Though your baby only measures about 2mm to 4mm, he has grown significantly since last week! His little heart is no bigger than a poppy seed, and is now beating at around 110 beats per minute. His neural tube and digestive tract are also starting to form.
You may be feeling nauseous these days because of the increase in pregnancy hormones. To beat morning sickness, Singaporean mums swear by ginger tea, or ginger sweets! Eating little and often may also help. To help settle your stomach in the morning, eat some biscuits before getting out of bed. Even if you’re not feeling peckish, try your best to stick to a healthy diet to give you and your baby the nutrients you need.
Focus on Folic Acid. Folic acid is particularly important during pregnancy as it supports the development of the neural tube, which will be closing soon to form your baby's spine and nervous system1. If you don’t take enough folic acid, your baby may risk neural tube defects such as spina bifida2.
Fortunately, many foods are naturally rich in folate, a naturally occurring form of folic acid. These include green, leafy vegetables, lentils, chickpeas and kidney beans. For lunch, whip up a kale and spinach salad. For a healthy teatime snack, munch on sunflower seeds!
However, because your needs are so high during this stage of pregnancy, it is difficult to get enough folic acid from food sources alone. This is why a daily folic acid supplement of 400mcg a day is recommended for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy3. Folic acid should be taken as early as possible2! Ideally, folic acid supplements should be taken before and during pregnancy.
If you haven’t been taking folic acid supplements or a prenatal multivitamin containing folic acid, don’t worry! Simply start taking them straight away and carry on until the 12th week.
1. NHS UK. Spina Bifida [Online]. 2012. Available at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/Spina-bifida/Pages/Introduction.aspx [Accessed June 2014]
2. WHO. Daily iron and folic acid supplementation during pregnancy. Available at: www.who.int/elena/titles/guidance_summaries/daily_iron_pregnancy/en/
3. Department of Health. Report on Health and Social Subjects 41. Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom. London: TSO, 1991.
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