You are almost at the end of the third month of your pregnancy, and the risk of miscarriage has decreased dramatically . Read all about your baby’s development, your body changes as well as the abnormal symptoms to watch out for this week.
The period between weeks 12 and 18 is vital for your baby’s brain development . The pituitary gland begins producing hormones in the 12th week while the brain’s nerve cells develop and multiply at a fast pace .
The intestines (moved into your baby’s stomach last week) start to contract and relax repeatedly to practice healthy digestion so they can function properly after birth . The lungs continue their growth, taking part in primitive breathing while the vocal cords start to form . The pancreas is developed enough to produce insulin for your little one  with the kidneys starting to work on urine production .
The hands and feet are fully developed with your baby already able to wiggle those tiny fingers and toes . He may also start sucking on his thumb this week , which means the reflexes are starting to develop.
The face already looks like that of a newborn (only in miniature) with the eyes and ears almost in place . The hair follicles start growing special downy hair referred to as lanugo which helps your baby to stay warm .
The skeletal system starts out as a cartilaginous structure which begins to ossify or turn into hard bone around this week . The bone marrow also starts producing infection fighting white blood cells .
This week, the placenta has taken over the job of filtering oxygen and all the necessary nutrients for proper fetal growth .
This week, your baby measures about 2 inches (5 cm) in size, weighing around 0.5 oz (14 gm) ; almost as big as a plum .
The pressure on your bladder gradually lifts as the uterus starts moving upward from your pelvis . Your belly can now provide more space for the uterus to grow as your doctor can already feel its top (called the fundus) in your lower abdomen, just above the pubic bone .
First time moms do not usually start showing enough at this stage for others to know that they are pregnant. However, the gradually thickening belly often makes non-restrictive loose clothing seem more comfortable than the regular jeans and skirts . Overweight women, second time mothers and those carrying twins are likely to start showing a bit early .
Most women get their first ultrasound scan during week 12 . With the genital organs almost fully developed, your baby’s gender may be determined this week on an ultrasound image . However, sex determination might be erroneous at this early stage.
An ultrasound will also show your baby stretching, kicking, twisting and turning within the uterus . But, he is still too small for you to feel these movements. You can hear the fetal heartbeat on a Doppler device .
Certain blood tests may be performed during your prenatal checkup to determine the risks of genetic disorders like Down’s syndrome. Your doctor may recommend you to take a nuchal translucency scan which involves measuring the fluid levels behind your baby’s neck . Other prenatal screening tests like amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS) may be performed within a few weeks to confirm any fetal abnormalities .
You may notice your energy levels increasing to some extent this week  while the symptoms of frequent urination  and morning sickness begin to subside as well. However, it is perfectly normal to continue having the symptoms of tiredness, nausea, gas, bloating, heartburn and indigestion due to the increased pregnancy hormone levels. Other common 12th week signs include:
The symptoms to watch out for are quite the same from last week with the most alarming ones including:
Published on April 4th 2014 by Pregmed Editorial Team.
Article was last reviewed on 13th August 2014.