It's Week 12! Contrary to popular belief, this is not the last week of the first trimester as one month has MORE than 4 weeks! (Pregnancy typically runs for 40 weeks so if you were to divide that by 4, a woman would be pregnant for 10 months instead of 9!) So, the second trimester actually begins in Week 14.
However, Week 12 is still considered the "magic number" for most. Many couples will go public with their happy news by this week for two main reasons:
(1) Many women have their first ultrasound scan during this week.
(2) Your chances of miscarriage officially drops to 1% if you've reached this week and everything looks good on the scan.
Of course, V and I chose not to keep our news for long because we did an early ultrasound in Week 6 and already saw a good little heartbeat. Also, I was way too sick to hide the news and we decided that if anything unfortunate was to happen, we would need the support of friends and family so we didn't want to keep it a secret.
Early ultrasounds are usually offered to women who have a history of complications (e.g miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies), or who want to date their pregnancy as they don't know exactly when they conceived. In our case, it was the latter as my cycles are irregular.
It is possible to measure the embryo via ultrasound technology and date it quite accurately in early pregnancy because embryos generally develop at the same rate in the early stages. Once it becomes a fetus though, the growth factor then starts to shift to genetics and the mother's health so this dating technique is only accurate in the early weeks.
In any case, I'm still having a 12 week scan as part of the nuchal translucency test. This is where they measure the thickness of the nuchal (neck) ligament to assess your risk of Down syndrome. The result of the scan is evaluated along with a maternal blood test taken at 10 weeks (pregnancy hormone/protein levels can differ when you are carrying a fetus with Down syndrome). The scan also allows them to check for other complications like spina bifida (where the neural tube doesn't close- taking a good dose of folic acid in early pregnancy reduces this risk).
My scan is tomorrow- I will definitely post an ultrasound photo if we get a good one. It will be exciting to see a little person. In our 6 week scan, all we got was a blob with a flicker of a heartbeat (it measured a mere 4.8mm which put us at 6 weeks and 1 day). If the sonographer hadn't put an arrow in the ultrasound photo with the letters 'FP' (fetal pole), I would be like Rachel in Friends going "I don't see it!!!" Now at 12 weeks, our little blob should be 4-5 cm and look human, with moving limbs and all!
The good news is that I am certainly feeling a lot better this week. I still have nauseous and gagging moments and am still unable to stay up late at night, but my volume of puke has definitely decreased. My appetite has also improved, largely because my Mum is here cooking all my favorite foods. Also, the baby is now due for a growth spurt. In the early stages, it's all about organ development. Now, with most things in place, it is going to be growing fast!
I haven't put on any weight yet. If anything, I have lost a couple kilos over the last month. It's not noticeable though, because other parts of me are definitely growing! I'm certainly glad to be in winter during this "is-that-a-baby-bump-or-a-burger-belly" stage because I can hide my little bump with layers. I love being pregnant but there is no doubt that this is an awkward stage because you just look "a little fat" instead of pregnant.
Perks of my pregnancy so far has definitely been boobs and good skin. I'm not sure if it's are a fair trade-off for morning sickness, but you've got to take what you can get! I've heard stories that go "I am an A cup and was looking forward to gaining boobs during my pregnancy- but it didn't happen at all!" I would hate to be them.
Stay tuned for ultrasound results. Pray with us that everything will look wonderful 🙂