How your baby’s growing
Fingerprints are forming on your baby’s tiny fingertips, her veins and organs are clearly visible through her still-thin skin, and her body is starting to catch up with her head – which makes up just a third of her body size now. If you’re having a girl, she now has more than 2 million eggs in her ovaries. Your baby is almost 3 inches long (about the size of a pea pod) and weighs nearly an ounce.
How your life’s changing
This is the last week of your first trimester, and your risk of miscarriage is now much lower than earlier in pregnancy. Next week marks the beginning of your second trimester, a time of relative comfort for the many women who see early pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness and fatigue subside. More good news: Many women also notice a distinct increase in their sex drive around this time.
Birth is still months away, but your breasts may have already started making colostrum, the nutrient-rich fluid that feeds your baby for the first few days after birth, before your milk starts to flow.
How much more should I be eating and drinking every day?
You may be eating for two, but you don’t need twice as much food. Guidelines vary, but the Institute of Medicine (IOM) says if you’re a healthy weight, you need no additional calories in the first trimester, 340 extra calories a day in the second trimester, and about 450 extra calories a day in the third trimester. If you’re overweight or underweight, or having twins or multiples, you’ll need more or less than this depending on your weight gain goal.
Make those calories count: Skip the junk food and have a healthy pregnancy snack or a pregnancy super food instead.
The IOM also recommends about 10 8-ounce glasses of fluid per day (80 fluid ounces) during pregnancy. You may need more if you live in a warm climate, at high altitude, or if you’re exercising. Every woman is different, so don’t worry if you find you need a little more or less.
As for what to drink, plain water is best, but milk and other beverages also count toward your fluid intake.
Tip: Keep an eye on the color of your urine – if it’s dark yellow or cloudy, you need to drink more. Clear or pale yellow urine means you’re well-hydrated.
What are some important nutrients?
Protein, iron, and calcium are three nutrients you need now to keep you healthy and fuel your baby’s development.
- Protein: Aim for 71 grams of protein a day. Lean meats, eggs, and dairy products, as well as nuts, beans, and soy products like tofu, are all good sources. Three servings a day should help you meet your goal. Fish is a good source of protein (as well as vital omega-3 fatty acids), but because of concerns about contamination, experts debate how much and what type of fish you should eat.
- Iron: Getting 27 milligrams of iron every day is especially important to help ward off iron-deficiency anemia, a common problem among pregnant women. Iron found in animal products (called heme iron) is absorbed more easily by your body than iron found in plants (nonheme iron). The best source? Lean red meat. If you’re a vegetarian or can’t stomach meat, you can get some iron from vegetables such as spinach and legumes like lentils. It can be tough to get enough iron from these sources, though, so your healthcare provider may recommend an iron supplement. (Hint: Vitamin C enhances the absorption of nonheme iron, so eat foods rich in vitamin C – such as citrus fruits, strawberries, and sweet peppers – at the same time you eat non-meat iron-rich foods, or down your iron supplement with a glass of orange juice.)
- Calcium: Four servings a day of dairy products will help you get the 1,000 mg of calcium you need (1,300 mg if you’re 18 or younger). Your baby needs calcium for the formation of his bones and teeth. If you don’t get enough of this nutrient, he’ll take what he needs from your body and you’ll lose calcium stored in your bones.
I’m taking a prenatal vitamin, so do I need to pay much attention to what I eat?
Yes! A prenatal vitamin can help fill in any nutritional gaps in your diet, but it isn’t meant to take the place of healthy eating. For one thing, prenatal vitamins don’t have the full day’s supply of the calcium you need right now. For another, it’s important to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables for fiber, which aids digestion and helps you avoid constipation, a common pregnancy complaint.