The cardinal early sign of pregnancy is a missed period. Suspicion of pregnancy is increased if you had unprotected intercourse a week or two earlier than your expected period.James W. Brann, MD
Your Pregnancy MD
Pregnancy Week Four
Many women often wonder if they are pregnant in the first couple of weeks after ovulation, if their period does not start by the end of pregnancy week 4. A missed period may signal – conception (fertilization of the egg) and implantation (the embryo attaching to the uterus) has occurred, thus causing an elevation in pregnancy hormones resulting in you skipping your period. The cardinal early sign of pregnancy is a missed period. Suspicion of pregnancy is increased if you had unprotected intercourse a week or two earlier than your expected period.
When it comes to pregnancy symptoms, no two women or even pregnancies are alike. Many times, symptoms will vary greatly. However, women commonly develop certain symptoms during a healthy, normal pregnancy. The top four reported early symptoms are going to the bathroom all the time to urinate (52 percent), feeling exhausted (46 percent), not sleeping well (28 percent), and backache (20 percent) [Reference].
Sixty percent of pregnant moms experience some symptoms of pregnancy as early as five to six weeks after their last menstrual period [LMP]) and almost everyone has symptoms of pregnancy after the eighth week [Reference].
What are Common Early Pregnancy Symptoms?
By the time you realize you have missed a period you will start feeling some of these early pregnancy symptoms.
- Nausea and vomiting – This is a common early pregnancy symptom complaint of pregnancy. You may begin feeling nauseous right away. Some women may experience both nausea and vomiting.
- Breast sensitivity and enlargement – Your breasts may become tender, tingle, swell, feel sore, and have a heightened sensitivity to touch.
- Overall fatigue – An extremely common symptom that you will experience early in pregnancy is increasing fatigue. You will become tired easily and need more rest.
- Urinary frequency – You may begin to urinate more frequently soon after you become pregnant.
Nausea and Vomiting is a Common Early Pregnancy Symptoms?
Between 50 to 90 percent of pregnant women suffer some degree of morning
sickness, pregnancy-related nausea with or without vomiting. Remember that
“morning sickness” doesn’t always happen in the morning; it can be at any time
during the day. If you are experiencing nausea, gagging, vomiting, or an
aversion to food, then you have morning sickness.
Don’t worry—mild cases of nausea and throwing up won’t hurt your baby. It’ll eventually end and you’ll be able to eat and feel better. Morning sickness symptoms tends to be first noticed around 5 or 6 weeks with a peak at 9 weeks. It should go away in the second trimester.
What are the Symptoms of Morning Sickness?
The symptoms include fatigue, nausea and vomiting, gagging, and aversion to food.
Morning sickness starts early in pregnancy and if you’re feeling these symptoms
on a regular basis, you have morning sickness.
Mild to moderate cases of nausea and vomiting do not hurt your baby. It will eventually end and you will be able to eat and feel better soon.
When does Morning Sickness Start?
The symptoms of morning sickness usually start at five to six weeks of pregnancy. Your symptoms gradually gets worse until your ninth week, and stops by the 16th to 20th weeks.
When does Morning Sickness End?
Morning Sickness usually ends by the 16th to 20th weeks of pregnancy. But up to 20
percent of pregnant women may continue through the third trimester and 5
percent up to delivery.
Most women realize around their sixteenth week that their stomach is no longer doing cartwheels and that food is appetizing once again. Notice I said most women. There are a few women for whom this particular ailment is a gift which keeps on giving…well into the second trimester, even occasionally right up until delivery
Do all pregnant women get morning sickness?
No, but 9 out of 10 pregnant women experience nausea during early pregnancy.
What Causes Morning Sickness?
Morning sickness is not a good description of the nausea and vomiting associated with
pregnancy. It is not exclusively a morning experience. There is no clear
consensus within physicians on what causes morning sickness. But this
unpleasant symptom has been associated with many varied conditions, slowing of
digestion, a genetic cause, many psychological factors, and even increasing
levels of hormones during pregnancy.
