. Blood vessels are formed. The largest digestive gland, the liver, begins to produce bile. Insulin synthesis begins in the pancreas. The kidneys of the fetus have already begun to function. The production of hormones begins, which regulate the basic processes of life in the body – growth, sexual development, etc.

Organs and systems continue to form intensively:

  • The chest is tuned to respiratory movements.
  • Heart rate stabilizes at 110-160 beats per minute.
  • Improves the structure of the respiratory tract.
  • The formation of the digestive system and urinary organs is moving toward completion. By swallowing amniotic fluid, the fetus can excrete fluid in the urine. The liver tries to form bile.
  • Hematopoietic processes are actively going on – leukocytes begin to appear in his blood.
  • The synthesis of hormones and enzymes for the digestion of glucose begins. 
  • The brain is rapidly developing. It has two hemispheres, the medulla oblongata and the cerebellum. They receive the signals from the periphery since the spinal cord is not yet perfect.
  • Skeletal shaping and muscle building continue.
  • Neuromuscular and reflex connections are laid.
  • On ultrasound, primary sexual characteristics are already becoming noticeable.

Nature has always been aware of whether you were expecting a baby boy or girl and now you can too! During the 12th week of pregnancy, the gender of the baby can be seen on an ultrasound scan.

What happens to body at 12th week of pregnancy?

Many women at 12th week of pregnancy are happy to say goodbye to toxicosis. Sensations in the abdomen associated with the presence of the baby there are still absent. It seems to some that they already feel the first stirrings. These inexpressible sensations, of course, will not pass you by. But they will appear later. Now you feel the work of the intestines.

The uterus continues to grow in size. At 12th week of pregnancy, the fundus of the uterus is determined at the upper edge of the pubic arch. It no longer fits in the pelvic cavity and begins to rise into the abdominal cavity. As a result, the uterus puts less pressure on the bladder but may compress the intestines. The woman notes that frequent urination no longer bothers her as much as before, but constipation and bloating may appear.

By 12 weeks, the physical signs of pregnancy may not be easily visible, though the expecting mother may find that her jeans or other tight clothing no longer fit. The chest may have also grown in size. It is now time to shop for maternity clothes that will last through the entire pregnancy.

The main criterion for choosing underwear should be functionality, paying attention to the naturalness of fabrics, good breast support with a bra and wide soft elastic bands.

Good to know:

An increase in the volume of circulating blood in a woman’s body can lead to a rapid heartbeat, increased pressure and anemia in the blood test.

The expectant mother might observe age spots emerging on the face and chest. Later on, a dark line in the center of the stomach beneath the navel may be seen. Don’t fret, these are simply temporal changes due to hormones and will disappear after the baby is born. Some women have reported dry skin and hair loss; others have spoken about their hair being exceptionally shiny and lustrous. Needless to say, hormones can act unexpectedly.

Good to know:

The total weight gain since the start of pregnancy should be between 1.5 and 2.0 kg. However, weight gain may be very small in some women who are predominantly overweight before pregnancy. Now the weekly weight gain should not exceed 200-300 g.

By the way, hormonal changes continue to affect mood and vitality. The mood changes several times a day, you may not recognize yourself. And fatigue and memory impairment can significantly impede learning or affect work.

Medical examinations at 12th week of pregnancy

During the 12th week of pregnancy, it is crucial for expectant mothers to have a thorough examination to detect serious congenital defects and chromosomal abnormalities. This process is referred to as screening.

Ultrasound screening is conducted during this period to evaluate the status of the fetus and detect any potential markers of serious developmental issues. It is also used to gauge the development of the fetus compared to gestational age and to analyze the development and functioning of the placenta and its location.

Ultrasound data is evaluated only in conjunction with the results of blood tests for certain biochemical markers – this is a free hCG beta unit and plasma protein A associated with pregnancy.

Recommendations of specialists appointed when registering for pregnancy:

  • At 12 weeks, a scheduled visit to the gynecologist is necessary. The woman’s height and weight are measured. If this has not been done before, an examination is prescribed by narrow specialists: a therapist, an ophthalmologist, a dentist, or an ENT doctor. If necessary, other doctors are consulted – a cardiologist, a gastroenterologist, an endocrinologist.
  • A woman is recommended to take a general urine test so that the doctor can assess the kidneys and urinary system condition.
  • It is necessary to perform a general clinical blood test, a biochemical blood test and a correlogram.
  • A blood test for glucose levels is performed.
  • The woman’s blood type and the Rh factor of the blood are determined.
  • Blood is given to exclude HIV, hepatitis, syphilis and the TORCH group of infections.
  • Smears are taken for flora and for sexually transmitted infections.

The baby will grow and develop throughout the entire period of pregnancy, its organs and tissues will improve. It is important to adjust your diet and switch to the most healthy balanced diet.

Do’s and Don’ts of 12th week of pregnancy

Ensuring a successful pregnancy and the birth of a healthy baby is the first task for a future mother. Achieving the desired result is possible subject to several prohibitions during pregnancy.

