Your Body at 12 Weeks Pregnant
Hooray! You’re almost at the second trimester. You’re going to start feeling better as your nausea and fatigue subside. And you may start showing this week. Just remember that when and how you "show" really depends upon your anatomy and the positioning of your baby. For example, if you have a long torso, you will show later and not look as pregnant as a woman with a short torso.
You may also start noticing your nose getting a little stuffy, or experience nosebleeds and bleeding from your gums. These symptoms are all due to more blood going to the nasal region and to your gums. These symptoms are very common and usually are nothing to worry about; if they happen frequently, contact your health care provider.
Your Baby at 12 Weeks Pregnant
Your baby is now about the length of an apricot. He continues to develop his brain, muscles and nervous system. He can frown as well as open and close his mouth. His vocal cords start to function and your baby can make a fist; his fingernails are even well formed. His liver is functioning and his pancreas is producing insulin. He’s starting to respond to outside stimuli (such as sounds and movement). If you haven’t started talking to your baby, now’s the time. You may feel a little silly, but he’ll love it, and it’s a great way to build your bond.
If you have an ultrasound within the next few weeks, your doctor might be able to tell you whether you’re carrying a boy or a girl. So, now’s a great time to discuss in advance with your partner whether or not you’d like to learn your baby’s sex.
Your Medical Appointments at 12 Weeks Pregnant
You’re going to get good at peeing in a cup. During each prenatal exam, you will need to give a urine sample for testing. The urine test looks for signs of a bladder infection as well as the presence of sugar and protein in your urine. Bladder infections, also known as Urinary Tract infections (UTI), are very common in pregnancy due to the hormonal changes in your body. These changes will alter the urine make-up and allow bacteria to grow more easily. The bacteria that cause UTIs comes from your intestine and migrates to the bladder, it doesn’t come from your partner or other sources. UTIs during pregnancy are not usually accompanied with the burning and discomfort often noted when not pregnant. Some women will get UTIs for the first time when pregnant.
Your health care provider will offer you tests to look for Down's Syndrome and other genetic disorders at this time. If you’re planning to do the first trimester screen for Down's Syndrome, you should be doing the blood test part of it this week or next. The tests consist of a combination of two blood tests and one ultrasound. It is often called an "integrated screen." The first of the two "integrated screen" blood tests is usually done between 10 and 14 weeks of your pregnancy. The ultrasound is called a nuchal translucency (NT) and is usually done between 12 and 14 weeks of your pregnancy.
This ultrasound measures the amount of fluid behind the baby's neck (the nuchal area). There is evidence showing a direct connection between the nuchal thickness and the risk of having a baby affected with Down's syndrome.
The results from these two tests will be used to calculate an initial overall risk of Down's syndrome and other genetic disorders.
The second blood test of the "integrated screen," also known as the "AFP-Quad test" or "second trimester screen," is usually done between 15 and 20 weeks of your pregnancy. The result of this test will be incorporated with the results of the first blood test and the NT test and your final risk for Down's and genetic disorders will be calculated. The result will be given in the form of a probability (1/"number"). Over 90 percent of Down's syndrome babies can be detected in this way.
A detailed anatomical ultrasound (known as the "Anatomical Survey" or "level two ultrasound") will be done between 18 to 22 weeks to ensure that your baby is developing normally.
The preceding information was adapted from The Pregnancy Companion.