Just a tiny little speck, the embryonic disc that is your baby right now is already made up of three layers of cells that will form the various parts of their body. It will go from about 0.02 mm at the beginning of the week to about 0.075 mm by the end of the week.
The science of the embryonic disc is amazing:
- The inner layer, the endoderm, will form the organs of the digestive tract, liver, pancreas and the organs of their respiratory system.
- The outer layer, the ectoderm, will form their nervous system and its different organs as well as skin, nails and hair.
- The third layer, the mesoderm, will form most of the skeletal structure, heart, urinary tract and sexual organs. In the middle of this layer is the notochord, which will serve as a temporary backbone and from which the central nervous system, future brain and head will form.
At 3 weeks, your baby is a tiny ball of cells no bigger than a grain of sugar. Your baby will be making its way toward the womb, their home until they are born.
You didn’t get your period when you were supposed to. At first, you probably thought nothing of it. But then…what if? You decided to take a pregnancy test and it was positive. Congratulations! A wonderful adventure is about to begin, one of the best in your life. Nothing is visible, of course, but that won’t last for long.
Taking care of yourself and what you eat is more important than ever. One question that comes up is “do I need to eat for two?”. The simple answer is no, pregnant mums don’t need to “eat for two”, meaning twice as much as they usually do. But you do need to choose high quality foods which contain all the important nutrients. Two nutrients that are important for the development of the foetus in the early stages of pregnancy are folic acid and iron.
Folic acid (Vitamin B9) helps reduce the risk of serious birth defects of the spine and brain called neural tube defects. You can find Folate (a natural source of vitamin B9) in foods such as:
- Dark, green leafy types of vegetables such as kale and spinach;
- Dried beans and peas
- Orange juice.
- Cereals fortified with folic acid.
Getting enough folic acid is very important, talk to your healthcare professional about a folic acid supplement.
Iron is an important nutrient to focus on during pregnancy as your body requires more than normal. Iron helps carry oxygen through the blood and is necessary for cell division and for the healthy growth of your future baby.
The best sources of iron include:
- Red meat, fish, and poultry.
- Dried peas, beans and lentils,
- Leafy greens such as spinach,
- Iron-fortified breakfast cereals.
Foods rich in vitamin C, such as oranges, tomatoes, and strawberries, will help your body absorb iron. Always talk to your health care professional if you are concerned you may not be meeting your iron needs before taking any supplements.
Some foods should be avoided completely during pregnancy. Raw seafood is one of these foods because of the potential presence of toxins that may pose a risk to the foetus. Consider it a temporary goodbye to clams, raw oysters, sushi & sashimi. Undercooked meat, poultry, and raw or undercooked eggs may also contain bacteria that could harm your developing baby. So, wash your vegetables really well and avoid mayonnaise or salad dressed with any sauce or dressing made with raw egg.