Do’s of 12th week of pregnancy

  • Engage in physical exercises designed for pregnant women.
  • Swim in the pool and open reservoirs with water of guaranteed quality.
  • Do a gentle massage for pregnant women.
  • Take warm, soothing baths made from herbal infusions.
  • Take vitamins and microelements recommended by a gynecologist, considering the current gestational age.
  • Walk in the fresh air.
  • Take care of your appearance without the use of products containing artificial fragrances, 
  • Get positive emotions from doing what you love: drawing, photographing, embroidery, knitting, etc.
  • Attend courses for pregnant women.
  • Go to exhibitions and concerts.
  • Select the necessary clothes and shoes, taking into account individual characteristics.
  • Gently have sex with a trusted partner.
  • Control your weight by making a competent menu.

Don’ts of 12th week of pregnancy

  • Use food products containing flavorings, artificial flavor enhancers and preservatives.
  • Drink carbonated drinks.
  • Do not observe the regime of the day, sleep little and do not be in the fresh air.
  • Do not strengthen your body with appropriate physical exercises.
  • Ride a bicycle and similar means of transportation.
  • Visit the sauna, hot tubs.
  • Long stay in the bright sun, under ultraviolet radiation.
  • Work at an enterprise in the air of the working zone of which there are high concentrations of toxic and harmful substances.
  • Take medications without a doctor’s prescription.
  • Contact with infectious patients.
  • Jump from a height and make crosses.
  • Wear clothes made of synthetic materials.
  • Choose styles of clothing that restrain the growth of the abdomen, the preparation of the mammary glands for the formation of milk.
  • Walk in shoes that squeeze your legs and have a high instep.
  • Work on a computer for a long time, being in a forced position.
  • Experience large temperature fluctuations in the external environment.
  • Be in earthquake-prone areas and visit exotic countries.
  • Eat exotic fruits.
  • Care for animals with a tendency to develop allergies.
  • Work in stuffy rooms with harmful working conditions: seamstresses, builders, painters, disinfectors, etc.
  • Refuse to undergo medical examinations and tests.
  • Eat fried, smoked, with a lot of spices foods and dishes: prohibited fatty meats and fish, fast foods, strong tea and coffee.
  • Drink alcohol, smoke and take drugs.

Nutrition for 12th week of pregnancy

The organization of adequate nutrition for a pregnant woman is necessary to create optimal conditions for the functioning of a single organism, “mother-child”. A healthy diet is determined by the quality of the food and the way the food is prepared. 

At the 12th week of pregnancy, it is recommended:

  • Refuse fast foods and eat only products of guaranteed quality. Food prepared with preservatives, flavors and synthetic and artificial flavor enhancers is unacceptable.
  • When choosing a diet, do not include fatty, high-calorie foods flavored with a lot of spices, spicy and salty sauces and seasonings.
  • Do not use raw and semi-finished animal products since they may contain pathogenic microflora and helminths.
  • Prepare dishes that preserve vitamins and trace elements as much as possible: boiling, baking and stewing. Strictly adhere to cooking technologies.
  • Add vitamins C, E and zinc to the diet to improve table nutrition. These vitamins and minerals can be found in seafood, legumes and Brussels sprouts. This will help guard the placenta and bolster the mother’s and baby’s immune systems. Be sure to get plenty of iodine, essential to properly functioning the mother’s and infant’s thyroid glands.
  • Eat foods containing folic acid. It is responsible for forming tissues, preserves the genetic set of DNA and participates in synthesizing amino acids.
  • Include fruits, vegetables, herbs and whole grains in your daily diet. If there are problems with the gastrointestinal tract, fruits that cause fermentation are best consumed baked. In addition, it will reduce the risk of heartburn and the development of flatulence.
  • When preparing salads, choose low-fat yogurt or vegetable oil as a dressing. A good choice is an olive oil, which is rich in saturated and unsaturated fatty acids.
  • Do not use rich meat broths for the first courses. Healthier vegetable broths, light chicken soups. 
  • Proper vegetable stew, baked vegetable platter, vegetable and cereal dishes.
  • When selecting cereals, consider buckwheat, oatmeal, millet and pearl barley. Buckwheat is a great source of iron and can help in the prevention of anemia, as well as boost the immune system. Barley has both antibacterial and antiviral properties.
  • Do not drink carbonated drinks and synthetic juices. Useful fruit drinks, dried fruit compotes. The choice of natural juices depends on the acidity level of gastric juice in a pregnant woman. 

Checklist for the 12th week of pregnancy

  1. Visit the gynecologist, including an anthropometric examination and registration. During the initial treatment, the pregnant woman will be referred to an ophthalmologist, endocrinologist, dentist, or neuropathologist. 
  2. Attend general urine test to identify pathological conditions of the kidneys or inflammation of other organs.
  3. Do prenatal screening to identify pathologies of fetal development and the risk of their occurrence.
  4. Deliver a biochemical blood test to determine the level of proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, inorganic substances and vitamins, low molecular weight nitrogenous substances and enzymes.
  5. Determine the blood group and its Rh factor.
  6. Blood test for HIV, parenteral hepatitis and TORCH infection.
  7. A smear for gonorrhea.

The items on the list are obligatory for all women at the 12th week of pregnancy. Depending on the availability of indications, additional tests, instrumental examinations and procedures may be prescribed in each case. An example is an electrocardiogram, echography, encephalography and gastroduodenoscopy. 

At 12 weeks, you can start attending courses for pregnant women with mandatory physical activity. It is necessary to take care of your wardrobe and purchase clothes made from natural materials as much as possible. In the cold season, it is recommended to wear clothes that provide good ventilation.