12 weeks pregnant: baby's development, scans and telling people about your pregnancy

It’s been a busy few weeks: Everything is now in place - the organs, limbs, bones and muscles are in place and growing.

Your baby’s development this week

Your baby, although tiny, is now fully formed. They are about the size of a plum.

The placenta is also now fully formed, although it will keep growing throughout your pregnancy.

The placenta is also now fully formed, although it will keep growing throughout your pregnancy. The placenta is your baby’s life support system, passing oxygen, nutrients and antibodies from your blood supply to your baby. 

From now on, your baby is going to grow, grow, grow! Even though you can’t feel it yet, your baby is moving, waving and dancing. They can also swallow.

Get weekly updates on your baby's development from our expert midwives straight to your inbox.

Pregnancy symptoms in week 12

Congratulations! You’ve made it through the tiring first trimester. You’re a third of the way through and you should have more energy in the second trimester.

Pregnancy is different for everyone and there are no rules about how you should be feeling. For example, nausea (feeling sick) and vomiting get better for most women at this point, but not for everybody.

Tiredness may ease off after the first 12 weeks too. But again, pregnancy is different for everyone.


You may experience a few symptoms in pregnancy that you didn’t expect, and nosebleeds may be one of them.

Nosebleeds are quite common in pregnancy because of hormone changes. There’s nothing to worry about as long as you don’t lose a lot of blood. 

Sit down and firmly pinch the soft part of your nose, just above your nostrils, for 10 to 15 minutes without releasing the pressure. If the bleeding doesn't stop, seek medical advice – call your midwife or GP urgently.

What to do in week 12

Your first scan

Between week 10 and 14 you’ll be offered an ultrasound scan. This is your first chance to see a glimpse of the tiny life inside you! It’s sometimes known as the dating scan. The sonographer (the person who scans you) will be able to check whether your due date is accurate by measuring the size of your baby.

The scan happens in the hospital, and most offer a copy of the picture of your baby from your scans. You may need to pay for this, so take some money with you to your scan appointment. They are printed on thermal paper, so don't laminate them!

You can bring someone with you to the scan. But be aware that most hospitals do not allow children to attend them.

“It was such a relief to know everything was okay and get a photo of our baby. At that point, you know it's real and it's happening.”Emma, mum of one

It’s also worth asking your midwife about antenatal classes in your area. Your hospital or birth centre is likely to offer free NHS classes, in which they cover the birth, birth plans, breastfeeding and early days with your baby.

Antenatal classes won't usually start until mid- to late pregnancy but they can get booked up quickly so it's worth signing up for them now.
If you haven't yet been given a date for your booking appointment or scan, contact your doctor or midwife.

Deciding where to give birth

You can start thinking now about where you’d like to give birth. It could be a midwife-led birth centre, a hospital labour ward or a home birth.
Where you give birth is your decision. But it will depend on what services are available in your area and if you’ve had any complications during this pregnancy or any previous pregnancies.

Talk to your midwife about your options and the pros and cons of each. Even if you decide now, you can change your mind later if you want to. 

Read more about choosing where to give birth.

Staying safe

There are a few important symptoms that you should look out for in pregnancy because if you have them they could indicate a more serious problem. Find out what symptoms to look out for.

Going to the dentist

Pregnancy hormones can cause gum inflammation and make them bleed. Your dentist can help you keep any gum disease under control. 
If you haven’t already, speak to your midwife or GP about getting your maternity exemption certificate. You can use this to get free dental treatment. 

Telling people about your pregnancy

Most people start telling family and friends their news around this time. This is because the risk of miscarriage becomes much, much lower. It may also be getting more difficult to hide!

You don’t have to tell your employer that you are pregnant yet if you don’t want to. But if you decide to tell your employer about your pregnancy now, ask them to do a risk assessment to ensure your workplace is safe and comfortable for you and your baby. 

Maternity Action has more information about your rights at work when you are pregnant

1. Regan, Lesley (2019) Your pregnancy week by week: what to expect from conception to birth. Penguin Random House, London

2. NHS. Tiredness and sleep problems. https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/related-conditions/common-symptoms/tiredness/ (Page last reviewed: 1 February 2021 Next review due: 1 February 2024)

3. NHS. Nosebleeds. https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/related-conditions/common-symptoms/nosebleeds/ (Page last reviewed: 17 February 2021 Next review due: 17 February 2024

4. NHS. Ultrasound scan in pregnancy. https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/your-pregnancy-care/ultrasound-scans/ (Page last reviewed: 9 December 2020. Next review due: 9 December 2023)

5. NHS. Bleeding gums. https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/related-conditions/common-symptoms/bleeding-gums/ (Page last reviewed: 19 March 2019. Next review due: 19 March 2022)

Review dates
Reviewed: 11 July 2022
Next review: 11 July 2025