12 Weeks Pregnant
All About Baby
The end of the first trimester marks an important step for your baby-to-be. All of her major body systems are in place. In her digestive system, her small intestine is no longer entwined with the umbilical cord, but instead is tucked neatly within the abdomen. Her nervous system continues to develop, and her brain’s structure is fully formed. Many of her organs are starting to work on their own, too. For instance, her thyroid begins to secrete hormones. In your 13th week of pregnancy, she’s no longer considered an embryo, but instead graduates into a fetus. She’s already looking more and more like the baby you’re probably imagining—she even has tiny fingernails.
All About You
If you’ve had a rough time (with all that moodiness, fatigue, and nausea), you’ll probably begin to get a break as you head into your second trimester—at least until you reach the end of your pregnancy and your extra weight weighs you down.
Pregnancy does more than effect you physically, if you’ve had some odd dreams lately it’s completely normal. Dreams seem to get more vivid during pregnancy. Some women dream they’re about to give birth to a small animal or that they’ve been taken over by aliens. What are you dreaming about? Keep a journal and check out our A-Z guide to help decipher your pregnancy dreams.
Have you thought about learning the sex of your baby? Check out the Chinese Lunar Calendar, a fun way to predict your baby’s sex. Have you thought about finding out the sex during your ultrasound visit? Discuss this with your partner as there are pros and cons to knowing in advance versus finding out at childbirth.
Reasons to find out the baby’s sex:
- Helps with the baby naming process
- Shopping for gender-specific clothing and nursery items is easier
- Bonding with a specific gender
- To prepare an older sibling for the little brother or sister
Reasons to wait:
- Love surprises
- Help make the last few weeks of pregnancy bearable, not knowing
- Could have fantasies about either sex
- To annoy relatives
- Limiting exposure to baby
Are you wearing a path between your desk and the lady’s room? Frequent bathroom breaks are common throughout your pregnancy. Your body needs extra fluids to help your baby grow—and with extra fluid comes more potty stops. On the plus side, some pregnancy woes are waning now: you’re nausea should be more manageable if not gone altogether. Most acquaintances still probably haven’t guessed the good news (unless you’ve shared it with them!), though your clothes are getting tighter as your tummy grows bigger.
Pregnant in the Workplace
Though you may not have gained much weight during these first few weeks, you likely have the beginnings of a baby bump! Finally having something to show for your weeks of nausea may be reassuring, though it may also mean it’s time to make some important choices, such as when to tell your boss about your upcoming due date.
When to tell your boss
Most pregnancy experts suggest that you wait until after your first trimester to spill the good news to your employer. Most complications, including miscarriages, happen in the first trimester, making it wise to break the news later.
Some women don’t want to wait until the end of the first trimester to tell their employers, either because they’re so sick with nausea during the first few weeks that it’s hard to hide the pregnancy, or simply because they’re excited and want to share. Other women wait to share the news at the workplace well into their second trimester (even if friends and family already know). Many women need time to decide what they’re going to do about their jobs—whether they’re going to continue working or quit—before they speak with their employers.
Regardless of when you divulge your pregnancy to your boss, there are several things you can do in the workplace to keep yourself feeling good:
- Drink plenty of water: Staying hydrated is important. Your body uses more water during your pregnancy to fuel your increased blood supply (necessary to get your baby-to-be plenty of nutrients) and other body functions. Taken to extremes, dehydration can lead to preterm labor pains. So bring a water bottle to work with you—and drink it.
- Use the bathroom—often: Drinking more water means more trips to the bathroom. Add to that, your kidneys are working overtime to filter impurities from your increased blood supply. To avoid stares from coworkers, plan discrete potty breaks. Go when you first get to the office and take a break on the way from meetings or other times when you’re already up so your trips will be less noticeable. Putting off a trip to the bathroom is a bad idea—it makes you uncomfortable and puts stress on your bladder, which can lead to bladder infections.
- Bring light snacks: Food may not be appealing, especially if you’re experiencing nausea. Skip a full-blown lunch and opt for lighter fare throughout the day. Keep in mind that some pregnancy comfort foods are dead giveaways, such as crackers. If you’re trying to keep your pregnancy a secret, try less notorious foods that still comfort nausea but that don’t shout, “I’m pregnant!” Opt for foods high in protein, such as string cheese, almonds, or milk.
- Wear comfortable clothes: You’ve probably packed away your tight-fitting pants already. If you haven’t, now’s probably the time to say goodbye to your hip-hugging ensembles until after your baby’s arrival. Avoiding tight clothes isn’t just about hiding your baby bump. Your body may be retaining water to fuel your increased blood supply, and constricting clothes are not only tight on your skin, but the blood that’s trying to flow underneath.
- Watch your posture: Take time to get off your feet and walk around. Staying in the same position for too long allows the blood to pool in the lower part of your body, potentially making you light-headed. Put your feet up whenever possible to keep your blood flowing properly.
Q & A
Got questions about Week 12? Other ladies have wondered…
“The ‘first look’ or Nuchal folds test, also know as the Nuchal translucency test (NT), is recommended in the first trimester as a tool to screen for your risk of having a baby with Down syndrome. In the past, women over 35, who are considered to have the greatest risk of having a Down syndrome baby…” Read More
“Some recent studies seem to indicate that there may be cause for concern for your developing baby. Cell phones generate low levels of electromagnetic radiation, the same kind of radiofrequency waves you encounter with microwaves, TVs, and dozens of other machines you encounter everyday. But with cell phones, because you are probably using them so often, and they’re concentrated around your body, some researchers have cautioned pregnant women to take steps to minimize their exposure. Here are a few suggestions…” Read More
“Lots of moms-to-be notice that their skin is worse during pregnancy. Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t have to do with whether the baby is a boy or girl, but may be related to an increase in skin oils due to hormonal changes…” Read More
Fatherhood and Work
It is important to think about how the birth of your child might affect your presence at work (and vice versa). Do you work long hours now? Do you expect that to continue? What kind of relationship do you have with your boss? Does your employer encourage, or at least put up with, coworkers who have children and want to eat dinner with them every night? How has your employer treated other fathers and mothers?
These are all good things to consider as you plan to approach your boss to tell him or her that your partner is pregnant. Since nobody can tell by your physical appearance that you’ll be a father soon, you have some flexibility as to when to break the news to your employer and coworkers. Yet that doesn’t mean you should wait until the last minute either; you’ll need to check on paternity leave and arrange for someone to assume your work duties in your absence—and you don’t want to alienate coworkers with whom you’re close. They’ll be excited to hear your good news!
Some men use the time before Baby arrives to work longer hours and show they are still committed to their companies. Others begin pulling back on those late nights at the office and start transitioning to a more family-friendly schedule. It isn’t too early to think about what will be best for you and your employer.
As a father-to-be and an employee, it is a good time to think about how you’ll balance one of the most challenging equations of fatherhood: your work load and your home life.
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