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12 Weeks Pregnant

12-weeks-baby

Image: Fetal Development At 12 Weeks

In the last three weeks, your baby has doubled in size and is about as big as a plum. If you were to stimulate your tummy he might open his mouth, squint and move his little fingers and toes! Although your placenta won’t take over until Week 14, it is now fully-formed.

Around this time you’ll have an antenatal appointment – either at a hospital clinic, community clinic, or your local GP surgery. Here you can talk about any concerns and generally put your mind at rest and relax into the rest of pregnancy.

If you’ve been feeling awful with nausea, cheer up because morning sickness is most likely nearing its end at this point. This is also the time that you’re likely to feel a bit more reassured and less nervous because after 12 weeks the risk of miscarriage is much lower. For that reason, many couples choose to tell friends and family at this time. You’ll most likely get a lot of attention and people wanting to carry things for you (who said everything about pregnancy was hard?) Lap it up and enjoy any cards and presents.

What should my weight gain be at 12 weeks pregnant?
Normal weight gain for mums-to-be at 12 weeks is around 2-5 lb.
 
What should my weight gain be throughout my pregnancy?
Steady wins the race. Throughout your whole pregnancy you’ll probably put on about 10kg to 12.5kg. Although remember weight gain varies in pregnancy and is dependent on a lot of different factors. Focus on eating a healthy range of food and get plenty of fruit and veg, starchy carbohydrates, milk and dairy foods and protein. Keep fats and sugars to a minimum.

It’s not just about the amount of weight you gain but when you gain it. You’ll probably gain the least in the first trimester. Second trimester gain should be steady and third trimester gain will be most pronounced because your baby is growing so rapidly by then.

Have a look at our weight and healthy eating in pregnancy article for more information.
 
Is it safe to have sex while I’m pregnant?
For the majority of women, yes absolutely! It’s common for couples to worry about sex in pregnancy but the good news is that if your pregnancy is normal, you can enjoy lovemaking right up until the point your waters break.

There have been a number of studies on sex and pregnancy. You’ll be pleased to know that sex during pregnancy is not associated with miscarriage, premature birth or vaginal infections.

Your baby is protected from infection by the thick mucus plug that seals your cervix during pregnancy. The muscles of your clever uterus and the amniotic sac also work to protect your little one. And even though you might notice your baby moving around more after you orgasm, that’s only because of your increased high rate – not because your baby is aware or at risk in any way.

Even if you do get a vaginal infection for any reason, sex won’t compromise antibiotic treatment. But you need to make sure that your partner wears a condom to avoid infection at such times.

You’ll need to speak to your doctor or midwife however if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Cervical weakness
  • Bleeding
  • Low-lying placenta
  • Cramps or pain in your abdomen.

If your partner has genital herpes you may need to avoid sexual intercourse. This is because catching herpes for the first time during pregnancy can affect your unborn baby.

Is it safe to have oral sex during pregnancy?
Yes, it’s fine to enjoy oral sex during pregnancy – in fact many couples treasure it if intercourse is unsafe for any reason.

Is it normal to go off sex a bit during pregnancy?
Yes. While some women report increased sex drive during pregnancy (especially in the second trimester) it’s certainly not at all uncommon to experience reduced libido when you’re expecting. Your body is going through so many changes both inside and out, and many women report feeling less attractive or even insecure when naked around their partner.

Hormonal changes within the body are often responsible for loss of libido too. To add to this, you’ll be tired and perhaps nauseous, so it might feel like the last thing you want to do is act the sex siren! It’s also not uncommon for men to be less up for it in the months leading up to the birth. Some men worry about hurting the baby or feel self-conscious about sex in the presence of your foetus.

In truth your little one is blissfully unaware of your lovemaking and sex is not at all harmful for normal pregnancies.

Your general state of mind is thought to play a part too. If you’re feeling confident and happy about the changes to come, you’re more likely to feel sexy. But if you’re experiencing depression or feeling scared about impending parenthood or labour, you’re less likely to want to make love.

Many couples find that sex slows down in the third trimester in any case. Your bump is heavy, you’re tired, and you have so much to organise before the big day.

Whatever your stage of pregnancy, if you’re worried about sex the key thing is to talk through these issues with your partner. Communication can bring you closer and with any luck, relight that fire!

Will my experience of sex change during pregnancy?
It may do. Some women find sex gets even better during pregnancy. Others experience the opposite. It really just depends.

During pregnancy, blood flow to the pelvic region increases, which can cause swelling in the genitals, sometimes intensifying sexual sensation. However some mums-to-be find that this makes for discomfort after intercourse.

Some women experience pain during sex too, especially if penetration is deep. Read of our section on the most comfortable positions below for help in this area. After orgasm you may find you experience some cramping in your abdomen because climax can set off contractions. But don’t worry, it’s not harmful and it will ease off.

Lots of mums-to-be report that their clitoris is a bit desensitised whilst they’re expecting. Women also frequently say that orgasm is a bit more difficult to reach in pregnancy. It’s a good thing having a baby is so rewarding!

Many couples also find they get more satisfaction from foreplay in pregnancy than penetrative sex. So even if intercourse is on the menu less, you can still indulge and stay close. Enjoy!

Which sexual positions are the most comfortable now I’m pregnant?
Many pregnant women find that as their pregnancy rolls on, certain positions (for example missionary) become uncomfortable. As an alternative, why not:

  • Try spooning (lying side by side). This keeps penetration shallow. Deep intercourse can become uncomfortable as your pregnancy progresses.
  • Use the bed for support. For example lie at the edge of the bed on your back, knees bent, with your feet and bottom at the mattress edge. Then your partner can stand or kneel in front of you.
  • Position yourself on your knees in the doggy position. As your bump grows, you’ll enjoy the relief this offers your pelvis. Keep in mind that in this position penetration can be quite deep so you might need to ask your partner to go gently. Some couples find it helps to hold a pillow between his lower tummy and your bottom.
  • Sit down to make love, perhaps on your partner’s lap while he sits on a strong, solid chair. This position keeps extra weight off your uterus and means you’re more in control of the depth and speed of penetration.
  • Get on top. Research has shown many pregnant women experience higher levels of sexual satisfaction in this position. It keeps any extra weight off you and means you’re in control of penetration.

If you’re feeling both up to it and up for it, it’s generally helpful if you can keep lovemaking up as much as possible in pregnancy. It’s likely to help keep the bond between you and your partner strong at a time that can be stressful. And once the baby comes, it may be a while before you feel like indulging.

Possible Scan at Week 12
You’ll most likely be offered a Nuchal Translucency Scan between 11 and 14 weeks. However, it gives a better view of the baby at 13 weeks, particularly if mum is overweight at all.

With a Nuchal Translucency Scan (also sometimes called the First Trimester Scan), the baby can be seen in more detail. This scan confirms that there is a heartbeat, and the number of foetuses.

Nuchal Translucency Scan or 12 Week Scan

Nuchal Translucency Scan or 12 Week Scan Picture
(Click image to enlarge)

The baby’s head, trunk, arms, legs, hands and feet can be seen and your medical professional will also look at the placenta, amniotic fluid and umbilical cord. Your sonographer will confirm the date of the pregnancy and possibly inspect the nuchal pad of skin for any signs of Down’s syndrome. At this stage, detection of the sex of the baby is difficult and not very reliable.