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12 weeks pregnant

By the time you are 12 weeks pregnant, symptoms can start to ease. You usually meet your midwife for a booking-in appointment, sometimes followed by a ‘12 week’ scan.

Week by week stages of pregnancy: week 12

In week twelve your foetus is getting more and more like a little human.  The embryo is about 7.5cm long and weighs about 18g. All of the internal organs and systems are in place and fingers and toes are continuing to get more prominent. The sexual organs have formed but are not visible at the moment, so you cannot determine the sex just yet.

After twelve weeks of pregnancy you can stop taking folic acid supplements as they will not have any effect on the risk of spina bifida for your baby.  

At 12 weeks pregnant, you are at the end of your first trimester.  At this stage, the discomforts and anxieties of early pregnancy are likely to lessen. You will probably experience some renewed energy.

Around this time between 11 and 13 weeks you will go and see your midwife for a ‘booking-in appointment’. Your booking-in appointment is your first antenatal appointment with the midwife (sometimes at your home, sometimes at hospital). The midwife will ask you a lot of questions so she can monitor you and your baby’s health. They will ask you about your health, family histories, your circumstances and how you are feeling. They may also take some basic health checks such as blood pressure and weight. 

It is at around twelve weeks (although it can be between 10-14 weeks) you will have your first scan (also known as the 12 week scan or the dating scan). Your baby’s heartbeat will be detectable on an ultrasound and you will be able to see basic shapes of her body, head, arm and legs. You will not be able to determine the sex until your next scan at around 20 weeks.  Your first antenatal scan is an exciting time as you get to see, and hear, your baby for the first time, however it can also be an apprehensive time as you will be offered tests and screening which can be daunting. One of the more common tests is the nuchal translucency (NT) scan which tests for Down's syndrome and other related conditions. Take time to find out and understand what each test is for, and what the results may mean. You do not have to have any tests if you do not wish to.

It is often after a 12 week scan that you and your partner will feel comfortable telling everyone your happy news and show them your sonogram.

Further help and information

NCT's helpline offers practical and emotional support in all areas of pregnancy, birth and early parenthood: 0300 330 0700. We also offer antenatal courses which are a great way to find out more about birth, labour and life with a new baby.

Join in with NCT on Facebook and Twitter - it's a great way to make new friends and stay in touch with old ones. Or joint our community for new parents on Google+ where you can connect with other parents online who are experiencing similar things.