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What to expect at 12 weeks pregnant

Dr Christine Catling

Dr Christine Catling

Dr Christine Catling, a midwife for over 25 years, is the Director of Midwifery Studies at UTS. She believes research, innovation and good quality midwifery are pivotal to the well-being of mothers and young families. Christine has extensive experience in antenatal education, policy development and research, and has published on workforce issues, homebirth, vaginal birth...
Created on Oct 10, 2023 · 4 mins read
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Your baby


At 12 weeks pregnant, you and your precious baby reach the culmination of the first trimester! The journey you’ve embarked on together has been nothing short of remarkable, with both of you undergoing incredible transformations. At this stage, your baby weighs around 14 grams, and the fetus size is approximately that of a juicy lime. You may start to notice a little baby bump starting to form although keep in mind every person is different.

One notable change occurring in your baby’s body is the ongoing transformation of soft and pliable cartilage into sturdy bones. As the skeletal system strengthens, your baby’s tiny limbs and joints become more defined, paving the way for future movement and growth.

Another development taking place within your baby’s body is the formation of meconium in their bowels. Meconium is a unique black-green, sticky substance that serves as the first bowel movement after birth. It’s composed of materials your baby ingested while in the womb, such as amniotic fluid, skin cells, and other digestive secretions and its presence signifies the intricate functioning of your baby’s digestive system, preparing them for the world outside the womb.

Meanwhile, your baby’s kidneys are actively beginning to secrete urine, which accumulates in the bladder. This newfound ability to produce and store urine is a significant milestone, demonstrating the maturation of your baby’s urinary system.

How you’re feeling


At 12 weeks pregnant, many mums-to-be report that they start to feel better, with many of the symptoms that plagued you during the first trimester (ahem, morning sickness) hopefully starting to ease up a little. You might notice your energy levels hopefully starting to pick back up too and, as we mentioned above, you may also have the start of a little belly.

From an emotional standpoint, at 12 weeks pregnant, you may find yourself experiencing a whirlwind of emotions. It’s a significant milestone, as you bid farewell to the first trimester and step into the second trimester of your pregnancy. Amidst the physical changes and the anticipation of what lies ahead, you might feel a blend of excitement, relief, and a touch of apprehension – all of which is completely normal.


12 weeks pregnant symptoms


While the nausea may start to subside around the 12 week mark, there are still other symptoms you may experience in the second trimester of pregnancy. These can include:

  1. Skin changes: Some women may notice changes in their skin during the 12th week of pregnancy. These changes can range from increased oiliness or dryness to the appearance of a pregnancy “glow.” Hormonal fluctuations may also cause acne or changes in pigmentation.
  2. Constipation and bloating: Hormonal changes can slow down the digestive system, leading to constipation and bloating. It’s important to maintain a healthy, fiber-rich diet and stay well-hydrated to help alleviate these symptoms.
  3. Nasal congestion and nosebleeds: Increased blood flow and hormonal changes can cause nasal congestion and occasional nosebleeds. Using a humidifier, staying hydrated, and using saline nasal sprays may provide relief.

12 week ultrasound


The 12-week ultrasound is part of combined first trimester screening for chromosomal anomalies like Down syndrome. This screening process also includes a blood test. As part of the ultrasound scan, the ultrasonographer measures the fluid at the back of your baby’s neck.

Weekly tip


If you haven’t been feeling up for much exercise up until now, this week can be a good time to think about getting back on the wagon, so to speak. Gentle exercise including walking, yoga or pilates can be great during pregnancy but always consult with your doctor before embarking on anything new during pregnancy. If you have exercised pre-pregnancy it is usually considered safe to continue doing so, but always get an expert opinion if you are not sure. Exercise can help not only physically but also mentally, and has been proven to help with postnatal recovery. Always remember to take it easy and don’t push your body – now is not the time for PBs!

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