During the 12th week of your pregnancy, your baby is growing quickly. You're also experiencing some changes, but those early pregnancy symptoms of nausea and fatigue are beginning to improve.
Your Baby's Development
By the 12th week of pregnancy, your baby is over two inches long. According to Pregnancy.org, your little one is experiencing several major developments this week:
- His or her eyes, which have been located near the sides of the head, are moving into their final positions.
- The liver and pancreas begin to function.
- The baby's ears move into their final location on the sides of the head.
- Your little one develops vocal cords, which will come in handy for crying and talking.
- The intestines continue developing and practice contracting.
Your Changing Body
At this point in your pregnancy, your healthcare provider can feel your uterus when doing an examination, according to the American Pregnancy Association. You are probably showing, and you may notice that your clothing is getting snug. If this is your first baby, chances are you won't need to buy maternity clothes yet, but that day is coming soon.
You may also notice that the areola, the colored area around your nipples, is getting darker. This will help in breastfeeding when your baby is born, since infants more easily see contrasting tones. Your skin may also be changing, and it's normal for dark areas to occur on your face or neck. Typically, your skin will return to normal after delivery.
More to Know About Week 12 of Your Pregnancy
By this point in your pregnancy, you have probably already heard the baby's heart beating. Depending on your health history and age, you doctor may also perform some tests to check for health concerns with the baby. You and your doctor or midwife may consider the following prenatal tests at this point in your pregnancy.
First Trimester Screening
A minimally invasive and very low-risk test, the first trimester screening is a combination of a blood test and an ultrasound evaluation. This test determines whether your baby may be at risk for a chromosomal abnormality that would require additional testing. Typically, the blood test checks hormone levels, while the ultrasound measures the translucency of the nuchal fold, or the skin and fluid behind the baby's neck. Doctors and midwives typically recommend this test between 11 and 13 weeks of pregnancy.
Chorionic Villus Sampling
Typically performed between the 10th and 13th week of pregnancy, chorionic villus sampling (CVS) is a genetic test offered to mothers of advanced maternal age (over 35), those who have an abnormal first trimester screening, or those who have a history of genetic defects. This test, which carries a small risk of miscarriage, involves removing a few cells from the placenta and testing those cells for chromosomal abnormalities. It also allows doctors to determine a baby's paternity before birth. Since there are risks to this procedure, it's important that you fully discuss it with your doctor.
If you need help downloading the printable pregnancy calendar, check out these helpful tips.
It's normal to feel anxious during this point in your pregnancy. Although testing for chromosomal abnormalities is beneficial in many cases, it can contribute to your nervousness. As always, it's important to talk to your doctor about these concerns and any other worries you may have about your health or the baby's health. You and your health professional will be working together for many weeks to come.