You can’t tell by looking, but your baby’s brain is developing rapidly with the emergence of the two cerebral hemispheres, the two sides of what will make up their brain. The “sense organs” are coming along too, with the outline of their eyes and ears, and the beginnings of a nose and mouth. Their face as well. Excitingly, the pulmonary and digestive systems are also taking shape little by little. The heart of your baby has now developed enough that it is becoming more prominent - if you have an ultrasound at this stage, you will clearly see their heart beating! There in your womb, this little being is starting to form slowly but surely.
Now in the 5th week of your pregnancy, you might feel like something has changed. Many women can sense it, even at this early stage. Perhaps you’re feeling more tense or irritable than usual. This is caused by hormonal changes that can affect not just your mental state but also produce certain physical signs. Breasts can feel fuller, and some women feel a pulling, or even a little pain, in the pelvic region, which is caused by the intensified blood flow. All part of an amazing process.
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 instil 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 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 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!
“I am 8 weeks pregnant and I've put on 5 kilos. What’s up with that?” Whether that’s your story or not, it’s good to know that weight gain naturally varies among women in pregnancy. That said, an early, rapid weight gain should be reported to your doctor, because it is rather unusual for it to happen so soon. If you were a normal or heavy weight before pregnancy, your doctor might want to monitor your diet.
Your body, under the influence of natural hormones, is already thinking ahead. It needs to store some fat tissue to begin preparing for the final months of pregnancy and, after that, breastfeeding. During your first trimester, if you began your pregnancy at a healthy weight, you likely do not need to eat any more calories. However, be sure to include foods from each of the food groups, and talk with your health care professional about a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement suitable for your pregnancy. Folic acid and iodine are particularly important nutrients during early pregnancy.