Other factors may also be involved to one degree or another. For your own reference, the causes of morning sickness aren’t known for certain but may include some of the following:
- On-going stress
- Ambivalence about the pregnancy
- Increased hormone levels
- Slower digestion
- Increased sensitivity to smells
- Missing nutrients from the diet, i.e. zinc
- Fluctuating rates of metabolism (low blood sugar)
- You have had menstrual migraines
- You are prone to motion sickness
- You have family members that have had morning sickness
- You have problems with gastric reflux
- You Have twins
What are the triggers that may make morning sickness symptoms worse? Here is a list:
- Rooms that do not have fresh air movement “stuffy”
- Specific odors that you find offensive
- Hot and humidity environment
- Aggressive loud sounds or noises
- Blinking lights
- Motion sensations similar to that felt when driving
- The excessive production of saliva that is commonly seen in pregnancy
- High sugar content foods and snacks
- Spicy foods
- Food with high-fat content.
If you have morning sickness, fortunately there are some time tested remedies that may help relieve some of the symptoms.
If you have morning sickness, fortunately there are some time tested remedies that may help relieve some of the symptoms:
- Eating as soon as you have the sensation of being hungry, or even before you feel hungry.
- Snack frequently and try eating small meals. The easiest foods to eat are foods that have lots of protein or carbohydrates, but not a lot of fat. Crackers, bread, and low-fat yogurt are good choices.
- Drinking cold, beverages that are clear and fizzy. Lemonade and ginger ale are good choices.
- Eating lollipops that are ginger flavored.
- Smelling lemon, mint, or orange helps.
- Brushing your teeth as soon as you finish eating.
- Avoid lying down after eating.
- Only take your vitamins at bedtime with a small snack, instead of the morning.
- Avoiding things that make you feel nauseous. Examples could be stuffy rooms, and strong smells.
What dietary changes should a pregnant woman with morning sickness make?
To try and decrease your morning sickness symptoms eat when you feel hungry. You
do not want to have an empty stomach. An empty stomach will make your nausea
Snacking at appropriate times will help with your symptoms. Try a snack before bedtime and if you get up in the night for your bathroom trips. A small snack such as crackers may help.
Just like an empty stomach can make your symptoms worse, an over full stomach will also make symptoms worse. Make sure to eat small amounts very frequently, every few hours.
You should make a mental note of which foods you can tolerate and which ones make symptoms worse. You should try to avoid the foods you cannot tolerate.
- Spicy foods
- Fatty foods
- Very sweet foods
Change your diet to include the follow foods that are better tolerate:
- Protein rich
- Low fat
- Bland meals
- Dry foods, such as cereals, crackers
- Salty foods
It is best to drink liquids 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after you eat? This will avoid that overfull stomach sensation that increases nausea. Carbonated and cold beverages are tolerated the best. Drinking through a straw and sips of sports drinks seems to help as well.
What are the self-treatments for Morning Sickness?
The goal of treatment is not to totally eliminate your morning sickness symptoms,
but to make the nausea and vomiting tolerable. The treatment plan chosen is to
make you comfortable, and allow you to hold things down better. With or without
treatment most symptoms will stop around the 16 week of pregnancy or shortly
Mild symptoms have been treated with wrist bands that you can wear called “acupressure” bands. The acupressure bands are supposed to reduce morning sickness. The wrist band exerts pressure on an acupressure point (p6 or Nei-Kuan) that has shown to relieve nausea and vomiting. [ Reference]
Marijuana usage during pregnancy has been increasing. Pregnant women have
self-report that it does alleviate the morning sickness symptoms. [Reference].
Despite this fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
recommends avoiding marijuana use in pregnancy sighting concerns could exist
for the baby’s safety.
Ginger tea may also help with the nausea and vomiting of some pregnant women. Ginger is also available, in forms as ginger lollipops, and ginger ale.
Are there safe medical treatments I can take for morning sickness?
