It's only been a week since your embryo, about the size of an apple seed, attached to the wall of your uterus, but already it has made many developmental leaps. The placenta and the umbilical cord are functioning, passing oxygen and nutrients between you and your baby. The cluster of cells that will become your baby's heart -- a mere speck right now -- has already formed, and the brain and spinal cord are beginning to take shape.
Start learning about your tiny baby needs:
- Prenatal Tests to Expect
- Pregnancy Symptoms: First Trimester
- Tea: When to Avoid Green Tea
- Folic acid prevents birth defects
A home pregnancy test will confirm what you may already suspect--you're pregnant! Other than that things are pretty much the same on the outside, and you don't look any different than you did a few weeks ago. Growing a baby is exhausting work, however, and you may feel a little more fatigued than usual. Most initial prenatal checkups take place between six and ten weeks, so make an appointment if you haven't already.
Preparing your body for its new role:
Do's and Don'ts
Do take a pass on that glass of wine with dinner. While some experts say the occasional drink won't likely cause a problem, why take a chance? If you're concerned about having indulged recently, you're probably in the clear. Although fetal development is crucial in the first trimester, there's no need to worry if you had a few drinks in the first few days of pregnancy, especially before the embryo was implanted in the womb.
Be smart -- you're staying healthy for two now:
If you aren't already taking them, now's the time to start on prenatal vitamins. Even if you regularly eat a diet rich in vitamins and minerals, you could be missing some of the biggies, including folic acid, calcium, and iron. Folic acid, a B vitamin, helps prevent neural tube defects and reduces the chances of a preterm delivery; iron plays a key role in the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen in the blood; and calcium builds your baby's bones and teeth.
Mom to Mom
Good news from a home pregnancy test? Find a creative way to tell your partner that a baby's on the way. "I set an extra place at the table using a baby dish and spoon set."--Ruth Gross, Warren, MI
How other moms and dads embraced the big news:
- How Pregnancy Changes Love
- Girl Talk: Loving Your Second Child
- The Effects of Workplace Hazards on Male Reproductive Health
- Sex During Pregnancy
It'll be a few more months before you'll need maternity clothes, but you may be able to snag a few deals now by shopping end-of-season sales at maternity shops and online stores. Resist the urge to splurge, however (although it's understandable considering how exciting it is to be pregnant). You may need to try on certain items such as skirts and pants to find the best fit, which you can't do until you are showing.
Get ready to buy for you and the baby:
If you weren't in shape before you conceived but want to start exercising, first get the green light from your doctor or midwife. Exercise boosts your flagging energy levels, a plus during the first trimester when, like many women, you may tire easily. It also strengthens your body to meet the physical demands of pregnancy. Begin slowly with short walks or sign up for a prenatal exercise class, where an instructor can guide you down the road to fitness.
Don't know whether to wait or share your baby news right away? It's considered good form to wait until the end of the first trimester when you know the pregnancy is viable. But doctors say once they have detected a heartbeat, you can feel free to tell those closest to you.
Already have an older child? That may have some effect on the personality of your new baby. Later-borns are more likely to become artists, inventors, or rebels. They're probably more adventurous and less conventional, since they're often forced as kids to explore new territory in order to compete with older siblings.
Want a crash course in how to cope with twins? Learn this crucial tenet and repeat it out loud: Everyone who wants to help gets to do so! Many people will offer to babysit during those early days. Take them all up on it -- and keep your helpers rotating so they don't get overworked.
Just for kicks:
- Not every pregnant woman craves pickles and ice cream
- Start calling dibs on your favorite baby names