Week 12 signifies the first milestone for you and your baby. The major organs are now formed and will continue to develop and your baby will now focus on growth.
At this time the chances of miscarriage are greatly reduced and you will most likely now be asked to visit with your obstetrician or gynecologist. Although this is very exciting your first visit will require you to answer a lot of questions and you should try to prepare for this in advance. You may be asked about previous pregnancies, any instances of miscarriage, hereditary genetic diseases prevalent in your family and sensitive issues such as drug or alcohol use by you or your partner. You will also be asked to submit a blood sample and a urine sample and your blood pressure will be taken. All of these will be monitored throughout your pregnancy. You may also be allowed to listen to the heartbeat of your baby or even get an ultrasound but every doctor's practice and midwife is different in regards to when this happens.
Over the past three weeks the baby has doubled in size and the digestive tract now begins to move into place, allowing the baby to start transporting food. The bone marrow now makes white blood cells which will help the baby fight infections and the placenta will begin to create hormones.
The baby will now begin to move his hands, making small fists and often they try to grasp the umbilical chord. However this is so strong and sturdy it is impossible for him to do it any harm and you will see after the birth how difficult it is to cut the chord. The head will now begin to lift and he will now be able to move his feet. At this time your baby is also able to yawn and may also try to suck his thumb. The part of the bowel which was attached to the umbilical chords will now be drawn into the baby's tummy.
The baby's brain has grown considerably and the basic structure will remain as it is now until after the birth. The baby's heart will now beat at a tremendous rate, over 160 beats per minute. This will however drop to between 120 and 160 after birth.
Your own body will now produce almost half again the amount of blood as usual which will be used to transport nutrients to the placenta and for the disposal of waste coming from your baby. This increase of blood going to the baby can result in a drop in your own blood pressure causing dizziness as there is less blood to your brain.
It is often said that pregnant women `glow` and this is because the increased levels of hormone in your bloodstream can help improve the color of your skin and make your nails and hair thicker and shinier.
Your uterus will now be about the size of a grapefruit but because it sits higher the pressure on your bladder may be relieved meaning you shouldn't have to urinate as frequently as before.