- Women's Health
Pregnancy Week Three
Welcome to week three of pregnancy! Congratulations, you've reached the point of fertilization. At some point between last week and this week ovulation occurred and probably soon after that one lucky sperm met your egg in the fallopian tube. Your fertilized egg is now called a zygote and will be traveling through your fallopian tube straight to your uterus. As it travels, it will go through several rapid mitotic divisions which will cause it to reach the size of approximately 120 cells.
So after these past two weeks of planning, trying and waiting for results, you now have something to show for it. A little zygote is traveling to your uterus where it will soon become an embryo.
Am I Pregnant or Not? The First Changes & Early Signs of Pregnancy
Right now, your body is beginning to go through the first of many changes over the next few months. One of those changes is the production of a hormone called HCG or human chorionic gonadotropin. This hormone will play such an important role throughout your pregnancy, as it stops more eggs from being released from your ovaries and stops your period, which keeps both the lining of your uterus and your blastocyst inside you. This is also the hormone which a pregnancy test will detect in order to tell you that you're pregnant. It appears in both blood and urine, so no matter what your choice of test is, having this hormone in your system will tell you whether or not your pregnant.
You may be able to take a home pregnancy test this week, but keep in mind that the levels of HCG may not show up right away. So it's a smart idea to take another test in a week or so. Waiting to take a home test until weeks four or five are probably a better idea. However taking a blood test will probably be able to tell you quicker.
You may begin feeling some early signs of pregnancy this week. I know it's early, but many women (including myself) notice early signs without realizing it's pregnancy. You may feel as though your breasts are tender or swollen. Yes, they will start prepping for nursing this early, though they won't fill with any milk yet. You may also notice some spotting or light bleeding as implantation occurs. This doesn't last long and is completely normal. You'll know it's not your period as it occurs earlier and is lighter in color and spottier than your regular period. And finally, you may notice that you are more tired than usual. You may even feel a bit lightheaded or have headaches. These are the not-so-obvious signs of pregnancy that will occur in week three.
Just remember, whether you know for sure or not, keep up with your health, preparations and research I suggested in weeks one and two. You'll find out soon enough if you're definitely pregnant.
Baby Watch: Week 3
Right now, your embryo is known as a blastocyst. A blastocyst is made up of two cell masses: the inner cell mass (embryoblast) and the outer cell mass (trophoblast). The embryoblast will become your baby and the trophoblast will form your placenta. The placenta will feed and nourish your baby, over the next nine months, while at the same time disposing of your baby's waste.
Currently the blastocyst is traveling through your fallopian tube to the uterus. Once it arrives in the uterus, your blastocyst baby will attach itself to the edometrium (a blood-rich tissue). This process is called implantation. Implantation may cause some light bleeding or spotting, as I mentioned earlier, so don't worry if you notice a bit of blood. You're fine and so is your precious bundle of cells.
Keep up the good work Mama!
Health Tip This Week: Forget The Conventional Wisdom On Pregnancy Nutrition
Nutrition is vastly misunderstood today. Most people seek nutritional advice from medical doctors who only ever receive one course in nutrition throughout their medical education. Nutritional advice should be sought from a health coach, a nutritionist or a dietician. Having said this it's important to realize if you really want to have optimal nutrition for you and your unborn baby, it's time to put away the conventional wisdom as much of it is inaccurate. Here's a quick guide of what to eat and what to avoid.
What You Need:
- Protein - Adequate protein can reduce the risk of preclampsia and other complications that can arise during pregnancy. Some women even notice less morning sickness.
You can gget protein from grass-fed meats, pastured poultry and eggs, raw or organic dairy and plant-based sources like spirulina, chlorella, beans, quinoa and spinach. As you can see whether you choose a vegan diet, paleo diet, or follow weston a price recommendations (to name a few diet theories that are backed by science), you will be able to find a source of protein that works for you.
- Healthy Fats - Consuming healthy fats is essential to your baby's organ and brain development, not to mention your own health. Some sources of healthy fats are grass-fed meats, pastured poultry and eggs, some dairy like butter, coconut and olive oil, and nuts
to name a few.
- Folic Acid - This merits it's own special mention This is so important for baby's brain development. So important in fact that your midwife or doctor will probably recommend you take a folic acid supplement. Food wise, there are many sources of folic acid such as leafy greens, broccoli, citrus fruits, beans, avocado, nuts and seeds.
- Vegetables & Fruits - these are going to be where you get a lot of your vitamins, minerals and fiber from. Be sure to get lots of colors in. Leafy greens are great for builing vitamin K for example. Orange and yellow fruits and veggies are high in vitamin C and beta carotene. The more colors, the better.
- Water - It is important to drink lots of water during pregnancy to prevent dehydration and to replenish the amniotic fluid your baby is in. This will also help prevent morning sickness and constipation.
What You Don't Need:
- Caffeine - It's best to cut out or limit this. There are a lot of conflicting studies on whether or not this is safe and how much is safe. If you can bare it, cut it out entirely. If not, limit your consumption to no more than 250mg a day. That's about one cup of coffee. Don't get it from sources like soda.
- Processed Food - These foods are often high in harmful chemical additives and low in nutritional value. They can lead to things like constipation and blood sugar instability. Not to mention the dangers of all those chemicals in regard to your developing baby. Processed foods are an unnecessary risk.
- Vegetable Oils - These oils are everywhere in your supermarket. They're in most processed foods. Omega 6 is fat commonly found in vegetable oils, which has been linked to cell mutations and cancer. Even when you're not pregnant, you should avoid these.
- Refined Grains & Sugars - We all know processed white sugar is bad for us. It offers little nutrition. Use natural healthy alternatives. No not artificial sweeteners like aspartame which has been linked to brain cancer and lowers your seizure threshold. Things like raw honey, coconut palm sugar, brown rice syrup or stevia are great options. Now grains... this is a tricky subject. We're all told they're healthy and good for us. This depends on the diet you follow. Studies are conflicting. So here's my advice either 1) cut them out completely or 2) learn how to prepare grains by soaking, rinsing or sprouting. Properly preparing grains will break down the anti-nutrients that block mineral absorption.
This is just to give you a basic idea. Next week we'll talk about supplements that can be beneficial during pregnancy that you can discuss with your midwife or doctor.
This Week's Advice: Start Reading Up On Pregnancy + Book Recommendations
Instincts are important when it comes to pregnancy and parenting and even more so during labor and delivery. Still, there are things we just aren't born knowing. That's why we do research and educate ourselves. This early in the game is a good time to start researching pregnancy. Clearly you've taken the first step by following this pregnancy week by week series. Knowing what's going on in your body and with your developing baby is important. But there's so much more to learn. Here my book recommendations when it comes to pregnancy:
- You Can Get Pregnant: How to Improve Your Fertility Now and Into Your 40s by Aimee Raupp
- Mama Glow: A Hip Guide To Your Fabulous Abundant Pregnancy by Lathem Thomas
- Real Food For Mother And Baby: The Fertility Diet, Eating For Two And Baby's First Foods by Nina Planck
- Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives by Deepak Chopra M.D.
- The Pregnancy Countdown Book: Nine Months of Practical Tips, Useful Advice and Uncensored Truths by Susan Magee
There's loads more books on the market. Plus there's tons of websites and blogs on pregnancy and motherhood. Make sure you also check out forums and the mom community on Youtube to connect with other mothers and mommies-to-be.
How have you prepared for pregnancy?
© 2011 Skylar Spring