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12 weeks pregnant

What to expect this week

What's happening in week 12

12 weeks pregnant

You are in the final week of your first trimester and your baby has changed beyond all recognition from week one!

At a glance

  • Your tiny baby is now 6cm in length and fully formed
  • Their eyelids remain fused shut
  • Their little wrists and elbows bend as they move around

How big is my baby at 12 weeks?

Your tiny baby is now a compact 6cm in length, and fully formed – the next stage of their development is to grow larger and practise sucking and breathing motions.. It’s likely you’ll see your baby for the first time this week at your dating scan, though it’s unlikely you will be able to get a reliable sexing just yet.

They are moving around a lot at this stage, but you still won't be able to feel this for a while as they still have a lot of space to bob about in. Their eyelids remain fused shut at week 12 (they will open at around week 27) and have moved to their final position on the front of the head (rather than the side), while their little wrists and elbows bend as they move around. 

At 12 weeks pregnant your baby’s skeleton is currently made of cartilage (like you’d find in your nose or ear), but over the coming weeks this will harden into bone. When your baby is born their skeleton is made up of over 300 parts of bone and cartilage, but they will only have 206 as an adult, as bones fuse together to form larger, stronger bones.

As well as a developing skeleton, your baby’s organs and intestines are changing this week. The kidneys are beginning to excrete urine into your baby’s bladder, while their intestines, which grow so fast at the beginning that they protrude into the umbilical cord, are moving back inside the abdominal cavity.

Finally, your baby is beginning to practice their reflexes this week; curling fingers and toes, clenching eye muscles and making sucking movements with their mouth. Though you can’t feel your baby moving yet, if you poke your stomach your baby will wriggle.

You at 12 weeks pregnant

You are now in the last week of your first trimester – doesn't time fly? You might be putting morning sickness and extreme exhaustion behind you a bit now, although all those hormones could still be leaving you somewhat emotional! 

If you have an existing health condition you might be worrying about how you will manage it in pregnancy, even if it is something fairly common like asthma. Your GP and midwives will of course have given you advice on this from your earliest appointments, and checked that your medication was suitable for use in pregnancy, even so, do keep an eye on any changes at all in your health, and always flag any new or heightened symptoms up, no matter how small - you might find that for some health issues, your meds need tweaking or monitoring as your pregnancy evolves.

What to think about in week 12

If you've had your dating scan you are no doubt the very owner of a set of ultrasound images of your baby son or daughter! You might like to begin looking into baby names for your little one. Have you got a favourite girls name or boys name? Do you know if you want a traditional name or something more unusual? 

You are probably also having lots of fun leafing through baby catalogues and mulling over nursery colour schemes, so now could be a good time to think about any changes you need to make to your home – you won't want decorators in, or to have to make big decisions (or even do some light DIY yourself) late in pregnancy. You might also be finding it hard to resist a few sneaky purchases of unisex baby clothes now, too.

Even though it’s early yet, you’ve reached the 12 week mark, you may be wondering about when to start thinking of baby names. But whether you are planning to find out whether you’re expecting a boy or girl or not, or have a hunch, you won’t know if you’ll be needing a ‘blue’ or ‘pink’ baby name. 

So why not explore some gender neutral names, that way, whatever you have, if you find a name you love, it will work either way.

In recent years we’ve seen a rise in baby names now recognised as unisex even though they have previously been associated as male or female. Many parents are choosing to deviate from the norm much more than ever before and an alternative gender spin on a classic name is one way to do this.

You may also be beginning to notice more obvious changes in your body shape. Your breasts are likely to feel different and chances are, have gone up a size or two. Great for some of us, but not so great for others!

If you haven’t already, it might be time to go and invest in some maternity underwear. Whether you have needed to shop for other maternity clothes already, it’s important to have new underwear that fits and stretches with your growing cleavage. Choosing the right fitting bra can also help prevent the stretching of delicate breast tissue which is what can cause sagging and stretchmarks. 

It is often recommended when choosing maternity underwear is to avoid underwired bras. Underwired bras can be uncomfortable during pregnancy, but it’s said that they can the growth of the breast tissue and possibly cause blockages in the milk ducts, yet there’s no hard evidence to prove this. So if you’re happier wearing an underwired bra just make sure it fits well and that the wires aren’t digging in.

Found this helpful? Read more on..

Watch our videos below: 

  • The first scan (12 weeks) 
  • Staying healthy during pregnancy 
  • Pregnancy exercise

At a glance

  • Your tiny baby is now 6cm in length and fully formed
  • Their eyelids remain fused shut
  • Their little wrists and elbows bend as they move around

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