Your baby’ is starting the process of folding into a 3-dimensional body! This week is also an important milestone in her embryonic development: the beginning of what is called organogenesis: the outlines of many internal organs are starting to form, as is her bloodstream. At the end of the fourth week, your baby is 4-6 mm in length (around the size of a lentil), and the fetal-placental circulation is set up and running. Amazingly, since her conception, her weight has multiplied by 10,000!
Six weeks since your last period, you’re in your 4th week of pregnancy. A big wave of hormones are being produced. They are essential for your baby, ensuring he’s got all he needs to grow. Those hormones will prevent you from having a period again while you’re pregnant. And they also help form the placenta. What does the placenta do? It supplies baby with oxygen and nutrients and serves to protect her against many germs and pollutants. But not all – if you smoke and haven’t given up smoking yet, now’s the time to do it! (Dads too!)
Everyone says to “eat healthily” while pregnant but that can sometimes seem a tall, unspecific order. A great rule of thumb is to focus on its quality– it will help you instill good habits early in your pregnancy. Focus, too, on taking special care in preparing your food to avoid the risk of food poisoning, both for you and your baby. Thoroughly cook your meat: steak tartare and undercooked meats are no-no’s! Wash your hands thoroughly after gardening or feeding pets, before cooking, and make sure you wash fruits and vegetables really well. If you have the time to clean the fridge regularly with soapy water and bleach, do so. Avoid eating leftovers that were not immediately stored and cooled in the refrigerator in which bacteria might have had a chance to grow. A little caution can go a long way to keeping you and your baby feeling good!
Is it a good idea to take a vitamin-mineral supplement while pregnant?
Pregnant women have a higher dietary recommendations for many nutrients, including protein, iron, zinc, docosahexanoic acid (DHA – a healthy fat found in fish and some animal foods), and folic acid to name a few. Taking a vitamin and mineral supplement can help fill some nutrient gaps. As with any medication, consult your doctor before taking any dietary supplements during your pregnancy. He or she can prescribe a supplement for you that caters to pregnancy. Caution: don’t play pharmacist! Wrong doses of certain nutrients (vitamin A, vitamin D, selenium, fluorine) can be bad your for baby!
By the way, have you seen your gynaecologist? A first consultation before the end of the third month is in the cards. Your doctor may order a blood test for early pregnancy and schedule your first ultrasound, which may take place around the 12th week.