• Nutrition

1st Week of Pregnancy

lady looking and touching her pregnant stomach

Yes, Pregnancy Begins Before Conception

Baby's Growth and Development at Week One: Preconception

It may seem strange, but your pregnancy journey begins before your baby even is even conceived.

The first week of pregnancy actually begins with the start of your last menstrual period. Why? It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when your egg becomes fertilised, but the date of your last cycle is a more accurate starting point. Your Healthcare Professional will calculate your due date by counting 40 weeks from the start of your last menstrual period.

It’s called the Gestational Age, and it’s how most Healthcare Professionals measure pregnancies. Because ovulation and conception take place about two weeks after your period begins, your baby's Foetal Age (which begins when your egg is fertilised) will be two weeks less than his Gestational Age. So, when you’re 8 weeks pregnant, your baby’s foetal age is 6 weeks.

Your Changing Body at Week One: Preconception

Preconception stage in the uterus

During preconception, your body is preparing for your baby — in fact, it has been preparing every month since puberty. During every period, your uterus has shed its lining. That creates a new lining that’s rich in blood vessels to house and nourish a developing baby. Now it’s setting the stage for the nine months ahead.

Wellness and Nutrition at Week One: Preconception

A lady smiling

You can take action right now to make pregnancy easier for your body and best for your baby in the months to come. During preconception, you can:

  • Supplement your balanced diet with nutritional supplements that include folic acid and other essentials minerals and vitamins needed for pregnancy. Folic acid, which is found naturally in lentils, dried beans, peas, and whole-grain breads, has been shown to help prevent early pregnancy birth defects. Talk with your Healthcare Professional about nutritional supplements if you haven’t already.
  • Establish healthy habits in nutrition and exercise.
  • Address any medical conditions. If you're taking prescription medications, you may want to consult your Healthcare Professional.
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol, and limit caffeine to about one tall coffee a day.

Your First Health Care Professional Visit

Many women make a preconception appointment with their family Healthcare Professional. This can help you make sure your body is ready for pregnancy. It’s also a great opportunity to ask questions or talk about any special concerns you might have.

Nutrition at Its Best

  • Be sure to eat balanced breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners. The best source of vitamins and minerals is in the balanced food choices you make, but during pregnancy you need additional folic acid, iron, and calcium. Speak with your Healthcare Professional about nutritional supplements to supplement your vitamin intake every day.

Exercising Now for a Great Start Later

Pregnancy puts extra physical demands on your body. So being physically fit beforehand can help get you and your baby off to a good start.

When you're one week pregnant, a balanced exercise program might be as important as a balanced diet. Try to work all of these into your workout:

  • Cardiovascular or aerobic exercise
  • Muscular endurance
  • Muscular strength or resistance training
  • Flexibility exercises

When you're modifying your exercise routine (or just getting started), remember that:

  • Exercises that focus on muscles in your lower back and stomach are particularly good in preparing for pregnancy.
  • If you are able to exercise a minimum of 20 minutes a day three to four days a week, you probably will notice significant health benefits.

Many women are concerned about weight gain during pregnancy. Remember that gaining weight is a natural, normal part of being pregnant.

Pregnancy weight gain guidelines*

A lady with her hand on her pregnant stomach

There's no one-size-fits-all approach to pregnancy weight gain. How much weight you need to gain depends on various factors, including your pre-pregnancy weight and body mass index (BMI). Your health and your baby's health also play a role. Work with your Healthcare Professional to determine what's right for you.

Consider these general guidelines** for pregnancy weight gain:

Pre-pregnancy weightRecommended weight gain
Underweight (BMI less than 18.5)about 13 to 18 kg
Normal weight (BMI 18.5 to 24.9)about 11 to 16 kg
Overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9)about 7 to 11 kg
Obese (BMI 30 or more)about 5 to 9 kg

*Adapted from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pregnancy-weight-gain/PR00111
** Based on carrying one baby

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