Your Weekly Pregnancy Development: Week 12

Your baby's facial features continue to become more defined, particularly his nose and chin

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Week 12

Tiny details lead to major developments

Week 12: Your baby has completed the 1st trimester

Your baby will continue to grow significantly during your 12th week of pregnancy. Here's how:

  • Your baby is almost 3 inches long, which is about the length of a plum.
  • Your baby's facial features continue to become more defined, particularly his nose and chin.
  • Tiny fingernails and toenails start to grow.
  • Your baby's heart might even speed up by a few beats per minute.
  • Your doctor might be able to hear your baby's heartbeat for the first time using a special Doppler device (although the first time your baby's heartbeat could be detected ranges anywhere from Week 6 through Week 18). You can ask about this at your next prenatal visit.

Week 12

Your Week 12 nutrition and health

Controlling constipation by changing how, what, and when you eat

During the 12th week of pregnancy, changes are continuing throughout your body. Along with these changes, your body might react to the foods you normally eat in new ways, and the result might be constipation.

Week 12

The digestive link to constipation

When you're pregnant, the hormone progesterone causes digestion to slow down.

  • This offers positive benefits for your baby, as your body has more time to absorb needed nutrients from food.
  • Your colon also is absorbing more water during pregnancy, which can cause harder stools, and could lead to constipation.

Nutritional tips for controlling constipation during pregnancy

  • Eat fiber-rich foods including whole-grain breads, oatmeal, and brown rice.
  • Eat a variety of vegetables, legumes, and nuts, including peas, broccoli, and almonds.
  • Drink plenty of water — at least 10 8-ounce glasses a day.
  • Drink juices and eat whole fruits, especially prunes, pears, and raspberries, which are all fiber-rich foods.
  • Try eating smaller, more frequent meals.
  • Add a little more activity to your exercise routine. Just an extra 10 minutes might offer the boost your system needs.
  • Iron supplements sometimes can cause constipation. Try taking them with the 28-gram fiber diet that is recommended for pregnancy.

Try these tips for controlling gas and bloating

Gas and bloating also are common complaints in the early months of pregnancy. You unknowingly might be aggravating the situation by gulping air in response to nausea. Here are a few tips to help:

  • Eat slowly.
  • Don't lie down right after eating. Give your food time to digest while you're still upright.
  • If constipation persists, speak with your doctor.
  • Keeping constipation in check also will help with gas or bloating.
Evening snacks
Try to make a habit of eating your last meal of the day at least one to two hours before going to bed. This can reduce many pregnancy side effects and alleviate some common discomforts.
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