Baby's Growth and Development at Week One: Preconception
It may seem strange, but your pregnancy journey begins before your baby even is conceived.
The first week of pregnancy actually begins with the start of your last menstrual period. Why? It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when your egg becomes fertilized, but the date of your last cycle is a more accurate starting point. Your doctor will calculate your due date by counting 40 weeks from the start of your last menstrual period.
It’s called the Gestational Age, and it’s how most doctors measure pregnancies. Because ovulation and conception take place about two weeks after your period begins, your baby's Foetus Age (which begins when your egg is fertilized) will be two weeks less than his Gestational Age. So, when you’re 8 weeks pregnant, your baby’s fetal age is 6 weeks.
Your Changing Body at Week One: Preconception
During preconception, your body is preparing for your baby — in fact, it’s been preparing every month since puberty. During every period, your uterus has shed its lining. That creates a new lining that’s rich in blood vessels to house and nourish a developing baby. Now it’s setting the stage for the nine months ahead.
Wellness and Nutrition at Week One: Preconception
You can take action right now to make pregnancy easier for your body and best for your baby in the months to come. During preconception, you can:
- Supplement your balanced diet with daily multivitamins or prenatal vitamins or a maternal milk supplement that include folic acid and other essentials minerals and vitamins needed for pregnancy. Folic acid, which is found naturally in lentils, dried beans, peas, and whole-grain breads, has been shown to help prevent early pregnancy birth defects. Talk with your doctor (Obstetrician and/or Gynecologist) about prenatal vitamins if you haven’t already.
- Establish healthy habits in nutrition and exercise.
- Address any medical conditions. If you're taking prescription medications, you may want to consult your doctor.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol, and limit caffeine to about one tall coffee a day.
Your First Doctor Visit
Many women make a preconception appointment with their family doctor or OB-GYN. This can help you make sure your body is ready for pregnancy. It’s also a great opportunity to ask questions or talk about any special concerns you might have.
Nutrition at Its Best
Be sure to eat a healthy, balanced diet comprising a variety of foods. During the course of your pregnancy, you would need additional folic acid, iron and calcium. Speak to your doctor about prenatal supplements that is suitable for you.
Exercising Now for a Great Start Later
Pregnancy puts extra physical demands on your body. So being physically fit beforehand can help get you and your baby off to a good start.
When you're one week pregnant, a balanced exercise program might be as important as a balanced diet. Try to work all of these into your workout:
- Cardiovascular or aerobic exercise
- Muscular endurance
- Muscular strength or resistance training
- Flexibility exercises
When you?re modifying your exercise routine (or just getting started), remember that:
- Exercises that focus on muscles in your lower back and stomach are particularly good in preparing for pregnancy.
- If you are able to exercise a minimum of 20 minutes a day three to four days a week, you probably will notice significant health benefits.
Many women are concerned about weight gain during pregnancy. Remember that gaining weight is a natural, normal part of being pregnant. Your doctor probably will suggest a weight gain that is best for you. See the weight-gain chart for an example.