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    Small details. Big developments.

    A developing fetus in the twelfth week

    Your baby’s development

    Welcome to the 2nd trimester.
    Your baby will continue to grow significantly during your 12th week of pregnancy.

    • She’s almost 3 inches long, which is about the length of a plum.
    • Her facial features become more defined, particularly her nose and chin.
    • Tiny fingernails and toenails start to grow.
    • Her heart might even speed up by a few beats per minute.
    • Although heartbeat detection ranges anywhere from week 6 to 18, your doctor might be able to hear your baby's heartbeat for the first time using a special Doppler device. Ask about this at your next prenatal visit.
    A pile of sliced bread

    Your nutrition and health

    Control constipation by changing how, what, and when you eat.
    During week 12, changes are continuing throughout your body, reacting in new ways to the foods you normally eat. One of those ways may be constipation.

    When you're pregnant, the hormone progesterone slows digestion — a good thing for your baby, but not so much for your colon. Your body has more time to absorb needed nutrients from food, but your colon is absorbing more water, too, 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 ten 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.

    Pregnancy — It’s a gas.

    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. Some tips that may help:

    • Eat slowly
    • Don't lie down right after eating. Give yourself time to digest while you're still upright
    • Keeping constipation in check will help with gas or bloating
    • If constipation persists, speak with your doctor
    Green broccoli

    Things to think about now

    Are you tracking your snacking?
    Eating your last meal of the day at least one to two hours before going to bed, and minimizing non-nutritive snacking in general, can reduce many pregnancy side effects and alleviate some common discomforts.
    A woman in workout clothes sitting on the gym floor holding a plastic storage container with green grapes

    What happens next week

    He’s all ears (and eyes and nerves and muscles).
    Your baby is focusing on growth. His organs, nerves, and muscles have formed and are beginning to work together.