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Week 12 of Pregnancy | How Big is Your Baby at 12 Weeks?

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  • Bambino Mio
  • 13 / 06 / 2023

Pregnancy is a time of huge change for you, your body and your life. Our guide will help you through this amazing time, letting you know what to expect at each stage and, most excitingly, what your baby is up to each week.

Your baby is the size of a lime!

Only sweeter! Your baby is now around 5.5cm (2.1 inches) from the top of their head to their bottom and they weigh around 58g (2.1oz).


As if that isn’t interesting enough, your baby is now a fully-formed human being, with all their vital organs, limbs, muscles and bones in place and growing rapidly. Their sex organs are developed now, although they’re too small for a sonographer to determine the sex just yet.


Your baby’s skeleton is composed of cartilage (1), but it’ll soon start accumulating the minerals needed to become bone, with this process starting the the skull and long bones (which sounds a bit piratical…). This process carries on until your baby is in their early 20s!

Baby’s looking more human by the day

Their eyes are still far apart, but they’re moving closer to the front of their face and their earlobes are forming. Those new muscles are starting to do their thing, too, as your baby can now wiggle around and even clench and shake their tiny fists at the sonographer during your 12-week scan.


Even though there’s a lot of action going on in there these days, your baby is too small for you to be able to feel it. You’ll have to wait another seven or eight weeks at least.

Your 12-week ultrasound scan

Your 12-week scan (2) is also known as your dating scan because its main purpose is to establish how far along your pregnancy is - pretty much to the day - so you know your estimated due date.


You’ll also find whether you’re having one baby or two and whether your baby is growing in the right place and developing well.


The 12-week ultrasound scan can also detect various health conditions, such as spina bifida (3). You may also be offered a nuchal scan (4) around this time to assess your baby’s risk of Down syndrome, as well as other chromosomal abnormalities.

To tell or not to tell?

For many people, the 12-week scan is a watershed because it makes the pregnancy feel real and also because the risk of miscarriage falls rapidly after 12 weeks.


In addition to this, people are likely to be suspecting something’s going on, so it may well be time to come clean and announce your pregnancy!

How you’re feeling at 12 weeks pregnant

At 12 weeks of pregnancy you’re probably getting over any nausea and vomiting you may have experienced and you might be feeling more energetic.


You might also be noticing a bit of constipation, which is usually caused by pregnancy hormones. Maintaining a healthy diet, drinking lots of water and some light exercise can help to relieve this.


Many women also feel sharp “pulling” pains in their lower abdomen (5), which can be somewhat alarming. Most often these pregnancy symptoms are caused by your ligaments softening and stretching. If this abdominal pain persists or gets worse, however, call your GP or midwife for advice.


It’s around 12 or 13 weeks of pregnancy when you can actually feel the top of your uterus rising over your pubic bone (6). For a few weeks at least, this lifting of your womb takes a bit of pressure off your bladder, so make the most of it!

Staying healthy at 12 weeks of pregnancy

As morning sickness starts to recede and you feel less sick, your appetite will probably return so now’s the time to make every meal and snack count.


Carry some handy but nutritious snacks with you, like pots of mixed nuts, vegetable sticks and hummus, mini cheeses, wholewheat crackers and fresh fruit. You'll be helping your blood sugar to stay stable and packing in some vital nutrients.


Having plain or fizzy water to hand is also a good idea as dehydration can increase any lingering feelings of nausea.


It’s also the last week for your folic acid (7) supplements and other prenatal vitamins. You can carry on taking them if you want, but if you change to another formulation, make sure it doesn’t contain vitamin A, as this can affect your baby’s development (8).

What you need to think about at 12 weeks of pregnancy

Even though you won’t have much of a baby bump yet, it’s never too soon to think about maternity wear. Think ahead to how the weather will be a couple of months from now and have some fun browsing!


The 12-week point is also a good time to start some financial planning. Set aside some money each month for your maternity leave and find out about your employer’s maternity leave packages or, if you’re self employed, find out about Maternity Allowance (9).

Citations and References

(1) National Institutes of Health (NIH). National Library of Medicine. ‘Embryology, Bone Ossification.’ 2014. Web. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK539718

(2) National Health Service (NHS). ‘Your Pregnancy Care. 12-week Scan.’ 2020. Web. www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/your-pregnancy-care/12-week-scan

(3) National Health Service (NHS). ‘Overview. Spina Bifida.’ 2020. Web. www.nhs.uk/conditions/spina-bifida

(4) National Health Service (NHS). ‘Screening for Down's Syndrome, Edwards' Syndrome and Patau's Syndrome.’ 2021. Web. www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/your-pregnancy-care/screening-for-downs-edwards-pataus-syndrome

(5) National Health Service (NHS). ‘Round Ligament Pain in Pregnancy. 2019. Web. www.royalberkshire.nhs.uk/media/wtai0ety/round-ligament-pain-in-pregnancy_oct19.pdf

(6) National Institutes of Health (NIH). National Library of Medicine. ‘Gestational Age Assessment.’ 2022. Web. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK526000

(7) National Health Service (NHS). ‘Keeping Well in Pregnancy. Vitamins, Supplements and Nutrition in Pregnancy.’ 2020. Web. www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/keeping-well/vitamins-supplements-and-nutrition

(8) National Health Service (NHS). ‘Vitamins and Minerals. Vitamin A.’ 2020. Web. www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-a

(9) UK Government (gov.uk). ‘Benefits and Financial Support for Families. Maternity Allowance.’ www.gov.uk/maternity-allowance