- Women's Health
Pregnancy Week Twelve
Welcome to week twelve of your pregnancy! Some people count this as the last week of your first trimester, while others count week thirteen as such since it is a transitional week. Still congratulations are in order as you've made it through your first trimester! This week, your baby weighs in at about a half an ounce and is close to the size of a large plum! Most of your baby's organs and systems are in place. This next trimester will be the maturing period of those organs and systems. His or her digestive system is practicing contraction movements for eating and is producing urine. His or her bone marrow is beginning to produce white blood cells for their immune system.
As for you, though your morning sickness and fatigue should be letting up right now, you have more new symptoms coming your way. Those include heartburn and dizziness or faintness. The heartburn is caused by the pesky hormones which still are and will continue to cause trouble in you until six months postpartum. The faintness or dizziness is due to the increased blood flow to your baby by relaxing your own vessels, thus decreasing blood flow to your own body and brain. Do yourself a favor, eat regularly, sleep and do things slowly so you don't faint!
How's Mom Doing?
So first trimester symptoms are letting up and now the second trimester symptoms are taking over. Lucky you! Now that morning sickness and fatigue are starting to let up, those hormones need to find new things to drive you nuts like heart burn and dizziness. But there's also another symptom you'll begin to notice during this week - changes in your pigmentation. You may spot a dark line running vertically down your stomach. This dark line is called the linea nigra. You'll also notice the darkening of the areoles around your nipples and any freckles you may have will also darken. They say this is more common of women of darker color, but I gotta tell ya, I had this symptom and I'm pale white! This darkening of the pigmentation is caused by the pregnancy hormone which increases the production of the pigment melanin. It usually starts to disappear a few months postpartum.
You might also begin to feel the first licks of heartburn. This will be worse in the third trimester. Heartburn is caused by the hormone progesterone which relaxes the valves that separate the esophagus from the stomach. This in turn allows acid to go back up the pipe causing heartburn. I'll give you some suggestions of how to ease it in a few moments.
What's Going on With Your Baby?
Right now, your little one is about the size of a lime! His or her eyes are positioned in the front of their face and their ears just in the right spot on the sides of his or her head. Your baby also has reflexes now! He or she can now make sucking movements with their mouth, clench their eye muscles, curl his or her toes, open and close his or her hands and he or she might even begin sucking their thumb. On top of all that, though you can't feel your little one, he or she can certainly feel you! If you poke your stomach gently, he or she will squirm in response to the sudden movement!
Your baby's little brain is developing rapidly! Nerve cells are multiplying and synapses are forming. Also his or her intestines are developing and will soon move into their stomach! Can you believe all that development in just a few months!
Suggestions and Advice for Week Twelve
Heart burn is just a pure nightmare. It's like the second and third trimesters replacement for morning sickness (unless you still get morning sickness in which case, I feel bad for you!). It won't be so bad in the second trimester, but come the third it'll be worse. So be prepared. Here are some tips that may help you relieve or prevent heartburn:
- Stay upright. Sit up right for about 30 minutes before bed. This is a good time to catch up on some reading. Also elevate your head as you sleep.
- Milk, Milk and more Milk. Milk is a base and will neutralize the acid. This is a great method to relieve heartburn. In fact this was recommended by my brother-in-law to me and it's worked wonders! I hated milk until I got pregnant. Now It's my best friend!
- Slow sips. Gulping down your drinks is sure to give you heartburn, especially if they're acidic or carbonated. Some women go so far as to even avoid drinking with meals. I can't do it, but if you can, more power to you!
- Small meals too. Big meals before bedtime is especially bad. Try eating more small meals and snacks throughout your day instead of big meals. This method is actually called grazing. Doesn't it make you feel like a dear? Also some women have to avoid greasy or spicy food. Again this is a "every woman is different" sor of issue. I could eat all the spicy, greasy and fatty food I wanted and never get heartburn but my sister couldn't even smell spice or grease without feeling the first flames of heartburn. To each her own. You'll discover what works best for you by trial and error.
So you've been told that your sex drive is totally going to increase during pregnancy right? Well then why don't you feel sexy and why isn't the romance on full blast? The sex drive doesn't usually increase until the second trimester, though in some cases women get it right away. Got to love them hormones huh? Sometimes the pregnancy symptoms can also make you feel out of it and not so sexy. Not to mention once you have an increased sex drive you have to remember that it can disappear at any given time. With situations like this it's important that your partner remain understanding and that you stay emotionally connected. This is completely normal and it will be rough on you both. And remind yourself and your partner that even if your sex drive is gone it can come back at any time in spades. Just bare with the hormones, time will fly, you'll see.
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