Pregnancy week 12


How's the foetus at 12 weeks?

A perfectly-formed human being

  • Your baby weighs about 14g and is about 5.4cm long from crown to rump. Your uterus is still about the size of a grapefruit, your baby, a lime.
  • Your baby now has reflexes.
  • She is beginning to move her facial muscles – she can frown, open and close her mouth and suck and swallow amniotic fluid.
  • Her heartbeat can clearly be heard. The heart rate is about 160 beats per minute.
  • Your placenta has taken over hormone production.
  • Her kidneys have started to produce and secrete urine and her liver is making bile
  • Her taste buds have formed.
  • Her ribs and vertebrae have begun to harden into bone.
  • At 12 weeks your baby is already a perfectly formed human being.

What's with my body: Rising uterus, rounder tummy 

  • Your stomach may begin to round a bit and you might start showing.
  • You might find that you have a little more energy than you used to and also are not as nauseous as before.
  • The linea nigra (black line running down the centre of your abdomen) may appear.
  • Your uterus has probably risen above your pelvis.
  • Don't try to diet if you are worried about gaining weight. Make sure that you follow a healthy, balanced diet.
  • You can listen to your baby's heartbeat!

It's quite surreal to think your baby already knows you and is learning from you every day. Your baby is picking up on so many stimuli that will have a life-long effect on her. Babies have a remarkably high receptivity to music and to the human voice - particularly yours.

How your baby's growing:

Your foetus now has a definite chin, large forehead and button nose. External stimuli is beginning to have an effect - if your tummy is poked, your baby will try to wiggle away. Your baby's brain continues to develop and vocal cords are formed this week, which is the last week of your first trimester. What's more, your baby's kidneys are functioning - after swallowing amniotic fluid, your baby will now be able to pass it out of the body as urine.

How you may be feeling:

A little frustrated with dry blotchy skin, your first acne outbreak since high school, or hair loss? Increased oil production due to hormones may leave your face a bit spotty or conversely, your skin may become noticeably drier.

If you're battling acne, make sure to completely steer clear of the medication Accutane, which has been linked to birth defects. Instead, look for gentler ways to cleanse your skin. If it's dry skin you're dealing with, try boosting your water intake and using a vitamin E moisturiser.

Tip of the week

Unlike other voices, yours is doubly amplified: it reaches your baby from outside your body, like any other sound, AND it envelops her from inside too. Until 9 months (and for at least several weeks after birth), your voice will remain by far the most important and riveting sound she hears.

Make sure you spend time talking to your baby regularly so that he/she recognises and responds to, and is reassured by, your voice once out the womb.

What have you found most exciting, scary or simply surprising about this week of your pregnancy? Tell us by emailing and we may publish your comments.

Read more:

Next: Pregnancy week 13
Previous: Pregnancy week 11

Go back to the complete list of Pregnancy week-by-week updates.

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