12 Weeks Pregnant
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Your baby at 12 weeks pregnant
Did you know that your baby is now more than double the size it was only three weeks ago? It also weighs approximately 14 grams and is about 6cm in length. The baby has shown some impressive developments during the first trimester, and most of the main bodily systems are now in place. Now these systems need to develop so that they are all fully operational by the time the baby is born. The umbilical cord is working properly, bringing nourishment from the placenta to the baby and taking away the waste products such as urine. Your baby's eyes and ears are fully formed now, and they can even close their hands around an object (usually the fingers of the other hand).
How you are feeling at 12 weeks pregnant
Your antenatal team will keep an eye on your weight during your pregnancy, but it is important that you do not become too bogged down about whether or not you have gained too much or not enough with every passing week. As with all other areas of pregnancy, every woman is different. Talk to your midwife if you are concerned about your weight, they will advise you on how much weight they expect you to gain and in which trimester. Typically, your ideal weight gain will be calculated based on your BMI (body mass index) before pregnancy, and generally the lower this figure is, the greater the target pregnancy weight. A very rough average weight gain is between 12 and 14kg across the 9 months of pregnancy. It is important to stress though, that this is the average for a very broad spectrum of women and you really should not worry too much about your weight during pregnancy. Provided you are eating well and exercising regularly then you are doing all the right things. Over-eating or dieting can be very bad for the wellbeing of your baby so talk to your midwife if you need any advice.
What you need to do at 12 weeks pregnant
Last week, we discussed the importance of exercising through your pregnancy, but there is one simple exercise that you should be reminding yourself to do several times a day. These are your Kegels, or pelvic floor exercises. They are important for a number of reasons. Regular Kegels will reduce your chances of urinary incontinence later in pregnancy and after the birth of the baby. They will also help to tone your pelvic floor which will help you during the delivery. Keeping these muscles toned can also increase sexual satisfaction after you have had your baby.
While there are devices on the market for exercising your pelvic floor, they are not necessary during pregnancy. You can do Kegels at any time of the day and wherever you like; in the car; in the supermarket queue or in bed at night. Pull in your pelvic muscles (as though you were preventing urine flow), hold this squeeze for ten seconds and then rest and repeat. Try to do three sets of twenty every day and use certain triggers as reminders. Maybe do them before every meal or every time you stop at a set of traffic lights. Remember that you can also practice Kegels during sex, a more interesting way to get your exercise done, but this probably isn't practical three times a day!
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