Your pregnancy: 12 weeks

This is the last week of your first trimester. Most of your baby's organs are fully formed now and starting to function, and her external genitals are beginning to show distinct characteristics of her sex.

Felt mushroom used to show how big baby is at 12 weeks
Photo: Mandy Milks, Erik Putz, Anthony Swaneveld. Felt: thefeltstore.com

What’s going on in there: Fetal development at 12 weeks

Your first trimester is almost over! All the hard work your body has been doing over the past three months has paid off. At 12 weeks pregnant, your baby is now pretty much fully formed: She has all her organs, muscles, limbs, bones and sex organs (though it’s still too early to see your baby’s sex on an ultrasound scan). Now, she just needs to get a lot bigger and stronger as her muscles and brain continue to develop. Despite the fact that she has doubled her weight since last week, she is still only five centimetres (two inches) long and weighs about 1/2 ounce (14 grams).

She is looking more like a person, too, thanks to her eyes moving in from the sides of her head to the front of her face. Her skeleton, which is made of rubbery cartilage right now, is starting to harden into bone. She is also making sucking movements and opening and closing her little hands.

12 weeks pregnant symptoms

While your baby might only be a couple of inches long, your uterus at 12 weeks pregnant is about the size of a grapefruit. It’s also starting to pass the top of your pelvic bones, giving you more of a baby bump (and, hopefully, giving your bladder a bit of a break). Thanks to all the progesterone and estrogen in your body, your boobs have been looking fuller for the past few weeks, too.

What’s on your mind this week

Telling everyone
Soon, your rate of miscarriage will drop significantly: Only an estimated two to three percent of pregnancies that make it to the second trimester end in miscarriage. (After 20 weeks gestation, that drops to less than 0.5 percent.) That’s why a lot of women choose to make their pregnancies public around week 13. At work, make sure to tell your boss about your pregnancy in a private conversation before letting other members of your team know. Then the fun part: telling friends and extended family. Check out our 12 favourite baby announcement videos for some inspiration on how to do it.

Hearing the heartbeat
One of the most emotional moments in pregnancy is hearing your baby’s heartbeat for the first time. If it hasn’t happened by week 12, you should get a chance very soon. This is often the time when your doctor or midwife will find your baby’s heartbeat with a handheld ultrasound called a Doppler machine. Your baby’s little heart is racing away at about 110 to 160 beats per minute—that’s probably twice as fast as yours (and totally normal, BTW). If you can’t hear it, don’t panic: The baby might be in the wrong position or your due date might be off by a week or two.

Just for kicks

If you’re telling everyone about your pregnancy this week, prepare yourself: You’re about to get an onslaught of unsolicited advice. Get used to it, mama! This continues throughout pregnancy, birth and parenthood. Have you made up your mind about whether or not you’re finding out the sex of your baby? After you make the announcement, everyone is going to ask you where you stand and debate the merits of both approaches

Baby names

According to a recent poll in the U.K., one in five new moms admits that she regrets her baby name choice. Can you guess the baby names that parents regret most?

Pregnancy to-do list: Week 12

Start building your maternity wardrobe
As your baby bump becomes more prominent, it might be time to invest in a few more pieces of maternity wear. If your boobs have gotten bigger, start with some new bras. You might want to skip straight to buying nursing bras that you can wear later as well. Maternity tank tops are also a good investment right now because you can layer them under shirts that are getting a bit too short and you’ll be able to wear them for a long time. A stretchy belly band will let you unbutton your pants without anyone knowing. Click through to see the eight pieces of maternity wear that will get you through your WHOLE pregnancy. 

Research your rights
Before you tell your workplace, you might want to brush up on your rights. If you suspect that your employer may not be supportive, keep in mind that Canada’s Human Rights Act protects you from discrimination during your pregnancy. That goes beyond not firing you because you’re pregnant: it also includes things like having the right to reasonable accommodations, having a safe work environment, not being denied promotions and not being harassed or treated differently because you’re pregnant. You can read the whole act online here.

Keep moving
Now that you’re moving past the fatigue and nausea of the first trimester, you might feel up for exercise. That’s a move that the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada supports because regular moderate exercise comes with a host of health benefits during pregnancy, including reducing weight gain and back pain, helping with constipation and lowering the risk of gestational diabetes. Once you have the green light from your doctor to work out, make sure to listen to your body and avoid pushing yourself too hard. You should be able to carry on a conversation while you’re exercising. If you’re just starting out, begin with three 15-minute sessions a week and work up to 30-minute sessions four times a week. Start looking into prenatal yoga, prenatal Pilates or other prenatal classes or simply ask your regular instructor if you need to make any modifications to your usual exercise habits.

Read more:
3 tips for finding the best nursing bra
What to do if you’re fired on maternity leave
Next up: 13 weeks pregnant

 

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