12 weeks pregnant

As you enter this second trimester, your body will settle into pregnancy

For most women, any discomforts of early pregnancy start to disappear this trimester. The high levels of pregnancy hormones, which are thought to contribute to sickness, are subsiding, and fatigue should begin to diminish. Meanwhile, your baby floats peacefully in the amniotic sac. As he goes on growing, so the sac will expand to give him plenty of room to kick and stretch. His brain is developing at a rapid rate.


1.The ankle joints have matured and the toes have separated.


2.In the amniotic sac, there is room to move freely and your baby is very active. Amniotic fluid cushions the kicks and wriggles, so you won’t feel anything.


3.The baby’s body has no underlying fat, and the bones look prominent beneath the delicate skin.


4.At 13 weeks the average crown to rump length is 7.4cm (2.9in) and the average weight is 23g (0.8oz).


5.The eyes have moved more towards the front of the face but they are still tightly closed.


6.Arms and legs are lengthening rapidly and muscle control is developing.

By now your baby is 2.5 to 3-inches long, equivalent to the size of a peach. But, as the first trimester draws to a close your sex life might take a turn for better or for worse. 

Your baby’s development

By now your baby’s tiny little fingers have fingertips and his or her organs or veins are pretty much visible by now through her thin paper-like skin. Slowly but gradually, your baby’s body is catching up to match the size of that huge head he or she is carrying. If it is a baby girl, by the 12th week of pregnancy she would be carrying around 2 million eggs in her ovaries. Baby’s fetus is about to produce and secret urine, while his or her button nose and thin lips have pretty much formed.

Being the size of a peapod, your baby by now weighs nearly an ounce. Want to visualise your little bundle of joy more now? Think of him or her as the size of a medium goldfish. Shorter than the size of your finger, baby’s face is already showing unique and individualistic characteristics.

Slowly he or she might be taking bouts of prenatal hiccups, which are most probably strengthening your baby’s diaphragm, which is getting prepared for a proper functioning of respiratory system. Not so glamorous as an organ, but respiratory system is one of the most necessary organ systems, which helps in absorbing nutrients and filtering waste effectively. Soon getting ready to take their first few breaths, as of now your baby is getting oxygen from the umbilical cord, while they are surrounded by amniotic fluid.

Moreso, your baby is getting his or her thyroid gland, gall bladder and pancreas getting developed. Baby’s bone marrow is making white blood cells in order to fight infections later on. As far the development of skeleton is concerned, your baby is soon going to develop his or her collarbone and thigh bone. The bowel is taking shape at a steady progress while the vocal chords are too getting adequately developed.

Your baby has been growing in a cavity inside the umbilical cord, but now they are slowly moving to their permanent and super convenient address, placenta. The placenta is eventually growing at a remarkable rate and might weigh a minimum of one to two pounds by the time you will be giving birth to your bundle of joy.

Right form kicking its legs to turning the head, your baby by now is properly yawning, swallowing and hiccupping. So tiny yet so developed, how stunning is it to think all these activities that are happening just within you?

By now your baby is learning to move in a jerky fashion and getting the thumb into her mouth – a habit that is soon going to come handy during the newborn phase. At this stage, it is best not compare your baby’s growth with your neighbourhood pregnant aunt’s baby growth. This is important because some grow faster than the others, while some might follow a similar pattern of the developmental path.

Changes in you

The best part about stepping into the 13th week of pregnancy is that by now you will be having more of energy, thanks to the near end of morning sickness phase. By next two weeks, this feeling of nausea might just come to a complete end. Your taste and smell aversions of some peculiar foods and fragrances will stay with you throughout for the rest of your pregnancy. Slowly, you would be starting to feel better – a great time to try your hands on a new format of exercising and rev up your energy levels. You could try yoga or swimming as they both are pretty low-impact activities, that will help you in feeling calm and centered while preparing you for the labor. While most of the early pregnancy symptoms will most probably subside by now, bid a sigh of goodbye to lingering nausea and fatigue! But unfortunately, some expectant mothers might still suffer from headaches, bloating and constipation, which can in all probability continue to extent all throughout the pregnancy.

Your risk of miscarriage has pretty much subsided and by now you might also witness a sudden spike in your sexual urge. Even though the birth of your baby is months away, your breasts have already started to make colostrum – a nutrient-rich fluid, which feeds your baby for the very first few days soon after your birth, following to which your milk will start to grow.

You might also increase a sudden increase in your vaginal discharge, medically known as leukorrhea. If it is thin, milky, white and mild-smelling in colour then you are doing perfectly fine. Caused by a stepped-up production of estrogen in your body, vaginal discharge is essential as it is important to protect and shield the birth canal from infection while maintaining a healthy balance of bacterias in your vagina. It can often create a mess in your underwear, hence it at times might become essential to wear a panty liner to keep yourself dry. However, do not resort to wearing tampon in sudden vaginal discharge as it can hamper with the normal balance of microorganism, which can in fact lead to vaginal infections.

When it comes to understanding the phenomenon of sex during pregnancy, then it is actually to each its own. Your feelings of jumping into the bed for a long night of lovemaking to just hugging your partner out and stopping right there; each and every feeling related to sex during pregnancy is normal. Varied from one expectant mother to another, whatever you might be upset about is soon going to change as to move closer to your delivery.

