Your baby continues to grow and develop this week. Over the past week, the fertilized egg has divided into hundreds of cells and is now called a blastocyst. The blastocyst is hollow and filled with fluid. Around this time the blastocyst will implant itself in the lining of the uterus, known as the endometrium. If implantation is successful, it is here that your baby will start to grow and receive its nourishment. Over time, this implantation site will develop into the placenta. During pregnancy, the placenta nourishes and protects your developing baby.
Your body may now begin to let you know that you’re pregnant. The blastocyst will begin to secrete hormones that stop your body from releasing the endometrium and tissue in your uterus causing you to miss your period.
Adequate vitamin intake, especially folic acid, protein, calcium, and iron, is essential for nourishing your baby. A folic acid supplement-which, ideally, you’ve been taking since before you conceived-is particularly important because folic acid helps prevent defects of the neural tube, which form quite early in development.
Your intake of protein, which is the building block of new tissue, should double during pregnancy-you should be eating at least 60 grams a day.
In addition, calcium (at least 1,200 milligrams) is necessary for the development of bones and teeth make sure you’re getting a good dose of dairy products, leafy green vegetables and legumes.
Iron is essential during pregnancy as you support the continual increase of your baby’s blood volume. Good sources of iron include red meat, legumes, eggs and leafy green vegetables. You should consume at least 30 milligrams of iron daily.
Revision date: June 20, 2011
Last revised: by Jorge P. Ribeiro, MD