Yes, there are many common drugs that are used to treat morning sickness
Pyridoxine or Vitamin B6 is the initial drug of choice. Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) is safe and has minimal side effects. The recommended dosage is 10 to 25mg, every 6 to 8 hours.
Pyridoxine works well to treat nausea but does not reduce the vomiting. [Reference] When pyridoxine treatment alone has not been beneficial, it is combined with a second medication called Doxylamine.
Doxylamine is found over-the-counter in sleeping pills and in a prescription antihistamine.
Doxylamine-pyridoxine combination appears to be a more effective treatment than when they are taken alone. [Reference]
There are two other common medications you can try, but they will make you sleepy. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and Meclizine (Dramamine) Both of these medications are sold over the counter and have been used to easy the symptoms of morning sickness.
Can the Symptoms of Morning Sickness Be Prevented?
before and in early pregnancy may reduce the risk for morning sickness
Every woman that is planning conception should take a multivitamin. A multivitamin is still the #1 source of folic acid and other vitamins before conception. It may be this combination of Vitamin B6 and folic acid that leads to a decrease in early pregnancy morning sickness symptoms.
Another Common Early Pregnancy Symptom is Breast Sensitivity
One of the first pregnancy symptoms that many women notice are changes in their breasts. In the first trimester, your breasts and nipples may feel sore and tender. With each week that passes you will find that your breasts continue to grow and become more voluminous. Later in your pregnancy, you may find that your breasts have increased a whole bra cup size. Touching will probably remain off-limits, since your breasts will still be feeling rather tender to touch.
Some women describe breast tenderness in pregnancy similar to how your breasts feel right before you have your menstrual period. Only pregnancy makes your breasts more swollen, tingly, and sensitive to any touch.
All this breast growth is due to the fat layer of your breasts thickening and the number of milk glands increasing. By the time you deliver your baby, it’s not uncommon for your breasts to have increased in weight by three pounds (or roughly two inches larger) than they were originally. You may marvel and love this breast change, especially if you were not blessed with a large chest to begin with.
On the other hand, if you have naturally larger breasts, pregnancy can sometimes make them droop. You may never regain the pre-pregnancy breast firmness you once have.
To cope with breast discomfort in pregnancy, invest in a good maternity bra. These
are special bras designed for pregnant women and their breasts. Pregnancy
maternity bras have larger cups and extra clasps in the back, which accommodate
you as your breasts grow. It’s also a good idea for you to get a nighttime
maternity bra, which will help support your breasts while you sleep.
Having a baby doesn’t just affect your breast size. During pregnancy, your nipples and the areola (the darker skin around your nipple) can also change. They can become larger and get darker in color. As your pregnancy continues, you might also notice that the little bumps on the areolas are more noticeable. These little bumps are called “Montgomery’s tubercles,” and they often become very prominent when you’re expecting.
In addition to Montgomery’s tubercles, you may start to notice that you have blue veins underneath the skin of your breasts. This is caused by the elevated blood flow circulating in your body. It’s a normal breast change, and it shouldn’t cause you to worry.
Fatigue is very Common Early Pregnancy Symptoms.
Many women report fatigue in pregnancy as one of their most trying symptoms. After all, it is hard to get up and go when all you really feel like doing is sleeping.
Fatigue during pregnancy is common for many reasons. Remember your body is working twenty four hours a day seven days a week creating a new life inside.
Many women have a more difficulty time sleeping at night, and this can as well contribute to pregnancy fatigue. Hormone changes including rising levels of progesterone can contribute to feelings of fatigue in pregnancy as well.
Most women experience more fatigue during the first trimester, when their body is just becoming used to the idea of being pregnant.
Many women experience a pick me up during the second trimester, but notice that their energy level once again drops during the third trimester, as your body slowly prepares for labor and delivery.
I’m Pregnant and have Extreme Fatigue,
What Can I Do?
There are several steps you can take to help deal with fatigue in pregnancy. Here are some of the more effective strategies for overcoming fatigue in pregnancy.
Go to bed early. There is no reason to stay up until 11 because that is what your normally do. During pregnancy your body needs as much sleep as possible, so there is nothing wrong with turning in early. Pat yourself on the back for taking care of yourself and your baby.
