Even though you probably don’t feel pregnant, the building blocks of your baby’s life are being put in place right now.
- The embryo now measures 2.5 mm (0.09 in) — about the size of a sesame seed.
- The placenta is now forming, and the umbilical cord is connecting the baby to the developing placenta. (The yolk sac nourishes the embryo until the placenta is established.)
- A fold down the back of the embryo shows the beginnings of a spine.
- Embryonic tissues are already forming into a structure that will become your baby’s heart.
Taking care of you
If you have one mantra to carry yourself through pregnancy, let it be this: Be good to yourself. By taking care of yourself — getting proper rest, exercising regularly, and eating nutritious food — you’re caring for your baby.
During pregnancy, you need about 1200 to 1500 mg of calcium a day. That’s about three to four glasses of skim milk. But, of course, not all that calcium has to come from milk. The calcium you get from cheese, yogurt, ice cream, salmon, spinach, bok choy, and chickpeas, for example, also keeps your bones healthy and helps your baby build strong bones and teeth, too.
Don’t forget folic acid
By supplementing your diet with 1 mg of folic acid, or vitamin B9, each day in the first three months of pregnancy, you can significantly reduce your baby’s chances of developing neural tube defects, such as anencephaly (growing without a brain) and spina bifida (an abnormal spinal cord). If you have any specific risk factors, your doctor may recommend increasing your folic acid intake up to 5 mg.
Fun fact: Doctors used to advise pregnant women to drink dark beer as a source of iron. Sorry ladies, it actually has very little iron and, since alcohol is off limits, you’ll have to stick to your smoothies.
The surprise baby
Was this pregnancy a surprise? Maybe you weren’t planning to have a baby right now and are feeling less than thrilled. Whether you’re in a relationship or on your own, start thinking ahead to how you will manage life with a new baby and who you can turn to for support and help. Read how other parents came to terms with a surprise pregnancy.