The early stages are the most critical of pregnancy and so if you have not been avoiding all hazards that may affect your baby, now is the time to do so. This includes smoking (even second hand smoke), alcohol, drugs and even caffeine intake.
At this stage, you’ll realize that your period should have already started, but hasn’t. By now you would have either rushed out for a home pregnancy test, or gone to see your health care provider to confirm your suspicions. By the time you discover you are pregnant, your little bundle of joy has already been working away frantically developing without your knowing it.
Your breasts will become even more swollen and tender as milk glands are already starting to multiply. The growing fetus will be starting to put pressure on your bladder, causing you to relieve yourself more often than usual. The dreaded morning sickness may have even started to play it’s little tricks. No one is really sure as to why it is called morning sickness, as it can strike at any time of day or night. Here are a few tips on how to ease the symptoms of morning sickness:
- Get out of bed slowly
- Eat small meals, this will help keep your blood-sugar level steady, and will help keep your stomach filled.
- Snack on easy to digest foods, whole-wheat toast, baked potatoes, pasta and fruit.
- Try eating cold foods
- Avoid greasy foods
- Avoid spicy foods as much as possible
- Keep the kitchen well ventilated, to air out those lingering cooking odors.
- Drink water to avoid dehydration
- Exercise. This will help you to sleep at night, and relieve stress.
- If you are vomiting more than twice a day, contact your doctor and talk to her about Hyperemesis Gravidarum
- Now may be a good time to choose the care provider that will see you through your pregnancy.
Even if nausea hasn’t hit you yet, you’ll want to steer clear of certain foods when you’re pregnant. Food-borne illnesses, such as listeriosis and toxoplasmosis, can be life-threatening to an embryo and may cause birth defects or miscarriage. Here’s a list of foods you’ll want to avoid:
- soft cheeses such as feta, goat, brie, Camembert, and blue cheese
- unpasteurized milk and juices
- raw or undercooked meats, including hot dogs and deli meats
- raw eggs or foods containing raw eggs, including mousse and tiramisu
- raw shellfish
Toxoplasmosis can also be spread from soiled cat litter boxes, so if possible have someone else clean the litter box during your pregnancy. If you have a cat, chances are you’ve already contracted the disease toxoplasmosis and have developed an immunity to it. However, to be on the safe side you could have your cats tested by a veterinarian to see if they have an active infection.
Until now, the embryo has been a mass of cells, but by this point in your pregnancy a distinct shape begins to form. The neural tube, which will eventually form into the spinal cord and brain and is also called the primitive streak, runs from the top to the bottom of the embryo. The top part of the neural tube has begun to flatten out and will eventually form the front part of the brain. A bulge in the center of the embryo will develop into your baby’s heart.
Revision date: June 21, 2011
Last revised: by Sebastian Scheller, MD, ScD