Take a nap. You should try to take a catnap each day if possible during your pregnancy, particularly during the last trimester. You don’t have to rest long, but even 15 minutes of downtime can improve your spirits and provide you the pick me up you need to get through the day.
Eat several mini meals per day. This will help keep your energy reserves up and prevent you from feeling sluggish due to inadequate nutrition.
Exercise every day.This may seem extremely hard when you are tired. No matter how tired you are however, you should try at the very least to go for a walk and get some fresh air every day. Exercise boosts the body’s production of endorphins and can help get blood circulating throughout the body. This will help charge you up and allow you to feel more energetic during the day. You might also consider a short yoga video first thing in the morning, which may serve as a pick me up in place of your cup of java.
Invest in a body pillow.This will help alleviate some of the aches you may experience during the day and may help you sleep better.
Get some help around the house.Ask others to pitch in and consider ordering out on occasion. The less work you have to do the more rested you will feel. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break every now and again. Your baby will appreciate a rested mommy more than a clean house after all.
Eat healthy.The more junk food you eat the more likely you are to feel zapped and tired during the day. Try to eat plenty of lean proteins during the day and be sure you drink plenty of water. This will help maintain a steady stream of energy to your body and provide you with the vitamins and minerals you need to take on the day.
While you won’t be able to fend off fatigue completely, by following these few easy steps you should find you have a bit more energy to get through the day.
A Major Classic Pregnancy Sign is a Constant Need to Use the Bathroom
women notice they have to urinate more urgently and frequently during
pregnancy. The constantly
need to urinate is a classic pregnancy symptom that almost all
pregnant women will experience to some degree.
It may feel like your bladder has shrunk, and you may be running to the bathroom every ten minutes to urinate. In the first trimester, there is more blood pumped into your kidneys, which make them work harder than ever. Your kidneys will flush out more of your body’s waste products, so as a result, you’ll be running to the bathroom more frequently to empty your bladder.
As your uterus gets larger in pregnancy, it will add extra pressure on your bladder. Your bladder will feel like it’s full, even when it’s nearly empty. In the final weeks of pregnancy, when your baby drops into your pelvis to prepare for labor and delivery, his or her head will press against your cervix and bladder. This increases your need to urinate even more.
Tips for Coping with Frequent Urination
You will need to drink plenty of fluid to keep hydrated during
pregnancy. Don’t think for a moment that reducing your fluid intake is the key
to avoiding the bathroom frequently. Your best bet is avoiding diuretic fluids
that can contribute to the sense of urgency you feel when you have to pee.
These include caffeine products like tea, soda or coffee. You might try
consuming most of your fluids during the day to reduce the number of trips you
have to make to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
When using the bathroom, you may find it helps to lean forward a bit to ensure you completely empty out your bladder. Many women find they have to pee again shortly after a visit to the bathroom simply because they were not able to empty their bladder fully. This is more common in the later stages of pregnancy.
Home Pregnancy Test
By 4 weeks pregnant you should be able to take a home pregnancy test. You should call your healthcare provider as soon as you get a positive result to schedule your first prenatal visit. Most healthcare providers won’t see patients until they are eight to ten weeks pregnant (unless they are in a high risk category) but you can schedule your appointment a few weeks in advance. Your doctor can also prescribe prenatal vitamins for you and ensure you are taking important steps to protect your health and that of your babies during your early pregnancy weeks.
Most over-the-counter pregnancy tests work by detecting the levels of hCG (human Chorionic Gonadotropin) in your urine. This pregnancy hormone is produced as soon as your baby implants into your uterine lining. If you take a pregnancy test too early, you can have a negative result, even if you are indeed pregnant, because your levels of hCG are not high enough yet to be detected.
In some unfortunate cases, taking a pregnancy test early can lead to false hopes. Some women experience a “chemical pregnancy,” or a very early miscarriage in which the fertilized egg did not embed properly into the uterine lining. With a chemical pregnancy, you may take a pregnancy test and get a positive result, but then you get your period (miscarriage).
