Help your growing baby develop in the twelfth week of your pregnancy

Find out how you can fuel your growing baby’s progress in developing nerve fibers, which coordinate the different parts of the brain, during the twelfth week.

What’s happening this week?

Your growing baby’s organs, muscles, and limbs are now in place and continue to develop.i This week, your growing baby’s brain may begin to develop callosal axonsii or nerve fibers that are crucial for coordinating motor, sensory, and cognitive functions.iii

Most of your growing baby’s internal systems are fully formed and working. For example, the kidneys can process amniotic fluid and pass it as urine, and muscles in his or her digestive systemiv are able to contract. The pancreas and liver also start to function, producing insulin and bile respectively.

He or she is now about 2.5 inches long (6.3 centimeters) and weighs about half an ounce (14 grams).v

What can you expect? 

Though not ideal in many social situations, it’s common for moms-to-be to experience more burping, bloating, and gas during this periodvi . These tips will help to reduce the digestive discomfort and allow you to enjoy your pregnancy further:

  • Eat small meals throughout the day, rather than three big meals, to prevent bloating. Refrain from eating too much, too quickly, as you’ll end up swallowing air.
  • Avoid gas-inducing food like onions, beans, fried food, and carbonated drinks.
  • Keep exercising. Gentle physical activity can aid digestion.

Keeping your motions slow while exercising will protect your joints as they may be loosening up at this pregnancy stage. This is due to your body’s production of a hormone called relaxin, which will eventually help the cervix to widen during labor.vii Remember to consult your doctor before doing any exercises during your pregnancy.

What can you do to support your pregnancy?

Your first trimester is about to come to a close and as you look forward to the next phase of your pregnancy, take a moment to marvel at how much your little one has grown, thanks to the nourishment and care you have provided him or her.

Continue to eat plenty of ‘brain foods’ such as DHA-rich salmon and sardines, to fuel your growing baby’s brain development, which is central to all this remarkable growth.

A healthy diet, including a variety of vegetables and fruits, protein-rich foods which include milk, beans, whole grains and nuts, combined with appropriate prenatal supplements will ensure your growing baby gets a balanced nutrient intake crucial for his or her overall development – physical, cognitive, and emotional.

This week is also when you can take the combined screening test to check for trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) and trisomy 18 (Edward syndrome)viii . Consult with your doctor on the nature and benefits of this test, if you’re considering taking it.

 


 

 

References:
 
i    You and your baby at 9-12 weeks pregnant. (2017, March 31). Retrieved April 5, 2017, from      
ii    Budday, S., Steinmann, P., & Kuhl, E. (2015). Physical biology of human braindevelopment. Frontiers in Cellular        
      Neuroscience, 9, 257. http://doi.org/10.3389
iii   Preethi Mathew, Kerstin Pannek, Pamela Snow, et al., “Maturation of Corpus Callosum Anterior Midbody Is Associated          
      with Neonatal Motor Function in Eight Preterm-Born Infants,” Neural Plasticity, vol. 2013, Article ID 359532, 7 pages,        
      2013. doi:10.1155/2013/359532
iv   Curtis, G. B., & Schuler, J. (2016). Your Pregnancy Week by Week (8th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo Press.
v    Fetal development: The 1st trimester. (n.d.). Retrieved March 21, 2017, from      
vi   C.N.M., M. M. (2013, April 23). Gas in pregnancy: Why it happens, what to do. Retrieved April 19, 2017, from        
vii   MacLennan, A. H. (1991). The role of the hormone relaxin in human reproduction and pelvic girdlerelaxation. Scand J        
       Rheumatol Suppl. 1991; 88: 7–15.
viii  Pregnancy - week by week. (n.d.). Retrieved March 21, 2017, from