Pregnancy from weeks 1 to 5
Women often do not become aware of any signs that they are pregnant until four weeks into their pregnancy, and most do not notice any changes at this early stage in their pregnancy. By week five, your period will be a week late.
Weeks 1, 2 and 3
If you are, or want to become, pregnant, it can be a good idea to take certain dietary supplements.
You should start by taking a supplement of 400 micrograms of folate per day and continue taking it until the 12th week of your pregnancy. Folate is a water-soluble vitamin B which is essential for normal cell division and growth. Folate is important for your baby to develop normally. Taking folate supplements early in your pregnancy can prevent neural tube defects, such as spinal hernia.
You should also eat foods which naturally contain folate, such as coarse grain products, green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach, beans and lentils, oranges/orange juice and berries.
In addition to folate, you should also take a daily dietary supplement containing 150 micrograms of iodine if you:
- consume less than 600 ml of milk/yogurt per day (but you regularly eat white saltwater fish), or
- eat little or no white saltwater fish and consume less than 800 ml of milk/yogurt per day.
In the same way as for folate, you should start taking the supplement as soon as possible during your pregnancy, and preferably before you become pregnant. It is an advantage if your iodine level is good before you become pregnant.
Having too much iodine in your body is not good, and you should avoid consuming more than 600 micrograms per day.
If you eat oily fish less than 2-3 times per week, it is also recommended that you take supplements containing 10 micrograms of Vitamin D daily.
If you have a completely vegetarian diet (vegan diet), you will need to take vitamin B12 supplements (2.0 micrograms per day).
Dietary advice for pregnant women
While you are pregnant, you must make sure you have a varied and healthy diet which gives you all the nutrients you need.
Week 4 is normally the time when your next period should start. If you miss this period or you experience an abnormally small amount of bleeding, this may be a sign that you are pregnant.
Some women can feel changes in their body, but most people do not notice any changes so early in their pregnancy.
Signs of pregnancy
At week five, your period will be a week late. It is about this time that many women start to experience the first signs of pregnancy:
- Need to urinate frequently
- Tender and enlarged breasts
- Aching in the lumber region
- Gentle pressure or swelling around the lower abdomen
Many women also experience fatigue and nausea. Most women find that any nausea disappears during pregnancy weeks 12-14.
The placenta and lungs are formed
Around this time, the foetus consists of a collection of small cells in a ball and an embryo is formed. The embryo is just a few millimetres long, and the lungs and early stages of the arms and legs start to develop. The spine, which has been open until now, closes up, and the first blood cells and blood vessels form. The heart is shaped like a tube.
The placenta is formed and amniotic fluid is produced.
Pregnancy weeks 6, 7 and 8
During week 6, 7 or 8, many women now start to notice one or more signs that they are pregnant.