What is The Most Sensitive Early Pregnancy Test?
The accuracy of a home pregnancy test (HPT) is dependent on both the type of test kit you use and your ability to correctly perform and read the test. Most women only wait until the first day of their missed period to do their first pregnancy test, this results in a high rate of negative tests. It is believed that 46% of pregnant women will have a negative test when tested on the first day of their missed period.
There are significant differences in sensitivity among pregnancy tests, the following list is the best tests to use early in pregnancy.
Response manual” and “First Response Gold” digital devices are
the most sensitive pregnancy tests, with a sensitivity of 5.5 IU/L. This test
should detect 97 percent of pregnancies on the first day of a missed period.
The first response gold digital pregnancy test is sensitive enough to give you
results five days before your missed period. With an easy-to-read
“YES+/NO-” result answer. It also offers a “test is
working” indicator that lets you know the test is ready for use.
The second most sensitive pregnancy tests are the “EPT” manual and digital devices, with a sensitivity of 11 to 22 IU/L. These tests detected 54 percent and 67 percent of pregnancies, respectively, on the first day of a missed period.
“Clearblue Easy” manual and digital devices also have a sensitivity of 11 to 22 IU/L. These tests detected 64 percent and 54 percent of pregnancies, respectively, on the first day of a missed period.
Types of Pregnancy Tests
Pregnancy tests are either done on urine or blood. The urine pregnancy test should be used for a suspected pregnancy if you have missed your period and can allow time to follow up an initial negative pregnancy test with a second test 5 to 7 days later.
Whereas a blood pregnancy test is much more accurate and can be done around the time of the first day of your missed period.
The blood pregnancy test is the most sensitive for detecting the pregnancy hormone hCG. It is performed in your healthcare provider’s office and It usually takes a few hours to get your results. In contrast, the urine pregnancy test despite being less accurate in detecting the pregnancy hormone can be performed in the privacy of your home and you can have your results immediately.
Home Pregnancy Test
If you have a positive home pregnancy test you should always confirm the results with your physician’s office. A positive test is interpreted by viewing the number of color lines in the window of the of the pregnancy test stick after placing a few drops of urine on it. A positive test will have two lines or a plus sign, while a negative test will only show one line or a negative sign. Some of the new tests will actually display the words “yes” or “no” or “pregnant” or “not pregnant”. Most women choose to do a home pregnancy test because of the immediate results and the convenience of testing in the privacy of your home.
Many different companies make home pregnancy tests and despite their claims of 99 percent accuracy when used on the first day of your missed period, they are not. This claim is based on the testing of non-pregnant urine samples mixed with the pregnancy hormone and not actual urine from pregnant women.
In many cases the urine pregnancy test is not sensitive enough to diagnose pregnancy if you have just recently missed a menstrual period. The time from your missed period, fertilization and sufficient production of the pregnancy hormone are variable, so if pregnancy is suspected despite a negative test, the test should be repeated in one week. Most all pregnancy test manufactures make this recommendation and provide an extra test for this reason.
Your Baby at 4 Weeks of Pregnancy
During pregnancy week 4 your baby starts implanting into the lining of your uterus. The uterus will safely and securely house your baby for the remaining weeks of your pregnancy. Your baby will start resembling a tiny tadpole more than a ball of cells now. This week your baby’s amniotic cavity starts to form. From this cavity the placenta will grow and nourish your baby throughout your pregnancy.
At this point in development, your “baby” is only an embryo that consists of two cell layers, which are dividing rapidly to form your baby’s body. This early stage of pregnancy is often noted as the beginning of the embryonic period.
The placenta is in its earliest stage of development. Until it is mature and ready to function, your baby receives his or her nutrition from the yolk sac, which is also forming. The yolk sac also produces blood cells until your baby’s liver is mature enough to do this. The yolk sac completely disappears by the end of the first trimester, when both the liver and placenta are mature enough to take over its job.
