3 Months Pregnant: What to Expect and What to Know

Medically Reviewed By Stacy A. Henigsman, DO
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At 3 months pregnant, the first trimester of pregnancy is coming to a close. Many pregnant people start to feel a little better going into the second trimester and may experience less morning sickness and a boost in energy. For some people, the end of the first trimester is an important milestone because the risk of miscarriage decreases after the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

For others, it means that they will soon be feeling much better, as morning sickness tends to decrease and energy starts to increase in the second trimester. Overall, being 3 months pregnant means that a lot of significant developments have taken place.

This article provides an overview of what to expect at 3 months pregnant.

Symptoms

Young couple laying down on the couch with dog
Demetr White/Stocksy United

As the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) explains, pregnancy is divided into three trimesters based on weeks:

  • first trimester: 4–13 weeks
  • second trimester: 14–27 weeks
  • third trimester: 28–40 weeks

Three months of pregnancy falls around the 12–13 week mark, so most pregnant people are finishing their first trimester of pregnancy and beginning their second at this point. Many of the symptoms of pregnancy will only intensify into the second trimester, but other symptoms — such as morning sickness — may improve.
According to the ACOG, some of the symptoms you can experience at 3 months pregnant include:

  • sore and tender breasts
  • an increased appetite
  • a decrease in morning sickness and fatigue
  • a noticeable baby bump
  • the skin on the stomach feeling tight and itchy as it stretches
  • stretch marks around the abdomen, on the hips, and on the breasts
  • aching or sharp pains under the abdomen as the ligaments stretch
  • brown patches on the face
  • darkened nipples
  • swollen feet and ankles
  • feeling the fetus move

Keep in mind that not every person will experience pregnancy in the same way, and even pregnancies in the same person can be different each time.

Belly size

At 3 months pregnant, some people may have a significant bump, while others may not be showing very much at all. The size of a pregnant stomach depends on many factors, such as:

  • age
  • body type
  • weight
  • genetics
  • previous pregnancies
  • twins or multiples

Pregnant people may need to purchase new clothing to accommodate a growing bump around this time. However, those who are not showing yet should not be concerned. It is very normal not to show until later in the second trimester.
The important thing to remember about belly size during pregnancy is that a doctor will assess growth at every visit. As long as the fetus is growing appropriately, belly size does not matter as much. Everyone will have different bumps.

Fetal development

The ACOG explains that all major system and organ development is set into place by the end of the first trimester, or by around 3 months pregnant.

By 3 months, a fetus has:

  • a brain and spine that have started to form
  • the start of cardiac tissue
  • eyes, nose, and mouth muscles beginning
  • webbed fingers and toes starting
  • lung development
  • inner ear formation
  • limb, hand, and feet cartilage
  • closed eyelids
  • genitals forming
  • a developing liver
  • kidneys that are producing urine
  • a functioning pancreas
  • fingernails

Near the end of the first trimester, the fetus will continue to develop. Some of the big milestones that happen at the end of 3 months of pregnancy include:

  • hardening bones
  • thickening skin
  • toenail development
  • hearing abilities
  • more advanced lung tissue

The fetus still has a long way to go before it is ready to be born, but by the end of the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, all of the major organs and systems are set up and ready to develop more fully over the coming months.

Twins or more

Without an ultrasound scan to verify that someone is pregnant with twins or multiples, signs and symptoms of twin pregnancy in the first trimester can include:

If twins or multiples are suspected, an ultrasound scan can confirm if more than one fetus is present. If this scan finds twins or multiples, the pregnancy care will switch. A healthcare professional will more carefully monitor a pregnant person, and they may do more tests to ensure that all the fetuses are healthy.

How to prepare

At 3 months pregnant, some of the things to prepare for include:

  • Shopping for maternity clothes: Maternity clothes will soon be much more comfortable than your prepregnancy clothes.
  • The first checkup: It can be helpful to write down a list of questions to go over before the visit.
  • Pregnancy nutrition: If the first trimester made eating enough of the right foods difficult, the second trimester might offer more opportunities for more balanced nutrition. A healthcare professional can offer a referral to a nutritionist for additional help.
  • First kicks: Sometime during the second trimester, most pregnant people start to feel the fetus’s movements. Those first kicks will feel like slight flutters in the abdomen.

What to expect at the doctor’s

Many pregnant people have their first pregnancy checkup sometime during the first 3 months of pregnancy. Every doctor’s office is different, and some may schedule a first visit sooner.

A first doctor’s appointment during pregnancy will include:

  • routine testing
  • a urine screen
  • blood work
  • an assessment of the pregnant person and the fetus
  • education about what to expect in the next several months

Some additional tests may include:

  • a Doppler assessment of the fetus’s heartbeat
  • genetic testing
  • an ultrasound scan

These tests will depend on the doctor’s preference and policy and any risk factors in the pregnancy. For instance, not all offices perform an early ultrasound scan, but this may be done if the pregnancy is high risk or the person has a history that makes it necessary.

Some people may also elect to have genetic testing done on the fetus to screen for chromosomal anomalies. This is something you should discuss with a doctor based on your personal preference as well as risk, such as if there is a family history of certain medical conditions.

Sometime near the end of the first trimester, the fetus’s heartbeat can also be detected using a handheld Doppler ultrasound device. The heartbeat may be more difficult to hear if there is excess tissue on the abdomen, if the uterus is tilted backward (some people naturally have this condition), or if the fetus is still too young.

The doctor will continue to assess the fetus’s heartbeat at every visit after this. If there are any problems finding the heartbeat, they may perform an ultrasound scan.

Summary

Three months of pregnancy marks the end of the first trimester, which is a significant milestone. Not only does the risk of miscarriage significantly decrease after the first trimester, but all of the major system and organ development has taken place in the fetus as well.

By 3 months of pregnancy, the first checkup will either be scheduled or completed. The first doctor’s visit during pregnancy will include routine testing, and the healthcare professional may also do an ultrasound scan. However, this will depend on the doctor’s policy.

Many pregnant people start to feel a little better going into the second trimester. Specifically, they may have less morning sickness and more energy. They may also start to feel those first kicks sometime in the second trimester.

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Medical Reviewer: Stacy A. Henigsman, DO
Last Review Date: 2022 Mar 11
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