Nutrition for you

  • Eating more every day comes with its own restrictions: You might have heard this a lot that during pregnancy you need to eat for two, but really don’t follow any advice blindly and stay away from eating twice as much as food. You really need a minimum of 340-400 calories extra in a day in your third trimester and around 450-500 calories extra by your third trimester. Please note that levels of calories might vary based on your health weight, such as being overweight, underweight, or you are having twins or multiples.
  • You need a minimum of 71 grams of protein during this stage of pregnancy. Good sources of protein consist of tofu, fish, nuts, beans and soy products.
  • Getting 27 milligrams of iron on daily basis is essential to keep the iron-related deficiencies such as anaemia at bay. Best sources of iron include lean red meat, spinach, legumes like lentils, citrus fruits and sweet peppers.
  • You also need a minimum of 1,000 mg of calcium in a day, which is quite essential for the formation of bones and teeth in your body. Good sources of calcium consist of almond milk, soy milk, cheese, seafood, legumes and leafy greens.
  • Exercise in water: Yes, you heard us right there! Exercising in water helps in easing up your tensed abdominal muscles by lightening your body to get the much-needed relief. Not only this, the buoyancy of the water helps in holding a few yoga poses more easily when compared to exercises done on floor.

Nutrition for baby

  • Accentuate your iron intake: You need quite a lot of iron on daily basis as it helps in making your red blood cells adequate for the growth and development of your baby. It is easier to feel and be anaemic if you don’t stack up on adequate amounts of iron. Try poultry, fish, and red meat in order to absorb bulk of iron from non-vegetarian sources. In vegetarian sources, you can get your dose from pulses, spinach, lentils and iron-packed breakfast cereals. But be rest assured that you need to have a good source of Vitamin C food in order to absorb your iron more efficiently. Think of drinking lemonade or orange juice to stock up on Vitamin C. Cooking in iron utensils is also a great way to improve the content of iron in your food. Lastly, make sure to not drink too much of tea and coffee, as tannins in them tend to interfere with your iron supplement. Make sure to leave at least a minimum of one-hour of gap between your meal and tea or coffee session. 
  • Opting for a healthy vegetarian diet during pregnancy is also totally possible: If you are vegetarian, then iron and calcium can be your best friends. Good sources of iron for vegetarians can be dried fruit, nuts, pulses, soya and soya products, along with dates, raisins and figs. Calcium can be found in almonds, sesame seeds, kidney beans, chickpeas, baked beans and fortified soya products.
  • Healthy snacking options are aplenty too: They can be in the form of fruit lassi, freshly squeezed pomegranate juice, along with a fresh piece of chikoo or mango. Other nourishing and tasty snacks can consist of dhokla, wheat noodles cooked with vegetables, appam, dalia or ragi.

Common worries

  • Treat stretch marks in time: By now your body might be looking like a road map for pinkish or reddish streaks running all over your abdomen or breasts. One of the best ways to decrease the occurrences of stretch marks is by gaining weight at a slower but gradual pace. Exercising adequately and applying Vitamin E lotions and glycerine-packed creams is indeed a great way to keep stretch marks at bay.
  • Having twins? Read up: As if your belly’s protruding and bursting isn’t a concern enough for you, having twins might be another one of the most important considerations for you at this stage. You are most probably going to have twins if you have a family history of fraternal twins or you are 35 years or above. If you are having a bigger-than-expected tummy, then in all likelihood you are likely to experience a bigger-than-expected baby, or may be two babies. But don’t just jump to conclusions yet as you might be suffering from that extra bout of bloating or gaseous occurrences.
  • Your partner is worried about each and everything related to pregnancy: If this is one of the biggest concerns for you by the 13th week of pregnancy, then it is about time you take your partner with you to your ‘let-us-see-the-baby’ ultrasound session. This is surely going to be one of the biggest milestones for him to get into the dad mode.
  • Fight food cravings and aversions: While you might still yearn for weird foods and might want to sniff on mint leaves and lemons at all times, make sure to be not too hard on yourself. Do your best to find your healthy food alternative and totally allow yourself to submerge in small portions of cheesy and fried foods you crave.

“During the 13th week of pregnancy your uterus grows and you can feel it right above your pelvic bone. This might result in a sharp abdominal pain but there is nothing to worry about, it is just another part of your pregnancy. You also start producing breast milk which is yellow or slightly orange in colour. Symptoms such as nausea and exhaustion continue to diminish from this week. Your belly continues to expand and you start feeling more energetic. This is one of the most enjoyable weeks of your pregnancy.

Focus on whole foods that contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and good fats. Whole grain toast with peanut butter is a perfect way to start your day. Fruits high in antioxidants, like berries, make a wonderful snack. Try incorporating lean protein from beans, eggs, and oily fish into your meals as well. Exercise is also recommended at this stage of your pregnancy. Walking, yoga, swimming, jogging and light weights are some great options that you can enjoy.”

Dr.Birbala Rai, M.B.B.S., M.S. in Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Senior Consultant at PSRI Hospital, New Delhi

Seasonal Pregnancy Care 

Summer –When the summers are on in full spring, make sure to not only exercise during the morning or evening timings. Limit paying visit to outdoor areas when the hot hours are blasting on and the sun rays are strongest, i.e. between 11 am to 4 pm.

Monsoon –Keep your home germs and dirt free during monsoon as germs are most likely to lead to serious skin or stomach infections. Protect yourself from dengue or malaria by bathing in neem water and keeping yourself covered at all times.

Winter – Pregnancy in winter is all about layering on to feel the ease, especially when you are outside the comforts of your home. Make certain to protect your fingers and toes and do not stay too much in front of heaters as it can give you hot flashes, and remember your body temperature is already high during pregnancy!

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