The amniotic cavity is forming. This cavity will eventually develop into the fluid-filled amniotic sac (bag of water) where your baby will grow and develop for the next nine months. The amniotic sac protects your baby from bumps and injury.
Top Five Fears of New Moms
Becoming a mother for the first time is unquestionably the biggest change of a woman’s
life. Yes, marriage, losing your virginity, graduating and other firsts is
right up there, but there is truly nothing that is so drastically life altering
than bringing a new human being into the world. Indeed, motherhood comes with
major responsibility, anxiety, happiness, stress, excitement and fear.
With all of the extra hormones a pregnancy woman has to deal with, sometimes these fears can kick in at the worst of times. One minute you are happily shopping for onesies, pacifiers and crib sheets, and the next you are spacing out in the middle of the aisle, trying to get a grip over your thoughts.
Rest assured, these thoughts are normal. Often, they are unwarranted, but at the same time, irrational fears can be scary for any new mother-to-be. Although there may be more things not on this list, the following 5 fears of expectant mothers are also fears faced by many new parents:
- 1. Fear of never being able to do anything personal again.
We’ve all seen moms who look tired, stressed, or who complain about never being able to go out and do things after the baby is born. Even simple things, such as going to the hair salon or going out to dinner with a friend, often fall by the wayside in exchange for changing poopy diapers, sleepless nights and breastfeeding. A pregnant mom might even feel guilty about thinking this way, wondering if she is just plain too selfish for parenthood.
While it is true that your schedule drastically changes once the baby comes, it does not mean that you should stop being you or doing things that you enjoy. If you like jogging, for example, you could invest in a jogger stroller. If you want to visit a friend and it seems like too much of a hassle to bring the baby along, find help to relieve you for a couple of hours a week. A grandparent, aunt or uncle of the child, or even a reliable babysitter will do wonders for your sanity and make you feel like you can still be “you” and not just “mommy”.
- 2. Fear of body changes, such as stretch marks, weight gain, pot belly, etc.
You worked hard to keep your curvy, girlish figure. Now the baby is coming along, and you wonder, “Will my body ever look the same?” The simple answer is, no. However, your body can look as good as it does pre-pregnancy, if not better, if you are committed and do not give up on yourself.
There are many ways you can overcome the imperfections, but if you ask any woman if she would trade her child in for the body she used to have, 99.9% of all moms would say, “No way.” Embrace your imperfections and be confident that you will be a wonderful mother!
- 3. Fear of baby being born with defects or health issues.
It happens, and there is nothing you can do about it. Taking care of you during pregnancy is the best precaution against any birth defects or health issues. Try not to worry or becoming obsessed with the “what-ifs” because these negative thoughts will drive you crazy. Remember that positive thoughts lead to positive outcomes, so worrying about something you have no control over is just a waste of your time and energy.
- 4. Fear of inexperience leading to accidental injury of your child.
This fear can keep you tossing and turning all night long! Newborn babies are so fragile, and if you are a mother who has not been around babies all that much or feel inexperienced with children, this fear is perfectly understandable! Some mothers with this fear worry they will drop the baby, or trip and fall while holding it, or pick it up the wrong way and somehow hurts its floppy little head, or that they won’t put the right blankets in the crib, or feed the baby wrong, and the list goes on!
Rest assured, none of these things are likely to happen. You will make a mistake or two as a mother, but you are given the right instincts to protect your baby naturally. Nature will kick in after you have your child, and the love you have will be enough to protect your baby from most anything, even from your own clumsiness.
- 5. Fear of childbirth.
Women swap stories with new mothers about their own labor pains, which can actually lead to these anxieties. If a mother tries to tell you about her labor that lasted 36 hours and how excruciatingly painful it was, politely bow out of the conversation. The last thing you need are people “stoking the fire” and making your fears even more terrifying.
Some women only experience mild discomfort during childbirth, and there are ways you can increase your odds of having a less painful delivery. Taking care of yourself during pregnancy, chiropractic care or massages, yoga, exercise and other types of methods can help you deliver a healthy baby. As many women will tell you, the pain of childbirth will soon be forgotten by the very moment you hold your newborn in your arms for the first time. So take a deep breath and relax. You will survive and get through it like a champion.
