Technically you are reaching a great milestone of your pregnancy as you enter week 12. This will be the last week of your first trimester. From the next week, you will be entering a less stressful second trimester, which is known as honeymoon period of your pregnancy. By now your baby is done with almost all of the critical growth and has taken big steps in the area of growth and development. There is no more hiding the good news from friends and family, since your pregnancy is not just certain, but your baby is safe and secure. The chances of miscarriage come down drastically in the second trimester. Your baby has developed almost all major organs and the placenta is taking care of all her needs. All you need to do is exercise, follow a healthy diet and stay mentally fit to ensure her proper growth in your womb.
Changes in Your Body:
In the 12th week of pregnancy,
- Your waistline is thickening and you cannot get into your tight fitting clothes anymore. It is now time to go out for your maternity shopping. Just to feel good, you can include bags and shoes to your list, though it has nothing to do with your size.
- Your uterus has grown and now it can be felt above your pubic bone.
- While many of the terrible symptoms of past few weeks have subsided by now, you still have to deal with heartburn. The condition is also referred to as acid indigestion, sends a burning sensation shooting up your throat from the bottom of your breast bone. You will again be blaming the hormones for this discomfort. If you are the lucky one, you will be spared the trouble until later pregnancy, when the large size of the uterus makes the condition inevitable.
- The swelling waves of hormones that had caused both emotional and physical disturbances in you are now starting to calm down. Don’t worry if you still experience their effects, the calming down will happen soon enough.
- Unfortunately, though some of the symptoms are coming down, headaches and dizziness are moving up the scale. The frequency and intensity of these symptoms may increase from this week onwards.
- Also you will find increase in the vaginal discharge. This is your body’s natural way of protecting you from infections.
Other symptoms that may affect when you are 12 weeks pregnant are:
- Stress and anxiety
- Drop in blood sugar levels
- Vision disturbance
Now that you are aware of the symptoms. Learn what to do if these 12 weeks pregnancy symptoms persist. If the early pregnancy symptoms persist along with a little spotting or bleeding, consult your doctor to rule out molar pregnancy. When something goes wrong during the fertilization process, it creates abnormalities in the cell that grow out of the placenta. If left untreated molar pregnancy also known as hydatiform mole can be life threatening to the pregnant woman. Though they are benign they can spread beyond the uterus. Do not panic at the first feeling you get of persisting symptoms. Mole pregnancy is very rare, whereas continuation of symptoms is not a rare occurrence. Every woman has different frequency, duration and intensity of the early pregnancy symptoms. This is the time to get your genetic testing done to determine the risk of birth defects. As a mom, it is natural for you to feel scared and confused about this procedure. Do not hesitate to ask questions to your doctor.
Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS):
CVS is a highly important diagnostic test, especially for those who are at higher risk of genetic abnormalities in the fetus. Although CVS is mostly associated with testing for Down’s syndrome, it can detect more than 200 other disorders as well. CVS test in done by collecting cells from the placenta by Transcervical test or the Transabdominal test. In Transcervical test, your doctor guides a thin catheter through the cervix to your placenta. The chorionic villi cells are gently suctioned into the catheter. In the Transabdominal test, the doctor guides a long thin needle through the abdomen to your placenta with the help of an Ultrasound. The sample tissue is drawn into the needle before pulling it out.
1. The test is important in cases where:
- The age of pregnant woman is above 35.
- Screen results have shown some form of abnormality.
- There is increased nuchal translucency or similar ultrasound findings.
- Presence of chromosomal abnormality or other genetic disorder in family history.
- Parents have been identified as carriers for a genetic disorder.
CVS is extremely important as it detects chromosome abnormalities and genetic disorders with high levels of accuracy of nearly 98-99%. Unfortunately, it cannot identify the severity of these disorders, nor does it identify neural tube defects.
2. Do not go for the CVS test if:
- You have an active infection (i.e. STD).
- You are carrying twins.
- You have experienced vaginal bleeding during pregnancy.
Contact your healthcare provider immediately, if you doubt you have an infection, spotting, cramping or pain after the CVS test has been done.
Prevention and Treatment of UTI in 12th week of pregnancy:
In Week 11, we spoke about the UTI during your pregnancy. This week we shall discuss about the prevention and treatment of Urinary Tract Infection, especially during your pregnancy. Prevention:
- Nothing you do can promise you 100% protection from UTI, but you can sure bring down its risk to a great extent if you stick to the following tips:
- Try to avoid refined food, caffeine, alcohol and sugar (in any form) in your regular diet.
- Drink plenty of water to flush out toxins.
- Fresh and unsweetened cranberry juice is good for your health as well as in prevention of UTI.
- If you are having sex, urinate before and after coitus.
- Try to empty your bladder completely while urinating.
- Do not miss to take your supplements of Vitamin C, Beta-carotene and Zinc.
- If you have mild UTI, avoid sex as it may aggravate the condition.
