Weeks 9 to 12

Weeks 9 to 12 can be one of the hardest weeks of pregnancy. But they are also some of the most exciting.

About your baby

Illustration of fetal development weeks 9 to 12At 9 weeks, your baby is moving around, although you can’t quite feel it. Most of your baby’s critical development is complete. The reproductive organs have developed, but an ultrasound won’t show clearly whether the fetus is a girl or a boy until later (about week 20).

At 10 weeks, your baby is growing more and more each day. Fingers and toes are emerging from baby’s growing arms (which are longer than the legs at this point). Your baby also has soft nails and eyelids. By the end of week 12, your baby is about 2 to 3 inches long and weighs about 1 ounce.

About you

You may not have a baby bump yet, but you probably feel pregnant by now. You’re also probably tired and need extra rest. For some, morning sickness is at its peak. Try to hang in there. Fatigue and nausea will lessen and you’ll start to feel normal again as you approach your second trimester.

What’s normal:

  • Some cramping as the uterus enlarges and contracts. During this time, your uterus will increase in weight from about 1 ounce to more than 2 pounds.
  • Your breasts may feel larger and more tender when touched.
  • Some bleeding in your gums is common, but don’t forget to brush and floss regularly.
  • Whitish vaginal discharge is normal throughout pregnancy. You may also have yeast infections that reoccur or are difficult to get rid of.

Tips for staying healthy

  • Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by exposure to cat feces, which could harm your baby. If you have a cat, ask someone else to change the litter box. If that’s not possible, wear rubber gloves and wash your hands well.
  • Avoid very hot baths and hot tubs (temperature should be below 101 degrees F), as well as saunas, steam rooms, or tanning beds. High temperatures may harm your developing baby.
  • Healthy weight gain means you and your baby are getting the right nutrition. You should gain about 1 pound a month for the first 3 months of your pregnancy. Too much weight gain in pregnancy can lead to a variety of health problems for both you and your baby.
  • Pregnant women need 1,200 mg of calcium daily. Calcium builds your baby’s bones and teeth. It also prevents osteoporosis later in the mother’s life. Good sources include skim milk, yogurt, dark green leafy vegetables, canned salmon, and tofu. Find other non-milk sources of calcium.
  • Care for yourself during pregnancy.

Your to-do list

  • Your first visit is usually scheduled between 8 and 12 weeks. Make sure to schedule your appointment if you haven’t already.
  • Prenatal testing will happen around this time. If you are worried about Down syndrome or other chromosomal problems, you may be able to have a special ultrasound and a blood test (called first trimester screening) around 11 weeks.
  • Talk to your doctor about chorionic villus sampling (CVS) to screen for chromosomal defects. This test can give you some of the same information that an amniocentesis does, but much earlier.
  • Though some mild cramping is normal, call your doctor if cramping is severe.
  • Practice Kegel exercises to start preparing for childbirth (you can do it anytime, anywhere).
  • Learn what you can do to relieve common discomforts.


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