Your growing embryo has doubled in size during the last week. Now, the embryo is almost one-half inch long, or the size of a small bean! So far, the head is larger than the rest of the body. The forebrain has divided into the two hemispheres of the brain, where almost one hundred nerve cells are created each minute. On each side of the head, the ears continue to develop. The facial features (eyes, nose, and mouth) are visible, and the inside of the mouth, including the tongue and teeth, are forming. The liver is beginning to produce red blood cells, and now the baby has his or her own blood type. Although you won’t feel it for quite some time, the little one is moving around as the major muscle systems continue to develop during this week.
At this point you may have noticed that you have lost or gained weight—both are normal in the first trimester. If you have frequent nausea and/or vomiting, or if you are not eating as much as usual, you may be down a few pounds. Or, you may notice that your clothes have started to feel snug already and you have gained a few pounds. The main reasons for this include fluid retention, bloating, and bowel distention, but at this point your uterus is getting bigger as well. Try not to weigh yourself every day. Weight gain can fluctuate as much as one to five pounds in the course of a single day, and these fluctuations can be confusing or discouraging. Consider weighing yourself once a week, right after you get up in the morning and go to the bathroom.
You may have already started to share the news to your family and friends, or you may be wondering when to tell people you are pregnant. This is a very personal choice; you may prefer to keep the news to yourself right now, or to tell only a few people until after the first trimester. Some woman find it difficult not to share what they are going through, and they want to tell all of their friends and family right away. When you do decide to share the news, you may choose to keep it low-key, or you may want to tell people in a fun and memorable way. If you are working, experts advise not telling any colleagues until you are ready for your boss and everyone at the company to know. Consider carefully how you will tell your boss and review your maternity leave package information. (For more information, see: “Timing is Everything When You Tell Your Boss You’re Expecting.”)
Hot Topic: Toxoplasmosis
Have someone else change the kitty litter. Toxoplasmosis is an infection you can get from a microscopic parasite, which can be harmful to your developing baby. It can be transmitted through the cat waste. Here are some guidelines to avoid becoming infected, whether you have a cat or not:
- Wash your hands after playing with pets, especially before eating
- If you have a cat, have other people empty the litter box, and have them do it daily
- Avoid public sandboxes and cover your child’s sandbox when not in use
- Keep cats off of the kitchen counters and tables
- Cook meat well, and wash or peel fruits and vegetables before eating
- Disinfect cutting board and kitchen surfaces
- Wear gloves while doing yard work or gardening
Fast Fact: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends a total weight gain of twenty-five to thirty-five pounds during pregnancy for women who are at normal weight when pregnancy occurs. Underweight women should gain about forty pounds, while overweight women should gain about twenty pounds. Talk to your doctor or mid-wife about your individual weight gain.
Eating For Two: Whole Grains
If you are not already in the habit of eating whole grain breads, now is the time to start. Whole grains are good sources of fiber and other important nutrients. Here are some delicious suggestions to increase your whole grain intake:
- Whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat bagels
- Whole-wheat or oat bran pita (try toasted pita chips, see below)
- Brown rice or wild rice (mix with white rice until you get used to it)
- Whole grain cereals (shredded mini-wheat cereals come in several frosted flavors now)
- Whole-wheat or buckwheat pancakes and waffles
- Whole grain crackers (like low-salt Triscuits)
- Whole grain muffins
Easy Toasted Pita Chips
- Whole-wheat or oat bran pita pockets
- Olive oil spray
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Ground red pepper (optional)
1. Cut whole-wheat or oat bran pita into wedges.
2. Spray lightly with olive oil; season with salt and pepper (add some red pepper for a spicy bite).
3. Bake at 250° F for fifteen minutes or until lightly browned and crispy. Use in place of chips to dip, or munch on pita chips with soup or salad.
<< Read Week 6
Read Week 8 >>