12 Weeks Pregnant: Signs, Symptoms, and What to Expect

12 Weeks Pregnant: Signs, Symptoms, and What to Expect


At 12 weeks pregnant, you’ve reached an exciting milestone in your pregnancy — the final week of your first trimester. This week marks a crucial turning point in your baby’s development, plus you may start to feel some relief from your least pleasant early pregnancy symptoms. 

Here’s what you need to know. 

How You’re Feeling at 12 Weeks

At this point in your pregnancy, your uterus is about the size of a grapefruit.1 You may notice your pants are feeling a little tighter, and you may even have the beginnings of a visible baby bump. (But if you’re not showing yet, don’t sweat it! Every belly grows at a different pace.)

If you’ve been plagued with first trimester fatigue and morning sickness, the light at the end of the tunnel is getting a little brighter—you may notice both of these early pregnancy symptoms starting to taper off this week. Morning sickness typically subsides sometime between week 12 and 14, although some women may continue to experience it throughout the second trimester. As for the fatigue, you may find yourself needing fewer naps or having a bit more energy than you’ve had for the past few months.

However, you may have a few new symptoms to contend with this week:

  • Dizziness. During pregnancy, changing hormones cause your blood vessels to widen. This improves blood flow to the baby, but it can also cause your blood pressure to dip, which can lead to bouts of dizziness. This typically starts around the cusp of the second trimester. If you’re experiencing dizzy spells, try to avoid getting up too fast after sitting or lying down. If your dizziness is persistent, or it’s accompanied by any other worrisome symptoms, let your OB know.

  • Headaches. Blame your changing hormones for this pesky pregnancy symptom, too — you may start experiencing headaches more frequently around week 12. Other potential headache triggers include stress or an out-of-whack sleep schedule. Acetaminophen is generally considered to be the safest pain reliever during pregnancy, but always talk to your doctor before taking any medication during pregnancy.2

  • Increased discharge. As the cervix creates more mucus to help prevent infections, it’s normal to experience an increase in vaginal discharge. Normal discharge will be white or clear; if it’s yellow, green, or tinged with blood, let your doctor know. 

What’s New With Your Baby

Week 12 is an exciting time in your baby’s development. Your baby is currently the size of a lime or plum, and only weighs around half an ounce—but the organs, bones and muscles have all been fully formed, along with the circulatory and digestive systems.3 

Getting through these crucial stages of development means that your risk of miscarriage dips dramatically after week 12, so you may feel like you can finally breathe a small sigh of relief.4 

Your baby’s genital organs have also formed, but they may not be visible on an early pregnancy ultrasound. If you’re planning to find out your baby’s gender, you’ll most likely have to wait until your anatomy scan ultrasound, which is usually performed around the 20-week mark. 

Your Week 12 To-Do List

Here are a few key steps you can take to support your pregnancy during week 12:

1. Recalibrate your nutrition goals.

While you’re in the throes of morning sickness, your nutrition plan may be limited to whatever you can keep down. But as the nausea starts to lift, you can focus on getting optimal nutrition to support your changing body and your baby’s development. 

Some of the most important nutrients during the first trimester include:

  • Iron (to support the increase in blood production).
  • Folate (to support your baby’s neural tube formation and brain development).
  • Vitamin B12 (to support neural tube formation and the development of the neurological function).
  • Vitamin D (to support immune function and your baby’s skeletal development).
  • Iodine (to support brain and nervous system development).
  • Choline (to support brain development, neural tube formation, and cellular growth and metabolism).

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2. Schedule a prenatal ultrasound.

If you haven’t had an early pregnancy ultrasound yet, your doctor may perform one at 12 weeks. This ultrasound can detect your baby’s heartbeat, check for multiple pregnancies, measure the fetus, and help to pinpoint your due date. 

3. Discuss genetic testing with your doctor.

Around 12 weeks, your OB may offer you the option of a first-trimester genetic screening.5 This screening usually includes two components:

  • Maternal blood test. This test looks for markers in your blood that may indicate a higher risk of certain chromosomal abnormalities. 
  • Nuchal translucency test. This ultrasound measures the fluid behind your baby’s neck, which can help to predict your baby’s chances of having a genetic condition such as Down syndrome.

It’s important to know that first trimester genetic testing doesn’t offer a diagnosis — it only helps to calculate your baby’s chances of having certain genetic conditions. This testing is optional, so talk to your OB to gauge whether it’s right for you. 

4. Be vigilant about sun care.

Starting in the second trimester, some women develop melasma, a condition that causes dark patches on the skin. Because these patches appear most often on the cheeks, forehead, chin, and upper lip, melasma is sometimes called “the mask of pregnancy.” While melasma is harmless, sun exposure can exacerbate these pigment changes—so get in the habit of applying (and reapplyig) sunscreen on your face every day. 

5. Fine-tune your prenatal vitamins. 

The second trimester starts next week, so now’s the time to look into prenatal supplements designed to support the next stage of your pregnancy. Our 2nd Trimester Prenatal Pack provides a core prenatal multivitamin, along with calcium and magnesium to support your baby’s skeletal growth and omega DHA + EPA for healthy brain development. 

References:

1 American Pregnancy Association: Normal Uterus Size During Pregnancy

2 Harvard Health: Is a common pain reliever safe during pregnancy?

3 Cleveland Clinic: Fetal Development

4 Cleveland Clinic: Miscarriage

5 Johns Hopkins Medicine; First Trimester Screening, Nuchal Translucency and NIPT