Pregnancy Articles

Week 4: Know Your Limits, Mom

Your Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy

Your Baby This Week

During this time, the embryo is busy embedding deeper into your uterus, establishing a strong and healthy bond. The amniotic sac, a protective membrane that surrounds your baby during pregnancy, has also begun to form. As time goes on, the sac will help produce hormones (primarily progesterone) and transmit nutrients from your body to your baby.

At this point, three distinct layers of cells are also starting to form:
  • the ectoderm, which will form the nervous system (including the brain), skin and hair,
  • the endoderm, which will become the lining of your baby's gastrointestinal tract, plus the liver, pancreas and thyroid glands,
  • the mesoderm, which will form the skeleton, connective tissue, blood system, urogenital system and muscles.

    Your baby is two weeks old! He or she is still teeny-tiny, from 0.014 inches to 0.04 inches (1.2 mm)-smaller than a grain of rice.

    Your Body This Week

    Although your body is busy building new blood vessels in your uterus to help nourish your baby, you won't see or feel anything different. You're probably expecting your period and may not yet realize you are pregnant!

    How Much is Too Much?

    If you're a beginning exerciser, the two most perplexing questions you may have are "Am I doing enough?" and "How do I know if I'm overdoing it?" Overdoing it is a common fear of many mothers-to-be. To avoid problems down the road, the smartest thing you can do right now is to start slowly and start small. Stretching nearly every day and moderate aerobic activity a few times per week should be enough to get you moving without putting undue strain on your body. Listen to your body- it can be the most accurate gauge you have. For more considerations about exercising for beginners, read this article.

    Viva La Vegetarian!

    Can you have a healthy pregnancy without eating meat? You sure can--if you pay attention and plan ahead. Meat and dairy products contain a large number of very important nutrients for your baby, such as protein, iron, zinc, calcium and vitamin D. If you forgo the cheeseburgers and/or eggs, you'll still need to find substitute sources for these essentials. The good news is that by adjusting your serving levels for other plant-based foods, and focusing on a rich, balanced diet, you can go meatless without concern. Learn how to get the right nutrients on a vegetarian diet.
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