Seeing and experiencing the joys of her baby
At 12 weeks pregnant a woman is well on her way to seeing and experiencing the joy of her baby. At this point you are coming to the end of the first trimester of pregnancy. By this time you would have gotten used to, or seen a decrease in those early symptoms such as morning sickness. But the main thing is that baby is growing and developing a personality of her own even without you having a clue as to what is going on inside your body. By this time your tummy may be just starting to bulge and although it is not obvious to everyone, you are feeling the need to wear your clothes a bit more loosely. But let’s start with what baby is like at this stage of development.
Changes in baby’s development…
At 12 weeks your baby has grown tremendously and weighs just about an ounce. It is now the size of a plum or kiwi fruit. The body is almost fully shaped and measures about 2.2 inches. Of course this is the average size and will vary from baby to baby.
As the mother you may not be able to feel any activity going on in your womb at this time, but there is a lot of movement taking place. This can happen because the baby is developing real fast and all of her organs and parts are almost fully developed. The baby is happily swimming around in a sea of amniotic fluid that functions for protection. In fact, your baby can now move around; and with arms and legs that she is now able to flex, she may be trying all sorts of position at this stage. She can even open and close her mouth in making sucking sounds and will respond if you should poke her in the stomach. The head is almost fully formed but she will still have a protruding high forehead. This will however disappear in the weeks to come. Eyes, ears and mouth are also distinct and the eyes have moved more to the front of the face rather than at the sides where they originally began to be formed.
Week 12 also sees the baby’s organs formed and starting to carry out their functions. Kidneys and bladder are functioning and the baby can actually pass urine. The baby also has a strong heartbeat going at about 167 beats per minute, twice as fast as an adult’s. Some to-be mothers describe the baby’s heartbeat like the sound of a galloping horse. This rate will gradually reduce into the next trimester of pregnancy. Very important is the way your baby’s brain is developing. Nerve cells are multiplying at a rapid rate and so too are the hormones that are responsible for general well-being.
Changes in the mother
At week 12 of the pregnancy, several changes will start to occur in the woman. In the first place, your uterus will become larger and now at about the size of a grapefruit, it will protrude out of the pelvis area. Due to the strain of the weight on the ligaments that hold the uterus, you may feel some discomfort especially when you get up to walk. Your visit to the ante-natal clinic will show that you have gained about 4 – 5 pounds in weight. This is the time when the baby will push up into the stomach area. At this stage the urge to urinate will not be as frequent since less pressure will be on the bladder. However, the tide may turn and you start to experience heartburn because the uterus is now elevated and now pushes against your stomach.
The 12 weeks pregnant mom will be happy for two things: this period marks the end of a critical period when miscarriage tends to occur. It marks a good time to announce the good news to family and friends. You may also want to inform your employer of the pregnancy from now. A second thing you will be happy for is that although you may not be entirely over with morning sickness, at this stage you may see a huge reduction in the symptoms.
For many women, it is at this stage that people will notice a kind of “glow” when they are pregnant. This “pregnancy glow” is caused from the increased blood flow and levels of estrogen that gives a beautiful and rosy complexion. Many women unfortunately experience unwanted skin changes during this time also. Freckles, moles and other dark skin features will become darker and more pronounced. Look at the areas around your nipples and you will notice that they appear darker than usual. The darkening will fade after you have the baby. Don’t be surprised however, if dark spots remain a bit darker than before the pregnancy.
The skin condition chloasma is also a common feature at this time. Between 50% – 70% of pregnant mothers develop patches of dark skin on the cheeks, upper lip, forehead and chin. These blotches form a pattern that looks like a mask and that is why it is also called the “mask of pregnancy”. Chloasma is caused from the production of the skin pigment melanin which really helps to protect you from ultra-light. The patches will get darker therefore when you are in the sun.
This is the time when you should start thinking seriously about the arriving baby. You should have already made an appointment to schedule your ante-natal care. At this time also you may be excited to see what your baby looks like and your doctor may request that you do an ultrasound. This is a good time to start planning on how to eat well for your proper nutrition and the development of the baby. Week 12 pregnancy is certainly an exciting time for many mothers. Your baby is developing and you are experiencing motherhood. It now requires that you ensure that you both get the care that is necessary for a safe and happy birth.