You are 12 Weeks and 2 Days 194 days to go…

The bag of amniotic fluid is your baby’s home—it will keep him safe and free from infection until he is ready to be born.

Your baby today

In this ultrasound scan, the baby is seen floating in amniotic fluid, which provides plenty of space for him to move around in. Later in pregnancy, your baby will excrete waste products into the fluid, but his bladder is still tiny and kidney function not yet established.

Your baby is safely cushioned in the amniotic fluid. This surrounds him, gives him space to move and grow, and helps him maintain a constant temperature.

The volume of fluid is only 1 ml at seven weeks but is 25 ml by this stage of your pregnancy. In about six weeks’ time there will be around 60 ml, with plenty of room for your baby to do lots of somersaults.

The amniotic fluid increases steadily until around 32 weeks of pregnancy, then stays constant until 37 weeks. It begins to reduce slightly thereafter by about 8 percent per week.

Further on in the pregnancy, waste products excreted in your baby’s urine will be absorbed from the fluid back into your bloodstream. At 37 weeks, your baby will urinate an astonishing one quarter to one third of his body weight every day. Compare this with your own production of 2–3 percent body weight as urine.

Your temperature directly influences your baby’s temperature. Temperature control is not an important requirement until later in pregnancy when your baby’s high metabolic rate means that he needs to transfer heat to you in order to cool himself down.

… Nutritionist
Q: My appetite has come back, but how many calories should I be eating at this stage of my pregnancy?
A: Like many women, you’re finding that the second trimester has brought relief from the discomforts of early pregnancy. As a result, you may have noticed you’re less nauseous and have more of an appetite.

Caloric needs in the second trimester are approximately 2,100–2,500 calories per day, depending upon your level of physical activity. You shouldn‘t eat unlimited snacks, and when you do snack, opt for foods with nutritional value. For example, one banana has about 100 calories, and a handful (1 oz) of nuts about 170 calories. For a light 200-calorie snack, you can eat two pieces of whole-wheat toast spread with a small amount of butter and jam; a small bowl of cereal with skim milk; or a small can of soup with a slice of bread and butter.

If you’re exercising regularly, you can of course increase your calorie intake without gaining excess weight.

… Nutrition
Iron-rich foods

If you’re suffering from pregnancy fatigue, try boosting your intake of foods that are rich in iron. Eat plenty of:

  • Dark leafy green vegetables

  • Red meat

  • Whole-grain cereals

  • Legumes

  • Prune juice.

Vitamin C helps your body absorb more iron from your diet, so try drinking fresh orange juice with meals, and limit your intake of coffee and other caffeinated drinks: caffeine inhibits your body’s ability to absorb iron.

You are 12 Weeks and 3 Days 193 days to go…

As your uterus grows to accommodate your baby, you may begin to notice a few twinges around your pelvis.

Your baby today

The toes are now separate and are all the same length. The ankle joints are now mature enough to be working, although it will still be many weeks before you are likely to be conscious of any kicks.

There’s a strong band of connective tissue in your pelvis, supporting your uterus. Known as the round ligament, this band has to stretch as your uterus expands, which can cause some discomfort. The pain is generally felt in the groin or lower abdomen and can be on either side. Although the pain starts in the pelvis, it may travel up to your hips. You may feel a short, sharp stabbing pain or a more prolonged, dull ache.

You will soon adapt and find sitting and lying positions that cause you the least discomfort and which may relieve discomfort. Also, try other common methods of pain relief, too, such as taking a warm bath or resting comfortably with your feet up.

Round ligament pain is common in pregnancy and isn’t a cause for concern. See your doctor, however, if you have sharp abdominal or pelvic pains don’t resolve quickly or if your pain becomes crampy; if there is any bleeding; if there is a burning sensation when you urinate; or if you’re feverish. If you’re in any doubt, always seek medical advice.

The round ligaments, which help support the uterus, stretch as the uterus enlarges and pull on nearby nerve fibers and sensitive structures, causing discomfort.

Fertility treatment has had a huge impact on the number of multiple pregnancies.

In 1977, the year before the world’s first “test tube baby” was born, the natural occurrence of multiples in live births in the US was: twins 1 in 53; triplets and other multiple births, 1 in 3,092.

Today, with the increased use of fertility treatments, those numbers are 1 in 618 for triplets and other multiple births.

… Twins
Carrying twins

If you’re expecting twins, or more, it’s good to know that most multiple pregnancies are straightforward and without complications. However, being pregnant with multiple babies is going to be more challenging for your body to handle than if you were carrying just one baby.

It’s wise to know about the slightly higher risk of certain conditions that can occur. These include:

  • Placenta previa (see Low-lying placenta)

  • Polyhydramnios

  • Poor growth of one or more babies, which may be caused by twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome 

  • Premature labor.

    The fact that any of these conditions can develop is the reason why you’ll have more prenatal checkups to preempt problems and minimize their effects.

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