Your pregnancy: 12 weeks pregnant

Last modified on Thursday 12 May 2022

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You've finally reached the end of what can be an emotional and difficult first trimester. Find out what your first scan will involve, as well as what else to do now that you're 12 weeks pregnant and about to start your second trimester.

What's happening at 12 weeks?

Here are the key things you can expect from your pregnancy at this stage:

  • Your baby's starting to resemble a newborn.
  • You'll get to see your baby at your 12-week dating scan!
  • It's time to share the good news – if you haven't done so already.
  • Now you're almost in the second trimester, pregnancy symptoms may be easing.

How big's your baby?

Your baby is the size of a Freddo bar this week.

There’s still a little of the ‘alien’ (albeit adorable) about your growing baby, but their features are starting to look much more like a newborn.


Your baby's eyes, which started on the side of the head, have moved closer together, and the ears are nearly in their final position. All of the limbs, muscles, organs and bones are in place – at 5.4cm and 14g, all that’s left to do is to grow, grow, grow!

Your baby can now open and close their fingers and curl their toes. They can also use the muscles in their mouth to suck, so you may even catch them sucking their hand or thumb on the screen at your ultrasound appointment.

Your baby's brain is developing fast and so are their reflexes – even at this early stage.

Freddo chocolate bar
Your baby will be the size of a Freddo bar when you’re 12 weeks pregnant.

What's going on with your body?

Until now, your womb (uterus) has fit pretty snugly into your pelvis. Now that it’s started to move up, you might have to go to the loo slightly less often.

It also means that by now, your waist may be thickening out. If you've had a baby before, you may even start to see the first faint outlines of a bump, though it usually takes a bit longer (especially if this if your first baby).

If you've been anxious about the possibility of miscarriage, the great news is that now you've hit 12 weeks, the risk is dramatically reduced. It's estimated that one in five pregnancies end in miscarriage, but after 12 weeks, the risk is under one in fifty.

By now, the placenta has fully taken over from the yolk sac, so your baby will be getting all their nutrition and oxygen through the placenta. Further reminder, if you need it, that eating well is important for your baby's health, as well as your own.

As first-trimester symptoms subside you may find your appetite returning. But remember that you still don't need to eat any more than you did before you became pregnant.

As you creep into your second trimester, expect to see increased discharge in your knickers, too. If you're worried about it – if it smells unusual or is coloured – talk to your GP or midwife.

What to expect this week: your dating scan

This can be as exciting as it is nerve-racking! Unless you’ve had an early scan, this will be the first time you see your baby moving about.

The 12-week dating scan is the ultrasound scan to estimate when your baby is due (until now, it’s been worked out based on the date of your last period), check the physical development of your baby and screen for possible abnormalities.

The dating scan can also include a nuchal translucency (NT) scan, which is part of the combined test for Down’s Syndrome.

You’ll be asked to turn up for your appointment with a full bladder, so have a drink around half an hour before you get there. This is so that the sonographer (the professional performing the ultrasound scan) can get a clear view of your uterus, as when full, the bladder pushes it upwards a little.

You’ll be asked to lie on a bed and pull your trousers or skirt down to the top of your pubic bone. The sonographer will tuck some tissue into the top of your clothes, then apply a cold gel to your tummy; this helps the scanning instrument to glide across your skin smoothly.

You may be allowed to see the screen, and although you probably won’t be able to work out what’s where, you’ll hopefully be able to see some wriggling about.

The sonographer will take some measurements which will allow a fairly accurate calculation to be made of how long you've been pregnant. If you’re also having the NT scan, a measurement will be taken of the fold of skin at the base of your baby’s neck to assess the likelihood of Down’s.

Don't worry if your sonographer doesn't say much – it doesn't necessarily mean bad news, just that they have to concentrate to make sure they don't miss anything.

The best bit? You get to take a picture from your scan home with you. Take some change with you as some hospitals ask for a donation to cover this. This can range between around £3 and as much as £6, depending on which hospital you visit.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, some hospitals are asking women to come in alone for their scan, as there may not be space to safely accommodate your partner. The situation varies from day to day and from hospital to hospital, so it's a good idea to call up before you do in and double-check if it's OK to have someone come with you.

Will I find out my baby's sex at the dating scan?

Unfortunately not. Many women are very excited to find out whether they're having a girl or a boy. However, it's still a bit too early to tell your baby's sex for sure.

At 12 weeks, even experienced ultrasound professionals can sometimes get the sex of a baby wrong. So you won't be told the sex of your baby at this scan.

For most parents, the earliest you'll find out the sex of your baby is at the 20-week anomaly scan. You can pay for a private scan to find out from about 16 weeks. However, the NHS advises against it, as it's best to have as few ultrasound scans as possible, to be on the safe side.

In the meantime, try these fun gender prediction tests - they may not be accurate, but it's always interesting to guess!

Many women swear by something called skull theory for guessing their baby's sex after an ultrasound scan. The idea is that you can tell your baby's sex just by looking at the shape of their skull in your scan pic. There's not much evidence behind it, but again, if you're trying to guess the sex, it's a fun thing to try.

What if it's twins?!

The dating scan is also when you'll find out if you're expecting more than one baby. Finding out you're having twins – or even triplets or more – can be a bit of a shock! Read up on what to expect if you're pregnant with twins.

What to do this week: tell people the news

If you've kept your pregnancy news to yourself, this week is finally the time when you can shout it to the world!

A printout of your baby scan photo is a good way to do this, but if you're looking for inspiration for how to announce the news, keep reading.

Olympic cyclists, Jason and Laura Kenny shared their pregnancy news with this sweet snap.

If you already have kids, this mum's pregnancy announcement may be worth recreating.

Or, if you fancy a more humorous approach, how about this one?

If you're working, you may also want to let your employer know you're pregnant around about now. You don't have to tell them until 15 weeks before your due date (usually when you're 25 weeks pregnant). However, telling them early can give everyone more time to prepare.

Your 12 week to-do list

1 Arrange to tell work and make sure they set up a workplace assessment to make sure you’re as safe and comfortable as possible during pregnancy.

2 Think about where your baby's nursery will be. Put together an action plan in terms of any decorating, carpet cleaning, furniture buying and building that needs to be done. The weeks go quickly so the more organised you can be, the better.

3 Book your next midwife appointment (if you haven't already). This will be about a month from now, when you're 16 weeks pregnant. Check whether it's at the hospital or at your GP surgery or children's centre.

4 If your heartburn is keeping you awake, don't suffer in silence. Ask your GP to prescribe some pregnancy-friendly medicine to help.

5 If you haven't already, look into the maternity allowances and benefits that can help you financially before and after your baby is born.

What to watch this week...

Get expert tips on what to expect at 12 weeks pregnant from our midwife.

What happens next week...

Want to know what happens when you're 13 weeks pregnant? Or remind yourself what you read last week? Click on the numbers above to find out more about what to expect when you're that number of weeks pregnant.

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