Week 12 of Your Pregnancy

A look at your body, your baby, and more

Pregnancy Week 12

Welcome to week 12 of your pregnancy—you’ll wrap up your first trimester next week. As your reward for weathering the hormone rollercoaster you’ve been riding, you may start to see the beginnings of a baby bump this week.


Your Trimester: First trimester

Weeks to Go: 28

You This Week

Good news: The amount of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) coursing through your body is beginning to decline and level off, meaning you may begin to feel relief from nausea and vomiting right about now.

The reason for the decline? Your placenta is now generating the hormone progesterone, which elbows out hCG.

At the same time, your uterus is expanding up and out of your pelvis and is now positioned in your lower abdomen, where it might be starting to slightly protrude. (If you gently press the bulge between your hip bones, you can actually feel your uterus.) This shift in position might also take some pressure off your bladder, easing up on your constant need to use the ladies’ room. While your budding bump may not require maternity wear quite yet, you will notice clothes not fitting as well.

At the same time, nearly half of all pregnant women notice some type of skin pigmentation changes around this time of their pregnancy. However, melasma (also called chloasma gravidarum and pregnancy mask) is most noticeable in women with an olive or darker complexion. Here, an increased pigmentation causes irregular dark patches on your forehead, upper lip, and cheeks.

The dark patches typically last until the pregnancy ends.

Your Baby This Week

There’s not a lot of wiggle room in your uterus by week 12. In fact, it’s entirely filled by your baby who will weigh about one ounce and measure a little more than three inches long by week’s end.

Up until now, baby’s intestines have extended into the umbilical cord.

But this week, there’s finally enough room in baby’s abdomen for the intestines to make their way to their final home. At the same time, baby’s kidneys are starting to function. The amniotic fluid that baby swallows passes into the kidneys and becomes urine that gets released into the bladder.

Other exciting developments: Baby’s bone marrow begins making white blood cell, the pituitary gland starts to secrete hormones, and your baby’s vocal cords form. Finally, brain synapses are strengthening and his or her face is continuing to take shape, with baby’s eyes moving steadily closer together toward their final destination.

At Your Doctor’s Office

If you had your first appointment at 8 weeks, you’ll be back at your healthcare provider’s office this week for your second prenatal visit. This appointment will be shorter than your first, but you will have some déjà vu with the tests and questions asked.

You’ll still have your weight and blood pressure checked. You’ll give a urine sample so your OB or midwife can check your sugar and protein levels. (High sugar may signal gestational diabetes, while high protein may be a sign of a kidney or urinary tract infection.) You’ll also get to hear your baby’s heartbeat, while your healthcare provider checks baby’s heart rate.

Upcoming Doctor’s Visits

Around week 12, you, your partner, and your healthcare provider might talk about whether an amniocentesis is a right choice for you, reviewing that there’s a small miscarriage risk associated with this test.

This test examines fetal cells in the amniotic fluid in order to detect any genetic disorders present in your growing baby. This test isn’t recommended for all women. However, if you’re at increased risk for genetic and chromosomal problems and/or if you are 35 and older, you are advised to consider it. The procedure is usually performed between week 14 and week 20. But again, the decision is ultimately yours.

Taking Care

Make no mistake: Feeling comfortable and confident while pregnant is good for you and part of self-care. And whether you buy new or used clothes, or borrow some from a friend, revamping your wardrobe is necessary.

To start, simply consider a pregnancy band. This nifty essential allows you to leave the buttons or snaps on the top of your pants or skirt open; the band acts as your new and more comfortable waistband.

For Partners

While baby’s sex can often be determined between week 18 and week 20, during a second-trimester ultrasound, that doesn’t mean that you and your partner will want to learn the news. Between now and then, you both will need to make that decision with the knowledge that not all couples are on the same page.

If you do disagree, it’s up to the pair of you to learn—and understand—why you have opposite takes. For instance, some may want to learn the baby’s sex prior to birth to help prepare a nursery, choose a name, or even make space to deal with feelings of disappointment. On the other hand, others may not want to find out baby’s sex so they can sidestep stereotypical gifts and boy/girl preconceptions, or simply enjoy one of life’s biggest surprises.

Verywell Checklist

  • Continue taking prenatal vitamins.

  • Continue drinking about eight to 12 glasses of water a day.

  • Think about getting a pregnancy belly band.

Last Week: Week 11
Coming Up: Week 13


American Pregnancy Association. Skin Changes During Pregnancy. http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/skin-changes-during-pregnancy/

Merck Manual Consumer Version. Stages of Development of the Fetus. http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/women-s-health-issues/normal-pregnancy/stages-of-development-of-the-fetus

National Women's Health Resource Center. Healthywomen.org. Pregnancy & Parenting First Trimester of Pregnancy: 12 Weeks Pregnant. http://www.healthywomen.org/content/article/12-weeks-pregnant-symptoms-and-signs

The Nemours Foundation. Kidshealth.org. Pregnancy Calendar, Week 12. http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/week12.html