13 Weeks

Fingerprints have formed on your baby’s tiny fingertips, her veins and organs are clearly visible through her still-thin skin, and her body is starting to catch up with her head – which makes up just a third of her body size now.

How your baby’s growing:

If you’re having a girl, she now has more than 2 million eggs in her ovaries. Your baby is almost 3 inches long (the size of a medium shrimp) and weighs nearly an ounce.

How your life’s changing:

This is the last week of your first trimester, and your risk of miscarriage is now much lower than earlier in pregnancy. Next week marks the beginning of your second trimester, a time of relative comfort for many women who see early pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness and fatigue subside. More good news: Many couples also notice a distinct libido lift around this time.

Birth is still months away, but your breasts may have already started making colostrum, the nutrient-rich fluid that feeds your baby for the first few days after birth, before your milk starts to flow

3 Questions About Eating for two

Q1. How much more should I be eating every day?

You need only 300 or so extra calories a day when you’re pregnant. Make those calories count: Skip the junk food and have a glass of milk and a couple of slices of whole-wheat toast instead.

Don’t get too hung up on numbers, though. As long as you’re making healthy food choices and your provider is happy with your weight gain, there’s no need to agonize over calories.

Q2. What are some important nutrients?

Protein, iron, and calcium are three nutrients you need now to keep you healthy and fuel your baby’s development.

Protein: Aim for 71 grams a day. Lean meats, eggs, and dairy products, as well as nuts, beans, and soy products like tofu, are all good sources. Three servings a day should help you meet your goal. Fish is a good source of protein (as well as vital omega-3 fatty acids), but because of concerns about contamination, experts debate how much and what type of fish you should eat.

Iron: Getting 27 milligrams of iron every day is especially important to help ward off iron-deficiency anemia, a common problem among pregnant women. Iron found in animal products (called heme iron) is absorbed more easily by your body than iron found in plants (nonheme iron). The best source? Lean red meat. If you’re a vegetarian or can’t stomach meat, you can get some iron from vegetables such as spinach and legumes like lentils. It can be tough to get enough iron from these sources, though, so your provider may recommend an iron supplement. (Hint: Vitamin C enhances the absorption of nonheme iron, so eat foods rich in vitamin C – such as citrus fruits, strawberries, and sweet peppers – at the same time you eat non-meat iron-rich foods, or down your iron supplement with a glass of orange juice.)

Calcium: Four servings a day of dairy products will help you get the 1,000 mg of calcium you need (1,300 mg if you’re 18 or younger). Your baby needs calcium for the formation of his bones and teeth. If you don’t get enough of this nutrient, he’ll take what he needs from your body and you’ll lose calcium stored in your bones.

Q3. If I’m already taking a prenatal vitamin, do I need to pay much attention to what I eat?

Yes! While a prenatal vitamin can help fill in any nutritional gaps in your diet, it isn’t meant to take the place of healthy eating. For one thing, prenatal vitamins don’t have the full day’s supply of the calcium you need right now. For another, it’s important to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables for fiber – for aiding digestion and avoiding constipation, a common pregnancy complaint. In fact, if you’re a healthy woman who’s well informed about nutrition, eats a balanced diet, and has no specific risk factors, not all experts agree that you even need to take a multivitamin and mineral supplement.

However, all agree that you need to take folic acid supplements before conception and during the first trimester, and many believe it’s important to take iron in the second and third trimesters.

  • Most healthcare providers recommend taking a vitamin supplement from the time you decide to start trying to get pregnant through the end your pregnancy. Are you taking a prenatal vitamin?
This Week’s Activity:

Share your view of parenting with your partner. To get the conversation going, try this creative writing exercise: Each of you makes two lists, one titled “My mother always…” and one titled “My mother never…” Then do the same for “My father always/My father never.” When you’re done, talk about what you wrote down and decide together which behaviors you value and which you’d like to change as you raise your child.

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