So, it’s been confirmed. You have a bun in the oven. Now that you’re with child, you have to evaluate your diet. Everyone knows that eating a balanced and healthy diet is best … but what if you’re addicted to junk food? After all, it is very delicious and satisfying.
Eating Habits to try and Eliminate in Pregnancy
Junk food may taste great, but do you want
to risk your baby’s chance of developing weight problems later in life? Or get
diabetes? Plus, when you’re pregnant, you have to watch your weight. Being
overweight can lead to a high-risk pregnancy, and you will be more likely to
need a cesarean section. You are also more prone to gestational diabetes and
high blood pressure; both of which can cause harm to your baby.
You can stray from a balanced diet occasionally, as long as it’s in moderation. Think about your baby’s future first, before reaching for that French fry or Starbucks Frap.
Do I Have to Eliminate Processed Foods when I’m pregnant?
They’re quick, they’re cheap and they’re convenient. They often taste good, too. If
processed convenience foods are only used occasionally, they pose little
danger. Unfortunately, in this age of over-scheduling and instant
gratification, people often eat more than their fair share of processed foods.
Picture yourself a year from now. Your precious baby has not only arrived, but has started eating food from a source other than your breast or a bottle. Baby is sitting in that great high chair you’ve had your eye on. She’s got on a cute little bib. An adorable little sippy cup, bowl, and spoon set are waiting on the high chair tray.
You sit down to feed your little miracle child. Look down. What’s in that bowl? Is it filled with trans-fats? Will you be spooning up artificial coloring? I bet not. Chances are you will be very particular about what you feed your baby. And rightly so.
What do you want in the bowl? Whole grains cereals? Check. Fruits and vegetables? Check. Okay they’re mashed, but they’re all produce. No filler, just fruit. No additives, just veggies. When you picture yourself feeding baby, you see that bowl filled with healthy foods, not junk.
If you’re eating processed foods – instant boxed foods you whip up in the microwave or even worse, fast food, meal after meal, your baby is, too. After all, your body is nourishing your baby. Good nutrition for baby begins with good nutrition for mom and dad for a number of reasons.
First of all, both your bodies made the baby. Your body will grow the baby. Second, you’ll both spend many years making appropriate food choices for your child. Third, you’ll be a better parent if you’re healthy.
Eliminating processed foods from your diet will improve:
- Constipation problems
- Energy levels
- Weight gain
- Some skin issues
Eliminating excessive amounts of processed foods (or even better all processed foods) from your diet may mean that you or your spouse spend a few minutes more each day in the kitchen, but you’ll love the rewards you reap.
Eating fresh food tastes better, is healthier for you, keeps your day interesting, and gives you something to be proud of. Working hard to nourish yourself properly is one really great way to indulge yourself.
If you have completed your first trimester you’ve got the energy now to go to the market or to prepare a great meal (and want to eat it). Remember to take all those quick and easy meal fixes from your pantry. Maybe someone in your community’s doing a food drive. You’ll be helping yourself and helping someone else at the same time.
You need to take the same care with your diet that you will with your child’s diet. Healthy eating begins with you.
Several Foods that may pose a Potential Risk and Should be Avoided
Learn what foods to eat and what to avoid during pregnancy to ensure a healthy environment
for your unborn baby!
As a concerned parent, you want to do everything possible to ensure the well being and safety of your baby. Thus, it is vital that you eat a well-balanced diet in order to ensure that your child is given every opportunity to grow and develop normally, right from the start!
Keep in mind that while your caloric needs increase slightly during pregnancy (to the tune of about 300 calories, or the amount of calories in a cup of yogurt and 1/2 a bagel), pregnancy is not a license to eat everything in sight!
