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Welcome To Week 12

12 Week Old Fetus

Your Baby: A Work In Progress

From crown to rump, the fetus measures 2.4 to 2.75 inches (6 to 7 cm long). Its tiny fingers and toes have are identifiable as separate entities with nails. Some hair is also seen at this stage. By now, almost all of the baby's organs and structures have formed and will continue to grow until delivery. The genitalia begin to show some differentiation in gender. The intestines are developing in the abdomen, and some movement of the muscles has started to develop and work to process food. The kidneys have begun to produce and excrete urine, and amniotic fluid starts to accumulate -- to surround and cushion your baby. Your baby’s face is almost fully formed, and he may even get the hiccups!

Your Body: What's In A Craving?

One of the oldest and most enduring pregnancy-related myths is that mothers-to-be crave pickles and ice cream. You may experience some days in which you seem to crave certain food items. The specific reason for this is not known. It is thought to be related to all the pregnancy hormones circulating in your system. Often this will pass after the first three months of pregnancy. As long as you make sure you are eating all the important nutrients needed for you and your baby, indulging in some of your cravings every now and then will likely be fine.

Occasionally, pregnant women will get strange cravings for things that are not food items at all during pregnancy. This condition is called Pica, and it is thought to be due to an iron deficiency. Some women with Pica report craving dirt, clay, laundry detergent, and ice chips. If you have any cravings for these items, it is important to call your health care provider immediately – you may have severe anemia, which would require you to take an iron supplement.

On That Note: Food, Glorious Food

It's never too late to alter your eating habits, increase your fruit and vegetable intake, and reduce your processed sweets. To see what you should be eating, how many times a day, and why, check out this RDA nutrition chart.

Weekly Tip

One three-time pregnant woman urges others to give into an unwholesome craving first-time around because it will only intensify if you don't. So if Peanut M&M's are calling you, buy a small bag and have a few to satisfy the craving. The longer you put it off, the greater the chance you'll end up devouring a quarter-pound bag.

Review Date: 12/9/2012
Reviewed By: Irina Burd, MD, PhD, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
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