1st trimester: Week 6
The embryo measures a little less than one-fifth of an inch long and looks more like a tadpole than a human. The forebrain forms a hollow stalk on either side and develops small cups -- the base of each will become an eyeball. Inside the cup, skin cells will turn into a lens and cornea. The heart, no bigger than a poppy seed, is beating now, and primitive red blood cells circulate through the fetus and chorionic villi. The neural tube, which connects the brain and spinal cord, closes at this time. One end of the tube forms the brain, the other the spinal cord.
No one would know you're pregnant just by looking at you, but you're definitely aware of it, thanks to early symptoms, such as tender breasts and nipples, constant fatigue, and frequent bathroom trips. You may even find that you leak a little urine when you cough. This is due to the growing uterus pressing on the bladder. Stay close to the bathroom, wear lightweight sanitary pads, and improve muscle control by doing Kegel exercises (squeezing and releasing the vaginal muscles 10 to 20 times in a row) several times a day.
Do's and Don'ts
Do check in with your obstetrician early and regularly to learn how best to take care of yourself during pregnancy. Women who receive early and consistent prenatal care are statistically more likely to give birth to bigger, healthier babies.
Aside from giving up bad habits--cigarettes, alcohol, drugs--you'll also need to guard against infection. For starters, wash your hands frequently with soap and water, try to steer clear of people who aren't feeling well, and let your partner clean out the kitty litter, bird cage, or fish tank. Cook meat, fish, poultry, and eggs until they are well done--and pass on unpasteurized dairy products and juice.
Mom to Mom
Feeling close to your partner? Show him he's special. "I send my husband notes on his pager or call to say I'm looking forward to our evening together. It doesn't take a lot of effort, but I know it's in the back of his mind all day." - Suzanne Dannenmueller, a mother of two, Paducah, KY
Send your own experiences and tips to our editors. Answer one of our questions of the month and your quote may be published in Parenting, Babytalk, or Babytalk Mom-to-Be magazine.
If your health care provider has given you the green light to exercise, take advantage of it. Staying active will help you weather the physical changes pregnancy brings, fight fatigue more effectively, and motivate you to eat more nutritiously. It'll also help regulate your roller-coaster emotions, thanks to the feel-good proteins, called endorphins, produced by the pituitary gland.
Ask your partner to take pictures of you in profile each month. Once the baby's born, these photographs showing your belly's progression will be precious reminders of this exciting time.
Although you may be tempted to tell your firstborn that a new baby is on the way, experts say it's a good idea to hold off until you're really showing, especially if your child's less than 3 years old. For a child under 2 1/2, wait to break the news until the last trimester, when you are plainly pregnant.
Some baby gear that offers convenience for singletons diminishes in usefulness when you have twins. For instance, the infant car seats that double as carriers are too burdensome when you have two babies. Talk to other moms of twins to find out the best gear for multiples.
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