What’s It Like?
You are in the twelfth week of your pregnancy and things are looking up! Hopefully, you’ve just said goodbye to your last week of morning sickness. Your baby is the size of a kiwi and has developed his or her own reflexes. The placenta takes over some of the most important functions, like the hormone production. And as the uterus moves into the abdominal cavity, you find you need to urinate less too. As you approach the second trimester, this will be the first of several changes that will likely make your life a lot easier.
Your Baby’s Growth
- Body Size
Your baby continues to grow, but not in an alarming pace, reaching this week 3 inches (76 millimeters) or about the size of a kiwi.
- Head Characteristics
This week, your baby’s face begins to take a round shape, as his or her chin and nose become smooth. The eyes, which originally formed on the sides of the head, move toward the center of the face. Meanwhile, nerve cells are multiplying rapidly, and in your baby’s brain, synapses are quickly forming.
- Body Appearance
This week is special because of the baby’s development of reflexes. Your baby can raise his or her little fist and open it, bend her fingers and suckle. The eye muscles can contract. Your baby startles if you stimulate her through your belly, but you cannot feel that yet. Soon though!
- Internal Organs
Your baby’s intestines, which grew so rapidly that they pushed into the umbilical cord, will begin to migrate towards the abdominal cavity this week. The kidneys secrete urine into the bladder.
What Happens Inside Your Body?
No more frantic trips to the restroom (at least for a little bit)! Your uterus has moved up the body, into the abdominal cavity and is no longer applying pressure to your bladder. Frequent urination isn’t totally gone – it returns especially in the last 12 weeks of pregnancy. Also, the nausea might still act up, but it will ease as the placenta takes over the role of hormone production. If you’ve lost your appetite, from the twelfth week of pregnancy you may begin to regain it. Note, a normal, healthy woman consumes on average 1,800 to 2,200 calories a day. During pregnancy, you need about an extra 300 calories. That’s not much – about 2 large portabella mushrooms, extra bagel, some string cheese, 8 slices of turkey pepperoni, or an extra tall glass of milk.
You may experience ingestion or heartburn, a burning sensation from your lower throat to your breastbone. Heartburn is caused by the increased hormone progesterone which relaxes the valve between your stomach and esophagus, leading to stomach acid moving up towards the diaphragm. Try to avoid anything that accentuates it such as fried and high-fat foods.
The increased blood flow doesn’t just give you that pregnancy glow, but can cause gingivitis as well. Your saliva is likely more acidic (caused by heartburn acids) and both cause you to bleed more and be more likely to have sores in your mouth. Take care of your teeth, and floss regularly to avoid infection. Bleeding gums are a pain, but they will pass after pregnancy.
How Different Will You Look?
Although you probably don’t need to stock up on maternity wear just yet, you may find all your clothes a little tight and be having problems squeezing into your pants. You may have also gone up a bra cup size and gained about 2.2 pounds (1 kg). On average, a woman should expect to gain between 25 to 35 pounds by the end of the pregnancy.
Some of those pounds are the weight of the baby, but its your amniotic fluid, uterus, placenta, increased body fluids, blood, breasts that add up. Here’s how it breaks down:
- Baby: 7 1/2 pounds
- Maternal stores (like fat, protein, and nutrients): 7 pounds
- Body fluids: 4 pounds
- Blood: 4 pounds
- Amniotic fluid: 2 pounds
- Womb: 2 pounds
- Breasts: 2 pounds
- Placenta: 1 1/2 pounds
While weight gain is healthy, what you eat still matters. Opt for high-fiber, low fat foods, and lots of fruits and veggies, and eat small meals throughout the day. It will make it much easier to lose the extra weight after you give birth.
For fathers–How Can You Care For Both Of Your Loved Ones?
Your partner’s hormones are stabilizing and she may seem more like herself again. She is close to the second trimester when things will calm down. If she’s still moody or having difficulty with all the physical changes, try and treat her to a romantic dinner or something else that’s suits your fancy. Why not offer to do her share of the household chores? If her libido is still low, best if you don’t push it, but make sure you keep the lines of communication open. If she’s finding it hard to exercise with the fatigue, why not sign up for classes together? It can be a great way for both of you to get fit.
For mothers – Tips To Help You Go Through Trimester
- Good Dental Hygiene: Your gums are more sensitive to bleeding, sores and infections, so good dental hygiene is key. Make sure you brush twice per day and floss at least once per day. Make sure you visit the dentist at least twice during pregnancy, preferably towards the end of the first and second trimesters. And opt for foods that are high in calcium. It will help keep your own teeth and bones strong and strengthen those of your baby. (Related Article:10 Tips To Brighten Your Smile)
- Do You Want To Know The Baby’s Sex? The baby’s genitalia will soon be recognizable on an ultrasound, which means a big decision. Do you choose to find out the baby’s sex? On the one hand, it means that you can plan what clothes to buy, what color to paint their room, and help you decide on a name. On the other, many people enjoy the surprise. Some couples even decide that only one of them wants know – it’s all okay as long as you can keep a secret.
- Tell Work About The Pregnancy: The timing on this decision can be difficult because on the one hand you want to tell people before they guess, but on the other, you want to have made it through the most risky part of the pregnancy. In the next couple of weeks, you’re going to start gaining weight rapidly, so if you haven’t already told your work about the pregnancy, now is a good time to do so.
Here are a few tips.
- Tell Your Supervisor First: if you are experiencing morning sickness at work or are tired, you may want to tell them as soon as possible to explain what’s going on.
- Time Things Carefully: If you are in the middle of a key project or have an upcoming salary review, you might want to wait.
- Offer Solutions: If you think that managing the workload will be a problem, then talk to your boss, offer solutions and keep the lines of communication open.
You have a kiwi-sized baby growing inside of you and you are almost into the most peaceful time of the pregnancy – the second trimester. This is a time when your pregnancy hormones will fall or stabilize, your energy levels will rise, and hopefully your libido too! You are coming up to the time when you have to make big decisions, like whether or not to take an amniocentesis test or whether to choose to find out the baby’s sex. We’ll try and guide you through all of these with detailed information. And if you want more information, the American Pregnancy Association is an excellent resource too.