We are back today with the next instalment of our ‘What to expect’ series. The all important details of your pregnancy at key weeks. This time we are covering weeks 9 – 12 of the first trimester.

This is a super exciting time as you will have your Midwife booking in appointment and your 12 week scan where you get to see your baby for the first time. This is one key milestone that almost everyone looks forward to. Seeing your little baby on the screen and getting to take a scan photo home. It’s also very important for checking everything is well with your baby.

Apologies in advance for the lengthy post but there is a lot to cover and sorry if anything has been missed.

What is happening?

Your baby grows a lot during these 4 weeks. At week 9 the eyelids are completely closed over and won’t re-open until close to 26 weeks. The placenta is providing your baby with all the essential nutrients and baby is ready for a rapid weight gain phase. By week 11 your baby is fully formed, even with tiny fingernails and by week 12 they can close their fingers and curl their toes. They will also be wriggling around all over the place, although you may not be able to feel that yet.

How big is my baby?

By week 9 your baby is 2.3 cm long and at 10 weeks is just over 3cm. By 12 weeks baby is nearly 5 and a half cm long.

What symptoms can you expect?

Unfortunately some people continue to experience the early pregnancy symptoms for most of the first Trimester, and some for long after.

  • If you suffered morning sickness this may carry on. Try to manage it as best you can with lots of water and plain foods. Hopefully it should ease by week 12.
  • Make sure you still get lots of rest. You may be feeling tired as your body is using lots of extra energy to grow your baby.
  • Your breasts may feel sore still and you may notice that your normal bra is starting to feel tight. If so you may need to go and get fitted for some new maternity bras. Opt for non wired and be aware that your size is likely to change again throughout pregnancy. A good store will be able to advise on the best time to purchase and buy new ones.
  • You may notice your jeans feel a bit tight around your waist. This varies completely with each pregnancy. With Molly I was in my normal clothes till close to 5 months (they were a bit snug!) but with Alice I didn’t stand a chance and by 11 weeks I was off out on a shopping spree. If you need some wardrobe inspiration have a peek at our recent maternity basics post.
  • Now is the time to get practicing your Pelvic Floors!! Believe me you can never start too early. Pregnancy hormones cause your pelvic floor tissues stretch so you may need the loo more or when you laugh a lot!
  • You may find your gums bleed more easily so take care when brushing and flossing.
  • Things to consider

    Make sure you are getting all the right nutrients through supplements and a healthy diet. Your midwife can discuss this with you at your booking in appointment.

    Be careful with what you eat and make sure you have checked meat is cooked thoroughly to reduce the risk of Toxoplasmosis.

    Did you know you are entitled to free prescriptions and Dental Care whilst pregnant and until your baby is one year old so make sure to book in for a dental check up.

    Booking in Appointment

    Your booking in appointment will normally take place around 9-10 weeks so that they have time to organise your dating scan. Make sure you contact your GP earlier to tell them you are pregnant and then your booking in appointment will be arranged for you.
    This is normally with your community midwife and they will often visit you at home for this appointment. Be prepared for A LOT of questions. Nothing scary but they will want to find out everything they can about your health, your partners health and so on.

    The will ask the date of your last period and about any previous pregnancies, miscarriages or abortions. I know this may sometimes be difficult to talk about but the Midwife needs as much information as possible to help form a good assessment of this pregnancy and advise on your birth choices.

    You may choose to have your partner there but it isn’t essential. Edd wasn’t at either of mine. If they aren’t with you make sure you know their medical history before the appointment. It is also worth finding out about your family history and your partners family history. I had no idea until afterwards that my Grandad was Epileptic nor that my mum had low platelets in pregnancy. Even the smallest thing is worth mentioning although the Midwife will be aware that in some cases you may not know this information.

    Your midwife will also ask about your preference for birth location. You will most likely have a local hospital to which you will be allocated but you can discuss different options. This may be an alternative hospital or a birthing centre. If you would prefer to have your baby at home then this can be arranged provided it is safe for you to do so.

    In addition be prepared to answer questions on your lifestyle and job as some jobs can pose a risk to the pregnancy. There will also be questions on antenatal classes and how you plan to feed the baby. I said there was a lot to consider!

    The outcome of the appointment will determine the care you will receive during pregnancy and any further tests that are required. For my second pregnancy I was under consultant led care from the start due to the Obstetric Cholestasis I had during pregnancy with Molly and also low platelet levels (see I said there was a reason I should have known my mums medical history!).

    Your blood pressure will be checked and you will need to give a urine sample. You will also probably be weighed to work out your BMI.

    Finally you will have to give blood. If you are squeamish get used to this as it will happen a lot! Due to extra tests I was like a pin cushion in my pregnancies. You will also have the choice of whether you would like the screening for a risk of Down’s syndrome and Spina Bifida.

    All being well your next appointment will be at 16 weeks.

    Phew, I think that covers most of it!

    12 Week Scan or Dating Scan

    This is the exciting/nervous/amazing/all of the above part. All being well it is the day you get to see your little one for the first time. This will normally be between 11 weeks and 13 weeks plus 6 days so don’t worry if it isn’t exactly in your 12th week. In some instances you may have had a scan earlier due to health reasons. The scan will probably take around 15 minutes to half an hour. My one with Alice took a lot longer as they couldn’t get the Nuchal Translucency. You will be asked to have a full bladder when you arrive so drink a big glass of water before you go.

    The scan is also called a dating scan as it is where you find out your due date. How ever much you think you have worked it out you may be surprised by the results. Alice was actually due 3 weeks later than I had thought she would be.

    During the scan you will often be shown the screen whilst the scan is taking place. This means you get to see the teeny little person growing inside you and see their heartbeat. The scan checks baby’s heartbeat and also takes some measurements of their head circumference and length of body. They will check the umbilical cord and baby’s skull too. Although this scan can see some subtle abnormalities most of these will be checked at your 20 week scan when baby is bigger.

    The scan will also show if you are expecting twins or triplets.

    If you have chosen to have one the Sonographer will do a Nuchal Translucency test where they test for Down’s syndrome. As I mentioned above if baby is in the wrong position then this may not be possible and you may be offered a blood test with the Midwife afterwards.

    What’s Next?

    Now that the first Trimester is over you can enter the ‘glowy’ second trimester. I’m still not convinced on this matter! Enjoy sharing your news with friends and family and showing off your little scan picture.