Foods to Avoid
There are several foods that may pose a potential risk to your unborn fetus. It is important that you recognize the potential dangers of certain food products and avoid them during your pregnancy. These include:
You may have been a fan of a good ‘beef carpaccio’ or round of sushi before pregnancy, but be sure to avoid raw or under-cooked meat at all costs during your pregnancy. ‘Rare’ is simply not an option while pregnant. Why? Rare meats may contain bacteria, toxoplasmosis and Salmonella, all of which are harmful to your unborn baby.
You are twice as likely to experience food poisoning while pregnant, so be sure to ask for your meat prepared well.
A sandwich is harmless right? Wrong! Prepared meats, such as those available at a deli counter, including hot dogs or turkey, beef and chicken preparations, should not be consumed unless you re-heat them until steaming. Why?
These preparations may be contaminated with a substance called Listeria. These bacteria can harm your baby severely, and may even cause miscarriage or result in a stillborn delivery. Listeria is nothing to joke about, thus it is vital that you avoid the deli counter while pregnant.
Imported Soft Cheeses
Like deli meat, imported unpasteurized cheeses including blue cheese, feta, Brie or Camembert should be avoided. These may also contain Listeria.
However, soft cheeses that are made with pasteurized milk are safe to eat. It is important to check out the label. If you are not sure whether or not a product is pasteurized, you should in general avoid it.
Raw eggs or under-cooked eggs have the potential to contain Salmonella. Raw eggs are often included in many commercial products including Egg Nog and some forms of Caesar salad dressing.
Be sure to check out the labels before you consume any of these products. Signs of salmonella food poisoning may include: fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhea.
When indulging in eggs during your pregnancy, keep the following in mind:
- Keep eggs always refrigerated until cooked.
- Do not use cracked eggs.
- Wash all utensils after contact with raw eggs.
- Eat eggs immediately after cooking.
- Foods containing eggs should be refrigerated.
- Do not eat dishes that contain Hollandaise Sauce or Caesar Salads which uses raw eggs.
While eating fish can be beneficial during your pregnancy, there are certain types of fish that you should avoid. These include shark, swordfish, king mackerel, excess tuna and tile fish, as all of these contain high levels of mercury, which can affect your unborn child’s nervous system.
Generally it is safe to eat 12 ounces of other fish including salmon and tilapia, which are full of nutritious benefits. Canned tuna should also be avoided due to high levels of mercury contamination.
While a small amount of caffeine (1 small cup a day) may provide a much needed lift for pregnant moms, in general caffeine should be avoided during pregnancy. High amounts of caffeine consumption have been linked with birth defects and increased risks of miscarriage.
Remember that caffeine is present in many every day food items including chocolate, tea and soda. To play it safe you should avoid caffeine entirely during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy to reduce the likelihood of miscarriage. Daily caffeine intake of more than five cups of coffee a day appears to increase the risk of spontaneous miscarriage.
Alcohol is harmful to your baby’s development. Alcohol will cross the placenta and affect your baby, so every time you drink when you are pregnant your baby does to.
If you are pregnant and have been drinking alcohol, stop now! There is no determined level of alcohol consumption that is considered safe during pregnancy. Daily consumption of alcohol in early pregnancy might lead to a condition called fetal alcohol syndrome.
If you’re a regular diet soda guzzler, you may want to switch to another type of drink during pregnancy. A new study published in a July 2010 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that drinking artificially sweetened soft drinks during pregnancy may increase your risk of preterm delivery.
It is important during pregnancy to learn which foods are safe to eat and which foods you should avoid. By doing so you will provide the best possible environment for your baby to grow and develop in.
A healthy pregnancy depends on a healthy diet. For the best possible health benefits, talk to your health care provider about a balanced diet rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals from fresh food sources.
With a bit of planning and encouragement, you can learn to plan wonderful, tasty meals that will satisfy your cravings and benefit the health of your unborn child as well.
Pregnancy Weight Gain at 4 Weeks
Your pregnancy weight gain at 4 weeks pregnant is less than a pound. By the end of your pregnancy, underweight women will gain approximately 34 pounds, normal weight women 25 to 35 pounds, and for overweight women 15 to 20 pounds.