Congratulations! You’re pregnant! It’s very exciting to know you will soon have a baby in your arms, but what will the next 9 months bring?
Well, it all started before you even knew you were pregnant. Your baby has been growing since your egg was fertilized, approximately 2 weeks ago. As soon as that sperm broke into the egg, cells began to divide and divide and divide . . . .
Once these dividing cells (called a blastocyst) burrow into your womb, the placenta begins to grow and will also start producing the hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). This is what, among other things, turns your pregnancy test positive. The placenta also has the very important jobs of bringing your baby oxygen and needed nutrients, while eliminating the waste that he creates. In addition, the placenta will make sure that your immune system doesn’t reject your baby as a foreign invader and will prevent your blood cells from mixing with your baby's. These are just a few ways the amazing placenta will support your baby as he grows in your womb.
By the time you are 4 weeks along, your baby enters the “embryonic period.” Your baby will begin developing all of his organs, and by the time you are 10 weeks along (the end of the embryonic period), some of these systems will begin functioning. This is the period of time when your baby’s development is most vulnerable.
As you move along through your pregnancy, you’ll need to take very good care of yourself. You may not feel like eating much, or you may even be throwing up what you do eat, but it is important for your baby that you do your best to get at least some nutrition. One of the things you can try to do to manage morning sickness is to eat many small meals–preferably high in protein–throughout the day, especially right after you wake up. This prevents your blood sugar from dropping, which is a trigger for nausea and/or vomiting in many women. It is likely that you’ll also feel tired during this time. It is important that you get good rest and exercise during your pregnancy.
By the midpoint of your first trimester, your baby has changed greatly. Things like the beginnings for his eyes, ears, and hands are in place, and his tiny little legs are able to kick now! By the time you’re into your eleventh week or so, your baby is past his most critical period, developmentally, and will enter what is called the “fetal period.” His organs and tissues will now begin to mature rapidly, and he will begin to put on weight.
As for you, your baby’s growth isn’t likely to begin showing until sometime in your second trimester. By the end of your twelfth week, you’re already a third of the way through your pregnancy journey! It all goes by so quickly–try to enjoy each and every minute.