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12 WEEKS, 4 DAYS

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ultrasound of human fetus at 12 weeks and 4 days

Your baby today

By now the fetus's forehead is high and bulging, with visible joins in the plates of bone that comprise the skull. The eyes have migrated from the sides of the head at this stage of development.

Complex brain development is gradually enabling your unborn baby to become more responsive and mobile.

Your baby's brain is under-going rapid development. The right and left cerebral hemispheres begin to connect. Each hemisphere controls the opposite side of the body, so the right side of the brain controls muscles on the left side of the body and the left side controls muscles on the right side of the body.

Motor fibers (those that control movement) mature first, so your baby can make increasingly complex limb movements. Sensory nerves (those that control feeding) mature later and are first present on your baby's hands and in his mouth. The brain matures quickly over the next three weeks and will be complete in around 10 weeks' time, as the rest of the upper and lower limbs and trunk achieve adult levels of sensitivity to stimuli. All your baby's nerves are very immature at this stage and he doesn't have any perception of position, pain, temperature, or touch.

Focus On... Nutrition

Yummy yogurt

For a calcium-packed snack, stock up on yogurt. Those with so-called friendly bacteria are okay to eat during pregnancy and may help your digestion. Just make sure that the milk ingredients in your yogurts have been pasteurized to reduce the risk of infection with listeria (see Dietary precautions).

Ask A... Doctor

I've been diagnosed with diabetes. How will this affect my pregnancy?

Whether you develop diabetes in pregnancy (known as gestational diabetes), or have pre-existing diabetes, you will require special care from a diabetic health-care team and a obstetrician. This is because diabetes poses risks in pregnancy, particularly if there is poor control of blood-glucose levels.

All this can be managed with close prenatal care: your blood glucose needs to be well controlled since your insulin requirements will increase during pregnancy. You will also need to adapt your diet and may need insulin injections.

Pregnant women who are diabetic are at a greater risk of high blood pressure, blood clots, and preeclampsia. If you have diabetic kidney disease, and diabetic retinopathy, a condition that affects the retina in the eye, there's a chance it will worsen during pregnancy. For your baby, there is an increased risk of congenital abnormalities and growth may be too fast or too slow.

excerpted from:

Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
Buy this book now!

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