- Do not use douches, creams or sprays in your vagina during pregnancy. It may not only cause infection, but may be harmful for your baby as well.
- Wash your genitals and keep them clean.
- Do not rub your genitals to dry them. Pat dry with a soft towel.
- Use clean, soft cotton panties. Change them regularly.
- Though a hot water bath is refreshing, do not sit in the bathtub for a long time. Get out of there within 30 minutes.
- If detected on time, UTI poses no harm to you or your baby. It can be treated safely with antibiotics which are safe during your 12 weeks pregnancy. Do not opt for over the counter medicines or antibiotics. Consult your doctor and go with prescribed medications. The course will typically last for 3-7 days.
- Symptoms you should watch out for include-
- Persistent pain in lower abdomen.
- Nausea & vomiting (unrelated to morning sickness).
- Burning sensation during urinating.
Changes in Your Baby:
Just a few weeks ago, your baby was a cluster of cells called zygote. Today, she has developed into a full functioning human being with facial features, limbs, head and all essential organs. She is developing reflexes required for her survival. Though you cannot feel her movements in your abdomen, know that she will wriggle and move away when your belly is prodded. Most of the organs are in their place, though they need to mature before becoming fully functional. Some of the important developments seen in your baby by the end of the first trimester include-
- The face becomes more human like with the eyes and ears being placed appropriately. Her features like lips and eyebrows come into focus.
- The heart has developed chambers and pumping blood into her tiny body and limbs. It beats twice at the rate of your heartbeat; i.e. about 160 beats per minute.
- The intestines need to mature but they have room to move into the abdomen now. The digestive system in your baby is now starting to get ready for the eating and pooping by practicing the contraction movements in her tiny tummy.
- Her nerve cells have multiplied rapidly in the last few weeks forming the essential neurological connections in her brain known as synapses.
- The baby responds to external stimulus.
- White bloods cells are produced by the bone marrow to make her immune to infections. She is not going to be protected by your safe womb forever and needs her own defence system.
- The reproductive hormones (yes you heard it right) are being produced by the pituitary gland, though it will not be needed for another decade or two.
- The bay is closing her fingers, curling her toes and is able to move her eye muscles. The mouth can make sucking movements.
- The nails on fingers and toes become visible.
- The umbilical cord and placenta are developed and they function effectively.
- The liver is already making bile.
- The kidneys have started to secrete urine into the tiny bladder.
- The genitals have started to develop but it is yet too early to find out if the baby is a boy or a girl.
You have a tiny baby, sucking and kicking around in your womb. The feeling should make you feel so great!
Size of Your Baby:
She is the size of a large plum now and measures 5.2 – 5.6 cm (approx 2 inches) long in CRL (crown rump length) and weighs 12-16 gm which is almost half ounce.
Care and Tips for 12 Weeks Pregnancy:
- Take care of your back and body by adopting correct posture. Do not hesitate to use support pillows to help your lower back. If you have a desk job, see to it that you sit comfortably, preferably on an ergonomic chair. Walk around your office or home every now and then to relax your muscles. Wear comfortable clothes and footwear.
- Never attempt to lift heavy things, especially in the wrong way, which can aggravate your back problems. If you have to pick up something very important, squat down to lift the object rather than bending over to do it. This way, the weight is felt by the legs and not your back.
- If you are feeling a bit low or tired, go for a good body massage and relaxing bath. Get professional masseur or ask your partner to help you with the massage. Opting for a neck and foot massage can make you feel pampered and will calm down frazzled nerves.
- Start eating healthy, now that your morning sickness is coming down. Check out for the list of food that is good for your baby and you.
- You may be disturbed with the patches, freckles and acnes which appear on your skin. Under normal conditions you can treat this condition with large doses of Vitamin A. Though Vitamin A sounds cool, it is a dangerous, especially during your pregnancy. Try natural herbal applications instead- always after the advice of your doc.
- There is nothing wrong in a pregnant woman asking for help. After all, the priority has to be the safety of your baby.
Tips for Dad to Be:
You should be glad that the roller-coaster ride of emotions and other pregnancy related symptoms are coming down. The second trimester is going to be a much easier period for you and your partner. If you have survived the first trimester, the second trimester is going to be a piece of cake. Some husbands have got into the bad books of their wives by making simple mistakes during her pregnancy. You don’t have to be one of them.
Check out the following don’ts to avoid conflicts:
- Ask her whether your breakfast is ready as you are getting late for your office when she is throwing out her innards in the bathroom.
- Tell that her frequent visit to toilet disturbs your sleep.
- Stop her from eating those extra scoops of ice-cream.
- Talk about her losing shape after childbirth.
- Ask her to find your keys, socks or files.
She may have done this religiously for you in past, but with her present condition, those simple sentences sound blasphemous to her ears. Stay clear when she is in bad mood. Lastly, enjoy this sweet and sour period of your pregnancy, and know that when this all ends, you will be holding a beautiful little baby in your arms.